Hjem » Dr. Holms Hotel – A representative of Norwegian history

Dr. Holms Hotel

A representative of Norwegian history

On the 27th of November it has been 113 years since Dr. Holm opened the doors to Dr. Holm´s Sanatorium – on the same day that King Haakon VII opened the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen). These are 113 turbulent years of war, love, greatness, and scandals.

It all started with Dr. Ingebrigt Christian Lund Holm´s theory that the fresh mountain air had a healing effect on those suffering from lung and respiratory illnesses. He called it champagne air. It was the mixture of deciduous and coniferous forests that produced a special ozone air that had healing benefits for patients with respiratory disorders. From 1909 business was going well at the sanatorium, but Dr. Holm was ambitious, and in 1911 he changed the name to Dr. Holms Høifjeldshotel, which resulted in high visitor numbers. In 1936, however, the hotel decided to change its name to Holms Høifjeldshotel, because they believed that removing the doctor title would strengthen the hotel´s marketing value. This assumption turned out to be completely wrong. The Dr. Holms title is part of the hotels reputation and will be brought into the hotel´s future as well.

Wealthy people continued to visit the hotel for several years, but the conditions of the war prevailed during both the First and Second World Wars. In 1939 the Second World War started. In 1940 a nursing unit was set up to take care of the wounded from the resistance movements against the Germans south and east of Geilo. The hotel was the municipality’s largest taxpayer, until the invasion in 1940 when the Germans took over both Dr. Holms Hotel, Geilo, and the rest of the country. German soldiers were accommodated in all of Geilo’s hotels. Dr. Holms was reserved for higher officers and prominent Nazis. The German authorities wanted, among other things, several suites in the hotel. The hotel was also used as a birthplace for children and around 200 children are said to have been born in the hotel. The German surveillance police also used the hotel because of its strategic location, the “Stützpunkt”, halfway between the east and west. They made the most of their stay and, among other things, drank up the entire content of the wine cellar at the hotel. Fortunately, this expense was paid back to the hotel after the war when a letter of complaint was sent. It was also rumoured that the Germans indulged in French prostitutes, but there is no documentation available to prove that the hotel was used as a brothel. When Germany lost the war on the 9th of May 1945, Dr. Holms Hotel was returned to its previous owners.

After the war, the hotel did well, especially the 1950s were good years, apart from 1951 when an outbreak of poliomyelitis required the hotel to close temporarily. In 1986, owner Erik Sande invested close to 250 million kroner in the development of luxury apartments, but the stock market crash was detrimental to Sande’s financial situation. Now it was their love for the hotel that kept the restoration going. During the times when the hotel struggled the most, new owners and their love for the hotel have kept Dr. Holms alive. In this way, the hotel has survived through good and bad weather – as a Sanatorium, Høyfjeldshotel, accommodation for German officers, a mother’s home, a possible brothel, and a central meeting place for the wealthy – and has thus retained Dr. Holm’s special atmosphere.

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