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Kirkerudbakken ski center

For more information visit Kirkerudbakken's website here.

Memorial stone for Emma Hjorth

Memorial stone in honor of Emma Hjorth and Emma Hjorth's Home (EHH). The stone was erected in 1958.

The plaque on the stone was made by artist Haldis Finstad, married to Harald Finstad who was a manager at EHH.

Kilde: Emma Hjorth museum

Tokerudutsikten

The view of Tokerud gives you a view of Bærum, Oslo, the Oslo Fjord and Nesoddlandet. It is one of several viewpoints on Tanumåsen.

The road up here is called Tokerudkleiva and was part of the church road for those who came from Tokerud farm and the surrounding area. Tokerud farm was located where Emma Hjorth is today. The farm has been there since the Viking Age, but tools from the Stone Age have also been found on the farm. Mrs Emma Hjorth bought Østre Tokerud from the bankrupt Tokerud sanatorium estate in 1903 and a few years later Vestre Tokerud. The Emma Hjorth museum is located in what used to be the boys' room at Tokerud.

Tokerudkleiva is the shortest and steepest way to the church and is today a widely used hiking trail. Tanum church is dated to 1100-1130, so people have walked this path for about 1000 years or more. A similar road is Haugskleiva north of the church.

Sandviken and Vestre Jong 1890 seen from the view of Tokerud.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Tanumutsikten

Tanumutsikten is one of several viewpoints on Tanumåsen. South of Tanumutsikten there are also good viewpoints from the lower part of Tanum cemetery and from Tokerudutsikten even further south.

Kolsåstoppen

Access either from Steinshøgda/Stein Gård or Gjettum. For more information, click here.

Emma Guesthouse

With a great location close to the forest and a short distance from the town of Sandvika, Emma Guesthouse has 16 rooms on two floors. There are single and double rooms, as well as rooms suitable for wheelchair users. They offer a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, with a common living room and kitchen and a garden with lush nature, green lawns and large birch trees. 

Emma Guesthouse also rents out pleasant meeting and group rooms with a capacity for 20 people.

For more information and booking please click here.

The lime kiln at Slependen

The lime factory was established under the name Slæpenden Kalkverk in 1914.

The lime kiln was built as a modern shaft kiln in contrast to the simpler farmers' lime kilns. Lime and coal were hoisted up to the top of the kiln with an electric winch and filled into a combustion chamber at the bottom. Wood, coal and limestone were burned at a temperature of 1000 degrees, carbon dioxide in the stone was released, and lime was burned. The lime was taken out at the bottom and transported on by rail. The wharf at Kadettangen was used for shipping lime. A secondary product was crushed limestone mixed with slag, which was supplied as fertiliser/soil improvement.

Limestone was transported by horse and cart from local quarries. From 1924, limestone was taken from Reverud. Parts of the new Tanumveien today pass through old limestone quarries. Lime production ended in 1940. From 1982 the lime kiln was restored and officially opened in 1996.

Asker and Bærum History Association has the lime kiln as one of its patrons and controls the condition of the building.

Slependen station

Slependen station is about 16 kilometers from Oslo S. It was opened as a stop on the narrow-gauge Drammenbanen in 1873 at a bend by the bridge that crosses Slependeveien. In 1958, the Drammensbanen was extended to double track, and at the same time a new station was built at Slependen with a modern station building. In 1993, a new Slependen station was once again built, which at the same time was moved approx. 400 meters closer to Sandvika. In that connection, the Jong stop nearby was closed down.

Photo: Trond Strandsberg

Today's station with a stairwell that connects the station to Jongsåsen is clearly inspired by the lime kiln from 1914. The architect is Arne Henriksen.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

The Jong farms

The name Jong comes from Joranger which means Hestevika, probably a horse pasture in the cove down towards Bjørnegårdssvingen. Before the uplift, the Jong farms was closer to the sea. Today we have Vestre Jong, Østre Jong, Gråjong/Mellomjong and Søndre Jong (on Jongsåsen).

A bit of history

Jong farm is from the early Iron Age (500 BC – 550 AD), probably separated from an older Ås farm under Tanumåsen. On Østre Jong's land at Jongsbruveien 25 is a burial mound from the Late Bronze Age (1100 – 500 BC). You may see the sign on the garden side towards the railway.

Bjørnegård and Kjørbo are separated from Jong. The farm was divided into Østre Jong and Vestre Jong in 1613. Jong settled at Haugsvollen in Vestmarka. In 1557, the Jong farms were one of the first named suppliers of lime (farmer's lime kilns) to Akershus fortress.

Snippen (at Snippebakken in Slependen) and Hestehagen (at Malerstua in Slependen) were homesteads under Østre Jong farm. The area around Industriveien was formerly land separated from Østre Jong.

At Vestre Jong (see photo above from 1890), agriculture is still carried out with grain cultivation. Among the previous owners is Asta Hanssen (1869–1961), who bought the farm in 1918 and ran it until she was 85 years old. She had previously leased Fornebo farm. She ran a modern farm with the production of milk, grain, fruit and vegetables. In 1912, she became the first woman on the board of Bærum Agricultural Association. From 1913, she was one of Bærum's first two female council representatives.

Gråjong in 1928. Source: lokalhistoriewiki.no

Gråjong/Mellomjong (the Fairy Farm) was separated from Østre Jong farm in 1843. The oldest parts of the farmhouse date from 1724 and 1750, the storehouse from 1750. Later the farm became part of Vestre Jong farm, but is now a private residence and a place for various events.

Erik Werenskiold's illustration of Gråjong ca. 1885. Source: Tanum Vel

The farm with the large ash tree was drawn by Erik Werenskiold around 1885. The drawing "In the Evening they came to a Large and Splendid Manor" illustrates "The three Princesses in the Blue Mountain" in Asbjørnsen and Moe's folktale. It was probably the fine cultural landscape with fields and meadows, farm roads and avenues, that made Erik Werenskiold choose Gråjong as the subject of the fairy tale.

Søndre Jong farm in 1954. Source: Bærum bibliotek

Søndre Jong farm (Solhaugveien 8) was originally a homestead in Jongsås under Østre Jong, separated as a separate farm in 1872. The farmhouse was completed in 1875. In 1927, the Guriby family took over. Walther Guriby ran Sandvika fuel for many years with premises where Sandvika Storsenter is now located. In the 1990s, he had some business in the area where the blocks on Søndre Jong were built 2008-2013.

The farmhouse at Søndre Jong in 1880. Source: Bærum library.

In 1846, the last execution by ax in Bærum took place on Jongsåsen above Jong School. Peter Olsen Ringeneie received the death penalty for killing his wife. Asker and Bærum Historielag published a book about this in 1989 called "Hustrudrapet på Risfjellkastet" (The wife murder at Risfjellkastet).

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

The burial mound at Østre Jong farm

The name Jong comes from Joranger which means Hestevika, probably a horse pasture in the bay down towards Bjørnegårdssvingen and Industriveien. Before the land uplift, Jonggårdene was closer to the sea.

Jong farm is from the older Iron Age (500 BC – 550 AD), probably separated from an older Ås farm under Tanumåsen. Bjørnegård and Kjørbo are separated from Jong. The farm was divided into East and West in 1613. The young farms were in 1557 one of the first named lime suppliers (peasant lime kilns) to Akershus Fortress. Snippen (by Snippebakken) and Hestehagen (by Malerstua) were homesteads under Østre Jong farm.

Grave mounds

On Østre Jong's grounds at Jongsbroveien 25 were originally two burial mounds from the Late Bronze Age (1100 – 500 BC). The burial mound, which you can clearly see, is located in the garden east of the apartment block with a view of Industriveien and Sandvika. When you look towards Sandvika, imagine that the sea 3000 years ago was about 22m higher and covered most of what you see today. Then this burial mound was right by the beach, as were the burial mounds on Kalvøya.

In connection with the railway facility 2001–2005 and housing construction in 2008, excavations were carried out on Jong. In the mound that is no longer visible, there was a burial chamber made of slate with an urn with bones from the dead. A bronze razor was found, typical of 1100 – 900 BC. A rare find was also a petroglyph with a motif of a pair of soles. Many cooking pits were also found, the kitchen of the time, where No. 25 is today. Here you live on historical grounds! 

Illustration by Torunn Smith

Rake knife and carving of soles of feet, belt buckle and diadem found at Hamang farm.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Bjørnegård

Bjørnegård is a farm that is beautifully situated on the hill above the intersection between Slependveien and Ringeriksveien. The farmhouse in Swiss style is from 1866, and the side building from 2003 with 9 residential units is built on old foundations.

The farm was part of Jong farm which was cleared in the Iron Age (500 BC - 500 AD), but was separated as own farm around 1000 AD. From 1625 the farm belonged to Nesøygodset, but was sold to Knut Frantzen in 1661 and on to Anna Krefting in 1682. It remained in the Krefting family until 1766.

Lime burning was an important income in addition to farming, and the farm had its own lime kiln as early as 1666. 

In 1891, Jenny Bjørnson (daughter-in-law of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson) bought the farm from the owner at the time and turned it into a bed-and-breakfast. Well-known artists such as Knut Hamsun, Gerhard Munthe, Herman Bang and Claude Monet have lived there.

The famous French painter Claude Monet lived there for 5 weeks February / March 1895. He painted 26 pictures with motifs from Bærum, including the current barn at Bjørnegård (Paysage de Norvege), Løkke bridge in Sandvika and Kolsåstoppen. He was particularly fascinated by snow, cold and ice and the distinctive light here in the north.

In recent times, the Free Church bought the farm in 1946 and ran a Bible school there until 1977. After that, the farm was sold to the Bjørnegård Aftercare Home Foundation in collaboration with Dikemark Hospital. Since then, the place has been used for psychiatric aftercare. In 1998, the farm was taken over by Bærum municipality, which runs the place under the name "Bjørnegård psychosocial center".

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

The painting "Paysage de Norvege" from 1895 by Claude Monet. You can clearly see that it is the barn at Bjørnegård.

Source: lokalhistoriewiki.no

The painting of Kolsåstoppen from 1895 by Claude Monet.

Source: Tanum Vel

Bjørnegårdsvingen

The place was originally called Foss, which refers to the waterfall rapids in Sandvikselva along the upper part of the property. Albert Olsen bought the place in 1897, including the water rights in Sandvikselva along the site. He was a blacksmith and first built a smithy and then a house there, while he worked as a blacksmith on Wøyen farm.

The industrial business

In 1903, Albert started a business in Bjørnegårdsvingen. He was a pioneer in the period of industrial recovery. He built a dam in the river that led the water to a turbine in the basement of the forge, which had direct transmission of hydropower via belts to the forge itself. The power was transferred to various self-constructed machines via a rod. He also forged most of the tool himself. The production included shoes for horses, fittings for the wheels at Evensen's wheel factory at Grå-Hamang, fittings for sleds for Franzefoss ski and sled factory and turned packaging sticks for Victoria linoleum factory in Sandvika. In addition, he also did forging tasks related to bicycle repairs that the family undertook. He invented and patented a security lock that was sold to a number of countries. This lock is still on sale and can also be bought in the USA under the name "Olsen-Lock".

The bicycle workshop

The bicycle workshop next to the smithy was built during the war, and his son Magnus Olsen and his sisters Liv, Gerd, Bjørg and Aase worked there. The workshop was highly recognized and continued in the 3rd generation, led by bicycle blacksmith Sverre Olsen, son of Magnus. Like the industrial production, the bicycle workshop has also been closed down.

Fish cultivation with own hatchery

Bjørnegårdsvingen is also known as base for extensive fish cultivation work in the Sandvik River, where the mainstay was and is broodstock and hatchery for sea trout and salmon. The hatchery is located on level with Franzefoss and was started in 1857. It is Norway's oldest hatchery and is still in operation.

Sverre Olsen was awarded the King's Medal of Merit in gold in 1997 for 3 generations' efforts for fish cultivation in the Sandvik River. Together with members of Vestre Bærum Anglers and others with an interest in the river, it has made the Sandvik River one of Norway's best salmon and sea trout rivers in terms of size.

Bærum municipality took over responsibility for the fish cultivation work, including the hatchery in 1997 and bought the protected property in Bjørnegårdsvingen in 2018. Together with the efforts of eager anglers, the municipality thus ensures that future generations of residents will be able to experience excitement and fishing pleasure along the river banks.

