Many of us have lost our primal connection with nature, ourselves and our human herd. Holmen Lofoten serves as a safe space where we can log off, reconnect and investigate our natural, mental and social roots and passions. We create the feeling of being home at the edge of the world.
Family plays a key part in our story. Holmen Lofoten was created by Ingunn Rasmussen, who grew up there and played alongside the quayside. Her family lived off the land and sea, fishing and foraging. Ingunn had her first working season when she was just five years old; putting baits on the fishing lines. From the age of ten, most of the older siblings in her family had become self sufficient for everything they needed, from clothing to equipment.
Ingunn became the owner of Holmen 20 years ago. For Ingunn, Holmen has changed dramatically; from her childhood lifeline as a fisherman’s daughter, to total abandonment, and later reawakening and restoration to the hotel, restaurant and destination it is today – a place to tell stories and showcase Lofoten culture.
Living at the outermost edge of the Lofoten Islands, one can not help but embrace all the forces of nature. Wild, rough and always shifting. Ingunn and the family invite you to contribute to the way we create, experience and move within this dramatic setting.
Valentine Warner: friend and collaborator with Ingunn on Kitchen On The Edge, and host chef for each event.
As a young boy my eyes would pop out on stalks at stories of the violent Norse gods or monastery doors shuddering under Viking axes. A lively mind for trolls and dark forests I was fascinated by this part of the world, this dark, fairy tale land of rock, forests, ice and sea. Over the years and with a growing love for fishing, the wilderness, log piles, wooden architecture and moss only saw my intent to visit this part of the world become increasingly more urgent.
Those wishes answered, perhaps by the great astral clockwork, and to be working with Holmen is no less than a dream come true. This is an analogue world far from the digital mayhem of modern life where all ones senses are supremely engaged. This is a visceral place of practicality, beauty, friendliness, community, stories and deliciousness. Very special indeed, the idea that nature is our default setting floods the soul immediately.
Everywhere at Holmen beauty may be found. Beauty as equal in one square foot of berries and lichens at your feet as in the awesome mountains that confront you. Above all it is the weather that dictates the daily patterns of life and determines whether you will spend time out fishing or perhaps forging a knife in the workshop, or simply taking some quiet time in ‘clean’ silence.
To return to the restaurant with wet hair, exhilarated by a mountain walk and be met with hot lingonberry punch and the smell of roasting goat meat, then ‘elemental’ seems the most fitting word for all that happens here under the arctic sky.
For me to cook in Holmen’s kitchen is a total joy, the wild abundance around it seeing barely enough hours in a day to exercise ideas for giant cod thumped onto the kitchen counter or tend to baskets of mushrooms set down at the door. Never a ‘job’ to be able to bring the outdoors inside in such a way is to feel an absolute and consuming love of cooking. To share every stage in the process with our guests is a wonderful bonus.
Nature determines absolutely everything you do at Holmen Lofoten. The invitation is to stand and see what is in front of you and let a seemingly unending feast for all the senses unfold.
Something magical happens here that is pretty much impossible to explain. For me everything that really counts in this world, I suppose, a place to come and fill up on friendship, food and nature and reset the balance.
Come and be as still or energetic as you please, then leave us feeling as fresh as sea spray, as calm as the shimmering aurora, with a brightness in the eye and a feeling of being very much ALIVE!
I look forward to seeing you all here.
‘Ildsjel’: a fiery soul
Ingunn is Holmen Lofoten. She embodies all the real, raw and rough elements of life in the Arctic Circle. She strives to preserve and share her deep northern Norwegian heritage, and invites you and others to create your own contribution.
A steady support
Here is a person who oozes patience, a sense of calm, and who is always there beside you when needed. The word ‘no’ does not exist for Håvar when asking him for help.
The one to lead your way
Before you have even said hello to Audun, you will be greeted with a mischievous smile and twinkling eyes. He is the one who will guide you safely and expertly through this wild terrain we call home. The man’s mind is an encyclopedic field guide.