Books on Norwegian Bunad….


Norway's Folk Costumes

A sampler of Norway’s Folk Costumes

by Thorbjørg Hjelmen Ugland

If you are looking for some of the best books to do research on Norwegian bunad here is a list of the some of the better research books on the subject….I find that most of them are very interesting for different reasons.  The one I started with “A sampler of Norway’s Folk Costumes” I think is a great one for easy reference as it shows wonderful photos of the costumes and then gives you a good brief description as well as information such as:



Belt style:

Bodice description:



Blouse design:


Skirt design:

Color of Stockings:


Outerwear: cape etc…

The other books often deal mainly with the history which is most interesting but I find this book a quick and easy reference with wonderful clear photos and a great map in the beginning to show the different regions to give you an idea of what costume/bunad you would want to wear depending on where your family lived in Norway. As many Norwegian/Americans are looking to find what is the “best bunad” for them, they are researching their family history and want to have the correct bunad . The want to wear the one that represents the region  where their family came from  in Norway. (I will talk about this more in depth in future blogs)

I often read about online in Norway which is the most popular bunad so I wonder  if now whether some of the younger folks are not picking out ones that are just more fashionable….rather than picking a bunad from their home town?  We often see in this country where people are  buying bunad that they can afford, not necessarily from a region that their family is from, so I guess we all have a different motivation.

What ever the reason you decide on what costume you choose, these books should be able to help you find out more about the Norwegian bunad.

If you really wish to become an expert in the field than you should be willing to spend some money (as is most things Norwegian) & order the most thorough book on the subject: the Norsk bunadleksikon or the ” encyclopedia of Norwegian bunad”. It is available only in Norwegian and you can purchase it on line in Norway.

You can order it at : as well as many other locations.


Here are some of the other books that I have used ( I am sure there are many others), these are available thru Amazon or you may find them on ebay or if you are lucky in a local book store….many are available in English as well as Norwegian. So choose what ever works best for you.

Please let me know if you have another book you have used that you feel is a good one as I love to continue to learn each and every day!

bunad book in english

bunad book in Norwegian

Norwegian Bunads

by Bent Vanberg, Karin Hybbestad Schwantes, Kjersti Skavhaug and Arne Svendsen  (1991)

heidi Fossness cappelen book in norwegianbook cropped

Folk Costumes of Norway by Heidi Fossnes Cappelen

You will find that these books were published a few years ago and some of the bunad may have different versions from what you are familiar with. This is true of most things that have been around for as long as some of these costume, so be aware that there are different versions within some of the bunad.

That is a subject for a another blog… Hope you are able to find the book you want.  When I make my presentations on bunad I do bring all of my books and folks have a great time looking at the photos. I would be most happy to look up anything that you may be looking for if you are not wanting to spend the huge amounts of money on the research material….just let me know what area/region or bunad you are interested in!


2 responses »

  1. Thank you for your kind offer. I am researching what would be worn in Odda, which is where I came from as an infant. Would the Hardanger bunad or the Sunnhordaland bunad be more appropriate? I also have a question about the “shoulder insert” you mention on the shirt. Where is that? Thanks for any info you can share.

    • You would probably want to consider a Hardanger as Sunnhordaland would be more appropriate for those areas in Hordaland that are closer to the coast (& obviously in the southern region of Hordaland) Actually where you are from is just on the border of Hardanger and Sunnhordaland.
      The hardanger is a beautiful costume and if you do not like the traditional one maybe you could consider the winter version if you wanted something different.
      The insert on a traditional bunad blouse is an approximately 5″ x 10″ rectangular piece of fabric that is inserted near the collar that basically forms the shoulder area. It is interesting to create the blouse as they have the flat felt seam and this construction can be a challenge for some.
      I will try to show a photo of it, if that would help you understand in a future blog. I have been very busy sewing so I have not posted a blog but hope to soon…

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