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Thread: Bunad Heritage of Norway: More than a National Costume

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    Bunad Heritage of Norway: More than a National Costume

    Many nations have their traditional costumes to showcase but Norwegian bunad is an exceptional piece of art with its unique tradition, colourful patterns, embroidery and rich textures.

    Bunad is the traditional Norwegian folk costume worn by both men and women. There are several rules on how to wear it and what the composition of textiles, colors and embroidery symbolize. Traditionally bunads represent the family home and the area people come from. So you are supposed to get one from the area either you or your family originates from. That is the reason why there are more than 400 different variations, all with their individual history, local materials and composition.

    With so many different variations, it would be impossible not to find one you like. Here are some of the most beautiful selection of bunads from across the country, curated by Heimen Husfliden:

    Northern Norway, Finnmark
    Altabunad


    It was not until 2006 that Alta got its own bunad. The pattern was found on a baptismal font in a local church and the shape takes inspiration from the bunads made in Gudbrandsdalen, south east in Norway.

    Northern Norway, Nordland
    Troms og Nordlandsbunad


    Dark blue stockings with white spots are the signature detail of this bunad, which is one of the most popular ones among men in Norway. First created in 1924, it features a floral brocade vest over a stand-up collar shirt, and is usually worn with black trousers.

    Northern Norway, Nordland
    Nordlandsbunad


    First launched in 1928, most of the materials used have been sourced locally in Vefsn. The blue woolen dress is embellished with embroidered floral patterns on the skirt and top. A blue shawl, an apron, a bag and a hat complement this traditional costume of the North.

    Middle Norway, Sør/Nord-Trøndelag
    Trønderbunad


    Norway’s most popular bunad comes in an impressive number of versions. Different colour and pattern combinations result in nine unique variations of the top alone. The same flexibility applies when choosing accessories, which allows for a more personalised look.

    Middle Norway, Sør/Nord-Trøndelag
    Gauldalsbunad


    Although initially created in the late 1950s, it took 13 years for it to officially enter the market. It comes with a long white jacket, woolen vest and knee-long trousers. The costume also features a black felt hat and white knitted stockings.

    Eastern Norway, Hedmark
    Østerdalsbunad


    A lot of effort has been put into recreating this bunad as accurately as possible, based on original designs preserved by the Glomdal Museum. Production started in 1920, bringing to life decorative elements of dresses from the 17th and 19th century.

    Eastern Norway, Hedmark
    Østerdalsbunad


    It takes meticulous and accurate work to create this bunad with references from the mid-19th century. The black knee-long trousers and jacket are sewn by hand; a dash of colour comes from the vest's pattern. The bunad committee of Elverum was awarded a certificate of excellence for their passionate work.

    Eastern Norway, Oppland
    Gudbrandsdalsbunad


    The original version of this bunad was created in 1922 in overall blue and adorned with oxidised silver accessories. Later alterations included removing the apron and adding floral embroideries to the top, skirt and assorted bag.

    Eastern Norway, Oppland
    Gudbrandsdalsbunad


    It was common practice in the East to use the same materials for both men's and women's bunads. The length of the trousers and coat can vary, and there’s also the option to wear it with a checked or brocade vest. The finalised version of the costume was created in 1962.

    Eastern Norway, Oppland
    Råndastakk


    Originating in the 1830s, it holds a special place in the Queen of Norway’s wardrobe and is considered as one of the most traditional costumes. Usually two tailors collaborate to successfully blend the two patterns, which used to be unique to each farm.

    Eastern Norway, Buskerud
    Ringeriksbunad


    It was in the late 1940s that this bunad was created, but it wasn’t available for purchase until 1954. Embroidered bear’s breeches and insect-inspired patterns adorn the black or blue woolen dress, usually worn with a white linen shirt, oxidised silver accessories and a hat.

    Eastern Norway, Buskerud
    Numedalsbunad


    Produced in the early 1980s, this deconstructed bunad errs away from naturalistic patterns. The black woolen jacket and vest are both double-breasted, echoing the Corleis costume which was quite successful across the country in the late 19th century.

    Eastern Norway, Buskerud
    Hallingdalsbunad


    This patterned bunad first appeared in the 18th century, at a time when wearing tailor-made clothes was the norm. This vividly decorated costume inspired by the military's uniform jackets comes with a short jacket, long or short trousers and sometimes even with patterned stockings.

    Eastern Norway, Buskerud
    Helgestakk fra Hallingdal


    Until the mid-80s this costume was worn as an everyday attire. Today it’s worn in special occasions and comes in a wide range of colours, patterns and textures depending on the tailor. The bunad is usually accompanied by a shawl, bag and a headpiece.

    Eastern Norway, Akershus
    Romeriksbunad


    Many variations of this costume have been created since the 1940, bearing elements that have been almost unaltered since the 18th century. Embroidered details highlight the dress and its accessories which involve a bag and a hat.

    Eastern Norway, Østfold
    Østfoldsbunad


    Created in 1936, it was the first bunad made for the county of Østfold. A silken shawl complements the costume. Depending on its colour and the way it is folded, it can symbolise grief or joy and should be worn accordingly in each occasion.

    Eastern Norway, Østfold
    Østfoldsbunad


    Including parts that originated in the 18th century, the reconstruction of this bunad was completed in 1990 and the original can be found in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. Elements from different regions were used to revive this costume which was highly popular in the 19th century.

