Solvang – on the sunny meadow
(Norwegian version) In 1898, two years after the railway was opened to Otta, the local youth club had raised their own house. Since then this community hall has played an important part in the lives of young and old.
Text: Per Erling Bakke
Adapted and translated into English by Ivar Teigum
Solvang around 1900.
Around 1900 national organizations with their local affiliates blossomed in Norway, one of them being an idealistic and nationally oriented organization for young people.
The local club in the Sel community was started in 1888, but having no house of its own, the meetings were held around on the farms and in the members’ homes. With the rapid growth around the railway station at Otta, it became popular to meet there, and the dream of a house developed, and on 6. January 1896 a committee was appointed. Three weeks later the plan was ready, and three years later time was in for celebration.
Solvang was moved to a location close by in 1922 to give space for a new school. The picture from outside Solvang in 1930 shows local housewives attending a three day course on food and nutrition.
Removed to a neaby location
In 1922 time was due for a modern school building at Otta, and as a matter of convenience Solvang had to be removed to a nearby location. The youth club got a compensation and was rebuilt on land by now owned by the Sel local authority.
At the time of its removal the community hall was in a really bad shape. It is chronicled to have had slippery ice on the floor in winter. And with the floor askew already, the dancers on Saturday night would inevitably end up in a corner. Those who sat by the windows in sweaty shirts, would soon have them turned icy cold.
With Solvang renovated this problem disappeared.
The new house reopened in 1923
The reopening took place in April 1923, and the community hall was fit for the celebration on National Day, May 17. New action was taken in 1950 when the public buildings authority threatened to close the house for good.
After the Second World War a national program was launched to build new and modern community halls around the country supported with public means. This caused unrest among the youth clubs who were responsible for halls like Solvang. Among other activities they were likely to lose the cinema.
At Otta building of the new hall was completed in 1968. Eventually the youth club became a large shareholder in the enterprise, they wanted to sell Solvang, but met with no interest. Solvang continued to be the object of voluntary endeavours. In 1998 the one hundred years anniversary was celebrated with almost the corresponding number of guests.
The local youth club was dissolved in 2017, and Solvang was sold to the local brass band.
In 2017 the national organization behind the local youth club accepted that Solvang was sold to the local brass band, and from then on the house was organized as a shareholders’ enterprise. The premises were expanded and renovated with among other things a new stage. The house has turned out to be as well kept and as popular as ever for many kinds of events.
The modern Solvang.
Today Solvang is a popular arena for music and dance practising, concerts, anniversary celebrations and birthday parties. The current list is long, auctions, fairs, courses, rock concrts, school arrangements, Christmas balls and dance hall arrangements, and school class reunion events.