One of the best parts of exploring a new and interesting land during a vacation is taking the opportunity to learn more about the culture of the people who call that land home, as well as the cultural elements that went in to the evolution of the area as a distinct destination.
When you are traveling you are given the chance to go outside of yourself and your personal comfort zone to experience something completely new. This deepens your understanding of the world around you and increases your appreciation of all the amazing differences and variations in people, places, experiences, and perceptions that make up the human experience.
If you are planning to visit the Lofoten Islands you have the opportunity to learn about a culture that is simultaneously ancient and constantly evolving. The Lofoten culture has its roots in the time of the Vikings. This fascinating group of people has intrigued and compelled people since their existence, and is honored for their contribution to the culture and development of Lofoten at the Lofotr Viking Museum near Borg. This museum was created from the former home of a powerful chieftain and features many exhibitions, reconstructions, and archaeological finds uncovered from both the Viking Age and the Iron Age.
Beyond the Viking influences, the Lofoten culture has been greatly impacted by the fishing culture that is still at its center. For more than 1,000 years the people of Lofoten have had their main industry in cod fishing. Visitors to the area can take cruise tours of the island and see some generations-old fisheries still working today. The cod fishing industry is especially busy during the winter months when the incongruously mild Lofoten weather draws schools of cod to the waters to spawn.
In the lowland areas much of the culture revolves around agriculture. Just like the fisheries, the agriculture industry has been in existence for centuries, in fact since the Bronze Age. This agriculture is one of the main reasons that the Lofoten Islands was a central hub for export to Europe during the period when such trade was controlled by the Hanseatic League.
Lofoten culture is also marked by much more contemporary influences as well. Chefs are developing gourmet and experiential food in the restaurants and cafés of the string of islands, many of the offerings actually based on the ancient foods of the culture and given a unique and modern edge. Visual art is extremely important to the culture of the Lofoten Islands. This is illustrated by the existence of many renowned art galleries and museums on the islands.
Lofoten has been an influence itself for cultural expressions of different areas. References to the area are included in one of the most popular tales woven by the master storyteller Edgar Allan Poe. This story “A Descent into the Maelstrom” recalls the harrowing tale of a man surviving his ship being swallowed into the sea in the area.
A movie by the name of “Maelstrom” features Lofoten as the place where the ashes of a main character were scattered. Like the people of Lofoten, many artists have been drawn in by the beauty of the area and compelled to create lavish paintings of the natural landscape.