“Children come here wide-eyed.”
If you’ve seen the Disney film Frozen, you have already been in this beautiful church. It’s in Balestrand, in western Norway. The church is practically identical to the church in which the Disney Princess Elsa is crowned as queen.
But the church is not only beautiful; it also has an incredible love story behind it.
Built to honor a beloved, departed wife
The church was built at the behest of Knut Kvikne, a busy but reserved man, who together with his brother operated Kviknes Hotel. Knut found the love of his life in the English mountain climber, Margaret Sophia Green. Margaret, the daughter of an English pastor, visited Balestrand in 1888, and was taken with the handsome hotel owner as he wandered about showing the mountains to tourists.
The two were married, but enjoyed only four years together before Margaret died of tuberculosis in 1894. As a token of his pure love for his wife, and as he had promised before he lost her, Knut built a church in Balestrand: St. Olaf Church.
It is an English church in honor of his English beloved; with a tower, spires, slate roofs and oval windows with the most beautiful stained glass.
An inspiration for the Disney film
The more than 100-year-old, brown-painted church is just as beautiful today. It is idyllically situated between the majestic mountains and magical Sognefjord, a short distance from Kviknes Hotel. It is such a charming little church that even the Disney team was impressed.
To find inspiration for the Oscar-winning film, Frozen, the team went on a sight-seeing trip that lasted several days in the Balestrand area.
“They saw the church and were very impressed. They also used the dragon style patterns we have on the houses and buildings around us, to decorate clothing in the film. We think that’s wonderful,” says Kari Kvikne, the great-grandchild of Knut’s brother.
Would you like to visit St. Olaf Church in Balestrand? Please contact us.