Fit for a king
Privy counsellor Schøller's mansion, one of the largest wooden houses ever constructed, and later to be known as the Royal Residence, was dedicated in 1778. With its high ceilings and two stories this building has almost 3000 square meters of floor space, corresponding to around 25 typical modern family houses.
The Royal Residence was built right at the peak of the period when many luxurious houses were erected, a period that started around 1760 and culminated with the construction of Lade Manor in 1811. The largest wooden houses in Trondheim were built during this period, with high ceilings and more rooms than anything built before in the city. This was a period of elegant "country houses" with magnificent gardens and noble avenues on the outskirts of the city.
Until the middle of the 1700s even the most well-to-do had had relatively modest houses, built according to local building customs and traditions. However, during the second half of the 1700s the trend was to show off one's wealth to the point where the well-to-do ladies would compete to see who had the highest wig, the most extravagant parties and the grandest house.
Immigration and affluence
Trondheim has long traditions as a merchant city. In the 1600s city trade was concentrated on three commodities, the fish in the ocean, the trees in the forest and the ore in the mountains. Money was flowing in the city and capital was accumulated. At this time North German immigrants came to Trondheim, including prosperous merchants from Flensburg, the trading city that for centuries was the hub of trade in Northern Europe. King Christian IV granted privileges to merchants who took up citizenship in Trondheim, and "Det Islandske Kompagni" (The Icelandic Company) in Copenhagen was granted a monopoly on trade east of the small town of Vardøhus in the far north of Norway. The Flensburgers had come to stay. In the early 1700s many city merchants were immigrants, most from Northern Germany and Jylland in Denmark. The names of the city's wholesalers and proprietors, such as Hornemann, Meincke, Angell, Schøller and Lorck, reflected their remote origins.
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Text by by Lars Fasting
Photos from top: The main entrance of the Royal Residence facing Munkegata.
From Gullsalen (the Gilded Hall) at Leangen Mansion. Both photos: Jiri Havran