The Day of the Fjord

Every year the Indre (Inner) Sogn Coastal Association celebrates the Day of the Fjord (centrally named the Day of the Coast) during the weekend closest to the 9th of June.

The Indre Sogn Coastal Association is an organisation under the Coastal Federation, which work towards maintaining the traditions of as well as promote the cultural values along the coast and on the fjords. The day is marked by using the traditional “Sognebåtar” boats as well as other traditional boats on the fjord, creating value and organising activities for people of all ages in Indre Sogn.

The Indre Sogn Coastal Association has as its goal to conserve the traditional usage of boats, boathouses and quays in and around the Sognefjord. The usage of rowboats is at the centre of an outdoors lifestyle by the fjords and on the coast that is based on culture.

In Aurland the Day of the Fjord is arranged in partnership between the Indre Sogn Coastal Association, the Children’s Walking Association in Aurland, Aurland Walking Association, NJORD Kayaking, and SNO (The Norwegian Nature Supervision Agency).

(Photographs by: Kristoffer U. Hansen and Indre Sogn Coastal Association)


The Norwegian Raspberry Festival

The Norwegian Raspberry Festival is a collaboration between the fruit and berry recipients in the municipality of Vik, with plenty of support from local industry, the municipality of Vik, a body for local businesses and industry, the local bank Vik Sparebank and other local associations and organisations. The festival is arranged yearly and takes place in August.

The festival first took place in 2015 and is a non-commercial festival, which means any profit is spent on arranging the following year’s festival. The festival aims to encourage commitment to the raspberry industry in the municipality of Vik and to promote Vik as the largest raspberry municipality in Norway.

As there are several foreign seasonal workers that work within the berry trade in Vik during the summer, this gets integrated into the programme for the festival, as an example the written programmes are also available in Polish. There is also a focus on a cultural exchange with these seasonal workers and other cultures in Vik during the festival.

More information can be found on the festival’s website (Norwegian only). 

Multikulti i Vik Festival

Organised by the municipality of Vik, the Multikulti (abbreviation for multicultural in Norwegian) Vik Festival will take place for the first time in 2016. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the diversity of cultures, not just in Vik, but in the whole of Norway as well as the rest of the world. The municipality of Vik has experienced high numbers of immigration in relation to its size and as of 2016 it is home to around 260 immigrants from 20 different nations, and it is a number that continues to rise. The initiative for the event came from wanting to encourage interaction, integration and better relations locally, in Norway and in the world. 

The Lærdal Markets

Lærdal became a place for trade early on due to all the travel between east and west that passed through the village. The first markets took place in 1596 and lasted for a whole eight days; in 1836 new regulations were put into place that forced the markets to be limited to four days. The markets in Lærdal attracted both towns-men as well as the rich farmers, and they all kept their own boathouses or sheds for their goods. The markets offered for sale local food as well as other necessities.

A royal resolution saw the original markets come to their conclusion in 1876. Local enthusiasts restarted the tradition of the markets in 1982, and the markets now take place twice yearly, every year. The Lærdal Markets take place during the third weekend of June and the Autumn Markets take place as September goes into October. Both markets still take place in the idyllic wooden house setting of the centre of the municipality, Lærdalsøyri. It has become an important meeting place in Sogn for local producers, buyers and not to mention the people of Lærdal. Visitors can shop and taste local produce as well as enjoy exhibitions and a varied scope of entertainment from the stage.

2014 saw a Christmas market organised at Øyri in Lærdal for the very first time.

The festival "Jordeplerock"

The Music Festival Jordeplerock (jordeple means earth apple, a different term for a potato) was arranged for the first time in 2012 in Lærdal. In 2016 the festival takes place between the 24th and the 26th of June. The festival creates quite the buzz and good feeling in the village, and is arranged in order to provide locals and others with a great experience and to bring on the feeling of summer. In 2016 the festival is offering concerts with well-known Norwegian bands D.D.E and Gunslingers, along with some great Norwegian artists in Sandra Lyng and Kjartan Lauritzen.

Jordeplerock on Facebook (Norwegian only). 

The Gamalost Festival

The “Gamalost” (literally means old cheese) Festival in Vik takes place at the end of May on a yearly basis. The festival was created in order to celebrate the local speciality, Gamalost, as well as keep a tradition filled and viable food culture alive. Vik Dairy is the only dairy in the country that produces Gamalost, and the village has a long tradition of producing the cheese. Gamalost from Vik can be purchased all over the country, and in Vik it can also be enjoyed at the cheese bar “Ostebaren” which is run by the dairy Tine.

Gamalost is a delicacy with a thousand year old tradition. The cheese is produced from skimmed milk during a process that takes 14 days. The name is slightly misleading in the sense that the process itself is one of the shortest in regards to cheese making. The cheese is made without added salt and sugar, contains more than 50 % protein and only 1% fat. The cheese is also good for cholesterol.

The Gamalost Festival in Vik has a varied programme which spans several days and you can experience amongst other things:

·      The historical play Guhaugspelet

·      Seminars

·      Concerts

·      Dances

·      Markets with focus on local food, art, handcrafts and traditions and exhibitions linked to Vik.

·      The traditional Gamalost Breakfast

·      The high jump event “Høgdegalla”


More information is available through the Festival’s website (Norwegian only).

The Fres Festival

The Fres Festival is a music festival that takes place on the farm of Skau in Fresvik. The music festival was started by two idealists, one of which just happened to have access to a farm through blood ties. The festival was arranged for the first time in 2005, and it has only grown since, both in popularity amongst visitors as well as artists. The festival attracts more than 400 visitors from all ages, both locally and regionally, and the artists, although sourced from all over the country, have a firm focus on Western Norway.

