The beautiful Norwegian Bunad traditional folk costume

Beautiful colorful Bunader - the Norwegian traditional folk costume


While traveling to Norway you may be delighted to see beautiful Norwegian national costumes, each one designed to be historically specific to a different region, all presenting delicate and colorful stitches and embroidery, unique in the style and color for both men and women

Bunader is the beautiful Norwegian traditional folk costumes part of Norway's heritage clothing mainly created for women.

You'll be amazed to see them when joining local traditions where most people are proud to wear their special national clothing, and also you may find these colorful elaborated embroideries displayed in dedicated stores and art galleries. 

In Norway, the national costume is named “bunad” (pl. bunader), is exquisitely crafted and represents romantic rural clothing (with roots from 18th and 19th centuries) and a folk costume (more modern, worn from the beginning of the 20th century), as well, an article of festive clothing that originates far back as the Middle Ages.

Norge Bunader
Norwegian Bunader - Flickr Jorun Kjaerstad

Norwegians love to dress up with bunader/ national costumes at most important events, such as weddings, baptisms, confirmations, Norway's Constitution Day (celebrated on 17th of May), folk dances during Christmas, New Year celebrations, and various exhibitions, and accepted as gala attire even on the most public and solemn festivities.

On 17th May, when is Norway’s national day, you'll see people of all ages on the streets proud to wear their traditional bunad made of the carefully chosen fabric (usually made of cotton or wool) and cheerful embroidery.

The Norwegian art of stitching and embroidery developed in secluded areas centuries ago, and initial needlework was done on roughly woven linens with wool and cotton yarn, and was developed later, being improved by trade with other Scandinavian and European countries.

Norge Bunader Norwegian folk costume
Norge Bunader - Flickr Buen Viajero

Along the time the art and technique of Scandinavian needlework, stitching, and embroidery – on fabrics of excellent quality – evolved and got enhanced with new patterns, motifs, and colors, adding silver or gold borders, and became a method to create and tell wonderful stories.

It is said that are about 450 types of different bunads (bunader) designs in Norway...

The most popular folk bunads, by region, are:

Buskerud - famous for the contrast between the dark fabric and the embroidery in vivid colors
Hardanger - predominantly known for the red body, white apron, and a belt
Norland - the women's dress is in rich blue color with embroidered floral patterns on the skirt and top.
Telemark - known for the deep shade of blue and red and green embroidery
Trondelag - said to be influenced by Rococo style, is made mainly in a predominant color - red, green, or shades of blue

There are Norge bunads created for everyone – men, women, and children – and the bunader for women is more elaborated. Usually, the traditional blouses, decorated vests, aprons, and shawls are made of white linen or cotton and rarely from silk, the knicker-length or full-length men trousers are from hodden and single color, the jackets (made in the same material as the trousers for men), the suits are made of very fine wool fabric, and most of them have the design specific to a certain area in Norway.

Norwegian traditional dress usually has a dramatic feel of the red embroidery and lining on the black skirt and apron, often accessorized, and now you can see sterling silver brooch placed on the blouse, sterling silver or pewter on the clasps on purses, buttons, belt buckles and ornaments on shoes.

Some ideas for where to admire Norwegian national costumes and learn about Scandinavian stitching and embroidery in many attractive styles and decorations, learn some tricky little techniques to master your own creations, take photos and even buy:

- Julia's Systue - Stavanger
- Norsk Folkemuseum - Oslo
- The National Museum - Oslo

Love to hear if you'd wear a Norwegian and from which region

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