Hurtigrutemuseet: A Home for Our History
How a Captain’s love for our maritime heritage led to a beautiful museum in Stokmarknes, dedicated to The Coastal Express.
The jewel in the crown
He spent the next several months sweet-talking various people to try and have MS Finnmarken donated to the museum. In 1994, just as he was about to go on holiday, he received a reply: “If you want her, you have to come and get her”.
“I immediately changed my holiday plans and gathered a crew together,” says Sten Magne. “It was the opportunity I had been looking for, even if it meant a cancelled holiday.”
Later in 1998, Sten Magne received a letter from a former passenger who told him about a ship in the Netherlands. “This turned out to be the steamship DS Finnmarken from 1912, the oldest of our ships.”
He travelled to the Netherlands in the hope of procuring at least a souvenir to bring back to the museum. Instead, he ended up buying an entire section of the ship. The 55-tonne guest lounge was transported to Stokmarknes through a complicated operation that took three and a half years.
But for Sten Magne, it was too good a chance to pass up. “This is the jewel in the crown for our museum. We have restored what we can of the ship, rebuilding it using the same methods that were used in 1912.”
Building for the future
In August 2021, Hurtigrutemuseet opened its doors, featuring a lovingly restored MS Finnmarken and its counterpart from 1912, DS Finnmarken. The modern museum is the result of a 200-million Norwegian Kroner makeover and a huge team effort that included the national government, the county municipality, the regional bank, Museum Nord, sponsors, volunteers, and local enthusiasts.
For Sten Magne, it represents three decades of dedication. “It’s been a long road, with a lot of effort involving so many people… But it was worth it! The result is so beautiful,” he says proudly, a big smile on his face.
The extensive joint-project is a testament not only to Sten Magne’s passion and persistence, but also to what The Coastal Express means to people on the coast. Together, the museum partners plan to continue Sten Magne’s hard work, preserving and giving new life to this important history for many generations to come.