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Norwegian Cabin Obsession

Welcome to the stereotypical Norwegian cabin; a 30-year-old, red, 40 square metre, tiny wooden house. Placed on top of a mountain, in the middle of a forest or along the Norwegian coast, this little house is a large part of Norwegian culture. We really love our cabins

For some reason, things that do not belong on the walls somehow end up there anyways in cabins. Along with old photos and shelves, you tend to find skis, carpets, and a whole host of other weird items usually designated to floors. Who looked at the carpet and thought “Yeah, that would fit real nicely on the wall”?

The cabin is that little house with skis on the wall.

 The cabin is a place where you find 15 year old coffee in the cupboard and seven year old strawberry jam in the freezer, even though you've checked there a hundred times before.

They are everywhere

Today there are over 400.000 cabins spread all over Norway. Almost every Norwegian has access to one in one way or another. If you don’t have a cabin of your own, The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) got you covered. In the spirit of Norwegian cabin culture, you can visit one of over five hundred cabins for free, or rent larger cabins for a weekend get-away. 

Cabin municipalities, as they are called, have more cabins than regular houses. During the winter season, and especially Easter, some towns have more people visiting their cabins than permanent residents. And that really says something about the Norwegian cabin obsession.

The cabin is the little house you walk for hours to reach, just to spend a night playing cards with a 47-carded deck and cook sausages on the stove.

An experience

As with most other things in this world, cabins do get modernised. Some of them are even more funky and modern than most people’s houses. Although they look good and have cool up-to-date facilities, modern cabins lack the charm the older traditional cabins have. It is quite difficult to detail, but the old-fashioned cabin life is truly exceptional. You can’t describe it, you have to experience it.

 The cabin is a place where you find 15 year old coffee in the cupboard and seven year old strawberry jam in the freezer, even though you've checked there a hundred times before.

The cabin is a place where you find 15 year old coffee in the cupboard and seven year old strawberry jam in the freezer, even though you’ve checked there a hundred times before.

When running water and electricity is a premium feature, you need a more primitive approach to living. You gather water from the brook, the furnace is your go-to source of heat, and the lavatory is a tiny little shed fifty metres from the cabin. The latter makes for some spooky bathroom visits on dark nights, and the distance from the lavatory back to the cabin is often covered with a nervous sprint.

When at the cabin, you have to do the most basic actions in a primitive way.

Pure Scandinavian Moments

You may wonder why we Norwegians drive for hours, hike through woods, across rivers and mountains for a night or two in a little wooden box. There is no definitive answer to this. Maybe it’s just the sense of relief from the stress of everyday life. It might be the primitive experience of lighting a fire to cook your food. Perhaps it’s just doing something else than school and work. Whatever the reason, the end result is always the same; pure Scandinavian moments.

The cabin is where you play Yahtzee with six different sized dices.

The cabin is where you play Yahtzee with six different sized dices.

Now that you’ve gotten yourself a peek into Norwegian cabin obsession, you might as well read our story about secret cabins in Northern Norway here. Two times a week we publish articles like this. Follow us at @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts.

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A Taste of the Wild in Downtown Oslo

Food poetry

Right across the street from the Norwegian Opera House, famous for its prize-winning striking design, you find Edda, a gourmet restaurant focused on the forgotten Norwegian pantry. Centrally located in downtown Oslo, Edda is a preferred choice for locals and visitors alike. The inspiration from Old Norse is evident not only in the food, but in the name Edda itself, which refers to two medieval Icelandic literary works; the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda. And the food is definitely poetic.

Head chef Eirik Mehus is an expert in preparing the Norwegian Reindeer.

Raw materials at its finest

Head chef Eirik Mehus has been at Edda from the beginning in june 2018. From day one he has been responsible for continuosly developing a unique menu focusing on the very best Norwegian ingredients. The result is an exceptional menu with a wide variety of flavours. During your visit at Edda you’ll encounter Norwegian reindeer from the Finnmarksvidda Plateau, cod from the coast of Lofoten and Norwegian brown cheese. Here you’ll have a taste of Norway’s most well known produce, cooked to precision

Our idea is to use Norwegian raw materials prepared in the French way”, says head chef Eirik Mehus.

A Norwegian Reindeer in search of food

Introducing a new taste

When it comes to the well-travelled Norwegian reindeer, the head chef’s goal has been to introduce the fantastic gamey taste to people that may not get the chance to enjoy it very often, or never at all. Reindeer meat gets its distinct flavour from their diet, which consists of herbs, grass and shrubs. Finding the perfect recipe to this mild but distinct taste was not an easy task. Despite the trials and errors the end result was worth it; curing the reindeer in Nuet Dry Aquavit, grapefruit peel and blackcurrant. The latter are actually some of the main ingredients in the aquavit, which makes this a great comprehensive experience, though we may of course be somewhat biased on this one.

