We congratulate Kristoffer Holmvik (21) with having successfully passed his apprentices´ final exam. Hence, he can add the exclusive work title “blacksmith” to his name.
In Norway, there are approximately 20 active blacksmiths, so every youth who decides to seek a career within this ancient line of work is more than welcomed. The examination of Kristoffer was conducted by senior blacksmiths Jørn Stampe Hansen and Benjamin Kjellman-Chapin. The test pieces for finishing his apprenticeship were a pair of door hinges after Kristoffer´s own design, and a chisel.
After a full hour of intense examination a visibly relieved Kristoffer came out of the smithy, soon to be followed by two equally happy sensors. Their verdict was clear: Kristoffer had passed his exams after three years of education.
His first year was spent at Hjerleid school for classic handicrafts at Dovre, after which Kristoffer struggled for quite some time to find an employeer willing to take on an apprentice. That is, until he found the Oseberg Viking Heritage Foundation, where he has worked for the last two years under the leadership of Jan Vogt Knutsen, with mentor blacksmith Jens-Erik Wielsgaard Langstrand from the Fredriksten fortress in Halden.
So, what is it that fascinates a young man of today with working as a blacksmith?
“I have always been good in shaping things with my hands,” Kristoffer explains. “And it´s very fascinating to be able to take a lump of scrap metal and transform it into something quite different.”
For now, Kristoffer has found employment with our foundation. Many tasks are waiting, including gate and door hinges for our Viking house under construction in Sandefjord, and, not least, almost 4000 nails and rivets for our Gokstad ship replica now being built. We congratulate Kristoffer with having passed his exam, and thank mentors Jens-Erik and Jan for having made this possible.