Liv Helene Willumsen / The Witchcraft trials in Finnmark

Liv helene willumsen foto sverre bjørstad graff


Liv Helene Willumsen participates as keynote speaker and she will introduce the history of the Witchcraft Trials in the North.

Willumsen has written the 91 exhibition texts for the Memorial Hall at Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, commemorating the 91 people who lost their lives during the Finnmark witchcraft trials in Vardø.

Liv Helene Willumsen is Professor Emerita of History, University of Tromsø (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway), with a Ph.D in history (Edingburgh, 2008) and a Ph.D. in literature (Bergen, 2003) Her books include Witches of the North: Scotland and Finnmark (Leiden, 2013) and The Voices of Women in Witchcraft Trials: Northern Europe (Abingdon, 2022).
She was awarded the Norwegian King’s Medal of Merit in 2019.

The voices of women in witchcraft trials


Steilneset Memorial commemorates those who lost their lives during the seventeenth-century Finnmark witchcraft trials. Steilneset Memorial consists of three components: Art, Architecture and History.

The French-American artist Louise Bourgeois has created an installation; around a chair with a burning flame in the middle, seven mirrors are placed, reflecting the flame from different angles. The installation is placed inside a glass pavillion, which is drawn by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. He has also drawn the Memorial Hall, a 135 metres long building.

Inside the Memorial Hall there is an exhibition of 91 texts, one text for each individual who lost her or his life during the Finnmark witchcraft trials. These texts are written by historian Liv Helene Willumsen, on the basis of original court records from the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials. The exhibition texts are also published in a book, provided in four languages; Norwegian, English, German and Finnish.



Willumsens profiled research areas:

Transfer of ideas about witchcraft in Europe

Demonological ideas in Europe

Witchcraft trials in Germany

Witchcraft trials in Scotland

Witchcraft trials in Finnmark, Northern Norway

Witchcraft trials in Norway

Witchcraft trials in Scandinavia

The beginning of teacher training education in Norway

The Witch Figure as a Motif in Literature

Narratology as a text-analytical tool

Discourse analysis of historical court records

Regine Normann (1867–1939): Biography

The authorship of Regine Normann, narratological analyses

Traditional legends from Greenland, Iceland, the Faroese Islands, Sapmi, and Norway

Thomas von Westen’s life and work

Isaac Olsen – teacher and catechist in Finnmark early 1700s


Forside witches of the north