The programme for this year’s festival can be found on their website (Norwegian only). 

Vossa Jazz

Vossa Jazz was organized for the 43rd time in March 2016.

The jazz festival is known for its innovative nature and has for years presented festival specific compositions and other projects. The musical profile of the festival comprises of jazz, folk music and world music. Some of the important projects tied to the festival are ‘Badnajazz’ (Badna is local dialect for children’s), the adolescent project ‘UNGjaJAZZja’ (YOUNGyesJAZZyes), ‘Eldrejazz’ (Eldre means older), Superjazz and Extremejazz. 


‘Smalahovesleppet’ is a food based festival that focuses on the traditional dish of sheep’s head and other local dishes and commodities, encompassing both traditional and newly developed dishes. Smalahovesleppet is organized by Festival Voss, Vossameny and Voss Sentrum.

Interesting facts about ‘smalahovud’:

Smalahovud (dialect: smalahove or sau(d)ehau(d)) is the head of lamb or mutton that is utilised for food.

Smalahovud, or sheep’s head is a food with a long steeped tradition in Western Norway, going back to a time where you had to get as much food from an animal as possible.

In more modern times sheep’s head is seen as a celebratory meal and is served in restaurants.

Voss hosts a competition in sheep’s head eating.

The festival will focus on:

  • Both classically traditionat and newly developed dishes from local/regional produce.
  • Dishes where special importance is put on the origin of the ingredients.
  • Dishes where the history behind the refinement of is known, whether based on tradition or as a newly developed product.

Part of our tradition is trading with surrounding areas, and thus there will also be dishes served with produce from farmers and food producers located in other parts of Hordaland as well as the neighbouring municipality of Sogn og Fjordane.

Smalahovetsleppet 2016 will take place on the 23rd and 24th of September.


‘Osafestivalen’ is a music festival that takes place in Voss and focuses on folk music and classical music. It was first organized in 1991 and is held every year in the final weekend of October.

The name, Osafestivalen, is derived from the name of the fiddler and violinist Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa (1910-1990). He founded the Ole Bull Akademiet (a music academy named after a famous Norwegian violinist and composer), recognising the importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences between folk musicians and classical musicians. It also built an important bridge between the two.

The aim of the festival is to spread knowledge about Norwegian folk music through seminars and concerts. Through these events folk music is conveyed through its traditional form, in conjunction with classical music as well as in new compositions inspired by folk music. The festival aims to be an event that melts together tradition and vison, as well as being a meeting point for creative participants and composers.

The festival is created in collaboration between Ole Bull Akadamiet, Voss Spelemannslag, the orchestra Orkesteret Fossegrimen and local activities organisers Voss Ungdomslag.

Osafestivalen 2015 takes place during the weekend of the 22nd-25th of October.

Nynorske Litteraturdagar

The Nynorske Litteraturdagar festival is a small and intimate literary festival, first arranged in 2006. The festival consists of both famous and unknown participants. Literature, language, music, art and humour are all parts of the yearly cultural event. The aim of the festival is to make it into a bigger yearly cultural event that focuses on Nynorsk literature and language. Its itinerary is built to appeal to audiences of different ages and interests. The festival is created with an aim to have both a regional and national profile, founded on a solid, local base. “The aim is to build up a positive identity, in relation to the use of Nynorsk and dialect”.

From January 2015 1st the festival Nynorske litteraturdagar is run by Nærøyfjord world heritage park.

Although the municipality of Aurland remain the formal owners of the festival, the festival will mainly be organized by the Nærøyfjord World Heritage Park.

Nynorsk/New Norwegian

Like many languages, Norwegian is spoken in many different regional dialects, however it also has two different written languages in bokmål (imagine a Norwegian equivalent to Oxford English) and Nynorsk (imagine it as the language spoken in a thicker, melodic dialect). Whilst the languages are somewhat similar in the way in which they are written, they are different spelling wise, grammatically and the way in which they sound when spoken. Within the World Heritage Area Nynorsk (or new Norwegian) is the it dominant language.


The European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days are Europe’s largest collective celebration of cultural heritage. Every September all aspects of cultural heritage is displayed for millions of people across more than 50 countries. The aims of the European Heritage days are to make heritage accessible to all and to contribute towards creating an understanding as well as encouraging an interest across different cultural heritages and environments.

In Norway the Heritage Days are displayed through a variety of activities that contributes towards create an inerest and better the understanding of our cultural heritage on a local, national and European level. The Norwegian Federation of Cultural Heritage Organisation are responsible for coordination of the celebrations, but the events themselves are organized and conducted locally. 200-300 different events are arranged nationwide every year.

You can find more information about the European Heritage Days here (Norwegian only).



‘Ekstremsportsveko’ is the largest combined sporting and music festival of its kind. It’s arranged yearly in the municipality of Voss, in the county of Hordaland. Amongst other things the weeklong festival, which focuses on extreme sports, offers competitions within kayaking, rafting, mb-bmx, skydiving, climbing, BASE and longboarding. For an entire week national, as well as international, athletes meet to challenge themselves and each other in the different sports on offer.

The week isn’t just about sport and competition for its participants, it has become a meeting place for the different sports and it gives the participants the opportunity to learn from each other. Although the sports remain the main focus of the week, over the years music has grown to become a bigger and more important part of Ekstremsportveko, and thus an important factor in experiencing the festival. For the final three days of the festival you can see performances from national and international artists from genres such as pop, rock, funk and reggae. 

The festival is organized by “The Ekstreme Voss Foundation” which is made up of Voss Rafting Club, Voss Kayak Club, Voss Hang and Paraglider Club and Skydive Voss.  

Every year, 300-400 volunteers arrive from all over the world to help with the festival. Their contribution is a big part of what makes the festival a success. 

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