A Little Church with A Story to Tell

Every year around 30,000 tourists visit Honningvåg Kirke.

Honningsvåg Kirke, Nordkapp Norway

Unlike the spectacular cathedrals in Rome, it is a modest timber church that seats 220 people.  But within it’s walls awaits a remarkable story of endurance, and determination and hope.

Honningsvåg Kirke

Built in 1885, Honningsvåg Kirke is the oldest building on the island of Magerøya.  No other buildings survived the end of World War II.  The German troops left a path of destruction as they evacuated Norway, burning everything in sight.

No one knows exactly why the church was left unharmed.  But, miraculously, the church was spared, while the rest of the town became a smoldering mass of embers and debris.

World War II Memorial, Honnignsvåg Kirke (60 died between 1939-45)

When the reconstruction of Finnmark (northern region of Norway) began, the government wanted to move the location of Honningsvåg to the mainland.  But determined residents fought to rebuild their town in it’s original location.

Around a 100 people returned to Honningsvåg.  They set up camp in the church.  A bakery was established there.  The pews doubled as beds.   And with a church for their home, this heroic group began the hard work of building barracks for more people to return and help rise up a new Honningsvåg.

For me, the church stands as a symbol of unity, community, hope and determination.

Honnigsvåg Kirke, January 2012

Honningsvåg Kirke, front doors

Lantern, Honningsvåg Cemetery

Honningsvåg Kirke and Cemetery

Window reflections, Honningsvåg Kirke

sky reflection in windows, Honningsvåg Kirke

Window, Honnignsvåg Kirke

Lanterns, Honnignsvåg Kirke

Honningsvåg Kirke Steeple

If you have the opportunity to travel to Nordkapp, I recommend taking time to visit Honningsvåg Kirke.  Come and hear the spectacular story this little timber church has to tell.

About ekhaugli

I'm Erica from America living at the top of the world - North Cape, Norway. I'm an artist at Once Upon a Dream Studio, nestled in the picturesque fishing town, Honningsvåg. http://www.onceuponadream.no In 2014 I started and environmental art project, One Step at a Time, concentrating on removing trash from or arctic shoreline.
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26 Responses to A Little Church with A Story to Tell

  1. sueedstrom2 says:

    Wonderful pictures of the church. It does ooze with history. Looking forward to visiting and seeing the inside.

  2. elinsilje says:

    My father was fifteen when the war ended, and was one of the first to come back to Honningsvåg. Together with his parents and siblings, he spent the first months in the church. Decades later, when the church was refurbished, he was doing the paintwork, together with his colleague and my mother. Living close to the church my entire childhood, it has also been an important part of my life. Thanks for the pictures!

    • ekhaugli says:

      Thank you for your kind comment. I am inspired by the work your father and his family did for this community. I’d love to hear more of your family’s story. You are welcome to stop in at my gallery. Jeg leier lokalet nede på sjøgata, i kjelleren til det gamle bedehuset. Skal åpne galleriet der i løpet av det neste måneder. Veldig hyggelig hvis du stikke innom og vi kan ta en kupp kaffe og en prat. Hilsen, Erica

  3. The Hook says:

    How fitting that a church should survive Hell on Earth, right?

  4. Thanks for making us aware of something we otherwise would probably never have heard about.

    Steve Schwartzman

    • ekhaugli says:

      Thanks for you comment, Steve. I was also not aware of the story until we moved here. I’ve been deeply moved by the courage of the men and women who helped rebuild this part of Norway. Very inspiring.

  5. Pierre says:

    Lovely photos and text, thanks!

  6. Steven Tze says:

    Beautiful pictures and thanks for the background on this little church Erica. Thanks for your comments on my blog and it’s a reminder I need to spend some time going through yours!

    It’s awesome to see you’re a “featured blog” on the photography-tagged blogs section. Very cool.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more pictures of your studio as you put together the finishing touches and start filling it up with artwork. And I do like the wood drawers in there!

  7. ekhaugli says:

    Thanks Steve. I’m totally shocked about being a featured blog, and of course thrilled. It’s wonderful to have more people see how beautiful it is here in the North Cape.

    Keep stopping by and I’ll do the same. I learn a lot from your photos, and your self critiques. Happy New Year!

  8. KatElders61 says:

    If only my pocket-book could accommodate the desire to come and see this inspiring place. I am enjoying your posts immensley, thank you.

  9. heroldsroses says:


  10. kurt says:

    Amazing photos! Churches are often the best inspiration and this one is no exception.

  11. Pingback: Out of the Ashes – Acrylic/Mixed Media | Once Upon a Dream

  12. ekhaugli says:

    Reblogged this on experiencenorthcape and commented:

    I thought I would reblog this post for all the new followers of the blog. It provides some history about Honningsvaag Church after World War II.

  13. HansHB says:

    Flott bildeserie av kirka i vinterdrakt. Kirker er nokså forskjellige fra sted til sted her i Norge. Langs kysten finnes mange eksempler på det!
    Fortsatt god sommer til deg!

  14. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful photos; and a lovely story of perseverance and hope and community. Thank you.

  15. andrea says:

    For you:
    This is a paperback book.
    Very pleasant, the title said:
    Head up particularly comforting.
    Patience is the sister of hope and the mother of serenity.
    Starlight is reflected only in a quiet pond.
    Sincerely Andrea and many hugs.


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