Source: Kari Gro Tveito and Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Østre Jong farm

The name Jong comes from Joranger which means Hestevika, probably a horse pasture in the bay down towards Bjørnegårdssvingen and Industriveien. Before the land uplift, Jonggårdene was closer to the sea.

Jong farm is from the older Iron Age (500 BC – 550 AD), probably separated from an older Ås farm under Tanumåsen. Bjørnegård and Kjørbo are separated from Jong. The farm was divided into East and West in 1613. The young farms were in 1557 one of the first named lime suppliers (peasant lime kilns) to Akershus Fortress. Snippen (by Snippebakken) and Hestehagen (by Malerstua) were homesteads under Østre Jong farm.

Grave mounds

On Østre Jong's grounds at Jongsbroveien 25 were originally two burial mounds from the Late Bronze Age (1100 – 500 BC). The burial mound, which you can clearly see, is located in the garden east of the apartment block with a view of Industriveien and Sandvika. When you look towards Sandvika, imagine that the sea 3000 years ago was about 22m higher and covered most of what you see today. Then this burial mound was right by the beach, as were the burial mounds on Kalvøya.

In connection with the railway facility 2001–2005 and housing construction in 2008, excavations were carried out on Jong. In the mound that is no longer visible, there was a burial chamber made of slate with an urn with bones from the dead. A bronze razor was found, typical of 1100 – 900 BC. A rare find was also a petroglyph with a motif of a pair of soles. Many cooking pits were also found, the kitchen of the time, where No. 25 is today. Here you live on historical grounds! 

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Staversletta

Staversletta is located southeast of Staver farm. The plain has been used for play and sports for more than 150 years. As early as the 1860s, the seminarians (student teachers) at Asker seminary at Bjerketun carried out military training at Staversletta. In 1889, the Christiania Gymnastics Association held a gymnastics exhibition on the plain.

From 1925 to 1940 there was also a locomotive steam saw on the plain, run by Kristian Kirkerud. At that time, there were large piles of timber on the plain. In 1922, four boys from the neighborhood; Kristoffer and Rolf Staver, Ragnar Kraugerud and Thorleif Olsen, founded the boys club Freidig. In 1926 the name was changed to Tanum sports club and in 1945 to Tyrving. Staversletta served as the club's first pitch, and sports such as football, handball, athletics, skating and skiing were played here.

The Tyrving relay took off at Staversletta for the first time in 1953. For a long time it was the country's largest youth relay in athletics. In 1967, the event was moved to Kalvøya. The plain was also widely used for dances and various summer conventions for organizations and teams in Bærum until the 1990s.

The road name Staversletta came in 1972. The plain is located right next to Staverbakken, an old church road, which is protected today. See the sign at the bottom of Staverbakken towards Billingstadveien, or here.

The development at Staversletta with 63 housing units started in 2019 with occupancy in 2021. The developer is Solon Eiendom and HRTB architects.

Source: Tanum Vel. Text and images: Erling Staver. English translation by REGA.   

Haugskleiva church road

Protected ancient road between Haug farm and the Tanum plateau

Haugskleiva is one of the oldest roadways in Bærum and leads from the areas of Haug, Kirkerud and Vøyen up to the Tanum plateau and Tanum church. The road has been used for thousands of years. Parts of Haugskleiva are hollow roads, i.e. they lie deep in the terrain after many years of use. There have been several parallel runs uphill depending on how muddy the road was. Today's route is of much more recent date than the protected part of Haugskleiva which runs a little south of today's path. Kirkeveien is also intact down towards Vøynenenga. A similar ancient road that also became a church road is Tokerudkleiva, a short kilometer further south along Tanumåsen. Now the old church roads are used daily by hikers going up the Tanum plateau.

At the top of the hill on the left is a burial mound from the Bronze Age (1700 - 500 BC). These piles were often located by the roadside and could be seen from a long distance. Powerful people ruled here, that was the message. The burial mounds closer to Tanum farm are from the older Iron Age, about 300 AD. 1000 years later, about 1130 AD came the church, not randomly placed in other words. There has been a permanent settlement at Tanum from around 300 AD. The settlement at Haug is even older.

If you follow the path south past the burial mound, you will reach the Tanum view. Below the Tanum view are the Kirkerud mines where Bærums Verk mined iron ore in 1621/22. There are several small mine holes and traces of the work down the slope, and you can get to the top and largest hole by following the path around the Tanum view on the north or south side, or climbing down a few meters from the view. It can be a fun and exciting visit. The ore veins consist of iron luster and some magnetite. Hammer and chisel were probably used when driving the mines and probably not burning. From handwritten reports and pay lists preserved in the National Archives, one can read that there were 4 miners working in Kirkerød mines, each in a different location. The miners came from Saxony. Tobias Kupfer was a miner and ran the mines. During 3 winter months, 40 tonnes of iron ore were taken out for collection.

The map shows the original route for Haugskleiva

One of the mine holes

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Tanum church

The church is located on the Tanumplatået where old traffic routes meet. The church was built around 1140 and dedicated to Sta. Maria under the name Tunheim church. The church is a long church with a rectangular nave and a narrower, finished choir. There may have been an older wooden church here, which was demolished when the beautiful stone church was erected. A stone church indicates a rich and powerful parish. The church originally had three entrances, one of which was later bricked up. The original windows were smaller than today's. A wooden figure of Mary is dated to the 1220s. People believed that the Virgin Mary had very special abilities and opportunities to intercede for the faithful.

After the Reformation, a pulpit and benches for the congregation were added to the inventory. In 1625, the current roof rider was erected, and the roof was covered with tiles. The altarpiece is dated to 1663. The Krefting family at Bærums Verk paid for a new sacristy on the north side of the choir in 1674 and at the same time received permission to build a burial chamber for the family under the sacristy, which was extended in 1716 with additions on the north wall. The pulpit and a baptismal font from 1723 are a gift from the Krefting family.

In 1722, the church was extended by 8 meters to the west. Windows and fixtures were renewed. The church had a private owner until 1850 when the municipality bought it. After Bryn church was consecrated in 1861, Tanum church fell into disrepair. In 1899, a group of architecture students did a survey and drew up a restoration plan for the church in order "to preserve and protect what has been left to us from the ancestors...".

In 1972, the church was restored, and extensive work was done to bring out the unique frescoes from the 14th century, which had been painted over once after the Reformation. The chalk paintings had told the Bible story in color at a time when very few could read.

Tanum church is located on an old cultural site. Burial mounds from the Bronze Age and burial mounds from the Viking Age at the farms show this. People have gathered to party and to hear news. The church is part of this tradition. On Kjerkesletta on the north side of the church, announcements were read out, forced auctions and tax meetings were held. People met here. Today, Tanum church has an active congregation, and the latest building renovation is the new Tanum church centre, opened 3.12.17. The center received Bærum municipality's architecture award for 2019.

Source: Tanum Vel. Jubileumshefte Tanum kirke 850 år. Tanumplatået: Tanum middelalderkirke - et klenodium av Bjarne Gaut. English translation by REGA. 

Ancient road

Tanum church road - protected road between Asker and the Tanum plateau

This part of Staverbakken is the last original piece in Bærum of the ancient road between Asker and the Tanum plateau. A bit of the same road is still found in Skustadgata, a little closer to Asker. From approx. year 1130, when Tanum church was opened, the road also functioned as a church road and later as a pilgrimage route.

On Tanum there is a burial mound from the Bronze Age (1700 - 500 BC). There are several burial mounds from the older Iron Age (500 BC - 550 AD). From approx. 300 AD, there has been permanent settlement on Tanum. The ancient road in Staverbakken has been part of the only road hazard between Asker and the Tanum plateau until recent times.

Notice the stripes on the rock. These are traces of more than a thousand years of wear and tear!

Source: Tanum Vel

Staver farm

The farm name Staver comes from the word "stafr" which means staff or cane. It is used in farm names for something that is straight or elongated, in this case a hill. The farm was cleared approximately 1400 years ago, at the end of the Early Iron Age or early in the Late Iron Age. Just before the Black Death in 1349, it is assumed that the farm consisted of two farmings. After the Black Death, it lay deserted for many years.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the farm belonged to the Danish noble family Rosenkrantz. The Krefting family at Bærums Verk took over Staver in 1682, in addition to many other farms in the district.

When the properties after Anna Krefting were sold in 1766, Staver got new owners. In 30 years there were five different owners, before Hans Thoresen from Tanum bought the farm in 1794. Hans Thoresen's descendants are still owners of the farm.

The main building at Staver was probably built in the period 1760 to 1780, while the storehouse with bell tower dates from 1810. The barn was built in 1878.

At Staver there have previously been dairy cows for long periods, and there has been production of eggs. Raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, apples and pears have been grown for sale. Currently, grass is produced for cattle, sheep and horses, and grain for meal and concentrate.

The farm includes a piece of forest in Vestmarka around Ståvivollen.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA).  

Asker Seminar and Bjerketun

Asker Seminar

In 1834, the community school of the time was legally replaced with a permanent school, and the need for teachers increased. In the same year, six school teacher seminars were established, among these was "Asker Seminar". This was first held at Holo farm, but from 1839 it was held in separate premises at Bjerke farm. A total of 1600 teachers were trained in this two-year school, before the seminary was moved to Holmestrand in 1898.

Managers were initially the chaplains who lived at Bjerke farm, and whom later became professional school staff. The poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinje and the visual artist Otto Valstad are among the seminar's most famous students.

The largest building and a storehouse remain today after the seminar. The main building (made of wood) burned down in 1900. It was quickly rebuilt as a brick building in the same style.

Bjerketun

In 1904, the "Søndenfjeldske School Home for morally disabled children" was established at Bjerke farm, where the Asker Seminar had been based. The area was eventually called "Bjerketun", a name it later retained. In 1920, the business here was expanded to a versatile farm on land from Bjerke farm in parallel with the school activities.

The school home was closed in 1963 and reopened in 1964 under the Hospitals Psychiatric Health Care Act, then as a youth psychiatric treatment home.

In 2021, Bjerketun consists of three units: Unit for inpatient treatment, Unit for ambulatory treatment and DBT team. Today, Bjerketun is called Section for treatment, Bjerketun Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, Vestre Viken HF.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA) 

Ringi farm

Name

Ringvin probably comes from the fact that the farms are located on a ring-shaped hill. Vin means pasture or meadow. The name is from the early Iron Age, perhaps around the birth of Christ.

History

One of Bærum's oldest farms where discoveries have been made of shaft-hole axes from the Neolithic age and belt stones from the older Iron Age (500 BC - 500 AD). Ringi belonged to the church. The farm was already divided in 1358 according to written documentation, but the houses are located around the same yard. One farm was depopulated during the Black Death. The Ringi family bought both farms in 1661.

In addition to agriculture and forestry, lime production has been great for many hundreds of years. Lime was delivered to Akershus fortress as early as 1558. Three lime kilns have been identified on the farm. The lime kiln was restored in 1981 and 2021 by Asker and Bærum Historielag.

Øvre Ringi

Øvre Ringi has been owned by the Østensen family since 1661 and has been passed down from father to son until today. Several of the Østensen farmers have been sheriffs for Bærum and later for Asker. In 1988, the family changed its name to Ringi. Jon Østen Ringi is the 10th generation on the farm.

Today's management

From having been a grain farm with some potatoes and apples, today's owners started with self-picking of corn in 1985 and apple pressing in 1995. The Ringi products are sold in many places in Norway in grocery stores and in restaurants as an alcohol-free alternative.

Nedre Ringi

Nedre Ringi has had several changes of ownership. Formerly traditional farming and forestry with locomobile steam saws for a period. From 1940 milk production, from 1960 meat production, later grain production. Today, the farm is owned by Nils Klaveness. The land is leased to Jan Østensen at Butterud for grain cultivation.

Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Emma Café

Emma Café is part of the Regional Activity Centre (REGA), which currently consists of Emma Gjestehus, Emma Hjorth museum, Emma Friskhus, Emma Sansehus and Emma Café. 

In 1978, a new commercial kitchen and canteen were built at Emma Hjorth's Home. The old kitchen was still standing and was not demolished until 1989. The canteen was used by everyone at the institution from the beginning and it was here that big parties and anniversaries were celebrated. The biggest was May 17, which for many years has created full premises.

