Tell Us Your Stories
Ola Nordmann Goes West

A Journey Through Images

You can meet Ola at key points on his journey from Voss to New York City. More images of each part of the journey can be seen by clicking on the appropiate link.

Voss Ola's Home and Voss: Ola lived on a farm like this, like the majority of people from the Voss region, but resources were few and life for many was hard. Reports of a better life in America proved tempting and so began what Eirik RÝthe calls "a migration without any parallel in Norwegian history". Where did your family live and why did they leave?

In the 1830s the village of Vossevangen at the heart of the Voss region was home to as few as 100 people. By 1865 there were 421 inhabitants and, following the arrival of the railway in 1883, numbers had risen to nearly 1000. With the railway came the tourists, and a newspaper reported in 1884 that "Vossevangen is starting to look more and more like a town. There is constant building going on". But Ola had gone. What was it like to travel from a small place like this and to arrive in New York with its 3 million people? See more images...

Journey to Bergen Journey to Bergen: It was a 100-kilometre walk from Voss to Bergen, a world away down the valley via the village of Dale. After 1864 there was a boat to the city of Bergen twice a week; the journey took 6 hours. With the railway those who could afford it could make the journey in just four hours. What thoughts preoccupied all those Vossings as they turned their backs to home and set off on that extraordinary journey? See more images...

Bergen Bergen: By 1900 Bergen could boast a population of nearly 100,000 souls. This great medieval city with its colourful harbour and busy fish market must have been an impressive and welcome sight for those hundreds of travellers, all descending on the city from the countryside, their eyes and minds already fixed beyond its streets and its shops. What sights and smells and sounds pervaded that busy and fretful scene? See more images...


Voss To Bergen Gergen