Janne Robberstad

Welcome to my site! I work as an eco-designer, an artist, as a teacher and as a researcher, and creating, or ARTING as I prefer, makes me happy! This is both a portfolio of things I´ve made and a blog meant to inspire.

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the information board

By spotogspindel | June 19, 2012

This upcoming sunday is the grand opening of the Kjøpholmen-project. I´ll tell you more about that when we get there. But there are a few things to prepare. Like this big metal information board that will be placed along the road. the text is in both Norwegian and in English, and since the text here is so tiny, I thought I´d just add the English version below. (And yes, I did the design)

The story about Niels Olsen (1657 – 1727) from Stavanger, is a tale about the poor, young boy who became an admiral for the Russian tsar Peter the Great. He built up the Russian navy from scares to none, to become a serious military force both in the Baltic Sea and in the Black Sea.

At 15 he sailed to the Neatherlands and quickly gained a reputation as an unusually competant sailor. He took the name Cornelius Cruys, and rumour spread about the Norwegian´s deeds at sea all the way to Russia, where tzar Peter the Great had big plans on modernizing the country.

The tzar invited Cruys to Russia, and gave him the enourmous task of building the Russian marine fleet. Cruys answered the challenge and shortly after Russia had a strong fleet challenging the Swedes in the Baltic Sea and the Turks in the Black Sea.

But Peter the Great did not settle with this achievement. He wanted Russia to strengthen it´s position in the West, and this is where Cornelius Cruys local knowledge came in. The Norwegian historian Torgrim Titlestad writes in his book “The tzar´s admiral – Cornelius Cruys”:

A strange legend about Russia in Norway

For historians there is no doubt that the year 1710 represents a turning point in the development in the Russian naval fleet. Right under the nose of a strong and traditional Swedish marine-fleet, the young and inexperienced Russian navy executed successful operations far from their bases. The was a rapid growth in the fleet at the shipyards in St Petersburg and in Olonets by Ladoga. Even in Arkangelsk three new ships were sea-launched. Two of them sailed south towards Copenhagen looking for Swedish merchant-ships.

These ships had to pass the Norwegian coast on their way to their target.

They must surely have bunkered up along the way. This might be the explanation for a strange legend on the little island of Goddo in Bømlo in Sunnhordland. There is a story here of Russian negotiators wanting to buy the whole island as a Russian naval base. They were told that would not be possible. In which they heightened the offer, saying the seller would receive so much money, he could cover the entire island in silver coins, if they could buy it. Once again their offer was declined. The Russians raised the offer. They were willing to cover the entire island in silver coins, standing! Even then the offer was kindly refused, according to the story.

A local historian has tried to work with this story, separating the myth from the truth. The story is undated, some time during the 18th century. Amongst other things, he´s contacted the English Navy with the question of weather this would be an island of military interest. The answer was that this would be a perfect base against the British fleet´s head-base in Scapa Flow.: the shortest distance across the North Sea. The story might be based on a later reality, but it can also be related to the Russian frigades need for a base in 1710. In which case the source for the idea came from Cornelius Cruys´ local knowledge of the Norwegian coast.

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