The Trumpet of Nordland republished

Forside The Trumpet

The Trumpet of Nordland (Norwegian: Nordlands Trompet) is one of the central works of Norwegian parson poet Petter Dass (1647-1707). In 1954, St. Olaf ’s College Press published this English translation of the poem by professor of Norwegian literature Theodore Jorgenson (1894-1971). Petter Dass’ descriptions of the people and nature of Northern Norway is accompanied by the illustrations of Norwegian painter Thorolf Holmboe (1866-1935).

After decades of being available only through libraries and second hand book shops, The Trumpet of Nordland was republished in November 2015 by the Petter Dass Museum and Helgeland Museum, with the permission of St. Olaf ’s College.

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Alstahaug kirke

Alstahaug church

The Dass Dynasty ruled at Alstahaug through nearly a century. It is through three generations. Petter Dass became priest at Alstahaug and worked in the period 1689-1707. His son Anders Dass took over after his father’s death in 1707, and remained in that post until his death in 1736. Morten Sommer, married Anders Dass daughter Abel Margrethe Dass (1710-1791) and worked there as a priest after the death of his father in law. He remained in the post until his death in 1765. Alstahaug was a parish long before The Dass dynasty. The houses we visit at Alstahaug today are built on a meter thick cultural layer that possess traces of the yard as far back as the 1100´s. If we move a little outside the courtyard we find traces back to the Stone Age. A large burial mound is located outside the Haugsneset. It is called Kongshaugen and is the largest of several burial mounds in the area. The church is built in stone and most likely from the second half of the 1100´s, or about the year 1200, at a time when the conflicts between paganism and Christianity was strong. The church site has experienced the transition from Catholic to Protestant church. The archaeological sources from Alstahaug stems mainly from the yard of the rectory.

The Cultural Heritage and research organized by NTNU
The Cultural Heritage excavations under the church floor, in connection with a break restoration of Alstahaug church was led by architect Håkon Christie in the late 1960´s. The skeletal material is published by Per Holck (1969, 1974). Birgitta Berglund conducted some research in 1985. In this context there was conducted marine archaeological survey in Alstahaug. These smaller studies are published in Berglund 1995. The biggest excavation in the yard was completed in 1992 under the auspices of NTNU, The Museum of science in conjunction with the privacy of the parsonage. Birgitta Berglund led the project. She is currently a professor at the Section of Archaeology and Cultural History at the University of Trondheim. There was conducted excavations in 2000, under the auspices of the Museum of science. This time it was the Petter Dass monument that was to become floodlighted in connection with the millennium. The findings made ​​in this regard were mainly from the Reformation time, 1700-1800’s, some dated 1600. These have the same character as finds from excavations in 1992.

Excavations under the church 1967-1969
The architect Håkon Christie led the Cultural Heritage´s excavations under the church and in connection with the restoration of Alstadhaug church in the period 1967-1969. These reports are found in the topographical archives of the Cultural Heritage and the Museum of science. In the autumn 1967, the choir and the eastern part of the ship got excavated. The Dass Dynasty´s tomb in the chancel was opened. There were found some coins. The western part was excavated in 1969. This section is under the eastern part of the new ship which was built in 1863-1865. The medieval Church’s foundations were unearthed during the excavations. Within the walls were a number of graves. The entire ground area under Alstahaug church has been used as a burial so that the cultural layers are mostly destroyed. In the Dass family tomb there were found eight preserved coffins under the chorus. At the bottom there were traces of older burials (Holck 1969 p.18f). The skeletons were taken up, examined and photographed at site. They were not sent to survey to the anatomical institute in Oslo. Petter Dass burial was not found. The coins were found in the family tomb. Among other findings in the aisle, most graves were found in the old ship. A total of 56 graves in the church, and 111 skulls. A preparation of the findings were implemented in the winter of 2003.

Excavations in 1992
The Excavations in 1992 were more extensive than previous excavations at Alstahaug. A trench had to be dug to place a water pipe. The excavations were mainly concentrated in the southeastern part of the farm, starting in front of the southern entrance of the rectory. Four fields were dug up by 1 meter intervals in trench. At the top of all the fields were hard packed earth and gravel under the turf. Under this layer there were found settlement layers, which mainly consisted of layers of waste and wooden board floors inside the houses. These findings can be divided into two main phases. The upper layers of the houses from 1600-1700’s. The other is from the Middle Ages. The oldest finds were dated 1200. Most of the findings constituted stones and animal bones, but also metal, glass, ceramic, soapstone, chalk, flint, slate, brick/mortar, pumice and bare bones.

