2015 Textile Study Tour

North Norway

May 12-24, 2015

Vesterheim’s seventh Textile Study Tour focused on the textiles and traditions of both coastal Norway and the Sámi people. Participants learned about weaving, knitting, sewing, and folk costumes while traveling through Norway’s northernmost counties with stops in Tromsø, Samuelsberg, Alta, Máze, and Kautokeino. There were special opportunities to learn about Sámi duodji (functional items made beautiful) and to try several textile techniques. Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day, was enjoyed with parades, music, and beautiful national costumes.

Day 1 Tues., May 12: MINNEAPOLIS-OSLO
Depart Minneapolis/St. Paul for an evening flight on Icelandair to Oslo via Reykjavik.

Day 2 Wed., May 13: OSLO-HARSTAD (D)
Arrive at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport. Continue to Harstad (SAS flight departs 3:50). Arrive at Harstad/Narvik airport and transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner and overnight at Clarion Collection Hotel Arcticus, Harstad.

Day 3 Thurs., May 14: HARSTAD-BØSTAD-REINE (B/L/D)
Lofoten is a chain of islands known for spectacular scenery and a long history of cod fishing. Over the next two days, drive the length of the chain. The first stop is Lofotr Vikingmuseum, a living museum where we will smell, feel, and taste history, ca. 1000 AD. Lunch is soup with local lamb cooked over an open fire. Continue to Reine. Dinner at Gammelbua Restaurant. Overnight at Reine Rorbuer in traditional fisherman cabins overlooking the fjord.

Day 4 Fri., May 15: Å-LEKNES-HARSTAD (B/L)
Drive down to the southern tip and visit the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum to learn more about the Lofoten Fishery and life in the fishing village over the past 200 years. Husfliden in Leknes carries supplies for all kinds of fiber projects. Shop and learn more about the different bunader for Nordland County. Return to Harstad. Dinner on own. Overnight at Clarion Collection Hotel Arcticus, Harstad.

Day 5 Sat., May 16: HARSTAD-TROMSØ (B/L)
View Norway’s dramatic coastline from Hurtigruten, sailing aboard the MS Polarlys to Tromsø. Enjoy lunch on board “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage” with unforgettable scenery, sights, and sounds. Once in Tromsø, take a loop around the city and stop at the Arctic Cathedral. Dinner on your own. Overnight at Clarion Hotel The Edge, Tromsø.

Day 6 Sun., May 17: TROMSØ (B/D)
Catch the spirit of Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day. Norwegians of all ages will wear their bunader, national costumes. Throughout the day enjoy vocal, brass, and orchestra concerts, programs, and parades. Join in the People’s Parade at 4:30! Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Tromsø.

Day 7 Mon., May 18: TROMSØ (B)
Tromsø Museum focuses on the nature, people, and history of North Norway. There is a comprehensive exhibition on the Sámi and our guide will be curator Dikka Storm. You’ll also want to see the museum’s collection of ecclesiastical art and a plasma chamber that displays northern lights. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore one of Tromsø’s many museums, take the cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen for a spectacular view of the city, or relax in the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden. Dinner on own. Overnight Tromsø.

Drive to Samuelsberg, home of Manndalen Husflidslag, an association dedicated to teaching, creating, and selling fine handcraft in the Coastal Sámi tradition. Grener, striped coverlets woven on warp-weighted looms, are a specialty. Watch a demonstration of grene weaving then try your hand at one of several Sámi textile techniques. Tour Kåfjorddalens Ullkarderi, a small factory that makes wool roving for handspinning into yarn for grener. Continue past the beautiful Lygen Alps to Alta. Dinner and overnight at Rica Hotel Alta.

Day 9 Wed., May 20: ALTA-MASI-KAUTOKEINO (B/D)
Begin the day with a guided tour of the Alta Museum. Experience Northern Europe’s largest concentration of rock art, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Alta is also important as the site of a major market for trading Sámi reindeer products since the fifteenth century. Lunch on own in the museum café. Drive to Masi/Máze and enjoy a unique experience of “past and present” Sámi activities at Čávžo Safari. A riverboat will take us to visit the remains of the Masi Zion Church, built in 1721. Dinner is a meal of bidos, reindeer meat stew, and home-baked bread. During dinner we will learn more about Sámi culture and traditions. Continue to Kautokeino. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.

Day 10 Thurs., May 21: KAUTOKEINO (B/D)
Kautokeino/Guovdageaidnu grew up from “tent hill,” the site where many nomadic Sámi families lived during the winter. Structures used by settled Sámi in the area are recreated at Kautokeino Bygdetun. Also on exhibit are many examples of duodji (handcraft), clothing, and tools and equipment for herding and fishing. Visit Sámi University College and learn more about its programs in Sámi language, traditional knowledge, and indigenous perspectives and students’ projects in traditional handcraft and contemporary design. Shop at Juuhls Silvergallery for jewelry designs inspired by Sámi and Norwegian traditions, as well as the nature of North Norway. Dinner and overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.

Drive to Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden and home to the largest underground mine (iron ore) in the world. Visit Karin Vasara, who designs clothing and accessories using reindeer skin, seal skin, and wool that are inspired by northern and Sámi styles. A guided tour of the reindeer camp, Nutti Sámi Siida, is followed by a farewell dinner served in a lávvu, a conical tent used by the Sámi and other people of the polar region. Overnight Scandic Hotel Ferrum, Kiruna.

Day 12 Sat., May 23: KIRUNA -STOCKHOLM-OSLO (B)
Transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Stockholm and then on to Oslo. Oslo has an active art community and we will meet a few textile artists in the afternoon. Dinner on your own. Overnight at Rica Victoria Hotel.

Day 13 Sun., May 24: OSLO-MINNEAPOLIS (B)
Free morning. There is an airport transfer for those flying with the group to Minneapolis via Reykjavik. A longer stay can be arranged for a fee. Indicate your interest in an extension when you register for the tour.

The tour operator reserves the right to make changes necessary in order to give travelers the best experience possible.

Single supplement
Land only
Minimum of 25 participants
Maximum of 35 participants

Price Includes (as listed in the above itinerary):

  • Airfare, taxes, and fuel surcharge
  • Airport/hotel transfers for group flights
  • Accommodations for 11 nights
  • Ground transportation in a comfortable motor coach
  • Daily breakfast (B), four lunches (L), seven dinners (D)
  • Admission fees to all museums and attractions
  • Workshop at Manndalens Husflidslag
  • Gratuity to bus drivers
  • Luggage handling (one piece)
  • Packet of readings, brochures, and map
  • Vesterheim tour gift and luggage tags

Tour Info

For more information about upcoming tours:

Katherine Johnson
563-382-9681, ext. 240

Tour Guide and Leader

GUIDE: Ingebjørg Monsen

Ingebjørg Monsen has provided textile instruction, interesting information, and lots of fun on each of Vesterheim’s Textile Study Tours.

LEADER: Laurann Gilbertson

Laurann Gilbertson has been Textile Curator at Vesterheim for 19 years and is now Chief Curator. She has planned and led seven Textile Study Tours, beginning in 2003.