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Utstein Abbey, 18th/19th century (anon painting; photo by Frode Inge Helland

Utstein Abbey (in Norwegian Utstein Kloster) is Norway's best-preserved medieval monastery, located on the island of Mosterøy in Rennesøy municipality, Rogaland county.



Utstein Abbey today

The abbey, dedicated to Saint Laurence, was founded in its present location in the reign of King Magnus VI of Norway (Magnus Lagabøte) (1263-1280). It was a house of Augustinian Canons. It appears however that this community was the one previously established as St. Olav's Abbey, Stavanger, one of the earliest Augustinian monasteries in Norway if not the very earliest: the exact date of its foundation is unknown, but it was well-established by 1160.

At its height, about 20–30 monks lived there, with twice as many lay people working on the building, the cooking and the farming. The abbey owned extensive lands, and could feed about 250 people a year.

It was dissolved in 1537 in the Reformation and was given in fee to Trond Ivarsson, after which it served as a private residence for many years.


Utstein Abbey is the best-preserved monastery in the whole of Norway, still using both the church and the eastern and southern part of the ground floor of the conventual buildings. In 1900-1904 major restoration work was carried out on the church, and in 1965 work on the remaining buildings was completed. The premises are now used for a conference centre, museum, concert hall and a variety of educational and leisure purposes.

The abbey can be reached from Stavanger in 30 minutes by road through the Rennfast undersea tunnel.


External links


  • Fischer, G. (1965): Utstein kloster. Kongsgård - kloster - herregård. Stavanger.
  • Lexow, J. H. (1987): Utstein kloster i middelalderen. I: FNFB. Årbok 1987.

Coordinates: 59°06′11″N 5°35′26″E / 59.10306°N 5.59056°E / 59.10306; 5.59056



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