SOURCES: Berglund, Birgitta, Alstahaug in Helgeland 1000-1750 Dass Dynasty and clergy stages itself, the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences, Fonts 2007, no. 1, Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, 2005.


Alstahaug church


Alstahaug church is one of seven surviving medieval churches in northern Norway, and one of three in Helgeland. These are  Alstahaug, Dønnes and Herøy churches, all located in the old Alstahaug parish. They are called the triangle churches. Alstahaug church is an active parish church with worship services, church events and concerts throughout the year. For more information see Alstahaug church. Tours in the church takes place daily during the summer season. Alstahaug church is probably built around 1200, possibly late 1100. The building style and the archaeological findings, helps pinpoint the oldest part of the church. The stone church may have replaced an older wooden church, as it was wooden churches that dominated building styles throughout medieval Norway. The oldest part of Alstahaug church (the choir section) has an architectural design that ties it to the building and decoration style known throughout Europe. The church is built in the Romanesque style with typical round arches and thick walls. The outer portal of the old choir has got carved «sunken stars» and the columns have the Attic base profile. These stars are not known used after 1200, making dating of the church easier. By studying the brickwork it is found that the original church’s was built in two stages. Researchers believe that the second phase of construction came to about 1250. The construction materials in the church’s oldest parts are soapstone. The walls of Alstahaug church comprises an outer and an inner masonry wall, a so-called cavity wall, stone and gravel mixed with mortar in the middle. Soapstone is precisely hewn into a rectangular shape and is called hewn back stones. There are few churches that have interior wall surfaces with soapstone. The stone is thus an expression of wealth and power.

The interior
In the medieval church’s oldest part on the north side which traditionally is the women side, archaeological research shows that there is a square recess for an altar. The same has been claimed on the south side, which was the men side of the arch. It is therefore likely that there has been altar on both sides of the chancel. Over the altar on the north side there is a niche in the wall. There has probably been a saint sculpture. On the other hand, there is no niche, but a repository. The saint for the women in this case have been Mary, and the saint for the men St.Olav. Such a seated Olav figure was found at Alstahaug and is today exhibited at St.Olav´s collection in Oslo. It is the only surviving saint sculpture that surely comes from Alstahaug church. It was submitted in 1863 to the Olsok collection in Oslo. The sculpture is made of oak and is 106 cm high and 50 cm wide. The sculpture is dated to about 1405-1410 by Engelstad. He thinks it comes from Bremen. Another sculpture, which probably comes from Alstahaug was given to the Museum of Science by Tjøtta in 1901. This sculpture depicts a saint with flowing hair and covred head. Scholars disagree about who this sculpture depicts. It could be St. Margaret, St. Bridget or Mary Magdalene. The painting conservator Daniela Pawel at the Museum of science thinks it is Mary Magdalene. The reason for this is that Maria Magdalene´s attributes are curly hair with a knocked ointment jar in the hand. This sculpture is 80 cm high and relatively flat. It is therefore intended to be located in a closet and not for itselves. The sculpture is most likely made ​​in Lubeck in the 1470´s by Bernt Notke or his students (Engelstad 1936 p.274). In the years 1863-1865 Alstahaug church got rebuilt and expanded. Parts of the medieval church was demolished, and a new and larger nave was erected. The architect for the refit was Nils Stockfleth Darre Eckhoff. The building material this time was stone taken from the hill near the church. The church emerged now as a typical 1800-century church with flatter roof pitch, large windows and a prefixed tower. In the 1960´s began an extensive restoration of Alstahaug church. The whole church got restored to the architectural style of the Middle Ages with steeper roof pitch and smaller windows. The distinctive dome came back. The church was reopened after restoration on June 21th 1970.

