Fjords | gateways to mystery | Norway

Once upon a time in the distant past, imagine yourself sitting in a small boat, facing this mighty gateway into the bowels of the land.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
Photo: alexm156 - adobe.com stock - copyright.
© alexm156 - adobe.com stock.

Pronunciation

Fjord

Shaped by the ice

It was the ice-ages that shaped the land of Norway as we see it today. Enormous ice sheets covered the landscape, like slow-moving oceans: grinding, crushing and carving the earth’s crust. When the ice melted, some ten thousand years ago, a majestic and barren land slowly rose towards the sky, finally rid of the weight of the frozen water. The fjords are actually flooded valleys dug deep by the ice. In some places, side-valleys abruptly end far up the fjord’s mountainside, sending their rivers free-falling down towards the sea level below in magnificent waterfalls.

Creations of the gods

In the minds of the old Norwegians, the mountains and the fjords were the homes and creations of the gods and the critters of the underworld. They were forces you did not cross if you valued your life.

In violent times, people established their settlements deep within these flooded valleys. With scouts posted at the fjord’s entrance, lighting their beacons or blowing their horns to warn their loved ones when enemy ships appeared on the horizon.

The Seven Sisters waterfall and the Geiranger fjord. A hand-coloured photo from the early 1900s - taken from above the Skagenflå farm, today a tourist attraction - located in Stranda, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse - digitaltmuseum.no DEX_W_00374 - cc by.
The Seven Sisters waterfall and the Geiranger fjord. A hand-coloured photo from the early 1900s – taken from above the Skagenflå farm, today a tourist attraction – located in Stranda, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse – digitaltmuseum.no DEX_W_00374 – cc by.

A tourist’s dream

Today, thousands of tourists flock to the Norwegian fjords every year; to admire their splendour. Many of them descendants of emigrants who once left their beloved homeland, as within it they could see no future. The main photo above depicts the entrance to the Nærøyfjord in Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway – a branch of the mighty Sognefjord. The Nærøyfjord is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

Bondegård is a Norwegian noun that means farm. In informal speech and in many dialects, people only use the single word gård or gard.
Norway is a land of water, with almost 1 million lakes and ponds of all sizes. Join us in exploring the 5 largest of her lakes, and some more Norway facts.
The Fjord horse is one of today’s oldest and purest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway's western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
The Norwegian farm horse was a reliable and powerful companion. But by the late 1960s, they were almost all gone. Enjoy this video-collection of wonderful vintage photographs.
What beautiful needlework. A bonnet from the collections of Slottsfjellsmuseet - in the city of Tønsberg.
The Black Death – mother of all plagues - ravaged humankind in the mid-1300s. A Norwegian scholar takes us through the lead up to the disaster.
Some of the beautiful Norwegian wooden stave churches are almost 1000 years old. Today, there are 28 of them left.
The hour of twilight is when the daylight starts to disappear – before it is completely dark. In the old Norwegian farming society, this was a time for rest.
For thousands of years, milk from the domesticated animals has had a dominant position in the Norwegian diet. People used milk from the cow, the reindeer, the sheep and the goat.
Langfjordbotn - in Norway’s northernmost region Finnmark - was the birthplace of Oluf Røde, born in 1889.
After the end of World War 2, the Norwegians all took part in lifting their country well and truly into the 20th century.
Magne Løvstuen and his family adopted this moose calf after saving it from drowning in Lake Mjøsa.
Lystring is a Norwegian verb that means catching fish or other water creatures in the dark, using a fire torch to attract the fish and a multi-pronged spear.
The traditional Sami houses, the goahti, were in use until well into our own time. Anders Larsen tells us how he remembers them from the coastal Sami communities in northern Norway.
Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen created this fascinating oil painting in 1904. It is like a window leading into the house of history. If only we could climb through.
After the Black Death, it took the Norwegian communities centuries to recover. And soon, the country also lost its independence.
The first Norwegian Buhund breed-standard came in 1926, based on a dog that had evolved, lived, and worked with the Norwegians since time immemorial.
Mead and beer are both alcoholic drinks known from Norwegian history. The Norwegians call them «mjød» and «øl». But do you know the difference between the two?
In the old Norwegian farming society, a husmann was a man who was allowed to build his home on a small section of a farm’s land, and pay with his labour instead of rent.
For more than a thousand years, Norwegian farmers sent their livestock to feed in the forests and the mountains. Today, this way of life has almost disappeared.
Kantslått is a Norwegian noun that means (1) the grass that is cut along the edges of a field, a road, etc. or (2) the actual process of cutting this grass. Traditionally, the grass was used as animal fodder.

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history