The Lillehammer open-air lifestyle museum

The Lillehammer open-air lifestyle museum

2 minutes to read

Lillehammer has an open-air museum that opened in 1904 when a dentist had an idea to create a village to show typical families from different time-periods and absorb their lifestyle. To get in touch with Norwegian cultural aspects, this is the number one activity to explore. 

Andrea wrote about a similar village in Slovakia called Čičmany open-air museum and Vy wrote about an Italian open-air museum called Arte Stella

What it's all about

The main focus of the place is between 1700-1850, with the farming culture, how the food was cooked, and of course the architecture. The 1900's are also represented very well and you can walk down the marketplace and see 1980's stoves, chairs from the 90's and those circular machines that makes socks and sweaters with wool. The best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is the best and more walking-theatres and fun plays are being performed. They also have a Christmas market with a beautiful choir, tasty Norwegian Christmas sweets and an overall cosy mood.

Open-air museum Maihaugen Lillehammer
Open-air museum Maihaugen Lillehammer
Maihaugvegen 1, 2609 Lillehammer, Norge

What they have

In the whole area, there are 200 buildings and is one of the biggest open-air museums in Norway. Actual buildings have been relocated to the area, that's how real it gets. It's built upon Norwegian nostalgia and the nostalgic memories are happy memories, so, the people who 'live' here will be welcoming and sweet. You can see the cow and play with the family pets if you want, nothing bites and are generally very curious to see you. Not only will you experience different time-periods of living, but also see the transition from mountain farms to cottage lifestyles in Norway. You will find short beds all around since we slept sitting and the legend is that it relieves the kidneys from all the salty food we ate.

Picture © credits to Wikipedia/Palickap
Picture © credits to Wikipedia/Palickap

How it feels to be here

The inhabitants of the city will cook you meals using ingredients from the area and you'll really live like a Norwegian throughout the decades. Chose your time period, from Michael Jackson posters in the bed in the 80's room to traditional clothing and construction culture from the early 1800's

Maihaugen village
Maihaugen village

The walking theatre

The walking theatre includes powerful and persuasive actors who bring you from house to house and talk about their lives and what they are doing and what their concerns are - this is a really popular activity for both children and grown-ups. Even though the folks from the past don't smile in photos, you will find out that they do have humour and it's quite different from modern times. The high season of the walking theatre is between the 15th of June to the 15th of August and some of the theatres are tailored for kids. You don't have to pay extra for any of the theatres. One tour could be a teacher taking you to the church and school while you will be the students who are asked questions about the facts she's pointing out. They have a stave church at Maihaugen called Garmo made of wood and is a highlight in the museum park

Picture © credits to Wikipedia/Palickap
Picture © credits to Wikipedia/Palickap
Church of Garmo
Church of Garmo
Maihaugvegen 1, 2609 Lillehammer, Norge

Cover picture © credits to Wikipedia/Palickap

The author

Kai Bonsaksen

Kai Bonsaksen

I'm Kai from Norway. I always follow that little voice in my head that tells me to go and explore new places … and on itinari, I talk about the ones I know the best!

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