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The rose window at the Nidaros Cathedral – a womans project

The rose windov NTNU UB Ernst Schwitters

After 1814, the Nidaros Cathedral were seen as a national icon and its position was strengthened by the fact that the Constitution of 1814 also designated Nidaros Cathedral as a coronation church.
The Nidaros Cathedral has been subject to continuous restoration projects since the restoration of the first phase began in 1869-1877.
An interior committee for a plan of renewal for the cathedral towards the St. Olav’s anniversary in 1930 was formed, but did not include the construction of the rose window for economic reasons.
Marie Ihlen Gleditsch engaged herself in the sake of the rose window. She meant there would be great sorrow if one could not bring the light in through the glorious rose created by architect Olaf Nordhagen (1883-1925).

The rose window project by Marie Ihlen Gleditsch

An idea was born one day when Marie walked past an exhibition of crafts in one of the city’s newspapers. The exhibition showed a commercial for a lottery for income to the Nidaros Cathedral interior project. She then thought that all norwegian women would do this if given the opportunity, give a handmade craft for the rose window. So the idea of a nationally giant lottery was born.
In February 1926 a main committee was formed and they were granted a loan for the project’s operating costs. H.M. The queen (Maud 1869-1938) became the project’s protector. All bishops in Norway got a request for participation. By the end of May 1926 advertising about the project were printed in all norwegian newspapers.
The rose window project achieved great publicity throughout the country. A total of 70 000 information brochures were sent and distributed. Information material was also sent abroad. As early as June 1926, the commitee received the first crafts. In total, the project received 1600 different handwork from all over the country.
The goal was to collect 175 000 n.kroner and this goal was reached.
Thanks to norwegian women, one was able to raise enough money to fulfill the rose window to the St. Olav’s anniversary in 1930.

The rose window is a magnificent jewel on the west front of the Nidaros Cathedral, who from within, illuminates up the interior just like Marie Ihlen Gleditsch’s hope for this project was.

Portrait of Marie Gleditsch, NTNU UB Hilfling-Rasmussen

Marie Ihlen Gleditsch (1876-1965)

Marie Ihlen Gleditsch (1876-1965) was born in Kristiania, as daughter of a Supreme Court Attorney. In 1898 she married medical doctor Johan Arnt Hals Wetlesen, and she followed him when he got a position in Verdal that year. The tragedy hit the family hard when Johan Arnt died during a car accident with horse and carjol in 1903. In 1907 Marie was married with the priest Jens Gran Gleditsch. Jens was a liberal theologian and it sparked strong reactions when he was appointed bishop in Nidaros in 1923. Bishop Gleditsch got ill in 1927, and was from 1928 taken from his position as a bishop. Marie and Jens then moved to Bærum.

The rose window

The rose window shows “Dommedag”and is 12 meter high and 8 meter in diameter. The red field in the middle symbolizes Christ. From here there are yellow and red flames on blue bottom, and angels who sing and play. Among the angels are the four evangelists Matthew, John, Luke, and Markus. Below the rose there are 9 windows with Christ in the middle. The inscription at the bottom goes over all the windows: «Benedicti Venitr Poosidete Regnum. Discedite maledicti in ignem eternum. “(Come blessed, inherit the kingdom, go away, you cursed, in eternal fire)”.

Portrait of Gabriel Kielland, ca. 1930–35. From Byhistorisk samling by Oslo Museum.

Gabriel Kielland (1871-1960)

Gabriel Kielland’s great work is the glass paintings in the Nidaros Cathedral and his main work is the rose window who was completed for the St. Olav’s anniversary in 1930. The glass paintings was performed in the period 1913-1934 after winning a competition in 1908 about glass paintings for the reconstruction of Nidaros Cathedral. Gabriel Kielland used antique glass from Britain, France and Germany. Faces and details was drawn directly on the glass. For his work, Kielland was appointed a knight of 1st grade of St. Olav’s order in 1934.

Gabriel Kielland’s private archive is at NTNU University Library/Dora library. The archive consists of a rather random collection of photographs and newspaper clips relating to his exhibitions and personal anniversaries. Kielland’s drawings and sketchbooks are kept by Trondhjems Kunstforening, apart from the drawings of glass paintings from Vaksdal and Ullern church who are filed at the Riksantikvaren in Oslo.


