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Celebrating the Scandinavian Jul

Scandinavian Jul

In Scandinavian language, Christmas is named Jul. The word origins from old Norse, spoken by Scandinavian Vikings over a thousand years ago. Jólablót, originally was the word for mid-winter-day, the 12th of January, but evolved into Jul as the different Nordic languages developed. As Christianity entered the region, Norse traditions faded, but the name still stuck around, becoming the word for Christmas. Brits may know this time as yule or yuletide. Yule covers the same period as the Scandinavian jul, and was traditionally celebrated to commemorate the dead, arrange wild hunts lead by mythological figures and celebrate the Norse god Odin. The origins of yule are disputed, with the British claiming the word descends from Old English, while Scandinavians claim that the word is stolen from Old Norse.

Christmas Eve

Unlike many European countries and the Americas, the main event of Christmas in Scandinavia happens on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December. This is the day where friends and family gather to eat too much greasy food, have drinks, and open presents. After a grand feast and some time for the food to settle, the festivities begin. Many Scandinavians celebrate with a Christmas tree dance where participants hold hands and walk around the Christmas tree, singing carols. Giving the tradition some adrenaline is the lit candles resting on the fir’s branches. Here it is important to be careful so you don’t burn holes in your knitted Christmas sweater.   

Topping the list of knitwear per capita, it is almost certain that the majority of Scandis receive a pair of home-knitted mittens, woollen socks, and other homemade clothes. In Norway, Christmas Eve goes on way after midnight as 90% of Norwegian households open one present after another. Norwegians often gather the extended family for Christmas, and with ten or more people in the house, it is understandable that the festive consume hours upon hours.

Last week, we published a blog post about the Scaninavian Christmas Feast, which you can read here.

Romjul – Space Christmas

On the 26th of December, the period known as Boxing Week in the UK, the Norwegian romjul starts. Directly translated to Space Christmas, romjul is the space between Boxing day and New Year’s Eve. Again, the word descends from Old Norse. The word rúmheilagrmeans “period that doesn’t have to be holy”. Scandinavians spend the week with their loved ones, eating good food, playing board games, and participating in other festive activities. Schools, as well as many offices, close down during this period to give their employees some time off to recharge their batteries before the new year. Romjul often hosts many winter sports events like biathlon and cross-country skiing. What is more Scandinavian than spending some well-deserved free time on skis through forests and over mountains?


Being the time of large, greasy meals it is important to have the right drinks to rinse the throat with afterwards. For 500 years, the Scandinavians have celebrated large festivities with a bottle of Aquavit on the table. The caraway-based spirit is often used for schnapps, small shots taking during the course of a meal. This has been the use-case of Aquavit for centuries, but in May 2020, new aquavit entered the game. Nuet Dry Aquavit is a revolutionary aquavit that serves as the world’s first premium gin substitute, perfect for cocktails. This Christmas, we have released several drink recipes perfect for the romjul evenings. Check out the Freezing Robin, Rising Skies, Nuet Gimlet and more in our drinks section, and buy your own 70cl of Nuet Dry Aquavit in our webshop.

Interesting read? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly posts about everything Scandinavian, from cuisine to culture. Read more at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts.  And, if you’re super interested, you could sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the site, and get a chance to win a free bottle of Nuet Dry Aquavit.

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Oslo’s Urban Agricultural Oasis

For decades, no one thought that the ground beneath Losæter could be cultivated land. But in 2011, the process of making this little area between a highway and an industrial dock into vibrant cropland started. Behind the process was Futurefarmers, an artist collective passionate about our nature. It all sprung out from the idea of making a public ecological bakery where people could learn about ecological baking. But to bake you need crops, to harvest crops you need soil, and to take care of the soil you need people. So the idea evolved into making Losæter a public space where the whole process from seed to bread was done in one place.

The Diverse Soil

In 2015, soil from 50 ecological farms around the country was donated to make the idea into reality. The soil was spread across the area to symbolize the diversity in Norwegian agriculture. Now, five years later Losæter is a symbol of what an idea combined with passion and hard work can result in. Here, what was a pile of gravel they now grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and berries, as well as keep bees and insects for food.

The name Losæter is a combination between the name of the area, Loelva and the Norwegian word Sæter/Seter, the pastures Norwegian sheep and goats roam during the summer. Losæter is a place where the people of Oslo may visit during the summer to escape everyday life, making it a sæter for people. 