Upon leaving the restaurant you’ll have the feeling of satisfaction. Culinary satisfaction.

The Norwegian Raindeer may be used for all kinds of food. This Tartar must be one of the best ways.

Reindeer can be used for so much. A favouriteof many is a tartar. Here Eirik has made a reindeer tartar accompanied by pickled red onions and dried cabbage.

Edda isn’t all about the food, here interior is just as important. Just like the food it has a touch of Norwegian tradition. Designed by the Oslo based interior designers at Interiørplan, Edda has a clean, modern look with a distinct Norwegian style. You can read more about the beautiful design in a later blog post! Follow us at @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts! And while you’re at it, check out our other posts right here at!

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Sweden’s Last Wooden Boat Builders

Entering the door you instantly feel the workshop vibe. You hear machinery in the background, see stacks of planks and other materials, and smell the odour of woodwork. A tall, bearded man in an orange sweater and black work trousers welcomes us. That man is Mattias Malmros, a Swedish boat builder and renovator. For two decades Mattias has been working with Swedish wooden boats. And for the last ten years, he’s been doing it with his friends in their workshop at Nya Djurgårdsvarvet in Stockholm. Båthandtverkarna, as they’re called do mostly renovation of old wooden boats. From time to time they make a few new ones from scratch as well.

Declining Demand

A century ago, this trade was thriving with demand. The Swedes were passionate about the craftsmanship, and the Baltic Sea was filled with wooden boats in all their splendour. But in the 1960s the availability of plastics advanced the boat building industry into a whole new direction, leaving the proud craft of wooden boat building behind. Plastics were way cheaper, easier to mass-produce and maintain. Therefore the requests for new wooden boats quickly diminished. And today the demand is at an all-time low. Most of the work being done today is the renovation of older boats from the mid-20th century.

“There isn’t quite enough demand to do this full-time, so we also do other crafts on the side, like making windows and other wooden products.”

Spare Time Well Spent

Most of Mattias’ time in the workshop goes to renovations and other projects for customers, and you may think that after a long day at work Mattias is tired of all the woodworking. If you think so you’re mistaken. On the second floor of the workshop, Mattias is using his spare time on his passion project; his own wooden racing sailboat. For four years he has spent his evenings, nights and weekends on the second floor, working tirelessly on this stunning design.

Mattias Malmros is a Swedish boat builder that builds wooden boats.

Devoted to traditional craftsmanship, the boat’s outer structure consists only of mahogany, in stark contrast to modern plastic boats. Mattias and his work partner already have a 9,5-metre sailboat of the same class and design from 1925, but in sports sailing size matters. The smaller boat is too light to reach the speed a boat in its class should be able to. The only solution was to make a new one. It takes time, but when the new boat is done, it’ll be worth both the work and the wait.

Whilst the profession of wooden boat building may be facing challenges, the passion for the craft lives on.

“I say that the boat will be done by next summer, but that I’ve said for
the last couple years, and I’ll probably say that for a few more.”

Interested in more stories about Scandinavian naval tradition? We’ll look into Swedish, Norwegian and Danish naval experiences in later blog posts!
Follow us at @nuetaquavit to get the latest updates on our blog! And if you want to read about our other topics, check them out here!

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Secret Cabins

A secret cabin is a shelter that at some point in its history has been kept hidden from someone. These hidden shelters can be found across the deep forests and vast mountains all over the country. Wanderers, hunters, gatherers, fishermen, refugees, tramps, and resistance fighters, have all built in places where none else walks. Some of them have become known to the public, like the one in Northern Norway we visited this summer, but others are so hidden that almost none knows about them, and probably never will. 

Inge Wegge and Jørn Nyseth Ranum spent nine months in an unhabitable and isolated bay above the arctic circle to surf some of the greatest waves in the world. They built their cabin out of driftwood and other cast-off materials that washed up on the secluded shore, while they ate expired food the stores would otherwise throw away.

While their primary goal was to catch amazing surf, they experienced one of the most mystical and secretive traits about Norwegian culture. The following words can be found hanging in their abandoned shelter in Lofoten: 

«We are two guys who brought our surfboards, turned off our cellphones and walked out here in September 2010. We lived here one winter to follow a dream: surfing, and live a simple simple. We gathered drift wood, bottles for insulation and rocks, -everything from this beach, and made an environmentally friendly home. It was a cold winter with lots of storms, but the fireplace made out of an oil barrel kept us warm. We truly lived by the saying: «Rich life – simple means»! You are welcome to use everything here, and we hope you enjoy and respect it. Want to do your share? Pick up some garbage, chop som wood, enjoy the silence.»

Inge Wegge and Jørn Nyseth Ranum

“We lived here one winter to follow a dream:
surf, and live a simple life.”

Inge Wegge and Jørn Nyseth Ranum made a film about their experience.

Read more about Scandinavian nature and outdoors here at and follow us on Instagram at @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts.