Finse, Norway

Finse 1222 balcony

Researchers lounging on the Finse 1222 balcony during a seminar break.

Have you been on a seminar that has no roads leading to the place? Finse is a small village in the middle of the Norwegian mountains. It was build as a worker camp under the construction of the Oslo-Bergen railway line, which left the Finse 1222 hotel – conveniently with meeting facilities.

Many seminars, workshops, winter schools  and festivals are held in Finse over the year.

In the 1940ies, the German army tried to build a test airstrip for using glaciers as air fields in the area (“Versuchsstation Finse”), leading to the beautiful DNT cottage with an odd tower on one end.

Today, Finse is a hiking, skiing and glacier sports resort. It offers a feeling of “in the middle of nowhere”, while attracting many adventurers, sports lovers, and artists.

George Lukas hauled over the whole “Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back” production crew to Finse, where the ground battle on the ice planet Hoth was shot. You can spot the location the movie was made at by spotting the rocks framing the glacier, e.g. while watching the movie on the projector in 1222’s meeting room facing the glacier.

Finse is situated by Hardangerjøkulen, the Hardanger glacier, which is a giant ice cap peaking at 1800 meters. Roald Amundsen used it to prepare his polar exploration teams before he went for the pole.

What to do

  • Enjoy the great outdoors with skiing, hiking, glacier hikes, kite skiing… depends on the season. The hotel and the DNT cottage both offer kite skiing courses and guides and equipment to go onto the glacier. Skis are for rent at the 1222 hotel.
  • Read Anne Holt’s murder mystery “1222″ while you’re on location. You’ll recognize every detail the book describes! Published in Norwegian (“1222″) and in German (“Der norwegische Gast”).
  • Watch “Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back“.

Where to stay

  • For those with serious budgets: Finse 1222 hotel, the only hotel with its own custom-made murder mystery novel, and a 3-course dinner served.
  • The DNT hiking cottage Finsehytta is located on the tip of a peninsula of Finse lake. Buy the food pack… and you’ll get a voluminous dinner with local food, practically all-you-can-eat.
  • Camp around the lake or anywhere else off the cottages. It’s legal. And you can always buy a coffee and use the showers in the cottage.

Getting around

  • To get to Finse, you take the train from Oslo or Bergen. Or bike the maintenance track by the railway. Or use nordic skis and the DNT cottage network over Hardangervidda. Or you might as well take the Huskies.

Where to eat

  • Pretty much the same as above under “Where to stay”, unless you go fishing or ice angling.

What to bring home

  • Unbeatable memories of Norwegian wilderness.
  • Your own shot of the Hoth battle with your favorite merchandise plastic figures.


Imperial troops in Finse 1222's dining room.

Picture 1 of 29

Imperial troops posing for photographers in in Finse 1222's dining room.

The Empire is back!

On April 30, 2010, ca. 40 Star Wars enthusiasts of the Rebel Legion’s Nordic Garrison met up at Finse on the occasion of the the 30th anniversary of the filming of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back”. The film fans traveled with heavy luggage, carring their Star Wars uniforms and weapons with them. Their plan was an re-enactment of the battle on the ice planet of Hoth, which opens the movie, on the orignal filming site in Norway.

Click the gallery below for a look at the 2010 occupation of Finse by imperial troops!

All images (c) 2010. No unlicensed use permitted.

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