Gleditsch, Marie, Rosevinduet i Trondhjems domkirke og kvindernes indsamling til det. [u.å]. s. 9-12: Ill. I: Gammelt og nytt fra Trøndelagen, Møre og Namdalen. – Oslo: Oppl. 1925-1927.

Slapgaard, Bjarne, Under rose med rubin, Roman, Det Norske Samlaget 1985.

Suul, Torgeir Flekk, Nidarosdomen glassmaleriene, Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider 1983.

Privatarkivet Gabriel Kielland – UBIT/A-0116

Manuscripts Pictures Private archives UBedu passes 20 000

A screen shot of the front page of
Front page of

Last year, was launched, a search and viewing service for our digitised special collections material. allows you to zoom in on photographs and documents and download files for further use.

This coming weekend the total number of visits will pass 20 000. Our visitors have performed 169 053 searches and spent an average time of 8 minutes and 13 seconds per visit.

A graph showing the number of visits to
Visits in 2017 so far

33% of our visitors have used mobile devices such as phones or tables. We’re continuing to further improve our website together with our supplier, Tind, to give our visitors a better experience both on mobile and desktop. During the first months of 2017, the viewing technology we’re using will be updated to adapt better on mobile.

Weekly more photographs and documents are published, and we receive new information and other feedback daily from our users via the comment section below each document. Unknown places are recognised, people are identified and mysteries are solved. One can comment as a guest without an account, or e.g. use ones Facebook account to send us comments.

We’d like to thank our users for visiting, we’re looking forward to continuing our cooperation.

A screen shot of how a document is displayed on
The place in this photograph was recently identified by a visitor of Click the image to see it up close.
Maps Pictures UBedu

The city fire of 1842

Saturday evening, by eight o’clock in the evening, January 22nd 1842, a devastating fire started in Trondheim. 371 apartment buildings burnt down and 3000 people bacame homeless. This was the second big fire in the city in only nine months.

The wood house city of Trondheim was drabbed by five city fires during the 1840’s. The city authorities had several times evaluated a direction for brick buildings only, and this direction was finally initiated in 1846. One had earlier argued against brick buildings, because one had claimed the climate in Trondheim to be unfavourable for building materials like brick and stone!

The rebuilding after the fire in 1842 advanced quickly, but was sharply critized. In the journal «Granskeren», published March 2nd 1843, an anonymous journalist is blaming the city authorities for not being innovating and for not taking sufficient steps to increase fire safety nor estethic considerations. The earlier narrow alleys was just rebuilt, which this writer finds criticizable as he claims that the state has payed eight barrels of gold to cover the costs of rebuilding Trondheim after the fires in 1841 and 1842. The city authorities in Trondheim was said to rebuild according to the old plans of Johan Caspar De Cicignon, dated from 1681.

The Gunnerus Library owns a regulation map showing the Sanden area (Sandgata) and Dronningens gate  with crosswise streets and alleys. The red lines indicates the old buildings, and it is possible to observe that several streets and alleys are going to be considerably broader. Search for “map” and “1842” at, and try to zoom in on the map!

Regulation map, Trondheim, after the city fire in 1842

The acute need for new buildings after these fires attracted architects and many different craftsmen to the city; Norwegians and foreigners. They advertised their services in the local paper Adresseavisen. These new craftsmen advertised for apprentices as well. There was a period of growth; work and money for more people, and working people, the city’s own craftsmen and innkeepers experienced good times. After some time, increased prizes on  building materials and manpower made the development go in an opposite direction. Some built their new houses too big and too expensive, and several businesses experienced bankruptcy. But still the fires meant just a brief stagnation; the Trondheim businesses rised over again.

The artist C.M. Tegner made this beautiful drawing of Trondheim and it’s surroundings in 1842, the year of the big fire. This drawing is also available at ; where you can zoom in on the picture.

C.M. Tegner made a key map for the city regulations after the fires of 1841 and 1842 as well. This map is owned by The Regional State Archives in Trondheim.

