The History of Huset

The towns heart

Designed by Jacob Hansen, who was also the architect for "Collosseum" cinema in Oslo. The mining company Store Norske began building in 1948 and opened its doors October 13, 1951. The house was centrally located in the valley and was therefore named the city's heart. It was neutral middle class distinction, miners and officials.

To begin with, this was a family-owned enterprise. Richard Knutsen and his wife Petra was the first who ran Huset.

The café has been open from 1951. Beyond the food and drink, it was selling gold jewelry and precious stones. You could also buy tobacco and toiletries in cafe kiosk, while clothing, fishing and hunting equipment was sold in a small shop (which is today wardrobe). The café was initially open 3 days a week, there were only coffee and pastries for sale.

"The Polar bear skin hanging on the wall, was shot in 1982. This bear was served at Huset, while the guests sang "The Bear Sleeps" an old norwegian song."

Sandwiches and Casserol was also availible at huset, this only happened on Saturdays and during larger weekends. It was only allowed to buy one beer at a time, you had to return the empty bottle to be able to recieve a new one. Rhoar Holm introduced Monday steak, the steak was later on Wednesday, then Saturday steak, which we still serve today.

The restaurant was previously a bridge room, and opened to the serving of food and drinks in 1977. Menu: Toast Melba, shrimp cocktail, flamed pepper steak, Icecup Flensburg. There was also often beef on the menu. The food was stored in the mines during the winter, where the temperature was steady. The restaurant had only one wine it was able to serve. Most drank rosé, and they recieved up to one bottle per person. It was also made an obligation to eat if you wanted to drink alcohol.


The Polar bear skin hanging on the wall, shot in 1982, in the region between the church and nursery. This bear was served at Huset, one thigh was roasted out in the restaurant to the sound of piano, while guests sang The bear sleeps.

Olaf Storø had his first art exhibition at the house, today he still has a selection of his work in the restaurant.

The wine cellar was previously a choir practice room, and later shop selling household goods. The inner part of the cellar was shower and dressing room. The wine first started coming in at the start of the '90s.


In the beginning the school was on the second floor. The priest, who was also living in the house with his wife, was teaching. Huset was also Longyearbyen's first movie theater. When the old church burned down, there was a period where church service were also held within the walls. Prayer ervices, weddings and funerals ...

On the first day the post office was at Huest, everyone gathered in the main staircase, while the postman shouted out the names of those who had received mail. The Postman was said to be a comical man who commented on the letters e.g. "Ole this letter here is not from your wife, she surely doesnt smell like this!".

The terminal building for the airport was also here for a while. People were taken by bus and gathered at Huset. They were then driven to the old airport which was in Advent valley at the time.

Huset was also an emergency hospital in 1953. This was due to an avalanche that went off near Funken. The hospital was then placed in the current board room.


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