The Little Rorbu Cabin

3 Icons: Northern Lights, Snowy Mountains, & Red Rorbu Cabins.

Rorbuer or fishing huts are Norwegian seasonal cabins used by fisherman to store boats. Partly constructed on land on one end for access and the other built over water on piles for easy deployment to vessels. They are normally located in fishing villages, perhaps the most populous is Lofoten. Their distinctive red colour and gabled roof have become an icon of Norwegian coastline.

The Name

The Name Rorbu is a portmanteau from the words “Ro” which means Rowing and “Bu” Which means small house/a place to live/ or storage. Before the invention of motors fishermen used to row to fish. The word “ro fiske” is still used today to refer to fishing expeditions.

The History

Earliest record shows fishing expeditions to Lofoten, coastal boats participated in winter cod fishing frenzy, dating back to the time before 900AD. King Øystein commissioned Rorbu cabins along the coast of Lofoten in 1120. –Possibly making the Rorbu Cabin, one of the oldest purpose built storage facility.

The Colour

Red was the cheapest and most commonly used. It was produced from mixing red ocher powder with cod liver oil. Overtime, many fishing villages gradually became densely populated, with red cabins dominating the townscape. 


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