Big accidents make their imprint in folklore as well. In the Gunnerus Library’s collection of broadside ballads, we have a ballad telling about the devastating fire of 1842. The ballad is digitized and will later be available in :





Ingrid Pedersen. Et lite kapitel av Trondhjems Bygningshistorie: brandene i Trondhjem april 1841 og januar 1842 og gjenopbyggingen av de brente strøk efter de nye planer. Særtrykk av Trønderske Blade, 18. og 25. mai 1935.
Trondhjems Regulering. I: Granskeren, 02.03.1843.
Knut Mykland. Fra Søgaden til Strandgaden 1800-1880Trondheims historie 997-1997. B.3., Oslo 1996
Anders Kirkhusmo og Per R. Christiansen, red. Trondheim brenner: branner og brannvern i byen gjennom 1000 år, Trondheim 2013.
Plan til Regulering af Brandtomterne efter Ildebranden den 22. januar 1842. [Kart.] XN (Uhj) 190

Pictures UBedu

The Unidentified

Archival boxes with photographs on shelves in an archive
Photo archives in the Dora library. Photo: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB (CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are approximately 1 million historical photographs in the library’s archives. Some of these have lived in an unchanged system since they were created some 100 years ago.

Perhaps they were given a reference number the day they were created, registered in a protocol with the portrayed’s names, date and location. Sometimes someone else has payed for the photographs, which means that an identification isn’t necessarily correct even if the name is written in the protocol. This can be distracting, but is nevertheless a clue as to who might be in the photograph.

Close-up of a handwritten protocol
Photographer Hilfling-Rasmussens customer protocol from 1912. Photo: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Other images come without information about whom or what. Perhaps they still have something in common that can lead us on the right path.

The archive of Børre Svendsen Lien and Marit Johannesdatter Kåsen, consisting of portraits from around the year 1900, where made available at the Ålen library in the 1980’s. This way, people in the local community could come by, have look, and give pieces of information about who could be in the photographs. Some had pictures on their walls of their relatives at home and could give information that way.

Schema with image details next to a photograph from around 1900
Identification work in Ålen in the 1980s. Photo: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If one doesn’t have any concrete details about photographs at all, there’s still hope.

Local knowledge is invaluable when it comes to identify where a photograph was taken. A retired colleague of mine grew up in Trondheim and work amongst other things with pictures of the city for decades. This way, one builds a strong ability to recognise various places in and around the city, even if areas have gone through large changes over the years.

Most people might not have worked with pictures professionally, but simply recognise places they’ve lived, visited or worked. Feedback from historical societies as well as individuals with good knowledge to certain areas help us a lot in our work.

Newspaper stand with boys standing outside holding newspapers
Newspaper stand at the east end of Bakke Bridge in Trondheim 1913. Photo: Hilfling-Rasmussen/NTNU UB, cropped photograph (CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are quite a few unidentified group portraits. Here, age, sexes, clothes, surroundings or familiar faces can be at help. Recognising one or more people in a photograph makes it easier to unravel the mystery.

The photograph below had no details, but the entrance in the background was recognised, and then some of the men in the group where identified. The photograph was taken outside former NTH outside Gamle Elektro (The Old Electro) at Gløshaugen in Trondheim. Because of some of the people in the group, we can narrow the date to between 1910-1917. NTH opened in 1910, and the 4th man from the left on 1st row, Jens Bache-Wiig, left in 1917. With a few pieces of information, the photograph becomes accessible to people interested in related subjects.

Men in suits posing outside a concrete building
Group portrait at former NTH, outside Gamle Elektro (Old Electro) at Gløshaugen. Photo: Hilfling-Rasmussen/NTNU UB (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A final example of how to find information about photographs that have no accompanying details is to look at the technical aspects.

The oldest photographs we have, e.g. daguerreotypes, often give som clues that allows us to narrow down the date and perhaps also identify the photographer. The European collaboration Daguerreobase allows us to register all technical details we can find, this way making it possible for researchers to find common features, perhaps with another photograph that has an identified creator.

These common features can be everything from props, distinctive packaging, the quality of the photograph itself or an imprint in the metal plate the image lies on.

We are very thankful for feedback and contributions. On October 3, we’re launching a new search engine for photographs and special collections material that allows anyone to comment and improve our details. Thanks for your help!


