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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 09:47 GMT
Stranger inherits Norwegian farm
Gunnar Bergsrud
Gunnar Bergsrud wanted a local young person to take on his farm (photo: Arne Heimestol)
A Norwegian farmer who had no heirs to take over his hill farm has bequeathed it to a total stranger, through a lottery for his village's young people.

Gunnar Bergsrud, 89, died with instructions that his farm in Hedalen, southern Norway, should go to anyone aged 18 to 35 who wanted to take it on.

A 35-year-old woman won the lottery, organised according to the farmer's wishes after 30 people applied.

Monica Aasli says she applied on impulse the day before the draw.

She told the local media she had not even asked her husband whether he wanted to go into farming before she entered.


The farm is worth about one million kroner (84,700), but the winner may face a 16.5% bill for inheritance tax.

"I am completely speechless," Mrs Aasli told the village website Hedalen.no. "I only sorted out the required papers at the last minute and I had not reckoned on winning the lottery at all.

Farm and land
The generosity of the Bergsrud brothers was already well known (photo: Arne Heimestol)

"Now the telephone is ringing all the time and text messages are flooding in."

She said she would now discuss with her family whether to move to the farm.

The farmhouse lacks electricity, water and needs complete refurbishment, the Associated Press reports. It is, however, in an idyllic location 220km northwest of Oslo and surrounded by 100 acres of forest that now also belong to Mrs Aasli.

Local people said Mr Bergsrud enjoyed living on his farm and wanted a young person to inherit his property and make a living from it.

They said he and his brother Anders had also given the place where they grew up, with forestland, to a local museum.

Editor of the Hedalen website, Arne Heimestol, said that Mr Bergsrud, a man who showed such an interest in local history during his lifetime, had now become part of local history himself.

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