    Eastern Norway, Telemark
    Øst-Telemark beltestakk


    Part of the Queen’s bunad collection and based on materials and patterns from the first half of the 19th century, this is one of Norway’s most popular costumes. Tops come in a wide range of vibrant colours, complemented by a vivid embroidered skirt and belt.

    Eastern Norway, Telemark
    Vest-Telemark


    This richly decorated bunad was first produced in the beginning of the 20th century. It is recognised by its signature shape and special type of shoes. Every part of the dress features embroidered decorative patterns, as does the white linen shirt.

    Eastern Norway, Telemark
    Øst-Telemarksbunad


    Different variations of this bunad exist with 16 silver buttons in the vest, 20 in the shirt and 27 in the knee-long trousers. The costume’s bottoms can be either long or short and are traditionally worn with white knitted socks and a hat or woolen bonnet.

    Eastern Norway, Vestfold
    Vestfoldsbunad


    A costume that comes from the 1930s, this bunad features sewn-in woven bands instead of embroidered details. Traditionally it comes in black or blue, accompanied by an embroidered bag and hat. It is worn with a white linen shirt and white stockings.

    Western Norway, Møre og Romsdal
    Nordmørsbunad


    Few alterations have been made to this design since the beginning of the 20th century. The woolen skirt comes in black or blue, adorned by a checked apron and a silver or gold waistband. Oxidised silver, red or black stockings and an embroidered hat complete this colourful bunad.

    Western Norway, Møre og Romsdal
    Romsdalsbunad


    This versatile bunad first went into production in the 1920s, inspired by the region's traditional costumes. The jacket comes with frills in the back and can either be long or short. Traditionally, short jackets come in grey and longer ones in a lighter shade of grey.

    Western Norway, Sogn og Fjordane
    Sognebunad


    Silk and viscose have been traditionally used in the creation of this bunad since the 1920s. The woolen skirt boasts a discreet yet colourful patterned lining and is accompanied by an apron. The most popular colours are red, green and black with black velvet details.

    Western Norway, Sogn og Fjordane
    Sognebunad


    Influenced by men’s suits that were popular in the early 19th century, this colourful bunad comes in an array of variations. Regardless of the colour combination, according to tradition it’s supposed to be worn with black, knee-long trousers and knitted white stockings.

    Western Norway, Hordaland
    Vossabunad


    This bunad’s influences come from the 1850s and celebrate decorative elements and designs of the Voss area. A green counterpart is inset onto the vest, thus creating the illusion of wearing two vests. The costume is complemented by a felt hat.

    Western Norway, Hordaland
    Hardangerbunad


    Norway’s first bunad boasts owners within the Royal Family, such as Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra. With black at the bottom and red at the top, it comes with embroidered details that highlight the waist. It is usually worn with a white apron and gold or silver accessories.

    Western Norway, Rogaland
    Rogalandsbunad


    Crown Princess Mette-Marit owns one of the seven unique versions of this costume, each featuring different styles and patterns. The dress is usually worn with a white stand-up collar shirt and white or oxidised silver accessories.

    Southern Norway, Aust-Agder
    Åmlibunad


    In the middle of the 19th century, a black shirt and a brocade floral vest were found in Mykland’s Askeland farm. Initially used as a groom’s wedding suit, they were used as inspiration for the bunad's contemporary version which was very popular in the 1920s.
    The source: https://www.expedia.no/vc/c/bunadsarven/en

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    Oh .... I simply love those Norwegians Bunads ... unfortunately I have nothing to do with Norwegians .


    This is what I'm bit looking for (have asked offers from two places).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finnish Swede View Post
    Oh .... I simply love those Norwegians Bunads ... unfortunately I have nothing to do with Norwegians
    Well, there is a small region in South-Eastern Norway, right by the Swedish border, called 'Finnskogen' (meaning: forest of the finns), which have gotten its name due to large scale settlement of Finns in the 16th and 17th century. Many place names still being Finnish in origins. They have their own regional bunad there, called 'Solør-Odal bunad'. So perhaps that one would feel a bit closer connected to your own roots (although you're not ethnically Finnish).

    It looks quite beautiful, too.







    A nation is an organic thing, historically defined.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Þoreiðar View Post
    Well, there is a small region in South-Eastern Norway, right by the Swedish border, called 'Finnskogen' (meaning: forest of the finns), which have gotten its name due to large scale settlement of Finns in the 16th and 17th century. Many place names still being Finnish in origins. They have their own regional bunad there, called 'Solør-Odal bunad'. So perhaps that one would feel a bit closer connected to your own roots (although you're not ethnically Finnish).

    It looks quite beautiful, too.







    Oh, thanks for sharing those. They are lovely. I especially like the first one.

    LOL. Maybe so .... if I would marry Norwegian and move to Norway...

    But seriously speaking .... like you put it ... that would not be totally ''right''. And even if I value Norwegians very highly .... I'm not ''shame'' of my own background => I would wear that folk costume I posted above also in Norway. Meaning: I would fully integrate to society (of course), but I would still be the same person as today (my roots). Simply genetically looking there are overlapping between Swedish and Norwegians. Maybe my kids would feel Norwegians enough to wear real Norwegian Bunads ... LOL.

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    Ooh These costumes are gorgeous and I love them. I also love the Norwegian headdress and my favourites are these:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    They look like fairytale queens.

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