In the spring, the snow covering most of the Norwegian mountains melts and turns into creeks, rivers, and magnificent waterfalls.
My Norwegian roots
Treasures from Norwegian everyday history.
With the birth of Norway as a modern-day national state in 1814 came big ideas. One of them was to establish better inland transportation systems.
When the ice melted after the last ice age, herds of reindeer followed in its wake and populated what we today call the Scandinavian peninsula. And with the animals came their main predator: the humans.
The Norwegians rarely allow alien species into their fauna, with one notable exception, the muskox – first welcomed back to Norway from Greenland in 1924.
In Scandinavia, there have been as many as 30 ice ages over the last 2.5 million years. The latest period stretched between 115,000 and 10,000 BC.
In Norway, the Italian pizza appeared as an exotic newcomer in the 1970s. But bread topped with foodstuffs is nothing new in Norwegian food history. Even the Vikings ate pizza – but they called it bread-dish.
The Norwegian word skjemat means food eaten with a spoon – often before or after the main course at dinner. It could be porridge, soup, dessert, and more.
In 1836, a Scandinavian brown bear attacked milkmaid Kari Moen. She was from the community of Sauherad – in Telemark, Norway. Kari nearly lost her life that day.
In the old Norwegian farming society, a husmann was a man who was allowed to build his home on a small section of a farm’s land – and pay with his labour rather than rent. His simple holding was called a husmannsplass.
Like all buildings on the traditional Norwegian farm, the stabbur had a clear purpose: to be a storage for food, fine clothing, and other fragile possessions.
If you are of Norwegian descent, and are studying old Norwegian documents, then Einar Haugen’s Norwegian-English dictionary may be a tool that can assist you.
An ancient fishing method was to catch the fish in the dark, using a multi-pronged spear and a torch. The Norwegians call it lystring – the English leistering.
The old Norwegians sometimes preserved milk in a container buried in a peat bog. They called it myrmelk. The lack of oxygen in the bog kept the milk fresh – and it could be stored there for months, even years.
The Norwegian Buhund – a spitz dog – is 1 of 7 registered Norwegian dog breeds. The first breed-standard came in 1926, and the modern-day Buhund was primarily bred to be a herding dog. Historically, the Norwegian word buhund had a much wider meaning, and described an all-purpose farm dog.
Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city and one of the country’s oldest urban locations. The first post-viking king, Olav Kyrre, gave it market-town-status around AD 1070.
The Norwegian word for farmer is bonde – which stems from the old Norse búandi, which means a person with a fixed abode – a person living in one place.
The Kingdom of Norway is a country in Europe’s north-western corner, covering the western and northern flanks of the long-stretched Scandinavian peninsula.
A loved child goes by many names, says a Norwegian expression. This certainly applies to the country Norway. But what does the name really mean?
Norwegian folklore and old folk tales often depict The Black Death in the shape of an ashen-faced old woman – and her name is Pesta.
The first half of the 1900s came with a momentous change to Norwegian society: the ancient hunter-gatherer-farming-culture was rapidly dying.
With its 102,937 km, Norway’s mainland coastline, including its many fjords and islands, is the second longest in the world, next only to Canada.
The traditional Norwegians are drawn to their cabins, whether it is in the mountains, in a forest, or by the sea. Some might argue that they are a people obsessed.
It has been said that all people are equal in Heaven, but the historical churchyard shows us that no such equality applied here on Earth.
In the coastal districts of the old Norway, a strandsitter was a beach dweller – a man who rented a small piece of land close to the seafront – but owned the house that he built on it. His livelihood was usually connected to the sea.
If the weather has been mild in the days leading up to the old Catholic Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, then be sure that the frost will return.
In some areas of the old Norway, it was common for farm families to move out of the main house during the summer months. One particular family moved into the cowshed.
Are you hailing from Sykkylven in Møre og Romsdal, Norway? Well, then you might be related to the great film and television icon that was James Arness.
Skårfast is a Norwegian adjective. It means that a person or an animal is stuck on a steep mountain or cliff-side ledge – and is in need of being rescued.
