Today I will try to cover all of Norway. Norway has many beautiful costumes, and the folk costume culture is alive and well. The scene above, showing five different costumes is not unusual for festivals.
The National Bunad Council Bunad- og Folkedraktrådet , the authority on national costumes appointed by the government, has developed five categories to grade modern day bunads according to ‘authentic’ regional folk clothing:
Costumes are readily available in Norway, there are many businesses which make them. These are called Husflid. They are, however, expensive, as the Norwegians believe in paying a living wage to people who do things like embroider or weave by hand. For every one of these costumes, whether bunad or drakt, there is at least one sewing house, or husflid, which specializes in making it.
Norway has a long history, even though for several centuries it was ruled by Denmark.
Norway has only two minority peoples, the Saami and the Kven. The Saami, also known as the Lapps, inhabit all of northern Scandinavia, and speak several languages which are related to each other, but unrelated to Norwegian. The Kven were settlers from Finland in the 18th and 19th cent. Very few of them today still speak the Kven language.
The map above shows the Norwegian provinces, and I will consider them one by one, starting in the southeast, treating the capitol area, and then the eastern provinces north to south, and continuing around the coast. This is the traditional order of presentation. Some of the Norwegian costumes represent living traditions, however many of them are reconstructions, or designed from the ground up. I will not show every costume, as that would be too much to cover, but I will show the major variants from each province.
Bokmål and Nynorsk. The first means 'book language', and is used by most people, even though it is heavily influenced by Danish. The latter was an attempt to make a more purely Norwegian literary standard, and is more popular in the west. Both are recognized by the government.
The following map shows which parts of the nation lean towards Bokmal, [red], and which towards Nynorsk [blue]. Many municipalities are officially neutral, [gray]. It is interesting that most of the territories which have strong costume traditions favor Nynorsk.
Oslo is a province as well as a city. Oslo, like many cities around Norway has its own drakt, specially designed for the purpose. cat 5
Here we see the first example of the most popular cut for bunads. This is basically the Gudbrandsdal festive bunad with embroidered made over with different colors and embroidery. This has been done over and over again in many places. This has come to be understood as the classic Norwegian costume cut.
The gray band set above the hem features realistic embroidery of Norwegian wildflowers, and the pocket is embroidered with the figure of St. Halvard, patron of the city.
Here is another drakt which was designed for the 1000 yr jubillee of the city, which features a more urban look. Notice the subtle damask design on the women's jacket. cat 5
This is an agricultural valley outside of the city, but still within the northwest part of the Oslo municipality . This is another remake of the Gudgrandsdal festbunad. cat 5
Vestfold lies on the west bank of the Oslo fiord. This is the smallest province by area.
There are two types of the man's bunad. The first one comes with either a black jacket and red vest or red jacket and gold vest. cat 3
The second is called the 'blue jacket' bunad. It is mostly black, with long pants and a brocade vest in blue and dark red. cat 3
Several bunads have been designed for women. The earliest is the 1932 model. This has woven ribbon trim around the bodice and on the hem of the skirt, and an embroidered pocket, but no apron. It is made in a couple of different colors. cat 5
The 1956 model is similar, but adds more color options and features a woven apron. cat 4
This apron is based on an old photograph from about 1890.
There are two more common versions of the Vestfold woman's bunad. This one is called the brocade bodice bunad. It features an embroidered linen apron, which was copied from one made in the early 19th cent. The embroidery on the pocket is different. cat 4
The linen apron is also worn with the other bunad.
The last of the common variants is the velvet bodice bunad. This features a dark apron, and a bodice of a different cut. cat 4
All of the above bunads were based on actual found materials. There is another bunad which was designed in the 1930's as a 'free composition'. This is much less commonly seen but features embroidery on the dress, which everyone wants.
This comes in black, blue, and white, with rosemahl type embroidery. Another example of a remade Gudbrandsdal festbunad. cat 5
Akershus surrounds Oslo except on the northwest. This is a very densely populated area, including as it does some of the suburbs of Oslo.
This is the first province in which we encounter different districts, as can be seen on the map.
This can be worn by anyone in the province, but especially those in urban areas near Oslo. men cat 5, women cat 4
There is one Baerum bunad which comes in a variety of colors and choice of aprons. Plaids are common in Folk costumes all over north Europe, they are not restricted to Scotland. men cat 3, women cat 4
women cat 4, men cat 5
The above is the festive bunad, there is also a winter bunad.
and a summer bunad.
The men wear embroidered braces under their vests.
There are currently two costumes from Follo.
men cat 3, women cat 5
This features a linen apron with white openwork embroidery and rococo embroidery on white on the damask skirt, pocket and cap of blue or red.
This is a less expensive alternative now available based on brocades rather than embroidery.
The men's bunad.
The Romerike women's festive bunad comes in three colors, blue, green and red.
It also comes in three models which vary in type of bodice and embroidery. The three models, believe it or not, are called L40, L46, and L55. The unique Romerike embroidery was taken from an old horse blanket. The apron may be of the same embroidered wool or may be of printed linen. cat 5
This features a bodice which is the same color wool as the skirt and pocket. The bodice is cut straight at the waist and seems to be connected with the skirt.
This features a separate bodice with a peplum, the cut of which is copied from an old bodice found in the area. The embroidery, while similar, is distinct if you look carefully, both on the skirt and on the pocket.
Kjersti Skavhaug et al, 'Norwegian Bunads', Oslo, 1991
Heidi Fossnes, 'Norges Bunader og Samiske Folkedrakter', Oslo, 1993
Ellen Scheel et al, 'Bunad-Brodering', Oslo, 1997