Today, REGA runs a regular café on the premises and offers delicious food and a cozy meeting place for everyone. A number of interior renovations have taken place since REGA took over. For more information visit the website here.

REGA 

As a result of the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA was established in the mid-1990s, to ensure that compliance with Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s requirement that the property would always be used for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities. REGA aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of functional ability. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Emma Guesthouse // Nursing school

Emma Guesthouse is part of the Regional Activity Centre (REGA), which currently consists og Emma Hjorth Museum, Emma Kafé, Emma Sansehus, Emma Friskhus and Emma Guesthouse. 

With a great location close to the forest and a short distance from the town of Sandvika, Emma Guesthouse has 16 rooms on two floors. There are single and double rooms, as well as rooms suitable for wheelchair users. They offer a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, with a common living room and kitchen and a garden with lush nature, green lawns and large birch trees. 

History

This building was built as a nursing school in 1960-61 by Ole B. Munch, who became chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) in 1946. As early as 1947, he started an internship for the nursing staff. In the 1950s, he sat on several committees that investigated a 3-year education; the nursing education. Munch was not a patient man, so he initiated the construction of a school and had it inaugurated by the minister in 1961, three years before the education was adopted. At the start, it was called the Personnel School and was the first nursing school in this country.

Some of the students at the nursing school in 1966.

The school moved to another building in the area in the mid-1980s, and until the mid-1990s the administrations for EHH and HVPU-Akershus were located in this building. When EHH was closed in 1996 in line with the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA took over the building and Emma Guesthouse was opened in the west wing as accommodation for visitors to the area. In the east wing one will find the administration for REGA and "Bærum kommunale dagaktivitetstilbud".

REGA 

As a result of the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA was established in the mid-1990s, to ensure that compliance with Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s requirement that the property would always be used for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities. REGA aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of functional ability. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Emma Sansehus

Emma Sansehus is part of the Regional Activity Centre (REGA), which currently consists of Emma Gjestehus, Emma Hjorth Museum, Emma Friskhus, Emma Kafé and Emma Sansehus.  

Emma Sansehus is an experience center for young and old, as well as an offer for people with complex learning difficulties. Here, everyone is welcome to a sensory-stimulating environment that combines music, light, vibration and tactile impressions in pleasant surroundings.

History

The house was built as a housing department that was completed in 1959-60, and was the first modernization of Emma Hjorth's Home (EHH) after World War II. The house originally had two departments and an office wing downstairs. The wards were built for children with developmental disabilities who also had physical disabilities and each of the wards had 16 places. The committee for the care sector for the mentally deficient in Akershus County attached the plot from the state and the house was to benefit children from Akershus according to the contract. The departments were in operation until EHH was closed down in the mid-1990s in line with the Deinstitutionalization reform. REGA took over the house, which was converted into a modern sensory house. Hegnatun Activity Center is now located in the office wing.

REGA 

As a result of the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA was established in the mid-1990s, to ensure that compliance with Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s requirement that the property would always be used for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities. REGA aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of functional ability. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Emma Friskhus

Emma Friskhus is part of the Regional Activity Centre (REGA), which currently consists of Emma Gjestehus, Emma Hjorth Museum, Emma Kafé, Emma Sansehus and Emma Friskhus. 

Emma Friskhus was completed in 1984 and was a swimming pool and gym for the institution Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). The building was a gift from Emma Hjorth's Friends. Here you would also find the offices of the institution's leisure managers and the Culture Office, which organized various leisure activities and cultural events for the institution's residents. When EHH was closed in 1996 in line with the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA took over the building. Today Emma Friskhus consists of a swimming pool and a gym which is rented out.

REGA 

As a result of the Deinstitutionalization reform, REGA was established in the mid-1990s, to ensure that compliance with Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s requirement that the property would always be used for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities. REGA aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of functional ability. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Høyrabben 3 and 8

Built in the 60s

During the 1960s, two high-rise blocks were built in the area with an entrance floor, as well as six floors of dormitories. Here lived the many young people who studied at the Nursing School or worked at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). Many came here to get practice before education. At times, especially in the summer, there was always at least one party going on in the houses.

In connection with the Deinstitutionalization reform in the 90s, the houses were converted into care apartments. Many pensioners from Bærum moved in, but also residents from the former Emma Hjorths Hjem. Erling, who had lived at the institution since 1939, became a popular cavalier for many of the ladies there. When he died, they inherited his fortune of NOK 3000 and bought a piano which is still there with a picture of Erling.

Today, Emma Hjorth Boliger (Bærum municipality Home-based Services) belongs to the blocks, as well as Emma MeDLiv, which is a display apartment and resource center for freedom and welfare technology. Here you can experience a real living environment furnished with various aids for people with reduced functional abilities, which contribute to an increased degree of coping in everyday life. The aids can be tried by visitors and one can get guidance from a professional in terms of testing, implementing and procuring the products.

Source: Emma hjorth museum

Rabben 1, 2 and 3

Built in 1948

In 1948, three barracks were set up at Emma Hjorth's Home, which were used for staff housing, a nursery and later offices. They were demolished in connection with the construction of Høyrabben 10-74.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

The Akershus Pavilion

Built in 1958-60

The Akershus Pavilion was the beginning of the major development during Ole B. Munch's time as chief physician. The committee for the care sector for the mentally deficient in Akershus County secured the ground from the state and in 1958-60 built a large house with four children's wards; Hegnatun North and South, Fagnatun East and West, as well as a small hospital pavilion and offices for doctors and psychologists. Each ward had room for 16 children and, according to the contract, children from Akershus were to benefit. Hegnatun was built for children who were also physically disabled and Fagnatun for troubled children. The departments were in operation right up to the Deinstitutionalization reform, but with steadily decreasing occupancy.

After the residents moved out in line with the reform, Fagnatun was converted into a day center for the multi-disabled. Hegnatun was rebuilt into a large modern sensory house (Emma Sansehus), which is an offer for people with various disabilities. 

The office wing downstairs is now the Hegnatun activity centre.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

The pavilion

Built in 1959 - later demolished

In 1959, a small hospital pavilion was built right outside the Akershus pavilion. How long it functioned as a hospital is unknown, but it eventually became a regular residential ward. During the Deinstitutionalization reform, it was converted into housing for the last three residents from Hegnatun Syd.

The building was later demolished and in 2021 Bærum municipality built the new care home "Tokes vei 2".

Source: Emma hjorth museum

Pyraminten

Built in 1979

In the 1970s, the number of staff at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) increased and the need for nursery places grew. There used to be a kindergarten in Rabben 1, 2 and 3 which was located in the barracks up by Høyrabben, but more places were needed. In 1979, a new nursery was therefore built outside the Akershuspaviljongen, which was named the Pyraminten. Some residents from EHH got jobs here.

Today, the building houses Emma Hjorth Kindergarten, which consists of four departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Greenhouse

Built after 1946 - later demolished

It is not known for sure when the greenhouses were built, but probably in the 1950s. There were cultivation outside in the fields and was a workplace for several residents of Emma Hjorths Hjem. The greenhouses were demolished around 1990 and the main building was briefly used as a temporary work center before it was demolished.

To see what the greenhouses looked like, you can watch the YouTube video "Emma Hjort på 60´tallet".

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Tokes vei

Built in 1971. NB! This is private residences, please show consideration!

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

The old Emma Hjorth school

Built in 1973

In 1959, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, had taken up the fight to give the intellectually disabled people a school offer and forced through a school at Emma Hjorth. The school entered EHH in 1960-61 with Helge Morset and two other teachers. There was soon a need for a separate school building, and in 1973 the school was completed. It developed into one of the largest in Bærum in terms of number of teachers. In 1981, there were 65 teachers and 170 disabled people being taught.

The house was later used by Bærum kommunale voksenopplæring and is today run by Natur, kultur og Idrett in Bærum municipality.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Killingen - demolished in 2022

Built in 1962

Killingen was a ward gifted from the Bærum social ladies' club. It was located in the hillside below Pynten, which has many of the same architectural features. It was inaugurated on the 9th. of October 1962 with several notables present, including the former director of health, Karl Evang.

The building could not be inhabited in recent times as it is too close to the power line and was therefore demolished in 2022.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Skrenten

Built in 1960

Skrenten was built at the same time as Pynten in 1960, two completely identical sections of Emma Hjorths Hjem, which lay in the hillside below the former Grini farm. They were built for young people and a lot of musical enjoyment was created here.

Today, Bærum municipal adult education is held at Skrenten and Bærum painting club at Pynten.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Åses vei

Built in 1971. NB! This private residences, please show consideration!

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Tokes vei 3

Built in 1971

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Åbakken

Built in the early 70s. NB! This is private residences, please show consideration!

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Hellesvingen

Built in 1971. NB! This is private residences, please show consideration!

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // J. A. Lippestad vei

Built in 1975. NB! This is private residences, please show consideration!

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Staff housing // Holtet

Built in the early 70s. NB! This is a private residence, please show consideration!

All staff housing has always been organized by the foundation Stiftelsen Emma Hjorth Boligselskap, apart from Holtet which was transferred to Bærum municipality during the Deinstitutionalization reform in the 1990s. Holtet was later sold as private residence. 

On 5th of September 1951, the chief physician at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH), Ole B. Munch, was authorized by the Ministry of Social Affairs to detach parts of the property in order to be able to give the employees at EHH the opportunity to build themselves a home. Åbakken was organized as an cooperative and was named Boliglaget A/L, but was for a long time called Korea and Lia. Today it is called Åbakken Borettslag A/L.

The staff housing in Tokes vei, Hellesvingen and Åses vei 4-12, were all completed in 1971, while the homes in J. A. Lippestad vei were built in 1975. Selvaag is responsible for these two development phases. There are terraced apartments and small blocks of flats which, in addition to staff housing for employees at EHH, should give housing for other parts of the county's health workers. In addition, 4-group apartments were built in J. A. Lippestad vei for the clientele, according to Asker og Bærum Budstikke 28/7-75.

Tokes vei 3 was the only detached house and was meant for the chief physician. This house later became a housing unit and is today the office of Emma Hjorth Boligselskap. Until the end of the 60s, it was also common for employees to live in parts of the top floor of the old buildings which were also departments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

The barn

Built after 1946 - later demolished

The old barn at Emma Hjorths Hjem, which was behind the main building on Tokerud farm, burned down in 1960. In the same year, a new barn and stables were built on the slope down by the plain between Grini and Tokerud. A couple of decades later, they were rented out to Kalles Ridesenter where physiotherapists did therapy riding.

The barn was demolished in connection with the construction of Emma Hjorth school in 1998.

Kilde: Emma Hjorth museum

Training center

Built in approx. 1984 - demolished later

The training center was set up in approx. 1984 on the east side of the nursing school/administration building (current Emma Gjestehus) and consisted of five composite barracks. These were used as teaching and course premises and were demolished again around 1990.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Brakka

Built after 1946 - later demolished

After the Second World War, probably after chief physician Ole B. Munch was employed at Emma Hjorth's Home, a barrack was set up to house administrative offices. The barracks were eventually expanded with an extra wing. The house served as office space for the entire administration until 1983 when the nursing school (now Emma Gjestehus) moved from Høyrabben 4, which became an office building instead.

After this, the Brakka daycare took over and eventually they opened the Blue Cat café, which was largely resident-run. The dominant piece of furniture there was an enormously large pillow cat, given by NRK and used in the children's TV series Atte Katte Noa.

Brakka was demolished around 1995 in connection with the construction of the housing estate Tokerudkollen 1-29.

Solknatten

Built in 1970

Preschool teacher Solveig Godske worked at Emma Hjorths Hjem for many years. She was very interested in the residents' leisure activities and started a fundraiser for cabin construction in Vestmarka. The largest gift of NOK 50.000 came from the Lions Club in Bygdøy and made the construction of Solknatten possible. The cabin was completed in 1970.

After the Deinstitutionalization reform, Bærum municipality has restored Solknatten, which is now managed by "Fritid og avlastning" and is often used for joint trips for children and young people with disabilities. It is possible to rent the cabin by contacting Bærum municipality. There are 3 bedrooms with a total of 9 beds, as well as space for 2 in the sofa bed in the living room.