In the old Norwegian farming society, nature dictated the flow of the working year. To secure sufficient manual labour during the working seasons, farmworkers could only leave their jobs on 2 specific days of the year – on 14 April and 14 October.
In what we today call Norway, human history began some 12,000 years ago, after the ice ages.
In my childhood, life was simple. And the small joys of Christmas lifted our spirits – and delivered us safely into the new year.
Some claim that porridge is the oldest hot dish in the Norwegian diet. For millennia, porridge was to the Norwegians what the oven-baked bread is to the modern family of today.
In 1935, Aslaug Engnæs published a guidance book on how to milk the cow – with tips and suggestions – aimed at the Norwegian smallholders of the day.
Skibladner is one of the world’s oldest paddle steamers still in regular service. Her launch was in 1856, and she sails on Norway’s largest lake, Mjøsa.
Uekte and ekte are Norwegian adjectives, which in one context mean illegitimate and legitimate – as in a child born out of or in wedlock.
In 1720, in the community of Meldal in Trøndelag, Norway, Vellik Andersson died aged 37, after being bitten by a wild wolf. He was buried on 8 September.
1769 was the year of the first complete Norwegian census – and the population was 723,618. Today, Norway has a population of more than 5 million.
Between 1850 and 1950, Norwegian society transformed. The age-old fishing, hunting, and farming society gradually turned into a modern, industrialised country.
The word ski comes from the Old Norse language and means cleft wood. The old Norwegians were hunters, and have used skis to their advantage for over 5000 years.
The Kingdom of Norway – as we know it today – was born on 17 May 1814. That was when the Norwegians created their very own constitution. But Norway, as a distinct rural culture, has been around for 12,000 years.
The Norwegian geography and climate have significant variations. The old Norwegian farm was always a result of its location, and the local availability of resources.
The Heddal stave church – stavkirke – is Norway’s largest remaining building of its kind. It is a wooden masterpiece, with a history that stretches back more than 800 years.
February was the month when the historical Norwegian farmer had to be vigilant about the housebound livestock’s remaining fodder. It was still only midwinter.
On an island in the Arctic Ocean, deep inside a mountain, we find the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – a treasure trove of food-plant seeds from all over the world.
After a brief illness, schoolteacher Eilert Wulff of Hammerfest died on 22 October 1904. He was survived by his wife Dorothea Sæther, 28, and son Aksel, 2.
Neither the great Atlantic Ocean – nor time or social conventions – could crush a love meant to be.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is one of today’s oldest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway’s western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
In 1893, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his crew set out on a three-year expedition; aboard a ship locked in by the slow-moving Arctic Ocean ice.
One of the oldest Norwegian folk instruments is the birch trumpet – the lur. Originally, it was a practical tool, helping people in their everyday lives.
There are many types of cheese slicers, but Norwegian furniture-maker Thor Bjørklund invented the Norwegian version in 1925.
The old Norwegians split the year into two main seasons: summer and winter – and used a two-sided wooden calendar-stick to guide them.
Our foremothers were hardworking and inventive – and doing the laundry in olden times was no small job. This is how it was done on a mountain farm in Norway – towards the end of the 1800s.
For many, it may come as a surprise that the history of Norwegian rose painting, and the art form’s place in Norwegian folk art, is not as old as one might think.
On 22 July 1964, a stray muskox bull killed 73-year-old Ole P. Stølen from Oppdal, Trøndelag, Norway. Local authorities shot the animal to prevent further attacks.
Klippfisk – or klipfish – is fish preserved through salting and drying. Since the early 1700s, the Norwegians have been large-scale klippfisk producers and exporters.
When the industrial revolution brought machinery to the Norwegian farms, it didn’t just change the way people worked, it also changed the layout and the look of the farmland.
Throughout history and well into the 1900’s, the Norwegian fjords and the often ferocious waters along Norway’s long-stretched coastline were the country’s main “highway”.
6 January is the 13th day of Christmas, marking the end of the holiday season on the old Norwegian farm. Now was the time to fully return to the everyday grind.