A rare cultural heritage site commemorating the Forest Finn culture in Norway

The Forest Finn croft Abborhøgda is found in an idyllic location on a hilltop in the Finnskogen forest, surrounded by a cultural landscape typical of the Forest Finn culture. Abborhøgda is a rare and important cultural heritage site with its nearly intact farm cluster comprising ten buildings and a mosaic of small patches of cultivated land. Walking routes in the area lead to this well-preserved monument to the Forest Finn culture.
60,1841761 12,4602124
Abborhøgdvegen 97, Austmarka, 2224

Varaldskogen, Kongsvinger, Hedmark (Innlandet)

Owned by the National Trust of Norway since 2019.

Holy rowan tree and distinctive architectural tradition. The rowan was considered a holy tree in the Forest Finn culture, and Abborhøgda has a magnificent specimen in front of the farmhouse which is protected as part of the important cultural landscape surrounding the Forest Finn farm. There were people living at Abborhøgda from 1790 until the 1980s. The farm cluster consists of a farmhouse, a barn, a smoke cabin/sauna, root cellar, cookhouse, shed, haybarn, pigsty, summer byre and a woodshed. The buildings range in date from the late 18th century to the early 20th century – the farmhouse was built in 1923.

Smoke cabin and slash-and-burn farming. The smoke cabin was part of the Forest Finn building tradition, where the building was heated using a chimneyless smoke oven and the smoke escaped through a wooden smoke vent. The smoke cabin at Abborhøgda may have been used as a sauna and a residential building. The smoke oven is not there anymore, but the sooty ceiling and smoke vent opening bear witness to its use. Slash-and-burn farming was part of the Forest Finn culture. This agricultural technique involved felling spruce trees in an area, allowing them to dry and burning them, before sowing slash-and-burn rye in the fertile ashes. Slash-and-burn farming required constant access to new areas, and the Forest Finns gradually settled as farmers – a fact which is clearly evidenced by the many small patches of cultivated land at Abborhøgda.

Things to do in the area: Finnskogen (‘Finn forest’) is a great area for walks, and the Finnskogleden trail goes through the farm cluster at Abborhøgda.You can find the Finnskogrunden route and a historical walk here. Accommodation options near Abborhøgda are found at Lebiko and Kvåho. The Museum for Forest Finn Culture in Norway is located in Grue municipality. The best time to visit the different branches of the museum is during the period June–August, when you can experience what life used to be like in Finnskogen forest and learn about the living conditions, traditions and culture of the Forest Finns.

Sources: Abborhøgda – et skogfinnetorp på Varaldskogen i Kongsvinger kommune. Insam. 2019 / Nasjonale minoriteter-skogfinnene June 2019 / Foreningens nye attraksjon. Trond Rødsmoen. Fortidsvern issue 2/2019