Where Everyone’s Welcome

Losæter is a place for everyone. It is free and anyone may come to have a look in the park and join in on the process for harvesting food from the soil of Urban Oslo. Losæter has weekly visits by groups ranging from kindergartens to nursing homes. Here, the passionate “city farmers” educate groups and people about where our food originates and how we can use organic produce in food.

From the heights of Losæter, you see Barcode, Oslo’s economical hub.

A Passion for Education

One of the three full-time employees at Losæter is Emilie Sandell. She is a biologist that just finished a masters degree in Plant Sciences and works as a “city farmer”, maintaining the farm and educating visitors about the area and works. She has a passion for educating about food and produce and is in love with Losæter and what it is.

“I want to tell people about the origins of our food, and teach people to appreciate the work that goes into producing our food. I see that there is a lack of knowledge, but at the same time an increasing interest in the field. So I want to raise awareness about our nature and natural resources.”

Emilie Sandell

Want to read more about the nature of the Norwegian capital? Then we suggest reading our story, Exploring the Oslo wilderness. Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read more at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts.  

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The World-Class Hotel in The Middle of Nowhere

Small Town, Large Hotel

In 1891, Hotel Union Øye opened in the village of Øye by the Norangsfjord in Western Norway. The hotel was one of the first Norwegian hotels in its class; a five-star hotel surrounded by astonishing wild nature. At the time there were only a couple dozen people living in Øye, so why would someone build such a hotel in a place like that? Well, the hotel was meant to be a quiet resort in a beautiful landscape where people from all over the world could come to relax and take a break from a stressful everyday life. The hotel quickly served its purpose and people from every corner of the world started visiting the hotel. It became a sought after destination for many. Royals, adventurers, artists and locals alike started spending time relaxing in the hotel.

Famous Residents

In its 129 years lifetime, Hotel Union Øye has been visited by famous adventurers, writers, kings and queens. Surrounded by alpine nature with tall mountains and large forests, the hotel has offered perfect facilities for a get-away. People have travelled from far and beyond to visit this well-established and unique hotel. Visitors like Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, German emperor Wilhelm II, painter Edvard Munch, British writer Arthur Conan Doyle and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen have not been an unusual sight at the hotel. Some of the hotel’s furniture has actually come from its famous guests. Of many things, one of the most interesting ones is located in one of the rooms’ restrooms; emperor Wilhelm’s private bathtub where he allegedly spent a lot of time contemplating about how to run the German Empire.

Stuck in Time

Whilst the world around it has modernized substantially in the last century, the hotel has been stuck in time, keeping the old feel and atmosphere that has filled its rooms through time. Although some maintenance and renovation have to be done from time to time in order to keep the hotel up to standards, the hotel’s historical foundation and design are intact. Built during the late 1880s, the hotel’s interior design is a mixture of elements from the baroque, renaissance and neoclassical artistic styles. Around the hotel, you find a unique collection of antiques, paintings and sculptures brought by guests from all over the world in appreciation of the hotel’s welcoming reception.

Closeness to Nature

One of the hotel’s main selling points is its propinquity to wild and untouched nature. The Sunnmøre Alps, a massive alpine mountain range encompasses the area, resulting in staggering views from the hotel and its outside area. The region features a great extent of hiking trails used by locals and visitors alike, leading the way through large forests to enormous mountain peaks. On these trails, you experience the same hikes as European royals, Scandinavian explorers and American writers all have experienced throughout the last century.

Interesting read? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read other interesting posts at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts straight to your feed.

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500 Years of Scandinavian Moments

The Medicine

All the way back in 1531 we have the first dated mention of the aquavit spirit, although back then it was not regarded as a spirit at all. The mention was found in a letter from the Danish Lord of Bergenhus castle in Bergen to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Norway. The letter came with a package, offering the archbishop an unusual liquid. The liquid was said to be “some water which is called Aqua Vite and is a help for all sorts of illnesses which a man can have both internally and externally”. The name descends from the Latin word aqua vitae, meaning “water of life”. For many years aquavit was regarded as a medicine, mainly for coughs, fevers, impure skin, and other smaller illnesses. In contrast to the aquavit the archbishop was served, today’s aquavit is not regarded as a medicine, but some believe it eases the digestion of richer foods.