The cabin is well equipped with kitchen equipment, gas stove, gas fridge, wood-burning stove, kerosene stove, gas stove, spinning top and water from a well. As well as a large wheelchair-adapted gap hook.

Source: Bærum kommune

The bird life in Tanumskogen

Text by Svein Dale, photo by Svein Holo (English translation by REGA)

The forest areas on the Tanum Plateau vary from rich deciduous forests to mixed forests and coniferous forests. The species richness of birds is usually greatest where there are a good number of deciduous trees. In Tanumskogen, almost 50 different bird species nest. The most common types of nesting birds are woodpeckers (5 species), thrushes (4 species), songbirds (6 species), titmice (7 species) and finches (6-7 species). Several pairs of cat owls also nest.

Woodpecker

Chaffinch

Several heat-loving species, which are quite rare in Norway, occur regularly in Tanumskogen. You can find both stock doves, woodpeckers and wood warbler. The wood warbler has a unique song that sounds like a spinning coin falling to rest on a table. The wood warbler comes with his song stanzas as it flies between the lower branches in open and high-stemmed forests.

In recent times, there has also been a large increase in the population of yellow warblers and spruce warblers, and these are now common species in deciduous and mixed forests. This also applies to the hawfinch with its impressively large beak that utilizes fruit stones, seeds and buds from various deciduous trees.

Hawfinch

A distinctive species found in Tanumskogen is the "nøttekråke". It has a limited range in Norway, but is quite common around the inner Oslofjord. Nøttekråke has therefore been chosen as an emblem for Asker and Bærum local branch by the Norwegian Ornithological Society and for the member magazine of the Nature Conservation Association in Bærum. It feeds mostly on hazelnuts and spends late summer and fall collecting nuts. The nøttekråke fly in shuttle traffic between hazel marshes and the territories that are in dense coniferous forest. There they store the nuts for use throughout the winter and spring. In fact, the baby birds are fed nuts that were collected the year before! In the autumn, many of the nøttekråker seen in the hazel carts on Tanumskogen are birds that have their territories quite far inland in Vestmarka.

Nøttekråke
Source: Tanum Vel 

The flora in the Tanum forest

Text and photos by Kristin Steineger Vigander (English translation by REGA)

The Tanum plateau is one of Norway's most worthy cultural landscapes. The Tanum forest is the largest forest on the plateau and here there is a rich flora. The spring flowering is especially beautiful. "Gulveis" is Bærum's municipal flower.

We can enjoy "blåveis" og "hvitveis" flowers in spring.

The beautiful, but poisonous, "tysbast" blooms on bare twigs in early spring.

"Skjellrot" is a strange plant without chlorophyll.

In the spring we can smell delicious scents in the forest. "Ramsløk" smell of onions and ia a popular food plant. But it must not be confused with the beautiful, but poisonous, "liljekonvall" which has a strong perfume scent.

"Slyngsøtvier" is a poisonous plant with sharp colors.

"Bekkeblom" lights up in humid areas.

The Tanum forest has many species of trees, including some nice areas with "Svartor". If you are lucky, you can find orchids, such as "rødflangre".

Source: Tanum Vel

Wildlife on the Tanum Plateau and in the Tanum Forest

Text and photo by Svein Holo

Source: Tanum Vel 

The bird life in Tanumskogen

Text by Svein Dale, photo by Svein Holo (English translation by REGA)

The forest areas on the Tanum Plateau vary from rich deciduous forests to mixed forests and coniferous forests. The species richness of birds is usually greatest where there are a good number of deciduous trees. In Tanumskogen, almost 50 different bird species nest. The most common types of nesting birds are woodpeckers (5 species), thrushes (4 species), songbirds (6 species), titmice (7 species) and finches (6-7 species). Several pairs of cat owls also nest.

Woodpecker

Chaffinch

Several heat-loving species, which are quite rare in Norway, occur regularly in Tanumskogen. You can find both stock doves, woodpeckers and wood warbler. The wood warbler has a unique song that sounds like a spinning coin falling to rest on a table. The wood warbler comes with his song stanzas as it flies between the lower branches in open and high-stemmed forests.

In recent times, there has also been a large increase in the population of yellow warblers and spruce warblers, and these are now common species in deciduous and mixed forests. This also applies to the hawfinch with its impressively large beak that utilizes fruit stones, seeds and buds from various deciduous trees.

Hawfinch

A distinctive species found in Tanumskogen is the "nøttekråke". It has a limited range in Norway, but is quite common around the inner Oslofjord. Nøttekråke has therefore been chosen as an emblem for Asker and Bærum local branch by the Norwegian Ornithological Society and for the member magazine of the Nature Conservation Association in Bærum. It feeds mostly on hazelnuts and spends late summer and fall collecting nuts. The nøttekråke fly in shuttle traffic between hazel marshes and the territories that are in dense coniferous forest. There they store the nuts for use throughout the winter and spring. In fact, the baby birds are fed nuts that were collected the year before! In the autumn, many of the nøttekråker seen in the hazel carts on Tanumskogen are birds that have their territories quite far inland in Vestmarka.

Nøttekråke
Source: Tanum Vel 

The flora in the Tanum forest

Text and photos by Kristin Steineger Vigander (English translation by REGA)

The Tanum plateau is one of Norway's most worthy cultural landscapes. The Tanum forest is the largest forest on the plateau and here there is a rich flora. The spring flowering is especially beautiful. "Gulveis" is Bærum's municipal flower.

We can enjoy "blåveis" og "hvitveis" flowers in spring.

The beautiful, but poisonous, "tysbast" blooms on bare twigs in early spring.

"Skjellrot" is a strange plant without chlorophyll.

In the spring we can smell delicious scents in the forest. "Ramsløk" smell of onions and ia a popular food plant. But it must not be confused with the beautiful, but poisonous, "liljekonvall" which has a strong perfume scent.

"Slyngsøtvier" is a poisonous plant with sharp colors.

"Bekkeblom" lights up in humid areas.

The Tanum forest has many species of trees, including some nice areas with "Svartor". If you are lucky, you can find orchids, such as "rødflangre".

Kilde: Tanum Vel

Emma Hjorths vei 68-70

Buildings after 1946

In 1989-90, Nye Asklia was built as housing for severely physically disabled residents. In one part the women from the former Asklia (60-k) moved in, in the other part the men who had lived at Stien and later at Skaret (80-mann) moved in.

The men from Stien had approx. 10 years before made a report on the cramped department and received an offer for a new house outside Emma Hjorth. They declined this as they wanted to stay at Emma Hjorth; "this is our home", and most of all they wanted to live where the old kitchen was. It didn't turn out that way and two of them blamed the director for it for many years afterwards.

When the institution was closed in line with the Deinstitutionalization reform, it was discussed whether the area should be renamed Tokerud again. The residents of Nye Asklia protested with two letters to the mayor. They remembered all too well how bad it had been here before 1950 when the name was last used. They were successful in their appeal and the area was named Emma Hjorth.

During the reform, the house was rebuilt. The residents did not want apartments, so the housing collective solution was retained. A collective for those who came from Asklia and one for those who came from Stien.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Workshop

Built in 1979

This building was built in 1979 as a workshop and garage building for the Technical Department. Today, the building is used by private companies and Bærum Arbeidssenter (Vikanda).

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Laundry // Bærum Arbeidssenter

Built in 1953/1983

The original laundry building was built in 1953 at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). Right from the start, part of the building was used as a workshop for residents. Some residents also worked in the laundry itself.

The building burned down around 1980, was rebuilt and burned down again. The current building was completed in 1983. Residents at EHH have always had work offers at the laundry.

Today, the building houses the Emma Arbeidssenter (Vikanda) with departments in textiles, ceramics and wood products. Products are produced from this workshop which, among other things, can be bought at Gråstua in Sandvika.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Jonsbråten

Built i 1962

On 13 May 1962, the foundation stone was laid for Jonsbråten East and West. Oslo Lions Club had, in collaboration with other clubs, collected money for a building for blind intellectually disabled people. The state contributed with 40% of the construction cost and the house was completed in 1964.

In connection with the Deinstitutionalization reform in the 90s, the Habilitation Service for the intellectually disabled moved in. Today, Jonsbråten is used by the Child and Youth Psychiatric Polyclinic (BUP).

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Toppen, Knausen, Stien and Skogen

Built in 1962

In 1962, a large terraced house with the four institution wards Toppen, Knausen, Stien and Skogen was built to house many residents. The basement became a day care centre.

Stien department stood out from the others, because eight severely disabled men lived there, of whom several were not intellectually disabled. The house was not planned for wheelchair users. When they were sitting in the living room watching TV and one had to go to the toilet, others had to back out of the room for him to get out and back in.

In connection with the Deinstitutionalization reform, the entire house was converted into apartments.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

60-k

Built in 1970-1971

Like the 80-mann building in Tokerudkollen, this building started as a house with four departments; Dallia, Brattlia, Hegglia and Asklia, which housed 15 women each. 60-k was designed by architect Harald Melbye and won an architectural award. It was completed in 1970-71. 

From the start, there was dissatisfaction with the design of the house. There were two wards on each floor and between the floors an open space which gave a lot of light, but also a lot of noise as there were long corridors with metal doors. Many of those who lived there were very loud and the sound propagated between the wards.

In the early 1980s, all the residents were moved to other departments and the Nursing School took over the building. When this school moved to Skedsmo, Adult Education moved in. Later, 60-k became a center for teaching immigrants, but today the building is empty.

Kilde: Emma Hjorth museum

80-mann

Built after 1946

80-mann was a large terraced house with four wards; Berget, Skaret, Kastet and Juvet. The surrounding terrain is steep, but not as dramatic as the names suggest. It was built between 1962-64 and was supposed to provide space for 80 men, as well as an ophthalmologist's and dentist's office. Berget was a nursing ward for multi-disabled men, the other three wards were mostly for troubled men. The wards were built with air yards and high fences which were not used for a long time.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of residents was reduced and the number of staff increased. During the Deinstitutionalization reform in the 90's, four men who lived at Juvet, decided together with their family and guardians, that they did not want to move out. The department was converted into four apartments. Skaret and Kastet became part of the large day offer at Emma Hjorth. Berget was taken over by the Nursing School and later by Bærum municipal adult education.

Today, the departments Berget, Skaret, Kastet and Juvet are part of Bærum Samlokaliserte Boliger.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Hole's house

Built after 1946

Jens Hole (1874-1975) was head of the institution Emma Hjorths Hjem from 1915 until he was deposed by the occupying power in 1943. He then had to move out of his residence Haugen, but was allowed to use the first floor in Emma Hjorths vei 16 (Hole's house) and later the whole house. He lived there until the beginning of the 70s. The house was then used as a residential unit.

Haugen

Built in 1917

In Mrs. Emma Hjorth's time, Haugen was a small house that was used as a hospital. In 1915, Jens Hole became head of Emma Hjorths Hjem and applied to build a home for himself and his family. It was also called Haugen. Hole received drawings from architect Ingvar Magnus Olsen Hjorth, the husband of Mrs. Emma Hjorth, and NOK 15.000,- to build for. The proposed house was too small for him and instead, he built a copy of the house of the director of agriculture, Bjanes, who was in the control committee. The cost became NOK 25.000,- and the house was completed in 1917. There is no comment from the ministry regarding the use of money in the National Archives.

Jens Hole had three children and his youngest son, Jens Hole jr., was born and lived for 25 years at Emma Hjorth. Here is a small excerpt from an interview in 1996:

"I had a very happy time here, it was nice to live at Haugen. The pears were good then too. My mother died when I was 2-3 years old, my father then married a teacher from Oslo. There was a lot of sociability around us. We grew some potatoes and other things in the garden. At Haugen, which Hole Sr. built in 1917, there were two living rooms, guest room and kitchen downstairs, bedrooms upstairs and a girls' room. My stepmother worked at a school in Oslo, drove the milk wagon in the morning and walked from Jong with heavy bags on her way home."

Source: Interview by Solveig Tutvedt, Emma Hjorth museum, 1996.

After the Hole family moved out in 1943 and moved to "Hole's house", Haugen was used as an office, secretariat and library. During  the deinstitutionalization reform in the 90s, it became a resident's home. Later it was rented out by Bærum municipality, which owns the home today.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Utsikten

Built in 1936. NB! This is a private residence, please show consideration!