Three framed daguerreotype portraits with different framing
Three daguerreotypes from different daguerreotypists/photographers. 1. Photo: Unknown/NTNU UB. 2: Photo: Carl Neupert/NTNU UB. 3. Photo: Unknown, possibly Hans Krum/NTNU UB. (All: CC BY-SA 4.0)
Pictures UBedu

Nidarø Through 158 Years of History

Nidarø is a peninsula. Nidarø has a diverse history to look back on. This presentation of pictures starts in 1858 and displays an image when it was farming on Nidarø and ends in 1987. The farming was eventually closed down and followed by sawmill, sports facilities and parks. Two bridges, one to Ila and one to Kalvskinnet links the area to the center city.

Nidarø 1858

Trondheim city with the peninsula Nidarø encircled by the river Nidelva.

In the middle of Nidarø is a cluster that is Nidarø farm.

Kolorert litografi: NTNU UB/Bildesamlingen

Nidarø sagbruk

Nidarø sawmill was built in 1894 when Thomas Angell foundations acquired the property Nidarø. The sawmill was steam powered until 1906 when it switched to electricity. In 1928 the sawmill closed and the buildings demolished when the property was rented to Trøndelagsutstillingen 1930.

Foto: NTNU UB/Prospektsamlingen

Trøndelagutstillingen 1930

Trøndelagutstillingen 1930 was a national corporate and was held in celebration in memory of 900 year since the battle on Stiklestad. 

Trøndelagutstillingen 1930
Foto: NTNU UB/Prospektsamlingen


Skøytebanen på Nidarø

The picture is from a skating event at Øya Stadium in 1901. 

Skøytebanen på Nidarø
Foto: NTNU UB/Bildesamlingen

Tyskerbrakker 1953

The Germans built a large military camp on Nidarø during 2nd World War.  The barracks were, however, used by the municipality for teaching and technically purposes until the 1960s when they were demolished.

Foto: NTNU UB/Fjellanger Widerøe

Nidarø idrettshall 1987

Nidarøhallen was constructed in three phases, from 1963 and 1971 to step three in 1988. The hall, today called Trondheim Spektrum is a multipurpose hall today used for sports, seminars, conferences, examination facilities and various events.

Utsikt over Trondheim med Trondheimsfjorden
Foto: NTNU UB/Prospektsamlingen


Pictures Private archives UBedu

Test Houses at Gløshaugen

Forsøkshus anno 2015. Foto: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB
Test houses, 2015. Photo: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB

Research on energy efficient housing is one of the long lines of our university’s history. A zero emissions house, ready for inhabitation and research from 1 October 2015, joins a long tradition of test houses at Gløshaugen. For almost 100 years ago, Andreas Fredrik Bugge, professor of house construction learning, raised 27 test houses on the western plateau, behind the main university buildling. The project was initiated by Bugge in 1917 and most of the houses were completed by 1919. Measurements commenced in 1920.

In 1922, after two years of research, Bugge wrote the report «Test houses raised at the Norwegian Technical College, Trondheim. Result of testing with wall constructions and materials for warm and reasonable housing», and a main conclusion was that «Wooden houses are cheaper to heat than concrete housing and significantly cheaper to heat than conrete housing with outer walls of compact 1 ½ stone». The impact of double glazed windows showed a 20% reduction of energy use and therefore significant economic savings.

Professor Bugge therefore recommended that it should be mandatory by law for all rooms constructed for continued use by people to be fitted with double glazed windows. Bugge also pointed out that this was the first time measurements of this kind had been made of wall constructions by means of test houses raised outside a lab, and therefore exposed to natural conditions.

When the University Library collected historical archive material in the attic of the main building, we found a photograph dated 14 October 1919 that shows the test houses with a written description of the various houses.

Photograph showing a row of test houses at Gløshaugen, Trondheim.
Test houses, 1919. Photo: Schrøder/NTNU UB.

The library has several archives containing information about the test houses. One part of professor Bugges archive is correspondence between the Ministry of Social Affairs and physics professor Sem Sæland about the test houses. Sæland was responsible for the heat technical measurements in the houses. There are more documents about this work in his archive.

Architect Jakob P. Holmgren succeeded Bugge as professor in 1930. In Holmgrens archive there is documentation of his work related to the test houses, and the following photograph of their construction.

Photograph showing test houses under construction.
Test houses during construction. Photo: Unknown. Archive reference: NTNU UB, Tek-0011 Jakob P. Holmgren Box 57, folder G 0003.



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