The Kvitnes Estate
The Kvitnes trading post on Vannøya in the Arctic was established by Jeremias Figenschau towards the end of the 1600s. Kvitnes would become one of the largest centers in the district, in part because it was located on the sailing route to Bergen, Norway’s main export harbor.
The old farm, which has been preserved to this very day, was built in 1826 by a descendant of Jeremias, Hans Figenschou, and his wife, Martha Margrethe Hegelund.
Husband and wife both descended from old families of traders and civil servants. As such, they belonged to the economic and social upper class of the region. The couple got married on the 17th of November 1825. The wedding, which had been officially sanctioned by the royal authorities, took place in the groom’s home, like customs would have it back in those days.
The wedding speech, performed by Vicar Rasmussen, who had made the voyage from Tromsø for the occasion, ended up with the following words:
Veledle brudepar! De vet det at mennesket ikke selv råder om sin lykke. Hvorledes det altså i denne henseende skal gå dem i deres fredtid, det står i altbestyrerens vilje. Men med hva sinn mennesket møter i sin skjebne, det står for en del i hans egen makt. Det er i dag deres hensikt at ville med ett og samme sinn dele livets skjebner med hinanden, og befordre hinanden gjensidig lykke.
O! Ved kjærlighet omhyggelig at være alt for hverandre, og ved mild overbærelse mot hinandens ufullkommenhet, oppnåes snarest deres gode hensikt, lettes livets byrder og forhøyes dets gleder. Og skulle De da ikke med frimodig tillit til skjebnenes styrer kunne gå deres fremtid i møte, skjønt et uigjennomtrengelig forheng skjuler for deres øye hva der skal møte dem i samme? Ja! Hvo der besjeles av dydige forsetter, kan alltid med sann ånds frimodighet tenke og si: Herren er min tillit og min styrke.
The old Kvitnes farm, which was, for generations, the home of the descendants of Hans and Martha Margrethe was later abandoned in favour of more modern housing. It later entered in the possession of another renowned family, the Gievær from Lyngen before being bought by the local Folk-museum (now called Perspektivet Museum). It was dismantled and reassembled on the south of Tromsø island, where it still is the centerpiece of the city’s folk park.
Bratrein, Håvard Dahl (1994). Karlsøy og Helgøy Bygdebok. Hansnes: Karlsøy kommune.