Friluftsliv: an ancient way of life


Friluftsliv (n.) direct translation 'open-air-life'; a Scandinavian philosophy of outdoor life.

As the midnight sun casts a soft glow on the fir trees around us, we lean in close to the warmth of the camp fire. Warmed to our core with a cup of coffee in our hands, it is impossible not to be overcome by a sense of serenity, a feeling of symbiosis with our natural surrounds. As the evening draws close, we lie down in the heather and sigh, 'This is the life!'.

The Norwegian philosophy of outdoor living

It's hard to capture in words the Norwegian connection to nature – so much so that the great playwright, Henrik Ibsen, coined a new term to describe this yearning to connect with Mother Nature on both a spiritual and physical level. That concept is "friluftsliv", a deep ingrained association Scandinavian's have with the natural world around them. In any Norwegian's closet, you'll find a backpack, a sleeping bag, a fishing rod and a tent ready to go at the drop of a hat. And during the holidays, they are more likely to meet their neighbours by a mountain stream than in the street they live in. Their urban shopping strips are quiet as they venture out into the great outdoors to live their best lives and take their best pictures.

This longing to be outside is an essential element of their very DNA – they are brought up to believe that they will be happier outdoors. Come every Friday afternoon and long queues of cars snake their way out of the cities, heading off to the family cabin or for a hike in the wilderness.

Although Norwegian in origin, Friluftsliv is not a feeling unique to Norwegians - it is that longing that has you looking back at a map and planning your next adventure, even just after the previous one has finished. At Hurtigruten, we share with you this experience of getting back to nature – after all, not so long ago, we were all hunter-gatherers. This philosophy really embodies the Hurtigruten vision to have every one of our guests connect with their inner explorer.

Cruise your way into the heart of nature

Norwegian national hero Fridtjof Nansen told King Haakon that the best way he could win a place in the hearts of our people was if he learnt to love skiing. Skiing, hiking, fishing – anything outdoors endears you to everyone of us.

Slowing down and embracing nature is an essential Norwegian trait and holds endless appeal. Nansen believed in it and so did Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess – connecting friluftsliv to our origins, to our health and to our very sense of identity. We want you to embrace your inner sense of friluftsliv and directly experience the natural world; nature for nature's sake. Hurtigruten wants to bring you along for a uniquely Norwegian experience with our coastal cruises; we want to satisfy that restlessness or longing we all experience at some point in our lives.

As more and more of us live in the comfort of city life, reviving our connection to nature takes on an even greater importance. Although we cannot guarantee clear skies and perfect weather, we can guarantee that with Hurtigruten you will be genuinely immersed in Norwegian outdoor activities. And we're sure you'll find that once you experience friluftsliv for the first time, you'll be coming back for more.