HOVDEN – Island & Family

11_1002-Norway-579-Varland-HovdenHovden island in Møsvatn lake (Telemark), one of the largest lakes of Norway (78 km2), elevated 920 m. over sea level, is located 4 km ashore from the road linking the lake dwellers with the outer world.

Since generations the Hovden island has been owned by the family, called likewise, Hovden. Today Harold Hovden with his wife Hilde and 4 daughters Ashild (7), Tone (5), Marjit (3) and Anlaug (2), are the only permanent inhabitants of the island (ages as of October 2011, when the pictures were taken).

During the summer time, which means, when the lake is not frozen, the Hovden family runs a taxi boat business, also fishing every day and do basic agriculture.

With all possible hi-tech accessories – from speed boats, all possible means of transportation on and off water, o GPS devices for fishing, coffee machines, etc, the daily menu of the family could theoretically be made of goods of their self-sufficient lifestyle: locally grown up vegetables, freshly hunted meat or lake fish…

Every typical day is a rush between taking people by boat from Island to “continent” or back, fishing, cleaning fish and casting nets again. The daughters do the boat trips with their father and mother.


A weekday starts with a coffee and small breakfast, taking Ashild (7 y.o.) by boat to Varland, where an empty school bus awaits her. She is the first child joined later by others on the road to the school in the town of Rauland.

Later on both Harold and Hilde are on the water. While Harold with two daughters takes some clients up and down the lake on his boat, serving as water taxi, Hilde takes one of the girls with her fishing. On midday Hovden family members get together to clean fish. Afternoon is marked by a quick Norwegian lunch and the pick-up of the elderly daughter from Varland (4 km away and back). Hilde is soon away for casting the nets, while Harold is busy with things and issues on the island.

When the evening falls, the family sits around the table with a meal, marking the self-sufficient lifestyle of the family & island of Hovden – elk meat and potatoes.

The pictures were taken during the last week of summer on Møsvatn lake, in October 2011. The following week, the first snow arrived.