Years of Tradition

While aquavit slowly lost its reputation as a medical drink, it gained more and more popularity as a festive drink. Aquavit is often seen accompanying feasts and banquets, celebrating Christmas, Easter, the Norwegian constitution day and other large celebrations. The spirit is traditionally almost exclusive to large meals, and drinking it without food is not very common. Aquavit is here to accompany people through great and small moments, as we say in Scandinavia, the moments we live in the now. This is a drink made to enhance the events you experience right there in the moment, whether it is New Year’s Eve or Easter Sunday.

We recently published a blog post about living the moments, and how the Scandinavians enjoy smaller and greater events in life. Read more in our blog post, Living in the Now.


In the late 1500s, the distillation of grain- and potato-based spirits grew in popularity. Manufactures started flavouring the spirits with different spices and herbs. The use of caraway, dill and coriander was in particular very popular, and the use of those ingredients became the mainstream aquavit ingredients for many years to come. In later years manufacturers have started using other, not so mainstream additives like fruits and berries. Just like any other product, recipes and flavours differ from brand to brand. Some use cumin, fennel or dill, while some, like Nuet Dry Aquavit, use blackcurrant and grapefruit peel.
The spirit is rarely produced outside of the Scandic countries, and in the few areas it is produced, it is often because of a large population with Scandinavian heritage. Although the production is quite similar, it is not as authentic as the real deal, with ingredients fresh from Scandic fields and forests.

Refreshing Aquavit

Aquavit has always been regarded as a strong and bitter spirit, often used for what Scandinavians call snaps, small shots of alcohol consumed during the course of a meal. It has also been enjoyed slowly, as a pure spirit, and never really in cocktails. This is where Nuet Dry Aquavit arrives on the arena, as a smooth and refreshing take on the traditional aquavit. Nuet Dry Aquavit is created just like other aquavits, to enhance the moments you enjoy, but in a far more versatile way. Fitting perfectly in cocktails, or with tonic water, the fruity and citrusy aquavit is a perfect substitute to gin. You can buy your own Scandinavian moments in a bottle in our shop, and read more about the many use-cases in our drink-section.

Here at Nuet, we strive to share the moments and the stories from the great Scandinavian region. We publish weekly blog posts about Scandinavian cuisine, culture, and people. Read our stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit for instant updates on new posts straight to your feed.

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Living in the Now

The Moments

We Scandinavians have always lived by the saying “å leve i nuet”, meaning “to live in the now”. The philosophy of living for the moment is the backbone of our culture. It is what makes the Scandinavian countries among the happiest in the world. Although it is important to be forward-thinking and make plans, just living the moment is just as important from time to time. Take your time to enjoy the events of your life, enjoy every taste of food, have take walk in beautiful nature, or nurture your hobbies. Do like the Scandinavians, enjoy the moments that make you happy.

The Outdoors

We Scandis are known for our closeness to nature and the extensive hiking culture. Scandinavian nature might be the best place to enjoy small and great moments in life. Whether it is on a fishing boat along the arctic coast, on top of the highest Norwegian mountain peaks, on a checkered blanket on a Danish field, or a trail through the mighty Swedish forests, the Scandinavian nature is where memories are created. With fresh winds flowing through your hair, cold spring water in your bottle and cheeks red as fire, the outdoors creates a calmness you can not experience anywhere else.

If you are interested in Scandinavian outdoors, we suggest reading our blog post Exploring the Oslo wilderness, a story about Nordmarka, a massive wilderness area half an hour from the Norwegian capital.

Go Offline

Today, in 2020, most of us spend an enormous amount of time on digital platforms, in front of a rectangular screen, keeping us updated on everything happening around the world at all times. Multiple studies have shown that all this time in the digital worlds leads to more everyday stress. Therefore, to live in the moment, without any worldwide distractions has never been as important as it is today. Leave your phone and the digital world behind for a trip in the outdoors. Go offline, and go outside. 

Drinks for the Moment

There are countless ways to enhance the moments that matter for you. When gathering around a fireplace or a dinner table with your loved ones, good music, tasty food, and fresh drinks are great to boost the in-moment experiences. For five centuries, Norwegians have enjoyed their greatest times with good food on the table and a glass of aquavit in their hand. The aquavit spirit has always been an important part of Scandinavian drinking culture, and a must for festive gatherings. But the spirit has not been that large of a part of smaller events, and that is where Nuet Dry Aquavit comes in. Nuet Dry Aquavit a fresher and smoother version of the traditional aquavit, created to enhance both smaller and greater moments. Fitting perfectly in cocktails, or with tonic water, the aquavit can be enjoyed both in large festive and in warm summer evenings on the beach. You can buy your own Scandinavian moments in a bottle at our shop, and read more about the many cases in our drink-section.

