Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I moved to Kvinesdal and fell in love with the city

Interview with Adam Read from Visit Sørlandet and Utsikten Hotel Manager Åse Gjelsten Versland.

Notes from Adam:
I spent the evening at Utsikten Arts Centre (in Kvinesdal Southern Norway) for the Power for Pixels exhibition and spent a lot of time talking to Åse. She was very friendly and we have a good laugh together. I could not help but ask her for a little interview so that when people visit the Hotel, they already know a little bit about Åse before they meet her.

I came to Kvinesdal 25 years ago because I met my now husband in the mountains of Sirdal and he is from here. His dad went to the states in the 50s and came back in 1976 with his wife and 2 sons and they have been here ever since.

Kvinesdal is a very beautiful place.  You have everything here - mountains, the sea, rivers, waterfalls and it is beautiful both in the winter and in the summer. I have competed in cross country skiing a few years ago and there are many places to go to around here. All you have to do is put on your skis and off you go.

One thing I have noticed here is that the people of Kvinesdal always say yes - yes to new ideas. Actually Kvinesdal is known for 'getting things done'.
An example is when they built the new road which diverted traffic away from Kvinesdal. What did the local Government do, they invested millions into building Utsikten. Where else would people do that? Most would be too scared to risk spending the money on a project like that, but not here in Kvinesdal. 

Adam: Is there anything missing from Kvinesdal?

Well, when the kids get older there is no University here, so they need to leave to study. That is a bit of a shame. But Kristiansand and Stavanger is not far, so it is not a big problem.

What is the craziest thing that has happened here in Kvinesdal?

Well the concert we used to have here was amazing. I had to pinch my own arm to see if it was really happening. Famous artists from all over the world coming here to play music in the fields. That was special.

You know the saying 'You dont believe it before you see it but you dont see it before you believe it.' But there has been some changes here. We are no longer going to have that festival and the old E39 that used to go through the city, has been moved which diverts traffic away from the city.

Adam: It is a little bit like the movie Cars. You know when they built the highway that took all the traffic away from the town. It looks like the new E39 has not affected your business.

No it hasn't at all. In fact, sales overall at the stores in Kvinesdal actually increased after the road was built. We knew that the road was going to be built so we started a project with the stores to work together and make our town a successful one. Actually one of the car dealers increased his sales by 20%. We say that 10% is average, but 20% is fantastic. 

The new road actually gave us the excuse to work together you know because before, people did not find it necessary because the road was there and everyone passed through here anyway.

We celebrated the fact that the new road was built. One year after it was completed, we had a party! All the noise from the trucks and cars disappeared. We celebrated the silence and the new found success.

We are always looking at ways to improve Kvinesdal. We built the bridge and have a nice park. Next is the new and improved swimming hall.
You know we were going to have a spa and swimming centre here at Utsikten but then we heard that one was being built in Lyngdal, so we changed our plans. Lyngdal is not far anyway, so we work together with them to promote both regions.  People visiting the region don't think about where something is located, they just want to have a nice experience, so they could easily go to Badeland in Lyngdal and then stay here at the Hotel. So, we try to work with everyone.

Utisikten Hotel is 100km from Kristiansand in Southern Norway.
Utsikten Hotel, Arts Gallery, Golf Website -

 Adam @ Visit Southern Norway Dra på ferie til Kvinesdal

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