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Vinje's emblemVinje Kommune

Pop. 3,662; Area 2,740 sq. km. (1058 sq. mi.)

The township of Vinje covers the northwestern corner of Telemark. The name comes from the first farm in Vinje, and means "meadows" or "pastures." TheVinje's location in Telemark coat of arms, a silver goat on a blue background, represents the importance of goat and sheep farming in the kommune.  During World War II, significant battles were fought in Vinje, including the Battle of Vinjesvingen, during which Norwegian forces held out for over a month against German forces that were superior in number and armament.

The administrative center is Ytre Vinje. Krossen, Rauland, Åmot, and Edland are small towns in Vinje. Lake Totak in Rauland was the scene of the legendary Dyre Vaa's challenge to the god, Thor, and to trolls and monsters. The old traditional crafts such as wood carving, rosemaling, weaving, and silversmithing have been maintained. The municipal center is at Åmot in Ytre Vinje. Krossen in Rauland and Haukeligrend in Edland are other important commercial centers.

Arabygdi lies on Lake Totak in the western part of Rauland. Its most famous attraction is the "Urdbøuri," the largest stone scree in Northern Europe. A scree (also known as a talus) is an accumulation of boulders spread out at the base of steep slopes created by glaciation.  Master fiddler "Myllarguten," or Torgeir Agundson Øygarden, spent his declining years at Kosi and Arabygdi. His home is now a small museum. A monument to this 19th century musician, who played for kings and inspired Edvard Grieg, has been created by sculptor Dyre Vaa and erected beside the highway.

Edland is on E 76. Along the way you can see old waterpowered mills, now restored and in working order. According to popular legend, fiddler "Myllarguten" has connections here, too; he is said to have learned tunes from the Nixie (water spirits) of the millrun waterfalls.

Vågslid has the highest elevation of any village along E 76. Here the activities are based on the natural surroundings of the area and concentrated to the south of the river Kjela. There are many hiking trails and lakes for fishing. Guided hiking tours devoted to special subjects can be arranged.

Rauland gets its name from the red, iron-rich boggy earth common to township. Bog-iron was for centuries an important local resource. is now part of larger Vinje township, a move that caused much controversy.


Sights to See

Lake VinjeDyre Vaa Museum is devoted to the works of the contemporary artist Dyre Vaa, who lived and worked in Rauland for many years.

Nesland Church is a log church built in 1847. It was decorated by two well-known contemporary rosemalers, Øystein Vesaas and Knut Grasbekk, in 1928. Dagfinn Werenskiold decorated the altar. A fine old stave church was torn down, despite many protests. Parts of the foundation come from the old stave church as well as the crucifix, the baptism font, etc. The old pillory still stands in the churchyard.

Vinje Church is a cruciform church of paneled logs, built in 1796. Click for larger image of Vinje Church 13th century stave church, which it replaced, which have been used as floorboards. Artist Henrik Sørensen initiated a  restoration of the church in The interesting interior includes walls of the old 1932. Artist friends assisted with the decorations while Henrik Sørensen painted the altarpiece.

Øyfjell District Museum is based on the collections of T. O. Trovatn. This fine collection of folk art and everyday objects is displayed in a new museum building.

Øyfjell Church, built in 1833, is among the smallest in Norway, with a seating capacity of only 60. It is also the only completely square church in the country.

Rauland Church, built in 1809, has a crucifix from the Lower Rhine which dates to about 1200. To celebrate its 150th anniversary it was redecorated by the artist Kristian Kildal.

Møstrond Church is on an island in the middle of Lake Møsvatn. It was built in 1923. The elevation of the lake is about 3000 feet above sea level making this one of the highest churches in Norway.

Sogna Dam, at Lake Sogna in Edland, is the largest earth dam in northern Europe.

Nigards Loft on the northern shore of lake Totak is one of the oldest secular wooden buildings in Norway. A runic inscription dates the building to 1325.


Telelaget Genealogy

Telelaget's Volunteer Genealogists for Vinje

Emigrant Ancestor Database: Vinje

Submit your emigrant ancestor information


Bygdebøker for Vinje

What's a Bygdebøk?


Berge, Rikard.Vinje og Rauland. Stavanger: Prenta i Dreyers Grafiske anstalt, 1940-1975.

Bd. I. Opplag 1944

Bd. II. Opplag 1973.

Bd. III. (no subtitle)

Bd. IV. Opplag 1975.



Norwegian Language:

Official Vinje Kommune Website

Rauland Academy suggested by Ann Marie Jore

Vinjesvingen.No Marvin Ånund Hagen, webmaster


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If you would like to add a link, submit photos of an historic site, or we've missed an important landmark you'd like to have listed in "Sights to See,"  please email!

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This page was last updated Saturday December 31, 2016 22:28:13 -0600