From cabin to home - The Motland family bought a cabin at Fjellse in Flekkefjord. Now they have become locals in Flekkefjord.

Article from Smaabyen Flekkefjord by Anita Alden Frandsen

We meet the educational inspector Norun Motland at Sunde School on the same day that the snow has covered Flekkefjord for the first time like a silky smooth blanket, mid-November. The city looks like a Christmas card from the good old days, and we are going to hear what made Norun, a native of Rogaland, and her family choose Flekkefjord specifically.

More time with the family

They had always lived in the small town of Nærbø in Hå municipality in Rogaland, with its 7,400 inhabitants. The Motland family is a well-knit and active family. Involved in what happens around them in the local community. Mother Norun, father Sveinung and the three children, Henrik, Elle and Herman, enjoyed themselves at Nærbø.

A new start in Flekkefjord – Norun, Sveinung and the family are enjoying themselves at Fjellse. Photo: Private

Norun is originally a nurse, but in 2016 took PPE (practical pedagogical education) and then Educational Leadership Program for principals. She worked at the department of health and early childhood education at Bryne vgs. Sveinung is a trained technical draftsman and worked at Nordic Steel in Bryne. The family had things in order at Nærbø and enjoyed themselves with family and friends around them, but they wanted more time with the family. At the top of their wish list was a cabin further south.

Good memories

Norun's parents had had a cottage on beautiful Åpta outside Farsund for 20 years. Good memories from Southern Norway also gave their daughter and son-in-law inspiration to give their children a taste of the south. In 2019, Norun and Sveinung don't want to wait any longer. they start searching for cabins for sale in the Lister region and go to more viewings. After a few viewing rounds, Norun's father suddenly calls. He has discovered a pleasant old house in Fjellse, in Flekkefjord or Fjellså, which the locals call the beautiful fjord village. The small local community is beautifully situated, close to the mouth of the Flekkefjord. The old house Norun's father had in mind has a sea view. They need to look into this more closely.

"This is home"

In October 2019, they go to look at the cabin at Fjellse in Flekkefjord, which was actually an old house in a great location. When they come out to Fjellse, they have a feeling - "This is home". At the time, they knew nothing about the fjord village, but only knew that this was the right place for them. The cabin purchase goes through and their assumptions turn out to be correct. The Motland family is well received by the "villagers", as they call the local people. The village is known for it's unity and inclusion of young and old alike. - There are good people out there, Norun says smiling. She talks about the traditional flea market and the summer festival, which has become more formalized and is now called Fjellsåfestivalen. The whole family was involved here from day one. They are all socially inclined and like to meet new people. Of course, they will contribute to the festival, which is an event for both inhabitants and visitors.

Fjellsåfestivalen is an important gathering point for both locals and visitors. Photo: Alf Sverre Torgersen

Weekends in the south

After buying the cabin, the family visit Sørlandet and Fjellse most weekends. They become more and more connected to the small fjord village and the people there. They love that you get a combination of city life and country life in Flekkefjord. You can simply choose which experiences you want at any time. Little by little, Norun and Sveinung begin to ponder what a future in Flekkefjord could be for the family.

Sveinung's old workplace, Haaland AS in Vigrestad, had Egenes Brannteknikk as a customer. When Sveinung met Bjørn from Egenes Brannteknikk at Fjellparkfestivalen, they booked a meeting regarding a possible job opening.

Many exciting job opportunities in Flekkefjord: Sveinung got a job at Egenes Brannteknikk, which is one of the cornerstone companies in Flekkefjord. Photo: Egenes Brannteknikk.

In the winter of 2022, Norun visited Smaabyen Flekkefjord's offices to have a coffee with general manager Frode Johannessen. She has learned that Smaabyen Flekkefjord will establish a Smaabyen visitor center at the start of 2023 and that they are working to establish contact between job seekers and employers. Norun will check out potential opportunities there are for work in Flekkefjord.

