Heddal Stave Church

The Stave Church of Heddal was built in the first half of the 13th century. This church played an important role in the description and preservation of Norwegian stave churches. It was restored successively in the 19th and 20th centuries.

About this building

If we are to trust the legend; the church was built in three days by five local farmers, helped by a troll. The story is an apparent variant of the legend of Finn, a Scandinavian medieval tale having for the main character a malicious Troll named Finn.

More tangible (written) sources, however, appear in the 14th century and indicate that the church was built in the former century, a theory confirmed by later dendrochronology tests.

After the Reformation in the 16th century, the church was in a poor condition and was partially rebuilt in the 17th century, especially the interiors.

In the first half of the 19th century and the rise of romanticism, the old building was widely considered a source of inspiration, reflecting a glorious and idealised past. This interest is also fuelled by the size of the building: 20 metres wide and a height of 26 metres (the largest stave church that remains today). Thus, the building became notorious, as well as its ruinous condition. It was restored in 1850-1851, and later in the 1950s.

Key Features

  • Architecture
  • Monuments
  • Interior features
  • Churchyard
  • Links to national heritage
  • Famous people or stories

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Car park at the building
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets in the building
  • Café in the building

Other nearby buildings

Notodden Church

Notodden Church is a 1938 church. The architects, Dagfinn Morseth and Mads Wiel Gedde, won an architectural competition in 1932. The project has strong similarities with the church in Lillestrøm, which was designed by the same architects.

Gransherad Church

Before the present church, Gransherad had a stave church dating from the 1300s which was demolished in 1849. The church in Gransherad was erected by the builder Halvor Andreas Olsen according to a drawing by the castle architect H.D.F. Linstow and consecrated on September 11, 1849. The vestry dates back to the 1930s.

Sauland Church

The church in Sauland was inaugurated in 1859 but was not fully completed until 1863. A medieval moat church was demolished in 1860. There is a gate church of the Oldsaksamlinga moat church in Oslo. In 1974 the church was decorated by the Finn Emanuel Olsen. The interior of the church was restored in colour for the anniversary in 2009.