Head of Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) Jens Hole built Utsikten as an assembly room for the staff in 1936. Meetings and gatherings were held here, often with a religious content. Evil tongues say that during the Second World War, good food was served as a lure.

In recent times, the house has had many functions. It was a meeting and teaching room for care nursing students, Rud upper secondary school had teaching rooms there, while the second floor has served as housing. Utsikten has hosted many large parties and Emma Jazz was started here. Today the house is a private residence.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Tøyen

Built in 1930

This house was built in 1930 as staff accommodation at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). From the 1960s, the Star Club (a club for the better-functioning residents at EHH who organized trips and published the magazine "Emmastjerna") and the leisure managers had office there. For a time it was a welfare building for nursing students. Part of the day care at the institution was located on the ground floor in the late 80s.

Radio Bifrost, one of Bærum's first local radio stations run by the trade union, was based in the basement for a few years from 1987. Later it became the home of a former institutional resident. Today Bærum municipality owns the house and it is rented out.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Kleivstua

Built in 1923

Kleivstua was built in 1923 as a home for farm manager Kleiven and his family. From the 1970s, a resident couple from Emma Hjorths Hjem lived there. The house has since been owned and rented out by Bærum municipality, but is no longer habitable due to a fire in 2019.

Gårdsbestyrer Kleiven

Kilde: Emma Hjorth museum

The Tanum formation, Rhombic porphyry and Svaberg from the Ice Age

The Tanum formation

The Tanum formation can be seen at the bottom along the entire Tanumåsen, as here on the way up to the Tokerud view.

The Tanum Formation are sedimentary rocks that are about 300 million years old (the Carboniferous). The tanum formation consists of alternating sandstones, conglomerates, green and red shales and limestones. The rocks originate from river plains built up of branched rivers and deltas, and marine limestone sand beaches in addition to deposits from landslides. The change in depositional environment is due to incipient crustal movements. In addition, variations in climate and relative sea level created changes in the sediment environment. There are fossils of mussels and plants in the Tanum formation.

Simultaneously with the deposition of the Tanum formation, the subsidence of the Oslo field began. This is the beginning of a period of great earthquakes and volcanism in our area. At the top of the Tanum Formation we find the first basaltic lavas. Tanumåsen can be compared to Kolsås and consists of basalts and a number of rhombic porphyries from late carbon times.

Rhombic porphyry

Rhombic porphyry is found throughout Tanumåsen and is a lava rock from the most active period in the formation of the Oslo field when volcanism and earthquakes were at their maximum. The rhombic porphyry lava flowed over large areas from long, deep fissure volcanoes that followed the fracture directions in the Oslo field. The rhombic porphyry volcanism took place 292-272 million years ago; in the geological period called perm. The bright spots are the mineral plagioclase (a Ca-Na-Al silicate). From the density, color and shape of the plagioclase and the color of the matrix, several rhombic porphyry series can be identified and seen well in Kolsås and in Tanumåsen. Tanum is part of the Krokskogen lava plateau where 22 currents have been mapped which form a layer package of about 800m and which took about 14 million years to make. In Permian times, the Oslo Rift was a long valley (graben) with a series of volcanoes and high mountains on the sides. A similar structure is seen today in East Africa. Rhombic porphyry is a rare rock. It is found only in three places in the world: the Oslo field, in the East African rift and in Antarctica.

Svaberg - memories from the ice age

The Tanum forest and Vestmarka are full of svaberg (rocks) from the ice age. The word svaberg comes from sva, which is Norse svað, and means smooth place. Svaberg was formed and ground by enormous amounts of meltwater that flowed under the ice. These rivers carried sand and gravel that effectively sanded the rock they crossed.

The ice age

The last great ice age in our area lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The whole of Scandinavia was covered by a thick ice cap that weighed the land masses into the earth's crust. When the ice was at its thickest (about 3 km!), The Oslo Fjord was a large channel where the ice flowed out and brought with it large amounts of sand and gravel that were left on the continental shelf. As the ice age drew to a close, the ice retreated north. In front of the ice, large amounts of sand and gravel were deposited, and in the sea outside the ice edge, large amounts of clay were deposited. The shoreline was about 220m higher than today when the ice began to melt. In Eastern Norway, fertile soils were formed which in our time have provided the basis for agricultural activities on Tanum.

Source: Picture of Rhombic porphyryr: NGU. Text: The book "Landet blir til - Norges geologi", Norsk Geologisk Forening (2013). 
Source: Tanum Vel (English translation by REGA)

Kalkmølla Kulturstasjon

Concert arena, private functions, conference and meeting rooms

Kalkmølla Kulturstasjon by Sandvikselva is furnished in the old Franzefoss lime mill, which was built and put into operation in 1919 by shipowner Wilhelm Bernhard Markussen. Markussen owned Hamang farm and ran the mill as a personal company. The business started with the production of limestone flour for agriculture and crushed stone for construction.

Kalkmølla Kulturstasjon website: click here

Source: lokalhistoriewiki.no (English translation by REGA)
Franzefoss lime mill in 1920. Source: Bærum bibliotek

Grini lime kiln

From the 17th century - demolished today

To Grini farm belonged a lime kiln which has one of the longest continuous productions known here in the area. This oven stood i.a. for a significant supply of lime to strengthen Akershus Fortress in the early 17th century. In a 12-month period from July 1601, Kristoffer Grini delivered around 90 loads (216 tons / 151.2000 liters) for this purpose. Jon Grini delivered a total of 25 loads of lime in February 1827 for the construction of the castle in Oslo.

Grini Kalkbruk was put into operation in 1874 and the production of lime was rapidly expanded. The kiln for Kalkbruket was one of the 4-5 largest industrial kilns in the village during the latter part of the 19th century. The last known production is probably between 1915 and 1920, at the same time as the lime mill at Franzefossen (Sandvika Kalkmølle, later Franzefoss Bruk AS) is built and put into operation along the Sandvik river, approx. 350 meters below the lime kiln to Grini farm.

The last visible traces of the slag heaps and remains of the lime kiln on Grini, disappeared in 2021 with the widening of the road. The extraction of limestone took place mainly where the blocks with address Åses vei 4-12 are located.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

Stone from the Women's home at Grini

The women's home on Grini farm was requisitioned by the state in 1946 and subordinated to Emma Hjorth's Home. This stone was later found on the site and given to the Emma Hjorth museum.

You can read more about the history of the Women's Home here.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
1

Tokerud farm

Buildings built before 1915 – all have been demolished, except Drengestua/Emma Hjorth Museum

Old traces... 

The oldest trace of human activity in the Emma Hjorth neighbourhood came from the discovery of a stone axe and a stone club, most likely dating back to the Neolithic age (2400–1800 BC). The axe was discovered in the early 1950s, at the point where Tobias Kupfers vei splits. It is presumed that Tokerud farm was cleared sometime between the Early and Late Iron Age (500 BC – 1050 AD).  

The local pronunciation of the name was tukeru and the name is derived from Tóki (male name) or Tóka (female name). The farm was part of the Nesøy Estate in 1625, and it was bought by Knud Frantzen in 1663. From 1674, Tokerud had a registered title to salmon fishing in Sandsvikelva. The main road north passed through Tokerud, so there must have been quite a bit of traffic passing by. 

In 1682, Anna Felber Krefting of the Krefting family from Bærums Verk, bought Tokerud farm. In 1766, the property was split and sold on as two farms: Vestre and Østre Tokerud – western and eastern Tokerud. In 1826, the Tokerud farms had a combined total of 7.5 hectares of infields and a stock consisting of 2 horses, 4 cows and 10 sheep. The farms also included several crofts and forest land in the areas around Bærum. The cabin Solknatten, which Solveig Godske erected in 1968–70, is on Tokerud forest land.  

Acquired by Mrs. Emma Hjorth  

In 1903, Mrs. Emma Hjorth bought the two farms Vestre Tokerud and Østre Tokerud for NOK 48,000 in a foreclosure auction. She moved the 35 children who had been living at Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake, as it was called back then. 

By 1908, the care home was at full capacity with 60 patients. She erected two new buildings on the property, which increased the capacity to include an additional 40 people. By 1915, the home had approx. 100 patients, or alumns, which she preferred to call them, as well as approx. 23 staff members, including farm workers.  

In 1915, the farms included 17 large and small buildings, approx. 70 hectares of in- and outfields and a large livestock. According to the survey report from that same year, the farms were in very good condition. All of this was given as a gift to the State of Norway by Mrs. Emma Hjorth later that year, after the care home and her personally had been met with considerable resistance and criticism in recent years, both in the press and in Parliament.  

Transferred to the State 

In the years between the two world wars, the care home was characterized by steady decline. Very little maintenance is performed and the number of patients increases, with fewer and fewer staff to look after them. Two additional buildings were erected during this period, and the funding for these buildings came from the care home’s operating profit. The other eight years during which the home turned a profit, until around 1938, the profit was returned to the State to settle the deficit in the National Budget. After the war, the care home was compared to the German concentration camp Dachau, by a former prisoner and reporter for Aftenposten by the name of Tressel. This comparison was brought up several times in the public discourse at the time.     

In 1915, the home was gifted to the State by Mrs. Emma Hjorth on the condition that the care home would always remain under the same administration as the special education schools, and that the property must “always be used for a care and work home for the mentally deficient”. These two conditions would later prove to have a huge impact on measures in support of people with intellectual disabilities. The latter played a role as recently as the deinstitutionalization reformin the 1990s. A regional activity centre (REGA) was established, a number of activity- and work-related services were continued, and many of the former residents at the institution still live in the area in accordance with their own wishes.  

The only building still standing from the original farm acquired by Mrs. Emma Hjorth, is the building currently housing the Emma Hjorth museum

The alumns are working in the field, araound year 1915.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
2

The Boys’ ward

Built before 1915 – later demolished.

The Boys’ ward was established by Mrs. Emma Hjorth in the main house on Vestre Tokerud, which she bought in 1903 and where she founded the Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake, later renamed Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). It was located approximately where the Emma Café is today. After the State assumed responsibility for the care home in 1915, the building became over-crowded and extremely run-down. Around 80 boys and men lived there, in very close quarters and with only one bathroom. The beds were placed right next to each other, and the residents had to climb over their footboards to get into their beds. The building was in use right up until it was demolished in the 1960s. 

Excerpt from interview with Reidar Jensen, who started working at the EHH in 1933:  

“In the Boys’ home, yes, that was bad. They had a toilet in buckets and such upstairs, which they would carry down to empty. One of the boys had that as his job, and you can probably believe how it would slosh around and splash about. Everything was so old there. No, that was bad. And when they would eat, they mostly used bowls and spoons. If they were tin plates, I can’t say for sure, but that Hole (head) liked to get things as cheap as he could, he didn’t really bring up the standard, did he, he wanted it cheap... And then he’d buy food for us at H.L. Johansen, and that meat he got in barrels, it was every which colour, that was. I don’t want to say it was spoiled food, but it was cheap and poor food, that’s for sure. It was bad to begin with, but it did get a bit better after a while. For breakfast we had bread with cheese and meats, and then milk, of course. We had our own milk, we had many animals. Eastern and Western Tokerud had a shared barn, I think we had around 10–12 cows, and two horses.”  

Source: Om hundre år er allting glemt? Emma Hjorths Hjems historie 1898-1998 by Halvor Fjermeros, p. 28.

Reidar Jensen in the middle, year unknown.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

 

3

The Cripple ward

Built before 1915 – later demolished.

Close to the Boys’ ward was the original farm house, which Emma Hjorth initially used for the Girls’ ward at the Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake, later Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). From 1909 it was used as a Cripple ward. It would care for children who had physical disabilities, and many of them did not have intellectual disabilities. 

Nils Ottar Lerstad (on the right in the photo below) was admitted to the Cripple ward at the age of 3 in 1928. Despite having a bright mind, he was placed in the care home because he had rickets and was paraplegic. 

His physical strength meant he was able to help many of the other residents with their washing and dressing. He would walk on his hands up and down the stairs between downstairs and upstairs to help out. At night, he would help change those who had accidents, both clothing and bedding, because there was only one night guard on duty. One of the residents Nils helped was Bjørn Lindgren (on the left in the photo), who was both mute and paraplegic. The two became good friends and chose to stay at Emma Hjorth together when EHH closed as a result of the deinstitutionalization reform. In 2003, Nils was awarded the King’s Medal of Merit for his service to the other patients.  

