The story of Lydersen Rorbuer at
Fredvang from 1890 to 2017
“Rorbu is a Norwegian traditional type of seasonal house, normally located in a fishing village. Fishermen would have their rorbu as their seasonal quartering during the fishing season to be as close as possible to the fishing banks”.
Lyder Jakobsen came from Oppsal to Fredvang around the year 1890. During his first years at Fredvang, he worked as a cobbler. He married Katrina Maria Johannes from Fredvang in 1893, and had 5 sons. They all took the surname Lydersen after their father.
Lyder Jakobsen bought Gardshovdan and the property Hovdan in 1907. The name Hovdan comes from the Old Norse name Hofti, which means high “steep rock”.
Lyder Jakobsen was the first to establish himself as a trader of fish at Fredvang. After the fish had been processed, Lyder and his eldest son Sverre, born in 1894, would go to Bergen to sell the products. From Bergen, they would bring back goods for the benefit and pleasure of the whole community. After 1917, Lyder could no longer sell his fish in Bergen, and times became tougher. Later that year, the son of Sverre took over the fishery, just 24 years old. He was hard working and wanted to expand the business. The harbor was extended and made deeper so that larger boats could dock. To export flounder to England, they needed ice. Sverre therefore established a pool near the premises to serve this purpose. They sawed large blocks of ice during the winter and kept them in the icehouses covered with sawdust as insulation. This enabled Sverre to export fish to England in the spring. After World War I this export terminated as the price was too high.
After Lyder Jacobsen’s death in the winter of 1938, his son Aksel, born in 1906, came in as co-owner, and the place was called Lyderbruket, with Sverre and Axel as owners. They made a deal with British Petroleum and a bunker facility was established on the premises where fishermen could buy fuel for their boats. For many years, Axel had the responsibility of traveling to Sund to buy fish. When the fisherman came in from the fishing banks in Vestfjord they would buy their catch and transport it back to Fredvang to be processed. At that point, there where 3 different teams of fishermen using Fredvang as their rorbu (seasonal quartering).
Purse seine was put into operation in 1950 and the fishing village of Fredvang burst info life during this period and business was thriving, until a ban on fishing for cod with a spinning pot came into action in 1955. Sverre and Axel therefore had to look for other opportunities and they started to produce cod-liver oil, which would become an important part of their trade
Later Lyderbruket was taken over by Axel's youngest son Jarl and his wife Liv. Liv oversaw the office and the accounts while Jarl ran the fishery. The facilities were upgraded with more modern production equipment and the capacity was expanded to a production of as much as 250 000 liters of cod-liver oil a year. Most of which were sold to Peter Møller in Oslo. By 1989, Lyderbruket´s trading in fish was discontinued, but the production of cod-liver oil continued until 2005.
In 1990, Liv and Jarl Lydersen began to offer accommodation in what was previously used for accommodating fishermen (rorbuer). Fredvang with its beautiful hiking terrain, white beaches and midnight sun became a popular destination for many tourists. Eventually, the building that was previously used for storing fishing nets and as bait shed was renovated into cozy apartments for rent. The first was finished in 1995 and was named Larsbua after the first guest who came from Sweden. Later 4 more apartments have been completed and they have all been named after fishermen who have stayed there.
In 2017, Liv and Jarl Lydersen sold Lyderbruket to Fredvang Utvikling AS and the facilities were renamed Lydersen Rorbuer. The new owners want to continue to develop Lydersen Rorbuer as a popular accommodation provider situated in the living, breathing fishing village of Fredvang.