New connections

Frode Johannessen contacts the municipal manager for upbringing and culture in Flekkefjord, Svein Hansen, who immediately says that they would like to obtain Norun's qualifications in the municipality. Norun is very appreciative of being so well received by both Smaabyen Flekkefjord and the municipality. At Smaabyen's office, she also comes into contact with Flekkefjord's business development manager, Hans-Egill Berven. Smaabyen and the municipality are heading in the same direction.

When life takes a different turn

In March 2023, there is an outbreak of influenza in Nærbø. Several people in the family fall ill. But for one of the children it is more serious, due to a Streptococcus blood infection. There will be emergency admission to Rikshospitalet, with treatment and follow-up for a full 40 days, including fourteen days on a ventilator. The shock and horror makes them realise now more than ever - The most important thing in life is family! And time with the family was the reason why they bought the cabin at Fjellse. Time with the family was also the reason why they became so attached to Fjellse and the people they were with there. Here was the time. Time for family. Time to go fishing. Time for a boat trip. Time for kayak trips. Time for the good conversations. Time for walks. Time to look out to sea. Time for a cup of coffee with friends and family. Now Norun and Sveinung have no doubts. This is what they want. They want to live at Fjellse. They want family time.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Following a challenging period for our family in the spring of 2023, things are happening on the career front. Norun applies for a position in the municipality, as the principal of the Adult Education Center. She is recommended as the second choice for the principal position but is then offered the role of educational inspector at Sunde School. Thanks to Sveinung's strong professional network in Flekkefjord, an opportunity arises for him to become a project manager at Egenes Brannteknikk (Fire Technology). He accepts the position. In August 2023, the Motland family moves to Fjellse in Flekkefjord.

A good start for the children: Renate Hermansen Fiskå's artwork adorns Sunde School, and welcomes the students every day. Norun enjoys her job as teaching inspector here. Photo: Wenche Løyning

Children who thrive

Henrik (18) is really enjoying life in Flekkefjord, both at school and in his free time. Elle (16), who is very sociable, has already made a large circle of friends. She has settled in well in Flekkefjord! The youngest, Herman (12), initially felt homesick. However, a visit to his old school in Nærbø helped him. His old friends were still there, and he realized that Flekkefjord and Bryne aren't so far apart. Additionally, he joined a kayak club over the summer and wants to continue with it. This experience is opening many doors and fostering new friendships. Norun also appreciates the list of children's activities, tailored to her children's age groups, which she received from Smaabyen. It's not just about settling in with housing, jobs, and schools. Having a rich and fulfilling life outside these areas is also important. The family keeps a close eye on Smaabyen's Snapchat account. This helps them stay in the loop with everything happening in the city. “And there's a lot,” Norun remarks with satisfaction. She is impressed by the range of activities and attractions available in a small town like Flekkefjord.

New start

The Motland family feels fortunate. "It's as if we've struck gold, and Fjellse and Flekkefjord seem tailor-made for us," Norun says with a smile. "We see the move here as a fresh start," she continues. "We're all happy with our jobs and schools. The only thing left now is to finish the renovation of our house in Fjellse. That will provide the settling-in our family needs."

Fjellse seems to have a high star in the family. One of Norun's sisters now has a cottage right next to them. Her other sister is also considering buying a cabin in the same location! The move to Fjellse has bound the family closer together. Just as we're about to part ways with Norun, her phone chimes with a new text message. It's from her daughter Elle, radiating excitement through her words: 'They've put up the starry sky display!

Norun, Sveinung, and the children were supposed to have a cabin. Instead, they found a home.


Egenes Brannteknikk

Who are we? Norway's largest fire engine manufacturer - Egenes Brannteknikk is the leading manufacturer of fire engines in Norway! Our fire engines are built in Flekkefjord and we deliver to the whole of Norway, including Svalbard and Jan Mayen. We offer flexible solutions, adapted to Nordic conditions, as well as the customer's own wishes. Safe and social workplace - All our employees contribute to a…