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Lysøen

Opening hours

The museum is closed due to rehabilitation. You can always visit the island if you have your own boat. The shuttle boat MS Ole Bull will take you to Lysøen in the summer months.

The home of Ole Bull

Welcome to Lysøen! The composer Ole Bull lived here with his wife Sara Chapman Thorp.

Bull was a world-famous violin virtuoso and composer, and the museum at Lysøen consists of his magnificent villa.

Here, you find a collection of objects and furniture after Ole Bull, with much still placed like it was when he lived here. In the beautiful music hall, we hold a series of concerts throughout the summer.

Lysøen is also a nature experience for the whole family. Here are kilometres of pathways, a quay and beautiful bathing and picnic spots. You also find a lookout tower erected in Ole Bull’s memory on the island, and an old farmyard from the 17th century.

The Island is located in Bjørnafjorden, just outside Bergen. The museum is open during the summer season, from May to September. In this period, there are boat departures from Buena pier to Lysøen. You may also visit the island all year round with your own boat.

Important note! We are currently renovating the Lysøen museum. Read about the extensive renovation project here.

Visit Lysøen?

Who was Ole Bull?

Ole Bull (1810—1880) from Bergen was a world-famous violin virtuoso and composer.

His pronounced interest for folk music made him a central figure in the development of Norwegian national culture after the separation from Denmark.

Ole Bull travelled and played all over the world during his long career. He was a musician, networker, inspirator, advocate and Norway’s first superstar. He became especially famous in the USA, where he among other things established the colony Oleana.

Ole Bull died at Lysøen. Author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson gave a speech at his funeral and titled him “the People’s first and finest celebration!”

Famous compositions: “The Herdgirl’s Sunday”, “La Mélancolie”, “Polacca Guerriera”.

Read our biography about Ole Bull.

Ole Bull, udatert. foto: Franz Hanfstaengl/Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek.

About Lysøen

A fairytale castle in light blue in the middle of a beautiful Western Norway fjord!

Ole Bull’s summer villa at Lysøen was built in the years 1872–73. By now, Bull is more than sixty years old, but also newly married and he has a young daughter. He is looking for opportunities for building a new home for his new family, and he finds one at Lysøen.

The villa is quite unique in Norwegian architectural history. Bull called it his “little Alhambra”. It is considered a highlight of Norwegian historicism. The building is generously decorated with exotic ornaments and the tower is designed as an onion dome.

Bull’s family continued to use the villa as a summer residence after he died. In 1973, Sylvea Bull Curtis donated the estate to The National Trust of Norway and Lysøen was turned into a museum.

Foto: Thor Brødreskift

A large group of people in the concert hall at Lysøen. We can see the richly ornamented ceiling and chandeliers.

Foto: Thor Brødreskift

The museum boat headed to Lysøen. We can see the blue villa in the background.

Foto: Thor Brødreskift

A group of people outside the café at Lysøen. It is summer.

Foto: Thor Brødreskift