Here at Nuet, we strive to share the moments and the stories from the great Scandinavian region. We publish weekly blog posts about Scandinavian cuisine, culture and people. Read our stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit for instant updates on new posts straight to your feed.

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Dressed for Celebration

A Symbol of Heritage

Small fjord villages, large counties, and big cities alike, all have their own kinds of bunad designs. A wide range of fabrics, colours and patterns, makes every bunad unique while still keeping the traditional look. Being widely accepted as a festivity attire, the bunad is commonly seen large celebrations and cultural events, as well as smaller events like baptisms, confirmations and weddings. Some Norwegians even marry in their bunad, visualizing the bond between regions of Norway. 

In the arctic areas of Norway, it is usual to see another prideful dress alongside the Norwegian bunad. The gákti, the Sámis’ traditional clothing, a sign of heritage and culture is often used in the same setting as the bunad. We highly suggest reading more about the gákti in our story, The Sámi’s Prideful Clothing.

The Day of the Bunad

There is no day the bunad is more in use than on the Norwegian Constitution Day, the 17th of May. If you haven’t had any opportunities to use your bunad the past year, The Constitution Day is your yearly occasion to brush the dust off your bunad and get ready for the celebration. On The Constitution Day, millions of bunads are in use all across Norway, making the celebration a colourful, and spectacular sight.

Speaking of the Norwegian Constitution Day, we just published a blog post, dedicated to the momentous day. Learn more about The Constitution Day in our post, Celebrating Norwegian Values, Culture, and Freedom.

The Norwegian bunad is commonly seen in Constitution Day parades all across the country.
In the Constitution Day parades, it is common to see thousands of bunads in all shapes and sizes.

Old Traditions

Most of today’s bunad traditions and designs have roots from the 18th century, but there are some dating all the way back to the middle ages. A couple of hundred years ago, the bunad was not commonly used in festivities, but this changed around the middle of the 1900s. After the second world war, the trend of having a bunad spread quickly. After years of occupation, Norwegian romantic nationalism grew, and people began following older Norwegian traditions to a greater extent than before. Bunads became a symbol of Norwegian culture and a highly demanded product.

Valuable Clothing

Being hand made by craftsmen across the country, the Norwegian bunad can become very expensive. The craft, the fabrics, knives, gold, and silver may cost over 50.000 Norwegian kroner all together, equating to around £4000. The 2,5 million bunads in Norway have an estimated value of over 30 billion Norwegian kroner, roughly 2,3 billion pounds. Although the price might be steep, the sedimental value and pride from having a bunad heavily outweigh the economic cost. You can put a price on craft, but you can’t price pride.

Great Design

Alongside the bunad, there is another spectacular design present in The Constitution Day celebrations. Tomorrow, on the 8th of May, we release the 17th of May limited edition Nuet Dry Aquavit. Wrapped in a Norwegian coloured ribbon and with a silver rose, the design adds a little luxury to this special occasion. Just like the bunad, Nuet Dry Aquavit is handcrafted with love and passion. From washing to filling to labelling, the entire process of making the tasteful and refreshing drink is done all by hand. Buy your Limited Edition Nuet Dry Aquavit in our store, and experience true Scandinavian moments from the first taste.

Interested in Scandinavian culture? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read more at, and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts directly into your feed

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Celebrating Norwegian Values, Culture and Freedom

We Ride at Dawn

With only 24 hours at our disposal, we have to make use of every moment the Constitution Day has to offer. To make the most of the day, many Norwegians start off by arranging a Champagne breakfast, inviting friends and family to kick off the best day of the year in great fashion. There is no better way to begin the day than with a feast of fresh pastries, crisp greens, sparkling bubbles, warm laughter and joy. 