In Dr. Ole B. Munch’s time, the Cripple ward was converted into a children’s ward and renamed Trollstua. The building was most likely demolished in the 1960s.  

 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
4

Borgen

Built in 1931–1934

In 1929, the head of the home at the time, Jens Hole, submitted his first application to erect a house at Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) for older, troubled boys. A year and a half before, he had started raising funds for this purpose. His application was denied. In the winter of 1931–1932, he had the farm workers dig out a plot and build a foundation. The building eventually got a roof. In 1933, the ministry asked where he would find the funds to finish the building. He responded as follows: “They will come, of that I have no doubt. For God, who hitherto has worked in our favour and allowed the work to succeed with limited funds, surely will not let these efforts have been in vain.” He found the funds and the building, named Borgen, was completed in 1934.  

For many years, the building was used as a home for troubled men. Former staff members reported deplorable conditions in the basement, where many spent all their time. Accounts from former residents also include violent incidents and punishments. 

Borgen was eventually acquired by the Emma Hjorth school, which was founded by Dr. Ole B. Munch in 1959. He was passionate about the “mentally deficient” getting an education, and the residents at EHH learned to read and write. A recreation supervisor was hired around 1960, and a teacher by the name of Helge Morset was hired in 1961. 

The third floor at Borgen was used to house conscientious objectors until the institution was closed in 1996 as a result of the deinstitutionalization reform. The Municipality of Bærum currently rents the buildings and studio spaces out to artists.   

The security cell and the dungeon 

Excerpt from Om hundre år er allting glemt? Emma Hjorths Hjems historie 1898-1998 (1998) by Halvor Fjermeros, p. 46-48.  

Borgen and its basement 

“(...) Anne Aarsland started working at Borgen in 1951, after having worked at Småbarnshjemmet since 1947. I spoke to her in the spring of 1998. She remembers that the highest clothing number was 72; they all had numbered clothing, and there were 72 male patients, distributed across Borgen’s three floors. The second floor was where “the fit ones” lived, 24 of the most well-adapted, those who could, if necessary, manage without help for an entire day (...). Down in the basement was the “corridor” for the most difficult boys, where, among other things, there were two bare cells with plaster walls. That’s where the ones who acted out ended up, but never without the doctor’s approval. There was an aura of fear surrounding the infamous Borgen basement, and the most unruly boys constantly lived with the threat of being thrown “in the cell”. A less severe form of punishment was the straitjacket, or the frequently used boiler suit with a locked rear strap. Far more terrifying was the fear of castration. This type of surgery was often associated with uncontrollable sexuality or specific sexual “excesses”. Anne Aarsland remembers three times from the decade after 1951 where boys returned from surgery at Bærum Hospital, but she puts no stock in “gossip” that Munch performed the surgeries personally in his office. 

“After my first shift at Borgen, I came home to my wife and said I could not stand being there,” said Kjell Stranden, who started working there as a carer in the summer of 1963. But he describes how quickly one got “corrupted” — used to the conditions and tough enough to survive among 70 male patients at Borgen, including the “dungeon” in the Borgen basement. “I was put straight to work the day I started. I got no training at all. We weren’t encouraged to hit anybody, but at the same time, we were warned that some patients were dangerous and that some probably would challenge the new nurse.” When one of the boys did just that, I was so highly strung that I threw him into a wall and said that was the last time he tried anything with me,” said Stranden, who spoke to me in 1998. (...) “The strange thing is, some of the ones described as dangerous in 1963, I would run into down at the shop in Slependen with ‘young girls’ as their carers just a few years later. There were many myths about the patients, which they felt compelled to live up to, and which their carers were trained to handle in specific ways. This radically changed after the move to the new ‘80-man’ men’s pavillion a few years after I started working at Borgen,” said Stranden.  

Source: Emma Hjorth museum and Om hundre år er allting glemt? Emma Hjorths Hjems historie 1898-1998 (1998) by Halvor Fjermeros.
5

Nursing home // Solbakken // Dissimilis

Built in 1929-1930

Tuberculosis was a very serious, contagious disease in the first half of the 1900s. Jens Hole, the head of Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) at the time, wanted to build a hospital for intellectually disabled patiens with tuberculosis. The chief medical officer in Oslo and physicians from across the nation supported this idea. After six years of applications and letters of recommendations, he was granted the funds to start building in 1929, and the building was completed in 1930. It never became a hospital, however. Hole found nurses to be too demanding and difficult to work with, so he didn’t hire anyone. The building was used to house 72 residents, some ill, some healthy. There was a mortuary in the basement, and it was not unusual to have two or even three dead bodies in there at a time. 

In 1947, the head physician at Tokerudhjemmet, Dr. Ole B. Munch, converted the building to a ward for young children. This was likely due to 21 war children being transferred from Godthåb rekreasjonshjem in Bærum to EHH that year. The building was later renamed Solbakken, with a residential section on the ground floor, outpatient/residential sections on the second floor, and offices on the third floor.  

When Emma Hjorths Hjem closed in 1996, Dissimilis, a culture and competence centre for people with intellectual disabilities, moved in. They still operate out of this building.  

“The vestibule of Hell” in “this Sodom”  

Excerpt from Om hundre år er allting glemt? Emma Hjorths Hjems historie 1898-1998 (1998) by Halvor Fjermeros, p. 46. 

"Haldis Siland started working as a carer at Tokerudhjemmet at age 22 in 1946. I spoke to her in the autumn of 1996. She and a friend from their home town Stavanger started working there at the same time, and when the latter quit after just a few weeks, she left with these parting words: “Are you going to keep working here in this Sodom!?” Haldis Siland started working in the home for young children, the former nursing home, which at the time had eight patients per room and 24 children on each floor, for a total of 50 patients in the same ward. Working hours were 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon, with a short break in the middle of the day, but they often worked non-stop for 10 hours. Each carer was responsible for attending to all eight children in one room, as well as for cleaning the floor and doing the laundry. “For Christmas 1946, we got packages of clothes for the children from America,” Haldis Siland remembered. She lived in an attic room at the girl’s ward for the first two years. “It was a noisy place to live, for sure,” she remembered.  

A few years later, in 1953, Lilly Clausen started working as a carer in the home for young children. In an interview carried out in the winter of 1998, she told me that on the night shift, she was responsible for 38–40 children between the ages of six months and 8–10 years, some with major disabilities. “Did you have to change nappies on all of them?” I asked. “Did you say nappies? We had torn sheets and rags, which had to be rinsed clean of pee and hung on the radiators, so they would be dry and ready for use again in the morning. There wasn’t any plastic on the outside of these nappies, so everything went straight through. And we had limited clothes for the children, too.” (...) The more intensive nappy cleaning took place in the basement underneath the boys’ home, Clausen remembered, and they brought the nappies there every morning. The place was called “Oppskyllinga” – the rinse-out – and the nappies were rinsed clean of the majority of the faeces. “When I opened the door in there the first time, the stench overwhelmed me, and I could not help but exclaim to the one I was with: ‘This must truly be the vestibule of Hell!’”  

Behind Solbakken in around 1942. The walls were reinforced due to the possibility of an attack.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
6

Østre – Work ward for women

Built before 1915 – later demolished.

This building was part of Østre Tokerud, a farm Mrs. Emma Hjorth bought in 1903 and where she founded Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake, later renamed Emma Hjorths Hjem. It was located approximately where the upper part of the "80-man facility" would later be built (what is currently Skaret/Berget/Kastet/Juvet). Mrs. Emma Hjorth used it as a ward for female work trainees, and it was home to 10 girls. 

The exhibit at the Emma Hjorth museum includes drawings made by a man who stayed there in 1965. 

It is not clear when the building was demolished.    

Working students. Picture from Emma Hjorth's 5-year report from 1915.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
7

Girls’ ward

Built in 1910 - later demolished

This building was built next to the accounting building, in the road that is currently called Tokerudkollen. The architect was Emma Hjorth’s husband, Ingvar Magnus Olsen Hjorth, and it was built in 1910. 

When the State assumed control over the operation of Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake in 1915, the girls’ ward became over-crowded, just like all the other wards. In order to increase capacity, the head of the institution at the time, Jens Hole, got permission to add a storey in 1927. 

The girls’ ward was home to both children and adult women. The building was demolished in 1970.   

Condemnable conditions 

Jostein Nyhamar, a reporter for Aftenposten, voiced strong criticism of the care home (at the time called Tokerud åndssvakehjem) in 1947. Below is an excerpt from his article:  

“The girls’ ward has 30 beds in one room with a floor area of just over 100 sq. metres, and this room is not among those that are most over-crowded! The same ward has one bathroom for 93 people. The majority of the mentally deficient are not clean and are unable to see to even the most basic personal hygiene on their own. The 7 nurses on the ward work as hard as they can, but it goes without saying that they cannot keep the patients clean with only one bathroom!” (Click here for the full article (in Norwegian)). 

The Girls' ward, around 1947.

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
8

Accounting building

Built in 1910 - later demolished

The architect behind the accounting building was Emma Hjorth’s husband, Ingvar Magnus Olsen Hjorth, and it was built in 1910. It included staff accommodation, kitchen, canteen, meeting room and offices until 1978, when a new kitchen and canteen was built. In Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s day, there were two dining rooms in the house, one for women and one for men. The building eventually became very run-down and was sadly demolished in 1989.  

Steam cooking in the accounting building around 1915. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
9

Emma Hjorth museum // Gamle Drengestua

Visit the Emma Hjorth museum if you want to read more about the institution’s history and see more photos!

Drengestua 

The building was likely built around 1850, or a few years later (as estimated by those who renovated the building in 1998). It is the only building left standing from the original Tokerud farm, which Mrs. Emma Hjorth bought in 1903 to found her care home for the “mentally deficient”. The original name for the building is Drengestua — the “farmhand house” — so named because it was where the farmhands slept in the past. When Mrs. Emma Hjorth acquired the farm, it was turned into staff accommodation, and it served this purpose until after World War II. After the war, it was a workshop until 1979, when a new, modern workshop was built. 

Museum 

For nearly 20 years, the building became more and more derelict as a dumping ground for old junk, until it was restored when the decision to establish a museum was made in 1996. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Aandssvake — on 12 November 1998 — the Emma Hjorth museum opened. 

The Emma Hjorth museum now has a permanent exhibit. It presents an interesting part of our social policy history, with a particular focus on the pre-war period. The museum also includes newspaper clippings and a small library for use in studies or other research activities. 

REGA 

The Emma Hjorth museum is part of the Regional Activity Centre (REGA), which currently comprises Emma Gjestehus, Emma Sansehus, Emma Friskhus, Emma Café and the Emma Hjorth Museum.  

As a result of the deinstitutionalization reform, REGA was established in the mid-1990s, to ensure that compliance with Mrs. Emma Hjorth’s requirement that the property would always be used for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities. REGA aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, regardless of functional ability. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
10

Grini farm // Women’s home

Buildings built before 1915 - all later demolished

The Grini farm in Vestre Bærum was the closest neighbour to the Tokerud farm. In the 1600s, this farm was part of the Nesøy Estate, owned by Knut Franzen and the Krefting family, in line with Tokerud. The Grini farm was eventually split up into several farmsteads, and from the 1700s, ownership of these farmsteads largely remained in families, passing from one generation to the next.  

The foundation Magdalenastiftelsen bought Søndre Grini in 1899, moving its operations out of Christiania (Oslo). The foundation opened Kvinnehjemmet på Grini — the Grini women’s home — on 26 June 1900, continuing their operation of an institution for “fallen” women who wanted to lead a moral life. Approx. 3000 women made this institution their home from its founding in 1859 until 1946. 

In 1946, the women’s home was acquired by the State and made part of Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH). In the years immediately after World War II, the institution’s buildings were “patched up” and made habitable to some degree. The home’s recently appointed chief physician, Dr. Ole B. Munch, who was also a consultant to the State in matters concerning the mentally deficient, was, in addition to managing the operation of the home, also put in charge of preparing a national plan to promote better care for the mentally deficient.  

War children 

During and after World War II, there was much debate about what to do with children who had Norwegian mothers and German soldiers as fathers. This included both the children from the Lebensborn project and others. By 1946, most children had been placed in care, many with their own mothers/grandmothers, some had been sent to Germany, and others were adopted by families in Norway and Sweden. Some children, however, were difficult to place. The Godthåb rekreasjonshjem in Bærum, which was one of the places where these children were sent, still housed 21 children nobody wanted. They were all diagnosed as “mentally deficient” and transferred to EHH. The women’s home was expropriated by the State for this purpose. While the diagnosis may have been accurate for some of these children, not all of them had intellectual disabilities. One example is a boy who was just extremely cross-eyed. Unfortunately, there is limited information about what happened to some of the other children. Some were discharged relatively quickly, and some remained at EHH for a long time, until the institution closed in the 1990s. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum

The laundry at the Women’s home Kvinnehjemmet, year unknown. Source: www.historier.no

E.H

Emma Hjorth (1858–1921)

Emma Hjorth was a pioneer in the care of intellectually disabled people, and in 1898, she established Norway’s first institution for the so-called “uneducable mentally deficient”, later known as Emma Hjorths Hjem. Emma made the uneducable and their families her life’s mission. With unwavering dedication and a passion for society’s weakest, she reformed Norway’s health care sector.

Lippestad and Hjorth families 

Emma Alethe Andreasdatter Lippestad was born on Søndre Leppestad in the Municipality of Hobøl in Østfold (see photo below) on 21 May 1858, as the sixth of seven siblings. The farm was of medium size, and the children worked on the farm alongside their parents, Andreas Lippestad and Gunnhild Johannesdatter.  

Little is known about Emma’s childhood, but the church record from her confirmation specifies that she was “highly knowledgeable and commendably studious”. She was a gifted girl and distinguished herself as the only one in her class earning such good marks. 

Emma’s eldest brother, Johan Anton Lippestad, was also a bright boy and first in line to inherit the farm. His dream was to get an education, however, and not to become a farmer. His father went to the dean and asked whether it was appropriate for a farmer to have “ambitions beyond his station”. The dean said no, but the community’s new parish clerk supported Johan and convinced his father to let him pursue an education. Johan trained as a teacher and found employment at Balchens Institutt for Døve (a school for the deaf), where Hans Hansen, another teacher, worked. In 1874, the two men founded Eftermiddagsskolen for Aandelig Abnorme Børn at Vestheim in Oslo. This became the first specialist school for children with intellectual disabilities in Norway. In 1878, their little school had expanded, and they split it up, each continuing on separately. Hansen cared for the boys and later acquired the Lindern farm, which he turned into a school for boys. Johan acquired the Thorshaug farm in Oslo and moved there with all the girls. The school was named the Thorshaug Institut for Aandelig Abnorme Pigebørn, later renamed Torshov skole and Torshov kompetansesenter. He ran the school until 1904, when he became the director of "Abnormskolevesenet", Norway’s national education programme for children with disabilities. 

Prior to 1874, no organized education or care was provided in Norway to so-called mentally deficient children, as they were called back then. In some cities, dedicated teachers provided some education to individual children. Most lived at home with their families, in the country some were at the mercy of charitable aid for the poor, and in larger cities some ended up in the almshouse. Some were probably also housed with mentally ill people. 

Johan’s choice of profession and field had a huge impact on the development of a field of care for the mentally deficient in Norway, and he also seems to have had a considerable influence on all of his siblings. Six of the seven Lippestad siblings would come to work with people with intellectual disabilities at Thorshaug. The Lippestad family therefore became hugely influential on the development of this entire care sector. 

The Thorshaug school became a family enterprise, including the Hjorth family. Since the very beginning, Jeanette Hjorth was a teacher at the school, and her sisters, Hilda and Alette, also worked there. Hilda later became the matron at Fru Hjorths Pleiehjem. Their brother was Ingvar Magnus Olsen Hjorth (1862–1927), an architect, who led the construction of the Thorshaug school and whom Emma married in 1890. Ingvar was a leading architect of his day, and he was awarded the Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olaf in 1908. He designed and built several of the buildings at Thorshaug, as well as at Fru Hjorths Pleiehjem, but these were unfortunately later demolished. 

Emma and Ingvar had a son, Gunnar, in 1896, who sadly passed away in 1926, only 29 years old. After completing his university entrance exams, he worked in his father’s architect firm for a while, but he went against his father’s wishes and became a painter. He studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo and several years in Paris. He was frequently featured in the National Art Exhibition and also held a solo exhibition in oslo. Many of his paintings are owned by his son, architect Ola Petter Hjorth (b. 1921). Ola Petter has several children and grandchildren. 

Education and career 

In 1879, Emma completed the advanced teacher examinations in Kristiania (Oslo). She had acquired all the knowledge required on her own, because teacher education programmes did not admit women yet at that time. Later that year, she started working as a teacher at Thorshaug, a job she held until 1903, five years after opening her care home. In 1883, at the age of 25, she won a grant, which she used to go study abroad in America, where she spent a year in institutions for the mentally deficient in Philadelphia and Boston. Back then, America was very far away, and knowledge of foreign languages was usually limited. She must have been quite proficient in English in order to benefit from her stay, and she had to have been a quite courageous lady to embark on such a long journey by herself. She later made several study trips to Europe, including Germany in 1910, when she brought home a straitjacket that was “much more favourable” than what they had previously used. 

In 1892, a new law was enacted, regulating schools for children with physical and intellectual disabilities, which made it difficult for “uneducable mentally deficient” to enrol in school. As opposed to the other Nordic countries, Norway did not have any institutions for the uneducable at this time. There were no assistive measures, children and adults were locked up or hidden away, and the situation was dire for many families. Emma was passionate about improving the situation for the mentally deficient and their families, and she decided to found a home for the uneducable.  

She founded Fru Hjorths Pleie- og Arbeidshjem for Dannelsesudygtige Aanssvage, a “care and work home for the uneducable mentally deficient”, at Sjøvolden in Asker (see photo above) in 1898. She bought the property for NOK 8 000. After six months, she moved the home to Solvang in Asker, which she rented, and in 1903, she bought Tokerud farm in Bærum at a foreclosure auction for NOK 63,000. She moved 34 residents there. The institution remained here until it closed in 1996. 

Emma did not work in the care home herself. Instead, she remained head mistress at Thorshaug for another five years. Later, she kept an office in Oslo, where she managed the administration, raised funds and did the bookkeeping. 

Emma gifted the institution to the State in 1915, but stayed in touch with it through her work in the audit committee. The last years of her life, she dedicated to her work in the Oslo chapter of Hjemmenes Vel, an association for women and families. She was one of its directors, organized many courses for young women and was a well-respected person. 

A fundraising pioneer 

In 1897, Emma started fundraising to found her care home. Her first donor was Architect Barnholt, who donated 50 øre. Initially, she contacted a wide range of prominent men and asked for a letter of recommendation. In 1898/99, she organized the first big lottery: a tombola held on Stortorvet, Oslo’s grand plaza. The tombola went on for two months and brought in NOK 33,829.54. This was an enormous sum back then, when an annual salary was just a few hundred kroner. 

From then until 1914, she continued her fundraising work, organizing lotteries and concerts, securing endowments and applying for grants from various businesses and local and regional authorities. She wrote letters to select gentlemen and ladies asking for donations and contributions, including to every pastor’s wife in the country, imploring them to found women’s associations. In 1905, she applied to Norges Bank (Norway’s central bank), for a permit to “erect stands outside the bank during the royal procession”. She got her permit, erected the stands in 8 days, and “to a good outcome”. She likely raised funds by having spectators pay for a place in the stands. With these funds, she created “Dronning Mauds legat”, a trust bearing the name of Queen Maud. Unconfirmed sources say the Queen contributed NOK 800 to the trust. The intention of the trust was to cover the cost of accommodation for those who did not have any family or municipal support to pay for their stay at the care home. The funds raised were enough to acquire the properties in Asker and Bærum, restoration and construction, and the acquisition of furniture and fittings. Operational costs were covered by the fees paid by families or poor relief. In cases where neither the family nor local authorities could pay, the trust covered the cost of the stay for many. 

All in all, this speaks to the considerable effort, ingenuity and dedication of one powerful lady. She had to have been one of Norway’s most successful fundraisers through the ages. 

From success to criticism 

From reading about the care home when it was still owned by Emma, one gets the impression that the standards were high, for its day. The care regimen emphasized help with meals, all forms of punishment were prohibited (remember, this was the age of the cane), and “the staff’s first and last thought must always be the children’s good care and well-being.” Their clothes had to be in order, they could not go without shoe laces, and the children were not allowed to spend too long on the toilet. There are reports of trips, small parties, singing games, 17 May celebrations and Christmas celebrations. Mortality rates remained low, but compared to today’s standards, staffing levels were very low. All those who were able to use their hands for work were trained to work in the house or in the fields. Not all of the residents were useful, but that was not important. For those who were worst off, song and music were central activities. 

With modern eyes, it is difficult to know how good the care home was, especially because it was the only one of its kind in the entire country. From 1910 and in the years that followed, the home became the subject of much criticism in the press, especially in Socialdemokraten. Socialists in Parliament were the primary source of this criticism. They wanted the State to assume responsibility for the care of the disabled, and it would seem that they used Mrs. Hjorth’s Care Home as a tool to promote their agenda. At the same time, criticism was also directed at the home’s matron, Emma’s sister-in-law, Hilda Lied. She was accused of treating the residents badly, of not feeding them enough and withholding medical treatment. It is difficult to assess the content of this criticism today, but these complaints became a central argument in the politicians’ fight for public care. 

Emma had already said, back in 1907, that when her institution was large enough and well-managed enough, she would gift it to the State. She did not make an effort to defend herself against allegations, but the complaints against her and the care home were likely a contributing factor to her gifting it to the State as early as 1914. At the time, the care home consisted of 17 buildings, 20 hectares of fields, three large gardens and approx. 50 hectares of forests and grazing ground, with a total value of NOK 317,577.25. The mortgage on the property was NOK 21,000. 

On 1 July 1915, responsibility for the operation of the care home passed to the director of the national educational programme for children with disabilities. The home was now government property, but parents and local authorities still covered operational costs. Jens Hole was hired as the head of the home, a role he stayed in until 1946. The next 30 years would be characterized by poverty, decline, overcrowded buildings and an extremely high mortality rate. 

Emma had four conditions for turning her care home over to the State. The first condition was that “The above-specified property or monetary value in the event of a sale, must always be used for a care and work home for the mentally deficient”. The second condition was that the care home must always bear her name. For some time from 1948, the home was called Statens hjem for åndssvake, but it was later renamed Emma Hjorths Hjem, which it was called until it closed in 1996. These conditions had a huge impact through the years. 

In connection with her gift, Emma was awarded the King’s Medal of Merit in gold for her efforts. 

There is no doubt that Emma was an unusually hard-working and dedicated person, who had a considerable impact on society. A neighbourhood in Bærum now bears her name, and many Norwegians know her name, because the institution she founded became a cornerstone in the care for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Emma died on 2 July 1921, aged 63, of unknown causes. She was buried in Vestre gravlund in Oslo. 


Photo from www.lokalhistoriewiki.no

Source of information: Emma Hjorth museum
J.H

Jens Hole (1874–1975)

Mrs. Emma Hjorth gifted her care home to the State in 1915. The entire staff stayed on, but Jens Hole was appointed as the new head of the institution. With the exception of the last two years of the war, when a Nazi was appointed head, Hole remained in this position until 1946. He was trained as a deacon and had worked at a wide range of institutions. He was married, with three children. His son, Jens Jr., was born in 1921, and Mrs. Hole died just a few years later. Hole later remarried with a teacher.

Both verbal accounts and written sources indicate that Hole was a strong and, at times, controversial man. He had great ambitions to expand “Fru Hjorths Pleiehjem”, which it was called at the time, but he lacked the funds to do so. By accepting many residents, he brought in more funds, as they charged per person, but it also made the institution extremely over-crowded. In 1943, the number of residents increased to 360. In the large bedrooms, the beds were placed right next to each other, with headboards touching, and the residents had to climb over the footboard to get into bed. Only in rooms with patients who needed nursing care was there a gap, between every other bed. 

Due to his frugality over his 30-year career as head of the institution, Hole was given permission to expand the institution three times (he built a second storey on the Girls' ward in 1927, the Nursing home in 1930 and Borgen in 1934). He erected several buildings for staff accommodation, first Haugen in 1917, for himself and his family. In the 1930s, he also erected Utsikten, which became the institution’s assembly building. Before he retired, he secured a plot in the institution grounds, where he erected his private home, where he lived until his death in 1975.  

From approx. 1921 to 1936, the care home helped settle the Treasury’s deficit. The State drew up the budgets with a profit, so that the charges paid would cover more than the operation of the institution. For many years, the profit was approx. NOK 50,000, which was a lot back then. A supervisory committee appointed by the State monitored the accounts, care, nutrition and agricultural activities, as well as approved admissions and discharges, but the committee did not normally interfere with the institution’s operations. 

The campaign against tight budgets would come to characterize Hole’s time as head of the institution, but so did disease. Many types of diseases (such as the Spanish flu, typhoid and tuberculosis) ran rampant through the institution, and mortality rates sky-rocketed. Between 1915 and 1945, a total of approx. 1270 residents were admitted to the institution, and approx. 45 % of them died there. The average age of death was 22. The war, from 1940 to 1945, made the situation even worse. In addition, almost everything was scarce — clothing, nappies, bedding, blankets — and the houses and furniture was run-down. 

Hole’s time as head of the institution had several dark sides, but among the things he should be remembered for, is a statement he made in an interview with the Nazi-controlled local newspaper Asker og Bærums Budstikke from 18 January 1944: The reporter asks (echoing Nazi ideology) whether it would not be more humane to “eliminate such individuals who have no chance of healing and who lead lives often approaching that of animals”? Hole responds: “I have seen many examples of a higher power not forgetting about them. And I believe the power who has given humans life also should take it. We, as humans, should not interfere.”  

Excerpt from interview with Jens Hole Jr. in 1996: 

When Hole came to Emma Hjorth, there were high fences and closed gates. My father opened them.  Father believed these were Our Lord’s little ones, and he wanted their families to be able to visit any time. There were always new patients arriving, day and night, they came when they were able to find transportation. Most of them were accompanied by family members. Father welcomed them all. I often accompanied him, both night and day. Father was a sanguine man, he often cried with the family members. Parents loved their children every bit as much then as they do now. Family members were allowed into the bedrooms, father always said they should be able to see how their children are doing. We didn’t get many visitors. Some, of course, but many lived far away. It was a source of shame to have a mentally deficient child. 

The farm was run properly. Farm manager, 4 farm workers, always 4 horses, approx. 25 cows. Father built a modern pig enclosure, others came to see it. Delivered milk to the dairy every day. (…) 

Father was fired in ‘43, a Nazi was taking over. I don’t remember his name, I don’t think he was a doctor. After the liberation, father was asked to come back. He was over 70 at the time. He worked here until Munch took over (1946).  He and father knew each other, because Munch’s father was a pastor at Helgøya, where father was the head of a boys’ home. They were polar opposites. Father loved to work hard with his body, he built a path down to the hospital, with beautiful stairs, and Munch had it removed immediately.  Father had been given two granite columns from Johanneskirken in Oslo when it was demolished, and he had put them up as a gate, 60–70 cm apart and approx. 4 metres tall, with wrought-iron lamps at the top (...). Munch’s office was in the kitchen building. He ordered a man out to break them apart. He couldn’t, of course. They were torn out and left behind the barn, where they became overgrown. I got them to put up at Farris (JH Jr. was the director of Farris in Larvik for many years), but they did not fit in anywhere at Farris. I eventually gave them to somebody else, I don’t remember who, and I don’t know where they are. The relationship between father and Munch was not great, but it vastly improved in father’s last few years. (…) 

The institution’s budgets were prepared by the Ministry of Church and Education. An auditor from the ministry regularly came to perform his audits, a very solemn gentleman. When father went in to the ministry for meetings, he wore a morning coat and top hat, that was the style. Father would ride his bike to the station with the tails of his coat around his waist and the top hat on his head. The other children would tease me about it. When I complained to father, he said “It’s good for them to have something to laugh about.” 

Everyday life: The staff and farm workers ate separately. Father did prayers every morning in the kitchen for those who wanted to attend, especially the women. I played with the patients, just like I played with everyone else. There were some children staying at the hospital, but the ages varied considerably. (…) 

We celebrated every Christmas Eve, first in the wards, and then in the kitchen with the staff members who wanted to. On every 17 May, we decorated with flags, and the patients got new clothes. Everyone was allowed to walk/ride down to the road for an hour, to watch the cars and people. Once, there was lots of publicity in Budstikke, claiming that ordinary people should not have to suffer such spectacle, probably in 35 to 37. It was a terrible blow to my father. 

Women and men did not live together. It was a huge scandal when a baby was born. I don’t remember, it was not really spoken about, but I could not help but overhear. It was likely two who had managed to sneak into the woods. The story was covered up.  

The basement of the hospital had a really nice chapel, which had room for 3 coffins. I was allowed in there. I also attended funerals. Most were buried in the cemetery at Bryn, and not sent home. Transportation options were not good enough. The funerals were all ordinary, the coffin was lowered into individual graves. The funerals were lovely, with the pastor and somebody from here. I don’t know anything about if anybody attended to the graves. Family members sometimes came. Father was usually there. 

I don’t remember much about the health. Surprisingly many grew old here. Those who were able to walk, were outside a lot, and got a lot of fresh air. Some of them smoked, and a few residents wanted tobacco. Father sometimes gave them a cigar. For the patients to be allowed to come out and work was the best therapy. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum
O.M

Ole B. Munch (1905-1996)

In the period 1946-1970, Emma Hjorths Hjem (EHH) was heavily influenced by Dr. Ole B. Munch, who became a central driving force in the effort to improve conditions for people with intellectual disabilities in Norway. He came to a run-down and over-crowded institution in 1946. It’s been rumoured that he toured the grounds with his wife and afterwards said: “No. I cannot assume this responsibility.” To which Mrs. Munch is alleged to have responded: “Perhaps this is your mission in life, Ole?” - and thus he made caring for people with intellectual disabilities his mission in life. In addition to his role as chief physician, he was appointed as consultant to the State in matters concerning the mentally deficient.

One year after his appointment, Munch and the rest of his family moved from Oslo to a freshly renovated chief physician’s residence. The home had previously been used as accommodation for the head of the Women’s home at Tokerud’s neighbouring farm, Grini. Munch worked at EHH until 1975, when he turned 70 years old. The physician’s residence was demolished when the housing development Hellesvingen was being built in the late 1960s.

Condemnable conditions 

Munch had an enormous mountain to climb when he took over. Each carer had 10–11 patients each to care for several times a day. Shifts often lasted from seven o’clock in the morning to eight o’clock at night as recently as 1962. 

Photos from the institution taken around the time Munch was appointed as the State’s chief physician, show considerable poverty. Two newspaper reports helped raise awareness, both among policy-makers and among the public. Egil Tresselt had a photographic report in Verdens Gang in 1946, and in 1947, reporter Jostein Nyhamar and a photographer from the picture magazine Aktuell, visited the institution and took disturbing photographs that were forwarded to the Parliamentary Social Affairs Committee. The committee visited the institution and later claimed it was worse than Auschwitz. 

Munch fought against constant budget cuts and time after time exceeded the budgets, hoping to be forgiven. He understood that the press was a key ally in uncovering the miserable conditions and open the eyes of policy-makers. In 1956, the Parliamentary Social Affairs Committee visited, and as Halvor Fjermeros wrote in Om hundre år er allting glemt? (p. 56): “Several committee members vomited and became physically ill from what they had seen. They had to lie down on sofas where someone had to attend to them. Munch loved this type of confrontation and triumphed over those who broke down.” Munch put the misery on display as a necessary strategy to get more funds.  

In one photo, printed in Aktuell in 1966, Munch poses with a woman bound by one leg, because they did not have enough staff to give her the care she needed. She was naked, because she constantly took her clothes off. Being as short-staffed as they were, the environment was not suitable for developing humane treatments. For that reason, many of the residents had to be put in solitary confinement or be tied up, so as to not hurt themselves or others. 

The press and charitable organizations put the conditions of people with intellectual disabilities on their agenda. From 1946 and well into the 1950s, there are many newspaper articles, letters to the editor and reports on this topic in newspapers nationwide. It took some time before changes were made, but throughout the post-war period, there were frequent reports, laws and reports to the Storting that promised and, in part, led to significant improvements in the care provided. EHH expanded, and all across the country, new institutions were founded, most of them by charitable organizations. 

Social educator education 

When Munch became chief physician at EHH in 1946, he quickly recognized the need for trained staff. Most of the staff had no formal training, although some were trained nurses. As early as 1947, he started providing short-term training courses for staff, and from 1948 or 1949, he accepted “students”, who spent a year completing courses and internships in the wards. In the 1950s, this education was expanded to a 2-year programme. In the mid-1950s, on the initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Norwegian Municipal and Social College started providing short courses for staff in the care sector for the so-called "mentally deficient". Both the ministry and Samordningsrådet for Åndssvakeomsorgen, a coordinating council for the sector, appointed committees exploring the need for a dedicated education programme for those who would be working with this segment of the population. Munch was appointed to serve on both committees. One of the reasons for this development, was that policy-makers recognized that the nursing education did not meet all the needs of the institutions caring for the mentally deficient. Despite these reports, policy-makers waited until 1963 to address this issue. By then, Munch had already built a school at EHH and started a three-year education programme in 1961.  

School for the “mentally deficient” 

In 1959, Munch started working to give the mentally deficient an education, and his goal was that the right to an education would also apply to the mentally deficient. Munch fought and won. Emma Hjorth got a school. The institution's residents got to learn to read and write. Arts and crafts, song and music were also important factors. A recreation supervisor was hired around 1960, and in 1961, the school got its first teacher, a man by the name Helge Morset. The school at Emma Hjorth eventually became Bærum’s largest in terms of teachers. Not until 1 January 1976 did Parliament decide that everyone had the same right to education, regardless of ability. The photo below, from the 1970s, shows Munch with residents in EHH’s former workshop.  

Big plans 

From the beginning, Munch was heavily influenced by the Danish approach to caring for the mentally deficient. This included large, well-organized institutions. The residents were divided into groups based on their level of functional ability, and the institutions were organized so that each group lived in separate sections. All of the residents’ needs were met within the gates of the institution: housing, school, work, recreation, as well as a wide range of assistive and support services. Munch wanted to create a similar institution at EHH. He wanted to accommodate around 1000 residents. This figure varied some over the years. In order to achieve this, he wanted to incorporate the entire nearby hill, Tanumsåsen, and the plateau above it, into EHH. His plans had the support of the Directorate of Health, as represented by Chr. Lohne Knudsen, who was the State’s chief medical officer in psychiatry. It would appear that the entire professional health and care services sector viewed this as the best way to organize care. The first major resistance came from Bærum. Policy-makers, residents’ associations, other groups and passionate individuals strongly opposed the development of an institution of this scale in the municipality. The setting was not right. As time went on, the plans were also met with resistance from other parties, on different grounds. Centralization, especially as primary schools were concerned, did not always prove to be a success. In many countries, there was a broad public resistance to various types of centralization and large institutions. As concerned people with intellectual disabilities, this resistance largely came from parents, but some professionals also had reservations. The plans for a giant institution were never realized, and the number of residents never again reached the level it had been at during the war, when 360 residents lived at the institution. 

Munch continuously kept up to date on developments in the field, and he was open to trying out new theories. Within the institution, Munch was regarded as the authoritative patriarch, who watched over his children, young and old, at the home. He did not shy away from striking terror into his staff, and he demanded unwavering commitment to the best interests of the patients. He brought his ideas to fruition with an iron hand, and was equally unyielding in his dealings with both authorities and subordinates. He could also, at times, be seen as authoritarian. Many likely found him to be both brusque and capricious, but he was also down-to-earth, charming, critically innovative and progressive. The fact that we have since dismantled the system he built, does not make him any less of an innovator and reformer. His reforms were a critical building block for later changes. 

Source: Emma Hjorth museum og Halvor Fjermeros: Om hundre år er allting glemt? Emma Hjorths Hjems historie 1898-1998, 1998.