Monday, March 14, 2016

Overview of Norwegian costume, part 3B. Hordaland

Hello all, 
Today I will cover the last province of Norway, Hordaland.
This is one of the great centers of Norwegian folk costume, having large areas in which the costume continues to be a living tradition to this day.

Hordaland is divided into five districts. It also includes the second largest city in Norway, Bergen.

The folk costumes of this province are mostly similar to each other, being of the bringeduk type, with a separate plastron. As one would expect with a living tradition, individual costumes differ in details, there being room for individual expression. There are also commonly different costumes for married women and unmarried girls, and winter vs summer. The inland areas have traditions that are still living, but many of the coastal regions have reconstructed their costumes based on a wealth of evidence. 

This province is along the southern part of the coast.

Stord and Bømlo

I believe that this bunad is also worn in Sveio, as I have been unable to find any for that municipality.
cat  4

This municipality has a bunad similar to the others found on the coast, as well as a plain dark drakt called stasklede. 
both cat 4

This image shows the bunad from Tysnes on the left, and Fitjar on the right.


This bunad is distinguished by the embroidered braces which are part  of the costume, possibly holding up the skirt as they once did in Tinn. It also has a loose pocket, which most of the costumes in this province do not.
cat 4


The blue hat is worn by both married and unmarried women, and for formal occasions, the women wear a white kerchief, and unmarried girls wear a white hat. The inset tends to be plain cloth with an ornamented band at the top.
women cat 2, men cat  4


cat 3

This consists of the center part of the coast, around the city of Bergen.


The bunad as worn today is a reconstruction of the clothing worn in the early to mid  1800s. The blue cap was worn by both girls and women, but women wore the white kerchief over it for formal occasions. This municipality is just across the fjord from Kvinnherad, so there are similarities. It is somewhat short  waisted, and a variety of aprons are used. 
cat 3

cat 4

The reconstructed bunad of Os represents the mid  1800s, cat 3

This is the way that unmarried girls dressed their hair. Hair was never worn loose in public except on her wedding day.

The bunad as redesigned in the early 20th cent. cat 4

The hair in all of these areas that have strong memories of tradition was put up in braids or twists, covered by a linen cap, and the headdress worn on top in such a way that none of the hair was visible. A kerchief is worn over the cap for formal occasions, with white embroidery for unmarried girls and black embroidery for married women. Men would wear an embroidered linen scarf on such occasions.
woman cat 3, men cat 4

This is an island north of Austevoll, which consists of the municipalities of Sund and Fjell. Married women wear a green vest with red sleeves, and unmarried girls wear the opposite. Both wear the black winter bunad.
cat  4


This municipality consists of an island group northeast of Stord and northwest of the current municipality of Bergen.
cat 4


This was a former municipality which has been combined with a few others into the municipality of Bergen.  It is now a borough of the Bergen Municipality.

The bunad is cat 4

 The woman on the left is from Laksevag, the woman on the right is from Os.

This was a former municipality which is also now a borough of the municipality of Bergen. It consists of the entire southern part of the current Bergen Municipality.

The folk costume - bunad of this area has never ceased being a living tradition. The married women's costume is distinguished by the kerchief over the head rail, while unmarried girls wear a headband. The girls' bodice is edged in blue, while the women's is green or patterned silk. The apron features open work of many kinds, hardangersom, crochet, and other techniques are used. The apron may also be of printed cloth, however it always has a notched or toothed edge, unlike the other regions of Hordaland. The men wear two vests, one over the other.
cat 1

Bergen City
The city itself has two designed drakts of the livkjol type. They are the only such costumes in Hordaland.

The embroidery was taken from an old shawl. This embroidery was applied to the whole costume. On the skirt the embroidery was not altered to fit, but simply executed in L shapes around the hem. There is no apron. As Bergen is a major city, this drakt is very popular.
cat 5

Much less well known is the Bjørgvindrakt
cat 5


There is one man's bunad for Nordhordland
cat 4

Outer Nordhordland
There is a recently reconstructed bunad with a green jacket inside the bodice. The girls' hair is wrapped in ribbons and then wound around the top of the head. Married women wear a bag shaped kerchief.
cat 3

This girl is wearing her hair incorrectly, loose under a fake hair roll.

There is also a version of the bunad which was designed in the early 20th cent.
cat 4


This is very similar to the previous bunad, but there is a padded roll under the women's headdress, and the pleated skirt has  a green hem, as in Voss.
cat 4


There is a version of this bunad which was designed in the 1970s.
cat 4

There is also a more recently reconstructed version which differs little.
cat 3


Both of the inland costumes represent unbroken living traditions. Voss has separate bunads for marrried women and single girls. It also has a summer and winter bunad, which is very common for Hordaland. Married women have a deep green hem on the skirt edged with silver lace, while unmarried girls have three narrow black velvet bands. Married women also wear the headpiece. There are two types of jacket worn with this bunad, one which shows the stomacher, the bringeduk, and one which closes down the middle. 
women cat  1, men cat 4

The district of Hardanger is generally considered to have one bunad, which is a living tradition. There is a great deal of variety in the ornamentation of the bodice inset, both beadwork and embroidery. Previously the bodice was of many colors and materials, but under the influence of the National Bunad, it is almost always red today. The white apron with hardangersom is worn for formal occasions, but other aprons are worn as well. There is also a winter bunad here, as is the case in the rest of Hordaland. I will cover some of the distinctions between the regions, which do not always follow the municipalities. Generally, most of the images which are just labelled Hardanger are from Ullensvang or Sorfjorden, or are of the old National costume. 
women cat 1, men cat 4

Ulvik, Eidfjord and Granvin
The women's bunad is distinct in a couple of different ways. Firstly, the bodice opening does not have a notch, but extends smoothly from the closure to the neck, similar to the Voss bunad. Secondly, the married women wear a different headpiece, consisting of a kerchief worn over a head rail, somewhat similar to that of Fana. Both summer and winter bunads are shown in the following images. The men's bunad varies, that of Granvin and Ulvik each being distinct, and that of Eidfjord being shared with Ullensvang and Sorfjorden.




