Else “Sprossa” Rønnevig

Over five decades, Else “Sprossa” Rønnevig spearheaded the rescue of old windows, halted the replacement of valuable historic windows, and established clearer regulations for protection, transforming Norway’s approach to cultural preservation. Through her work, she has actively involved local communities, fostering pride in their cultural heritage and ensuring knowledge transfer to future generations.

Else "Sprossa" Rønnevig, Lillesand, NORWAY

Else Rønnevig’s journey from a disparaged autodidact to a respected pioneer in the heritage field is a testament to her unwavering resilience. Rønnevig’s mission began in the 1970s when Norway was undergoing a transformation in its architectural landscape. The replacement of old windows with modern alternatives threatened the authenticity of historic houses, losing their distinct European influence. These new windows appeared as foreign elements, disrupting the harmony of old, beautiful homes. Rønnevig’s life work became a mission to rescue old windows, leading to her enduring nickname, “Sprossa”, in reference to the strip of wood that separates and holds panes of glass in a window. Rønnevig embraced this somewhat negative moniker, and it has now become synonymous with window restoration and building preservation.

Rønnevig championed the preservation of old windows through public education and the establishment of clear regulations. She single-handedly halted the rapid decay of traditional windows along the south coast of the country. Her work extended beyond windows, with initiatives like the reprinting of Norwegian wallpapers, and the revival of traditional wood-fired baking ovens.

Else "Sprossa" Rønnevig, Lillesand, NORWAY

She also played a pivotal role in creating Norwegian Cultural Heritage Days, a nationwide event that highlights the importance of cultural preservation. Rønnevig’s innovative methodology involves on-site training in restoration projects, inspiring individuals, both amateurs and professionals, to undertake restoration projects themselves. She has published 12 books on the subject, organised courses, and developed a methodology that has been adopted by volunteers and professionals across Norway.

Rønnevig has received numerous awards and recognitions for her dedication, including the King’s Medal for Meritorious Service and other prestigious accolades. She has transcended the barriers of gender and education, proving that passion and determination can drive change in the field of cultural preservation.

Norway previously had a reserved attitude towards cultural heritage. Rønnevig’s transformative work has shifted this perspective and inspired individuals and communities to actively engage in cultural preservation. She empowers heritage professionals and the public alike, and her efforts in cultural heritage preservation continue to shape Norway’s heritage landscape.


Else “Sprossa” Rønnevig is a true inspiration. She has overcome, and indeed defied, the constraints and barriers she faced, and is a great example of someone who has successfully followed a non-traditional path in a heritage career. Her success is owed in part to her positive personality, which helped mobilise and convince a wide range of people of the importance of windows in the restoration of buildings”, the Awards’ Jury emphasised.

Her absolute commitment to authenticity has helped to change the paradigm of how historic windows are perceived by a wider public. Also commendable is her European outlook, for instance in helping bring Norway into the European Heritage Days programme”, the Jury added.

Contact: Erik Schultz, Europa Nostra Norway | eschultz@online.no | www.europanostra.no