Bull house in danger

Home of Norway’s most famous violinist in serious state of deterioration

Bull house

Photo: Svein Hammerstad / NTB scanpix
Ole Bull’s fantastic historic mansion is located on the island of Lysøen outside of Bergen.

Translated by Andy Meyer

The museum that manages Ole Bull’s composer home has warned that the villa is deteriorating and has asked for more funding to preserve the cultural monument.

Bull’s artist villa, located on Lysøen in the municipality of Bjørna­fjorden, has stood for 147 years and functions as a museum. Bull, in his time, was a highly successful virtuoso violinist, both in the United States and Europe. He lived at the villa from 1873 unitl he died in 1880.

Now, insects, rodents, moisture, and rot have infiltrated the house, which is on the verge of dilapidation, according to the art museum KODE.

“The paint is blistering on the façade, it’s cracking and rotting,” said KODE’s communications director Haakon Thuestad to NRK. The museum says restoration must begin as soon as possible to avoid dilapidation.

Among the looming tasks is new siding on parts of the villa, in addition to replacing all the windows.

An analysis by Multiconsult, a firm hired by KODE, showed that necesseary rehabilitation and upgrades to the building itself will cost at least NOK 20 million. Thuestad said that it would cost a total of NOK 40 million to also rehabilitate the items inside the building.

Norway’s Ministry of Culture said the museum, of the 61 state-funded museums in Norway, is among those that receive the most funding. According to Gunnhild Berge Stang, state secretary in the ministry, the Bull villa received NOK 3.3 million between 2009 and 2016.

“It is obviously not good that an important cultural monument is deteriorating. The question of state funding must be evaluated in the normal budget context. The national budget will be presented in October,” Berge Stang said.

This article originally appeared in the July 31, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.