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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 nuetaquavit.com/stories 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.

Production

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 nuetaquavit.com/stories 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 nuetaquavit.com/stories 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 nuetaquavit.com/stories, 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 nuetaquavit.com/stories, 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 nuetaquavit.com/stories 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 nuetaquavit.com/stories 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.


Interesting read? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about Scandinavian culture, crafts, cuisine and outdoors. Follow us at @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on our blog posts right in your feed.

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Arctic Workhorse

Although the Lyngen horse is considered Norway’s oldest horse breed, we know little about it. The Lyngen horse wasn’t even classified as an own breed until the 1930s, and therefore its earlier history is unclear. We know for a fact that it is an ancestor of the way more popular Icelandic horse, and that it might have ties to the Mongolian horse breeds.

A visit by Genghis Khan

It is believed that the Lyngen horse is a distant relative of the Mongolian horses used by Genghis Khan and his army. History shows that some Mongolian groups indeed travelled all the way to the Baltics, but whether the Mongolians visited Norway is unknown. However, veterinarians have matched the genes of the Mongolian horses with the Lyngen horse, so there is definitely a chance that the Lyngen horse has some warrior blood in them despite their calm demeanour.

The Lyngen horse is a majestic beast.

Workhorse

Mongolian or not, the Lyngen horse is an exceptional, strong horse. Its versatile nature has made it an essential part of farming in Norway, throughout history. The work mostly consisted of ploughing fields, transporting people and goods, and towing logs from the forests. This small, but sturdy horse has an eagerness to work, and making these duties were no challenge for the strong and well-muscled creature.

During the winter these horses experience all the snowstorms, hail and freezing temperatures that the Norwegian climate has to offer well above the Arctic Circle. They’re used to this hardcore weather, and often stay outdoors even when they have stables to seek shelter in. During heavy snowfall they stand completely still in order to build a blanket of snow on their backs, isolating their fur and keeping them warm.

The Lyngen horse is a robust and versatile horse. A horse you can use for everything. It is made for northern Norwegian nature and climate”

Yvonne Larsen
  With an average shoulder height of 130 centimetres, the Lyngen horse classifies as a pony. However, it is referred to as a horse because of its strong, long built body.
With an average shoulder height of 130 centimetres, the Lyngen horse classifies as a pony. However, it is referred to as a horse because of its strong, long built body.

Rimfakse The Saviour

Due to setbacks in breeding during the second world war, there were at some point only 15-20 Lyngen horses left. Only one of these was a stallion, and his name was Rimfakse. He single-handedly saved the entire breed, and as a result, all of today’s Lyngen horses descend from this one horse. This makes Rimfakse the by far most famous Lyngen horse to ever have lived. The work of saving the breed was hard but manageable. At the start of this millennium, the breed was no longer in acute danger of extinction. Today there are around 2500 Lyngen horses around Northern Norway, but the numbers are dwindling, and the breed is still endangered.  

A passion for horses

One of the people dedicated to keeping the Lyngen horse breed alive is Yvonne Larsen. She’s “born on the horseback” and has been living with horses all her life. Although she’s had several different breeds of horses, the Lyngen horse is definitely her favourite.

“Having a horse is a lifestyle, a lifestyle I couldn’t live without. “

Yvonne Larsen
Yvonne Larsen is one of the people dedicated to taking care of the Lyngen horse.

Taken care of for generations

Yvonne lives on a farm in Lyngen in Northern Norway. For six generations the farm has been in her family, and many of the farm’s buildings date back to the 1840s. For almost two centuries the farm has housed all kinds of animals, and at some point this was one of the largest farms in the area, employing dozens of people. Today, the farm isn’t thriving as it did a few generations ago, but it doesn’t mean that the stables are empty. The farm houses three Lyngen mares, two of whom are pregnant, due in June.

Empowering women

Historically, the use of a horse was a man’s work because of the horse’s tall body. The Lyngen horse, on the other hand, was low enough for a woman to handle, thus enabling women to do farm work alone, when the men spent weeks, maybe months fishing at sea. That’s why the Lyngen horse played an important part in empowering independent women in Norwegian society.

” A life without horses is like a church without Chirst.”

Karoline (10), stable girl

Diminishing workload

As tractors became more widespread in the last half of the 20th century, the need for workhorses diminished. Therefore, the Lyngen horse is used for sports and recreational activities nowadays. In the summer some horses and their riders go on long trips in the Lyngen area and sometimes climb up the steep mountainsides of the Lyngen Alps. This is an extreme adventure through one of Norway’s largest mountain ranges. We’ll cover this journey in a later blog post.

The border collie, Punky has been the farm’s herding dog for 15 years. She spends all her time with the horses, guarding them and making sure they don’t run away. 

Interesting read? Here at Nuet, we publish two blog posts about Scandinavian culture every week.  Follow us at @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts. While you’re at it, check out our other posts right here at nuetaquavit.com/stories!

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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.