The church Interior and altarpiece
The altarpiece is composed of elements from several periods. In Alstahaug church it is just this board that have been preserved from the Baroque era. It was purchased for the church in 1636 by Peder Pedersen, who was the priest of Alstahaug at the time. We do not know how the board was set up in Petter Dass time. Conservators have revealed that the altarpiece consists of several parts from different centuries and craftsmen. The altarpiece can be divided into three. It is read from bottom to top. The lower part illustrates The Last Supper and The Crucifixion. The next section, which is the alterpieces middle part, is from the 1700’s. It has got columns and illustrates the resurrection. The top of the altarpiece is from the 1800´s and shows The Ascension. The altarpiece is consistently baroque despite the fact that it is composed in different eras. Symbols are well used. In Jesus we see the hourglass and skull to remind us of death and the memento mori. The decoration on the sides shows grapes symbolizing Jesus’ blood/wine and reminds us of the forgiveness of our sins The Eucharist. Apples are also symbolically linked to the biblical story. Bunches of grapes/fruit, volutes, cherubim The angels and akantus is typical of the Baroque´s dramatic expressions (1600-1750). The church has got a baptismal bowl brass given to the church in 1697 by Petter Dass and his wife Margrethe Andersdatter. The candlesticks on the altar are given by Anders Dass (son of Petter Dass) and his wife Rebecca Angell. An altarpiece from 1873, with a copy of Adolph Tidemands Jesus in Gethsemane, is hanging on the church’s northern wall. The textile artist Sigrun Berg is also part of the church’s decoration. The church organ is from 1898, built by the German factory Rieger & Söhne.

Until the 1730´s, Helgeland was divided into three parishes: Brønnøysund, Alstahaug and Rødøy with Alstahaug as the largest and richest. Helgeland and all of the Northern Norway belonged to the oldest Christian era of Nidaros. In December 1803, however, Nordlandene and Finnmarken became a separate pin. In 1804 Mathias Bonsach Krogh got appointed bishop of the new diocese while beeing a pastor of Alstahaug parish. The Alstahaug church thus became Northern Norway’s first cathedral, and Alstahaug rectory became a bishopric. From 1812 Bishop Krogh resided on Belsvåg farm, not far from Alstahaug. After Bishop Krogh’s death in 1828 the diocese moved to Tromsø. In 1952, Northern Norway got divided into two dioceses. Sør Hålogaland diocese covers the county of Nordland, and the bishop is based in Bodø.

The Rectory


There are several old buildings at Alstahaug. Some of them have a long history, others came later. One of the oldest is the main rectory where the northern part is dated to 1750. Surveys of painting and decorations inside shows that the living room was painted around 1760. Written sources indicate that the main building has got a dynamic building history. For a long time it was believed that the house was the same as Petter Dass had been living in, but his home has been renewed and replaced. At a graphic piece of art from 1881 we can see that the main house had two wings with the door in the middle. The special arc over the door are similar on the house‘s western side. This detail is also visible on an engraving from about 1750. The north wing was demolished in the early 1890´s. The building thus lost symmetry typical of the Baroque architectural style (ca.1600-1750). The extension to the south is first described in 1806. In the early 1890´s this got replaced by a new annex building that still stands, with larger windows and higher ceilings. In 1865 the priest’s residence moved from Alstahaug to the town of Sandnessjøen. Alstahaug´long history as a rectory was thus past. The farm was sold to private owners. The rectory has been under a continuous restoration and maintenance work for the last 40 years. The building is protected by the Cultural Heritage.



The main exhibition is designed by the Danish design company Kvorning Design & Kommunikation. The exhibition has a modern expression with a symbolic design. Especially the symbolism behind the number of seven, with assossiation to the mountain range The Seven Sisters, is consistent throughout the exhibition. There are texts and images in many formats, objects and listening stations provide knowledge and information in a way that will contribute to contemplation and reflection. Interactive displays allows for specialization, playing with words and knowledge testing. On the wall screens with short films are shown. These are called intermezzi. The films are depicting the four seasons, and is an artistic interpretation of quotes from Petter Dass, The Trumpet of the North. Elements are created by the Danish cinematographer Sten Georg with music by the composer Bodvar Moe. The exhibition is devoted to the heritage of Petter Dass. The exhibition also addresses topics such as religion in a multicultural society and issues concerning human management of natural resources today. In addition to the permanent exhibition there is a separate area set aside for changing exhibitions both in the main building and in the parsonage. This parsonage consists of two connected buildings. One part of the old manse is from about 1750 and contains two lounges with decor from the 1600´s and 1700´s. The youngest part is from about 1890´s and has got four rooms with changing and permanent exhibitions.

Borgny Farstad Svalatog (born 1943) works are part of The Petter Dass Museum’s artistic décor and is located in the main exhibition. The works are designed as books in different sizes, inspired by the 1600´s books.  The books in the showcases are located scattered in the exhibition area. Each book consists of a monotype and embroidered text ribbons. In addition there is a larger embroidery placed on a square base. Monotypes inspired by text lines from the psalm Lord God, your name and honor. «The book» is expressed through color and character with calligraphic qualities and appeal to musicality and association. The embroidery refers to the four cardinal directions and the so called triangle churches at Helgeland. Since the early 1980´s, she´s become established as a prominent contemporary artist, and as a great renewer of church textiles and church art. At Helgeland, she has made the church textiles both in Dønnes and Herøy churches. She was invited to make the exhibition for the main building by the Petter Dass Museum.