The Constitution

As the name implies, the Constitution Day is the day we celebrate the Norwegian constitution and the values it represents. For hundreds of years, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, but as a result of the loss at the Battle of Leipzig in October of 1813, Norway was ceded to Sweden in January of 1814. In response to the ceding, Crown Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark-Norway started the Norwegian Independence Movement, and in April 1814 he gathered 122 Norwegian men, forming the Norwegian Constituent Assembly. For five weeks, the assembly drafted the constitution. On the 16th of May, the constitution was agreed to by all members of the Assembly, and it was signed the following day, declaring Norway an independent kingdom. Thus making the 17th of May the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Nation-wide Parades

The first thing many Norwegians think about when it comes to the Constitution Day is the parades. All over the country, millions of Norwegians march proudly in long parades around their home town, singing the national anthem, waving the flag, and celebrating the Norwegian freedom, values, and national pride. Thousands of happy Norwegians dressed in the Norwegian colours waving thousands of Norwegian flags is a truly remarkable sight.

Thousands of Norwegians parade on the Constitution Day.
The country’s largest parade follows Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans Gate, where over a hundred thousand Norwegians gather to celebrate the day.
In 2018 people from over 70 nations from all over the world were represented in the parade.

A Day of Diversity

The Constitution Day is not just for ethnical Norwegians, this is a day for everyone, everyone living in Norway, everyone in love with the Norwegian country and culture, and everyone taking part in the Norwegian society. It is not uncommon to see other countries’ flags waving alongside the Norwegian flag in parades and on balconies. This is a day celebrating our including values, and everyone is welcome, whether you are from Tromsø or Kabul. Around 90% of non-western immigrants in Norway celebrate the day just like other Norwegians, a true sign of the welcoming Norwegian culture and values.

From eight in the morning to nine in the evening the Norwegian flag is waving on poles from the longest fjords to the tallest mountains, honouring everything Norwegian.
The Constitution Day is the best day of the year.
From eight in the morning to nine in the evening the Norwegian flag is waving on poles from the longest fjords to the tallest mountains, honouring everything Norwegian.

A Sign of Belonging

There are few things we Norwegians are more proud of than where we are from, and one of the proudest signs of our heritage is the bunad, the Norwegian traditional folk suit. From the smallest fjords in the north to the highlands in the west to the big cities in the east every area has its own bunad design. It is estimated to be over 2,5 million bunads around the country, with an estimated value of over 30 billion Norwegian kroner. We have posted a story about the bunad which you can read here.

The Norwegian Sámis celebrate this day by wearing their gáktis, the national costume of Norway’s indigenous people. Alongside the bunad, the gákti is a sign of heritage and pride. Read more about the gákti in our blog post about the Sámi’s Prideful Clothing.

The Norwegian Constitution Day is celebrated nation-wide.

Ice Cream Day

For many Norwegians, especially the young ones, this day is associated with ice cream. Averaging on around 30 million freezing cold ice creams consumed in a single day, the consumption equals six ice creams per Norwegian. This is five times the amount sold on even the hottest summer days. The phenomenon has even gotten its own saying referring to the ice cream demand.

“It sells like ice cream on the 17th of May.”

Norwegian saying

Bringing the Celebrations to You

As not everyone can be in Norway on this momentous day, we decided to bring the celebrations to you, wherever you may be. On May 8th we launch our own webshop, and we release our 17th of May limited edition bottle, which will be on sale during all of May. Same delicious content, with a festive wrapping. Order yours from our website on Friday, May 8th, and join in on the celebrations.

Interested in Scandinavian traditions and culture? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read other interesting stories at, and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new blog posts, straight to your feed.

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The World Heritage Docks

Bearer of History

Established in 1070, Bryggen has been essential to Norwegian trade and culture for almost a millennium. For centuries the alleys and markets of Bryggen were thriving with trade, and there is an endless amount of stories from what happened inside the walls of Bryggen.

The German Influence

Located on the Norwegian west coast, Bergen has easy access to the North Sea, making trading with Europe a breeze, especially with the British and Germans. In 1350 the Hanseatic League, an organization of German merchant communities, founded the Hanseatic Office on Bryggen, resulting in an explosion in trade with the Germans. The Hanseatic merchants controlled the import of wheat from Germany and the export of stockfish to Europe, thus giving the Germans a key role in the operation of Bryggen.  As a result of the German activity, Bryggen has been referred to as Tyskebryggen (the German dock), although the name isn’t commonly used nowadays.

Bryggen in Bergen is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites.
The iconic red, orange and yellow commonly used by the Hanseatic merchants have become the symbol of Bergen and their culture.

