There are many Open Air Folk Museums in Europe, but the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo is this kind of place I wish to visit again and again (to see it at least once in every season of the year).
Human life is short, and the world is big and incredibly interesting, so I always try to see as much as possible in every place I go (update: I used to do it, but in 2016 I finally discovered the way of slow travel and I’m very happy about it 🙂 ), but spending almost whole day in Norsk Folkemuseum was definitely a pure pleasure (I have similar feelings about Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam ♥ ).
Few words of explanation about my interest in folk culture and folk museums: when I was a child my mother started to work in the biggest Polish Folk Architecture Museum, so I used to spend a lot of time wandering around folk cottages, farmyards, churches, bee-gardens, windmills and so on. Back then I thought that it was the only museum of this kind in the world (really I thought so! 🙂 ). I heard from my mom that there is one, big Open-Air Folk Museum in Sweden, from where everything has started, but you know, as my small world was limited to my hometown only, it was a little hard to believe 😉
When I got to Oslo during my first backpacking trip, I couldn’t resist visiting Folkemuseum. This is definitely one of the best places to visit when you are there (another incredible museum in Oslo I do recommend is the Munch Museum). In the meantime I have also visited Rocca al Mare skansen in Tallinn. Bokrijk in Belgium, Skansen in Stockholm, Shirakawa-gō in Japan (update: visited in February 2016) and Open-Air Ethnographic Museum in Riga are still on my bucket list (I won’t let them wait too long I hope!).
OK, enough of talking! Just take a look.
Isn’t it nice to go back in time for a while?
Living museum of cultural history
The Norsk Folkemuseum is one of the oldest museums of this type in the world – it was established in 1894! It’s a living history museum. You can meet real people working in the field, cooking traditional meals or performing traditional crafts of the region. In the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo visitors have a possibility to try a home-made bread, buy local handcrafts, listen to the live folk music or watch regional dances. I recorded one here. I’m not sure, but most probably they play a Polska dance.
When talking about traditional, wooden architecture of Norway, it is impossible not to mention the famous Norwegian stave churches. Long ago these medieval, wooden Christian churches used to be common in the whole North part of Europe. Unfortunately most of them didn’t survive till now due to many fires. Luckily they are still present in Norway, where about 1000 Stravkirke were built. Some believe they were the first type of church to be constructed in Scandinavia. Stavkirke were heavily decorated with typical for the Northern cultures carving patterns.
And finally, something for every fan of jewellery and the Vikings series 😉
Have you been to the Norsk Folkemuseum?
I wish to visit the place once again. Would you like to join me? 😉