The artist and illustrator Hans Gerhard Sørensen (1923-1999) from Stokke in Vestfold is recognized for his art production, not least for the illustrations to litterature written by Olav Duun, Jonas Lie, Tarjei Vesaas and Petter Dass. His specialty was woodcuts and xylographies, but he also used other materials. His artistic expression was inspired by older German woodcut artist as well as contemporary Danish graphic illustrators. Gerherd Sørensen is one of many artists who have worked with the art of Petter Dass writings. He has illustrated Petter Dass reinterpretation by Hans Kristiansen, The Trumpet of the North, 1962 and Collected Works 1 and 2, 1980. 21 of these unique original prints are donated to the Petter Dass Museum by Terje Navjord, one of the founders of the Norwegian food chain Kiwi. The exhibition is part of the permanent exhibition.

Karl Erik Harr (1940) has illustrated many books by and about Petter Dass. Themes from Petter Dass’s life and works are often used by the artist. He illustrated the collected works (1980). He has also illustrated The Trumpet of the North (1989 and later editions). The latest edition appeared in 2006. Many of his Petter Dass artworks are exhibited in the old parsonage. He has written and illustrated several books about Petter Dass.

Contact us

Petter Dass-museet, Alstahaug, 8804 Sandnessjøen
E-post: petter.dass@helgelandmuseum.no
Telefon: 75 11 01 50
Org.nr.: 986 332 553

Irena Jovic
, CEO, 75 11 01 50/ 992 34 972

Julie Henning, Communication manager, 75 11 01 50/ 450 59 970

Gry Johnsen, Museum host, 75 11 01 50/ 971 42 031

Trine Benedicte Jenssen, Museum employee , 75 11 01 50/ 415 20 340

Per Arne Hanssen, Caretaker, 75 11 01 50/ 906 73 895

Veronica Johannessen, Chef, 909 32 579

Location and map

kart_alstahaug_kystriksveienTRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION
Sandnessjøen is a transportation hub for the entire region. It´s situated next to the sea with daily access to ferry, flights to other Norwegian cities, express boat, scheduled buses and the Hurtigruten coastal steamer. A bridge connects Sandnessjøen to the mainland. From Sandnessjøen center there is approximatly 20 km to the museum, located at Alstahaug by the county road 17 (Fv17). Regular bus passes the museum twice daily. The easiest way to get there is still by your own car, bike or taxi. There are good bus connections between Sandnessjøen and Mosjøen. These correspond with the train.

Sandnessjøen Taxi, phone.: +47 75 04 02 12
Helgeland Transport Service (minibus), phone: +47 45 19 19 19

The nearest trainstation is in Mosjoen, approximately 70 km from Sandnessjøen.

Bus, ferry and express boat

The northbound route arrives at Sandnessjøen every day at. 03:45 going further north at. 04.15.
Southbound Route arrive Sandnessjøen every day at 12:30 and goes further south at. 13:00. Read more on www.hurtigruten.no

Widerøe has got flights to Sandnessjøen Airport Stokka several times a day. Find flights at www.wideroe.no

Scandic Hotel Syv Søstre, Sandnessjøen, phone: +47 75 06 50 00
Napoli Restaurant and Motel, Sandnessjøen, phone: +47 75 06 40 80
Stokkatunet, Alstahaug, phone: +47 971 01 676
Sandnessjøen Camping, Steiro, phone: +47 75 04 54 40/ +47 975 62050
Offersøy Camping, Tjøtta, phone : +47 91 70 55 64
Taraldsen Brygge, Tjøtta, phone: +47 97 98 22 63
House for rent, Alstahaug.

Your visit


The Petter Dass-Museum is located about 20 km south of Sandnessjøen, just off FV 17, the Coastal Route (Kystriksveien). Parking facilities include
reserved parking for the disabled. The museum is located in beautiful surroundings, next to the sea with a nice view towards The Vega Islands.

Individual visitors, both Norwegian and foreign tourists are among the biggest groups of visitors at the museum. During the summer season, which lasts between June 15-August 15, tours are organized every day both at the museum and in the church. A short movie is shown every hour in the auditorium. The movie tells about Petter Dass in the Baroque era. The maid Olava, tells about life as a servant at Petter Dass time. Out of season guided tours are offered by request.