The western regions have  a woman's headdress that is similar from one to another, but of a somewhat different shape. It is finely pleated and starched to obtain its distinctive form. The men of Ullensvang and Sorfjorden wear the same bunad as they do in Eidfjord. The men of Kvam and Jondal each have a distinct bunad. In Torvikbygd the mean wear the Jondal bunad, even though the town is in Kvam. 


In this photo, the headdress does not have the fold which is found in the versions further west. I have only found one photo of this exact type of headdress, so I am not certain if this is an actual distinction. The man is wearing the red 'bridegroom's jacket'.

In Kvam the headdress has the fold by the temples, but the headdress itself is a somewhat different shape, being higher and rounder in front. You will sometimes see women from Kvam wearing the more general headdress  though. The men wear a distinct bunad with a green vest and patterned stockings.

The women's costume is very close to that of Sorfjorden, differing only in minor details. There is only one band hanging from the belt. In the above regions there usually tend to be two. The man's bunad is distinct, and is also worn in Torvikbygd.


This means south fjord, and refers to a side fjord which extends to the south from the main Hardangerfjord. The area around this fjord is home to the classic version of the Hardanger bunad and folk costume. It includes the northernwestern parts of Ullensvang and Odda municipalities.
Married women wear the flat top version of the headdress, as they do in Jondal, and which is often seen in other parts of Hardanger as well. They may also wear three bands hanging from the belt with the formal costume. Unmarried girls wear their hair in braids, and may wrap them with ribbons and put them up. Little girls wear a bonnet. The bodice and jacket both have the notch in front, as do all of the western variants. The bodice may be of many materials or colors. The plastron, or bodice inset has hundreds of different designs, executed in either beadwork, applique, or embroidery of various kinds, or in a combination of techniques. My next article will be an overview of different types of insets. The blouses may have Hardanger embroidery, other whitework, or blackwork. 


This is a former municipality which currently makes up the southeastern part of Odda municipality. It was originally part of Suldal parish, which lies further down the same valley and which today is in Rogaland. The bunad is distinct. cat 4

Nasjonal or National bunad

This was popular at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in areas which had not yet developed or reconstructed their own bunads. It is a simplified form of the Hardanger bunad, using simplified beadwork for the inset, a red bodice to reflect the national flag, and a beaded version of the little girls' bonnet for all women.

This concludes my overview of Norwegian  costume. I will certainly do more articles on individual subjects in Norway in the future as well. 
Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. 

Roman K

Source Material:
 Source Material:
Aagot Noss, 'Draktskikk i Aust-Telemark', Oslo, 2010
Kari-Anne Pedersen, 'Folkedrakt blir Bunad', Cappelen Damm, 2013
Bjorn Sverre hol Haugen, 'Norsk Bunadleksikon' Oslo, 2009
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
Janice Stewart, 'The Folk Arts of Norway', University of Wisconsin, 1953
Guvnor Traetteberg, 'Folk Costumes of Norway', Oslo, 1966, 1976
Thorbjorg Ugland, 'A Sampler of Norway's Folk Costumes', Oslo, 1996
Laila Duran, 'Scandinavian Folklore vol I - III', Sweden, 2011-2013
Laila Duran, 'Populaere Bunader', 2014


  1. Hi, I stumbled across this page via Pinterest, and scrolling down the page, I saw a photo of myself! I´m the one in the red vest + green arms from Bømlo. Your write that the bunad is a living tradition here, but for a long time it was (and to a large degree still is) strict rules of what is allowed. I happen to have a textile background (trained as an arts and crafts teacher, specialised in textiles) and decided to make my own version of my bunad, based on tradtition. SO I went to the local museum and found some old embroidered suspenders that I copied the pattern from, and embroidered my very own bringeduk and belt. The green jacket is also rare. As far as I know, there are only about 5 of us who has it. I am usually cold, and wear a woolen sweater under the linen blouse, but when my sister-in-law made this jacket (it is a jacket, it´s just worn under the vest, that´s why you can´t see anything but the arms) I made a copy. The bands at the bottom of the arms have the same embroidery as the belt. I see that you also only have women in the black-and-white woven apron. This is said to be for married women, although I suspect it was more of a everyday kind of apron. The Sunday-best apron, now said to be for the unmarried women and girls, is the white linen with fine, white embroidery on it, similar to the ones you see in the neighbouring municipalities (a bit finer than the Hardanger version.) Also, all our embroidery is cross-stitch in wool, not small glass-pearls, which they use in Hardanger. A lot of girls get them for their confirmation (age 15), and mothers and grandmothers and other relatives often try to make at least parts of the bunad. Partly because it is insanely expensive, but mainly because it is kind of nice to make a family-heirloom. There are some bunads that are considered to be "national", which means anyone can wear them. The Hardanger-bunad is one of them.

  2. Hello! I have been researching the bergendrakt I think is what you call it, as my grandfather's family is from Bergen. My mother has a "work" bunad that she uses as we are involved with our local chapter of Sons of Norway and she does Norwegian dancing exhibitions. I am looking into purchasing a pattern or possibly commissioning someone to make one for her. I would love any help navigating where to find a pattern, and possibly someone to sew it for her. I am relatively new to researching this and would appreciate any help that I can get, as I've mostly been searching Norwegian websites and they can be difficult to navigate, even when they are able to be translated!