The Inferno of 1702

Throughout time Bryggen’s wooden construction has been an inconvenience, and Bryggen has experienced quite a lot of fires. On the 19th of May 1702, a fire started close to a nail factory in downtown Bergen. The fire grew quickly, and soon there was an inferno ravaging the city. For 13 hours the fire destroyed large parts of the city, and after a while the fire also spread to Bryggen, burning many important and historic buildings to the ground. The Hanseatic Office, the German merchant’s headquarters was completely destroyed, leading to a temporary halt in trade with Germans while the offices were rebuilt. During the fire, as much as 7/8 of the city’s inner core were heavily damaged or burnt to the ground. Bryggen, as we know it today, is the result of the reconstructions after the city fire of 1702, and the only construction dating before the fire is the stone cellars from the 14th century. After the last fire in 1955, it was finally installed a fire protection system, hopefully preventing the spread of fires in the future.

Thriving Fish Industry

For a long time, Bryggen ran most of Norway’s export of stockfish. Large batches of stockfish from Northern Norway were transported to Bergen, then exported to the European market by the Hanseatic traders. During spring almost every storage facility in Bryggen were loaded with huge amounts of northern Norwegian stockfish ready for Europe. Today, Bryggen is no longer the main Norwegian stockfish exporter, but fish is still a great part of Bryggen’s life and culture. Located right next to the Bergen Fish Market, Bryggen’s restaurants are delivered fresh fish straight from the Norwegian sea every day.

Bryggen was once thriving with trade and these narrow alleys were filled  with
dock workers, merchants, goods and life.
Once thriving with trade, these narrow alleys were filled with dock workers, merchants and goods on their way to and from Norway.

Architectural Heritage

Due to its key role in Norwegian and European trade, Bryggen was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is regarded as one of mankind’s most precious cultural sites, alongside world-famous masterpieces like the Taj Mahal, The Vatican and the Statue of Liberty. Even though Bryggen is no longer the thriving trading hub it once was, the history alone is worth protecting.

“Bryggen bears the traces of social organization and illustrates the use of space in a quarter of Hanseatic merchants that dates back to the 14th century. It is a type of northern “fondaco”, unequalled in the world, where the structures have remained within the cityscape and perpetuate the memory of one of the oldest large trading ports of Northern Europe”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Modern Handicrafts Central

Although times have changed and the thriving trade is gone, Bryggen still might be one of the top shopping destinations in Bergen. In the alleys of Bryggen, you find high-quality design shops housing freelancers and groups of designers focusing on Norwegian culture and design. The boutiques mainly sell handcrafted items like paintings, local foods and beverages, and clothing. Bryggen is also the home of Julehuset, a year-around Christmas shop, which we’ll cover in a later blog post. 

Interested in Scandinavian culture and history? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read our other stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new blog posts straight to your feed.

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A Church to be Copied

Since its completion in 1216, Gol Stave Church has been a symbol and prime example of Norwegian architectural pride. For centuries this church was the only one of its kind, the only one of this form, but that has changed and today the historic church has copies across the globe.

Near destruction

In the years following its completion Gol Stave Church was a key part of the local community. As the primary church of the area, it was an important gathering point for the locals. As the population grew the church became too small to fit all locals, so in 1880 it was decided that Gol would build a new and bigger church, and the original stave church was to be demolished and replaced. The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments was not happy with this decision and quickly decided to buy the materials in order to re-erect the iconic church elsewhere. In 1881 King Oscar II of Norway and Sweden financed the relocation of Gol Stave Church to make it a part of his collection of characteristic older Norwegian buildings. Today the original Stave Church and the rest of the king’s collection is located in The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

Returning Home

The Gol locals thought that the move of the church was a tragic incident, a waiver of their culture, and a loss of an old pride. Therefore, just a century after the move of Gol Stave Church the local society decided to build a replica of the original church that once prided their home town. In 1994, 113 years after the move of the original, New Gol Stave Church was inaugurated and is now honouring the original that once was there.

The American Twin

In addition to Norwegian copy, Gol Stave Church has been copied across the Atlantic as well. In the autumn of 2001, the Scandinavian Heritage Association in North Dakota unveiled the Gol Stave Church Museum, an exact full-size replica of the historic Gol Stave Church in Oslo. The replica was built as a memorial for the pioneer immigrants that moved from Scandinavia seeking the American dream in the American Northwest. Besides the North Dakotan one, the historic stave church has yet another copy in The States. Although it is not an exact copy, the stave church in the Norway Pavilion in Disney World, Orlando is heavily inspired by the designs of the famous church.

Gol Stave Church is a Stave Church from Gol moved to Norske Folkemuseum on Bygdøy in 1881.

A Tribute to God

At first, the church might look big, but the majority of the building is purely decorative. Stave churches were built as a grand tribute to God, a majestic piece of architecture reflecting God’s power. Therefore form was sometimes prioritized over function, making room for fewer visitors than other churches. The church’s nave, the central part where people are seated is quite small. When everyone is seated the church only fits about 30 people comfortably.

Although stave churches are spread across Scandinavia and parts of north-western Europe, the Norwegian ones are the most famous and influential, and the majority of stave churches left are located in Norway, therefore stave churches are commonly associated with Norwegian architectural history.

Interested in Scandinavian culture? Then this blog is the place for you. We at Nuet publish weekly blog posts about Scandinavian culture, cuisine, outdoors, and more. Read our stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get updates on new blog posts straight to your feed.

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The Sámi’s Prideful Clothing

Back to Their Roots

Throughout history, indigenous peoples around the world have faced hardships and prejudices. The same goes for the Sámi people of Northern Scandinavia. Just half a decade ago there was still a negative attitude towards the Sámi from the society. As a result, many Sámis abandoned their Sámi heritage in fear of harassment. This led to some families losing their Sámi culture altogether. In recent decades the prejudice against Sámis have declined, and the conception of the Sámi culture has taken a positive turn. A lot of media attention around Sámi artists, singers, and other media personas has led to an exploding interest in the culture. Many are doing genealogical research to find out more about their Sámi heritage, and for some being a Sámi is now pride.

The Pride

People of Sámi descent have started embracing their Sámi heritage and taking back the culture that once was crushed. Especially the youth have started learning the Sámi language and wearing the traditional gákti as a symbol of cultural pride. Especially during big events like the Norwegian constitution day (May 17th) and the Sámi national day (February 6th), the streets are filled with people of Sámi heritage representing their culture in a beautiful and colourful way.

I wear my gákti with pride. Not only does it represent a copious and beautiful culture, it also represent my Sámi identity. An identity I am proud of.

Elisabeth Regine Myrland (19), Alta Finnmark

Symbolic Design

The gákti’s design bears a lot of symbolism, and every little design feature has a meaning to it. The Gákti is a colourful dress, reflecting the diversity of Sámi people. Although you could use almost every colour imaginable, the most common main colour for the Loppa gákti is navy blue. The navy-blue symbols the use of and life at the sea. Fishing was one of the main sources of food for the Sámis living in the southwestern parts of Finnmark, thus making this a key element in the design. The green represents the lushness of the lands, the forests and the agricultural part of the Sámi life. Red is the colour of strength indicating the strength and willpower of the Sámi people.

What differentiates the Loppa gákti from other gáktis is the yellow jags on its brim and collar. The yellow colour is a symbol of life and hope. It represents the midnight sun, shining all day, all night, an everlasting hope.

The Loppa gákti unique design element is the jags on the brim and collar.

The Devil in the Details

During its lifetime the gákti’s various designs have faced a lot of hardship. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, most of the Sámi people were very religious. A prejudice society exploited their faith in God claiming the devil lived in the gáktis’ jags, and wearing Satan’s jags was a terrible sin. As a result of these claims, this design feature quickly disappeared from gáktis and other Sámi handicrafts. This gives the phrase “The devil is in the details” a whole new meaning. In recent years the jags have been brought back to the Loppa gákti to preserve the old traditional design, and now the jags that were scrapped are a symbol of hope.

Torill Kaino is one of many craftsmen able to earn a living by sewing the gákti

A Passion for The Gákti

The growing interest in and demand for the incredible piece of clothing has made this a growing trade, enabling many craftsmen to sew gáktis full-time. One of the people that sew gáktis for a living is Torill Kaino. In a little over two decades Torill as sewn around 400 gáktis for people all around Northern Norway. She sews 14 different gáktis from different regions of Sápmi, among others the one Loppa gákti pictured in this blog post. She gets so many requests that the waiting list sometimes stretches to over half a year. If this isn’t a sign of a growing trade, nothing is.

I think it’s great that the youth want to embrace and take back their culture and heritage.

Torill Kaino

Although most of the prejudice surrounding the Sámi culture is long gone, it is still important to remember our history in mind so this won’t happen again. Keeping a unique and colorful culture alive is priceless and something we should all strive to achieve.

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