The Petter Dass Museum welcomes groups both inside and outside the regular opening hours. We offer regular tours, or tours arranged by demand. It is also possible to combine a visit to the museum with a nice meal in Margrethes café. Here you can get a taste of locally produced traditional food from Helgeland.

We arrange events with local food and cultural happenings for both individual companies and groups. We also facilitate various cultural events during your visit. In addition to guided tours, the museum organizes and offers concerts, meetings, seminars, lectures and the like. The museum’s auditorium has got seats for 80 visitors.

Works of Petter Dass


The poetry of Petter Dass seem to have had a broad scope, both geographically and socially. We find traces of his poetry being used all over Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands and along the southwest coast of Sweden. Through transcriptions, printed editions and in music, his poetry has reached far beyond the borders of Norway. In folk music, we find his poetry accompanied by a large number of different melodies. Petter Dass was represented in Landstads church hymnal from 1870. We see that Petter Dass is read by all social strata, from government officials and academics to fishermen and farmers. Since the first issue of Biblical  Ballads (No.: Bibelsk Visebok) was published in 1711 and throughout the century, Petter Dass writings got published in more than 200 different editions. The Catechism Songs (No.: Katekismesangene) are registered in around 50 various editions, from 1715 to 1840. The volume of editions of Dass’ works exceeds by far the number of editions of works by his contemporary colleagues, such as the the poet Dorothea Engelbretsdatter, Thomas Kingo and Hans A. Brorson.

In the folk song tradition, we find more than 700 different melodies and melody variations of Petter Dass’ texts. In Norway, no other writers are used to the same extent as Petter Dass. Petter Dass’ lyrics are sung to melodies throughout Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands. For the song about Jephtah’s promise there exists 80 different tunes. The hymn «Herre Gud ditt dyre navn og ære» (Eng.: «Mighty Lord, to thy dear Name be given») is registered with more than 50 various melodies. The songs and poems of Petter Dass have been used on many occasions, also in ceremonial contexts. We find examples of this both in Norway and the Faroe Islands.

The topographic poem The Trumpet of Nordland (No.: Nordlands Trompet) is one of the central works of Petter Dass. In 1954, St. Olaf ’s College Press published this English translation of the poem by professor of Norwegian literature Theodore Jorgenson (1894-1971). Petter Dass’ descriptions of the people and nature of Northern Norway is accompanied by the illustrations of Norwegian painter Thorolf Holmboe (1866-1935).

After decades of being available only through libraries and second hand book shops, The Trumpet of Nordland was republished in November 2015 by the Petter Dass Museum and Helgeland Museum, with the permission of St. Olaf ’s College. For the 2015 edition, Professor Emerita of Norwegian Literature at St. Olaf’s College, Solveig Zempel, has written an explanatoric introduction for those wanting to learn more about the life and works of Petter Dass. The book can be purchased from the Petter Dass Museum. Click for product details and order information.

Some other poems and songs of Petter Dass have also been translated to English. Several different translations of selected verses of the hymn «Herre Gud ditt dyre navn og ære» are found in various editions of the hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A selection of hymns from the Norwegian Hymn Book 2013 (Hymns in English) also includes a translated version of the Norwegian hymn «Om alle mine lemmer», «If all my body’s members».

Norwegian and European

«Throughout our Norwegian literature
we hardly find any poet with such a sumptuous rhythmic talent as Petter Dass. He is not the most refined poet, but it is a drive in his language that can bring to mind the baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach.» This is the literary historian Per Thomas Andersens description of Petter Dasspoetry. In Petter Dasstexts, we find the full spectrum of moods: seriousness and wisdom, humor and exuberance. His literary imagery is characterized both by knowledge of classical literature, Greek and Roman mythology and local references. Petter Dass was both North Norwegian and European. Perhaps that´s why his writings have been devoted to so much attention through more than three hundred years. Of all Petter Dass poet works, we know of only one poem that is preserved with his own handwriting, namely his request on the rim of his colleague Peter Bredal in Brønnøysunds to terminate the theological discussion, they had generally been in Latin. The poem is titled Alle lappaliers begrafelse and is preserved by Gunnerus Library in Trondheim.

The portrait on the right hand has been thought to be the priest and poet Petter Dass. The original portrait hangs in Melhus church in the south of Trøndelag. We do not know of other portraits of Petter Dass today. During recent years there has been a discussion about if it´s really Petter Dass and not the Melhus priest Oluf Mentzen Darre. The portrait has no signature and the artist name is unknown. The painting still has some interesting information that is supposed to indicate how old the priest at the picture is, and how long he has been in service. The inscription is in Latin, Ministerii XI and Aetatis XXXVII, and would indicate that the portrayed person had been in service for 11 years and was 37 years old when the picture was painted. It was the philologist Andreas Emil Erichsen (1841 – 1913) who connected the portrait to Petter Dass at the release of Petter Dasscollected works in the early 1870´s while starting the investigations of possible existing portraits of Petter Dass. It emerged that a portrait had existed on the farm Skei of Alstahaugvågen, but it has been destroyed.

On Alberhaugen by Alstahaug church and the Petter Dass-museum there is a stone monument. It is dedicated to Petter Dass. It was the peasant Johan Bech Slåtterøy at Alstahaug who got the idea of ​​a monument in 1890. The monument was erected on august 26th, 1908 in the belief that one also marked the 200th year of Petter Dass death. All the major national newspapers were present and a number of famous people too among them Bishop Bochman. The author Jonas Lie and his nephew, the author Bernt Lie, both wrote a song each that was sung during the happening. The memorials was designed by architect August BC. Nielsen, while the bronse piece of it was modeled by Georg Andreas Heggelund. The artist Gustav Vigeland also made ​​several drafts of a monument.

The poet Petter Dass

In our time we think of literature as both experience and entertainment. In Petter Dass time there were completely different performances. Poetry was for help and education. The poet was the teacher and should convey a message. As a priest Petter Dass characterized the world of christianity. As a poet he belonged to the Baroque. Much of the Baroque poetry was characterized by a florid language with rhetorical effects. Petter Dass managed to balance this and created a simplicity of expression. This has undoubtedly contributed to the fact that his poems still lives while a lot of other Baroque literature has drowned in it´s own lavish means. Petter Dass wrote poems and songs for all occasions. But first and foremost he wrote to guide young people and adults to a deeper understanding and respect for God’s creation and the Bible. Petter Dass released only one of his texts during his own lifetime. It is The Norwegian Dale-VII, 1683. His scriptures were scattered through a large number of transcriptions and by 1711 in numerous printed editions. The first edition of his collected works were published in 1874-1877.


The vision og the museum is to be an active, different and attractive museum. In addition to being a national documentation and resource center for the heritage of the clergyman and poet Petter Dass, we want to impart knowledge and experiences for both our young and old guests. Scenic surroundings, distinctive architecture and site history forms the framework for a visit. The Petter Dass Museum features both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Every hour during the museum’s opening hours a multimedia program about the site appears.

You can visit the Petter Dass Museum throughout the year. Guided tours must be booked during wintertime. In the summer we have regular tours, but groups of ten people must book tours in advance. Group visits and guided tours outside normal opening hours may also be ordered. A standard tour includes an introduction to the site, viewing the multimedia program and a brief review of the exhibitions in the new museum. Estimated time is approximately one hour including the time you look around on your own.

The museum wants to be an interesting educational institution for children, youth and students. Our offer to kindergartens and classes are free. The museum offers various thematic studies and educational programs in addition to a standard tour. Periodically we invite students and teachers to special exhibitions or events. The Petter Dass Museum wants to develop new offerings to schools, often in collaboration with the schools themselves. Classes may also arrange an autonomous visit to the museum. Students from across the country visit the museum throughout the year. A study visit may consist of a regular tour, or a separate agreed arrangements. The museum is helpful with advice and resources for projects and assignments.


The Petter Dass Museum at Alstahaug is The County of Nordland´s millennium site. The museum is dedicated to the heritage of the priest and poet Petter Dass. At Alstahaug are the old vicarage, the medieval church Alstahaug kirke, and a modern museum building. As a symbol of the millennium site and its special connection to the clergyman and poet Petter Dass, the main buildings monumetale architecture itself expresses an understanding of the past, a belief in the future and an inspiration for the present. You may visit our exhibitions, enjoy a taste of traditional food in Margrethes café or shop in our museum shop. The museum at Alstahaug consists of several buildings. The oldest building in the yard is the old vicarage from the mid-1700´s. There are changing exhibitions and interiors from the 16 and 1700´s. There are regular guided tours during the summer season. The old buildings are only open during the summer season from June to August, or by appointment. The peaceful and beautiful Alstahaugtunet and the surrounding area is a popular recreation area for locals and other visitors. Tehe Museum, the church, the cemetery and the buildings are protected by the Cultural Heritage. A new museum building and the car park was opened in Alstahaug October 20 in 2007. The building is designed by the architectural firm Snøhetta AS. This building is the Petter Dass Museum’s main building. It´s open all year, every day except mondays and some holidays.



There is not a lot of Norwegian literature from the 1600s that is known to most people in our time. Petter Dass hymns are still sung in churches, and many people still remember several of his lyrics by heart. The priest and poet Petter Dass plays a central role in our cultural history. As a poet he comes across as the most significant next to Thomas Kingo in our joint Danish / Norwegian literary history in the latter part of the 1600s. His most known works are the description of northern Norway The Trumpet of Nordland, and especially the hymns with themes from the Bible and Luther’s catechism. Petter Dass has been a living autor for more than three hundred years. Few other poets of his age can boast the same sustained attention. Petter Dass also act as a cultural icon. He has been assigned the role of a cultural figure, an identity-related reference both at a local, regional and national level. And he is a mythical figure. Petter Dass work still wakes interest and contributes to important cultural influences and values​​. Sum, fueram, Fiam, sum Dassius Unus a idem. (I am, I have been and I always am the same Petter Dass.)

PETTER DASS 1647 – 1707
Petter Dass was born in 1647 as the oldest of five children. His mother, Maren Falch, was the daughter of Anne Joensdatter from Tjøtta and Peder Jacobsen Falch. The Falch family had it´s ancestral roots in the Netherlands. Peter’s father, Peitter Pittersen or Peter Don Dass, was born in Dundee in Scotland. In 1635 he got his citizenship in Bergen. Some time later he came to the north as a trader and married there. When Petter Dass was about six years old his father died. His mother married again. Peter grew up with different relatives. In 1660, 13 years old, Petter Dass moved to Bergen to start his education at the cathedral school. In the years 1666-1668 Petter Dass studied at the University of Copenhagen. There he got educated in a strict Lutheran doctrine that was decisive for him both as a priest and poet. After graduating Petter Dass returned to Helgeland. He married Margrethe and they got two sons. Helgeland became his home and inspiration as both priest and poet all his life. Having been a tutor in Vefsn and chaplain at Nesna Petter Dass got appointed vicar of Alstahaugvågen in 1689. He becomes an authoritative and wealthy parish priest in a mighty parish. His son Anders succeeds him in office. Petter Dass died on august 17, 1707. His gravesite is not known.



The shop has got a variety of books by and about Petter Dass. Here are CD´s, special gifts for children and adults, postcards, t-shirts and quality souvenirs you´ll not find elsewhere. Among the items available are quality toys and calligraphy pens in gift boxes. We´ve got cups with Petter Dass handwriting printed on it, bags and headbands. The shop has got a nice selection of postcards for sale. These are constantly renewed. The reception is at your service. It is possible to order goods by phone or e-mail: petter.dass@helgelandmuseum.no. The service charge is NOK 50, – plus shipping in addition to the the cost of the goods. Please call if you have any questions on phone: 75 11 01 50.



Norway’s great poet and priest Petter Dass (1647-1707) is honored through the festival named The Petter Dass days at Alstahaug every second year. The festival has become a traditional literaturefestival. It has been organised since 1983 at Alstahaug. The festival was established after the initiative of Nordland County Council. The Hamsun-days they and The Petter Dass days are the region’s oldest festivals. The Petter Dass-day has established itself as a cultural center for the region and encompasses a broad audience. The festival offers cultural encounters for everyone such as authormeetings, concerts, performances and exhibitions. The festival has its own events specifically for children, young people and seniors. The Festival Arenas is at The Petter Dass museum, Alstadhaug church, Rica Hotel, Sandnessjøen and at other places around the community. Among the festival’s objectives is a program with performances of high artistic quality with a significant focus on contemporary arts such as literature, music and visual arts. The events are intended to promote creative and performing artists with ties to the region and to maintain cooperation with relevant associations, organizations and volunteer resources. The information and the program for 2018 will be launched when approaching.


You can enjoy food from Helgeland in Margrethe café . We can organize meals and happenings for both large and small companies daytime, afternoon and evening. The minimum number of participants for orders outside our opening hours are 10 persons. It`s also possible to book meals in connection to group visits, private parties or other arrangements. We also tour the museum on such occasions. The menu is varied. There are plenty to choose from either you want a light lunch or a three-course dinner.

MENU 2021
Summer menu: Menu summer.
Bus menu
: Bus meny.

E-mail: petter.dass@helgelandmuseum.no
Phone: +47 75 11 01 50 / 75 11 01 57

Photo: Ketil Born

The main building


Snøhetta AS has signed The Petter Dass Museum (2001-2007) commissioned by Alstahaug commuity. The building is considered as Snøhettas icon on the Helgeland coast. The buildings form is associated with Landart because of its natural integration into the landscape. The building is also a «landscraper» opposed to a skyscrapers, a building that creeps along the ground. The approach to the construction project can be seen in the context of the Nordic architects like Alvar Aalto, Christian Norberg-Schulz and Ralph Erskine. Snøhetta´ formal language is simple, put into context with symbolism and contrast. Traditionally, Snøhetta AS is known for their low and horizontal icons. The building was completed in a combined steel and concrete structure and covered with sheets of zinc. The total cost of the construction is approximately NOK 84 million, funded by Nordland County Council, Ministry of Culture, Alstahaug community and contributions from business and organsastions. The main building contains of a foyer with a museum shop and a reception, auditorium, café, toilets and wardrobe. The second floor includes exhibition area. The third floor houses a library, offices and a meeting room.

Snøhetta AS is run by the architects Kjetil Thorsen Trædal and Craig Dykers. The architectural firm is known for its flat structure and non-hierarchical organistation. There is free flow of information and good teamwork. Kjetil Thorsen Trædal explains in an interview with Næringseiendom September 19th 2006, the difference between Snøhetta and other architectural offices: «I think the difference lies in the organizational model and the way it´s worked on. We have an open structure. A certain hierarchy must be, otherwise we are unable to control, but it is conditional place and time. At the same time, I think we have managed to create an environment where we get the best from the individuals who work here. There are many small decisions making throughout, so the architecture is today, it is the only sensible organization because architecture is a mental state as much as physically. «The Petter Dass Museum is shaped by the spirit and place strategy where Snøhetta´s procedural work has been divided into several levels of work.

The new building has received wide recognition in academic circles for construction, and has received the following awards and nominations:
– Honorable mention in connection with the awarding of The State Architecture Prize, 2008.
– Nominated along with The Norwegian Opera & Ballet as Norwegian participants in the World Architectural Festival in the category Culture in Barcelona, ​​2008.
– Named as the «North Norwegian construction of the year» by the North Norwegian Contractors Service Organisation (NESO), 2010.

The building is also featured in numerous books focusing on architecture:
– ArchDaily: Separate postings on the site architecture that addresses the world’s most prestigious and architectural projects.
– Taschen Verlag: «ARCHITECTURE NOW! MUSEUM «, 2011. Referred to as the only museum building from the north.
– Lars Muller Publishers, «SNØHETTA WORKS», 2009.

In addition, the building is represented in Nasjonamuseets exhibition «TRACKS». Norwegian Architecture 2005-2010 «which was shown at the National Museum in 2011 The exhibition has toured both internationally and nationally from 2012.


The priest and poet Petter Dass (1647-1707) has got a central place in our cultural history. As one of the few northern Baroque poets, Petter Dass is still interesting and provides important impulses in our time. This assumption is, among other things, the basis for the development and expansion of the Petter Dass Museum. The Petter Dass Museum is a division of Helgeland Museum. The buildings are owned by Petter Dass Eiendom KF. The main building is designed by Snøhetta AS. It is tucked into a constructed shaft through Alberthaugen, well integrated into the landscape with the front towards Alstahaug´s courtyard. Alstadhaug church is one of seven surviving medieval churches in northern Norway. It is one of three preserved at Helgeland. The parsonage is located at the seaside of the yard and is a mansion house from the 1760´s. It was built by the vicar Morten Sommer (1704-1756), who was married to Petter Dass granddaughter Abel Margrethe Dass (1710-1791). The vicarage was extended approximately 1890. Other buildings in the yard is the storehouse, smokehouse and pier. The chapel was probably built in connection with the church and restoration in 1863-1865. The vicarage as it stands today has not been inhabited by Petter Dass. The courtyard main structure is believed to be that of his time.


Opening hours and tickets


Adult: kr. 120,-
Honnør: kr. 100,-
Student: kr. 100,-
Guided tours groups  : kr. 150,-
CHILDREN u/16 år: free


Monday – Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00
The café serves food from 10.00–16.30

Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 15:30 (café 15.00)
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 – 17:00 (café 16.30)
Monday: Closed


Adults: NOK 120,-
Students/Pensioners: NOK 100,-
Children under 16: free
Groups of 10 or more: NOK 150,- per person

E-mail: petter.dass@helgelandmuseum.no
Phone: +47 75 11 01 50