If you have lived in Norway for a while, you may have noticed that Norwegians turn any opportunity into a long weekend or even better, a weeklong holiday. You have probably already noticed daffodils, eggs and chickens popping up around the city. Likewise, you may have been wished “God Påske” (Happy Easter) from friends and strangers alike for a while now and perhaps been a little baffled at this enthusiasm for a religious holiday, in this otherwise seemingly secular country.
A remnant of Norway’s state church past, religious holidays are still national holidays and something that Norwegians take very seriously. In Norway, Easter officially starts on the weekend of Palm Sunday, and given the chance most Norwegians will go to their holiday homes or take a city break abroad.
The week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is known as the quiet week or the holy week. Maundy Thursday, Long Friday, and Easter Monday, are all public holidays in Norway.
Not in possession of a holiday home or ready to travel abroad again? Fear not! There is plenty of things to do in and around the city. Enjoy some free time and watch how the city quiets down for a few days. Most businesses will be closed; however, cafes, bars and restaurants tend to stay open – but double check before venturing out.
Kids & Families
Easter holidays means schools out for a week. Unsure of how to keep your tots entertained? Take them to the many museums of Trondheim! At Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum, Detective Dust needs your help to solve the Easter mystery – the easter candy has disappeared! Open Tue-Fri 10am-3pm, Sat-Sun, 11am –3pm.
Search for the rock’n’roll lions and participate in the fun activities on stage, in the Edda or Knutsen & Ludvigsen rooms at Rockheim during the Children's Hour. Opening hours: Tue - Fri, 10am- 4pm, Sat - Sun, 11am – 4pm.
At Ringve Museum you can learn to play one of the many instruments in the music garden. Open Tue – Sun: 11am – 4 pm.
For children 8 years and older - Join an activist tapestry making workshop at Kunsthall Trondheim, Saturday, April 16th and Sunday, April 17th 1pm – 3 pm. The tapestry will represent solidarity, unity, love and peace.
Take the family to visit the farm animals at Voll Gård, Sunday April 10th and April 17th 11am – 3pm.
For water enthusiast of all ages, Pirbadet is open Monday 6:30am – 9pm, Tuesday 10am-9pm, Wednesday 6:30am – 7pm, and Thu-Mon, 10am-7pm.
For many, a holiday is not complete without a visit to the cinema. Trondheim Kino is currently showing blockbusters Batman, Spiderman, and Fantastic Beasts, among others, for the youngest Trondheimer’s, there is Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sing 2 and Clifford the Red Dog, for the grownup movie buffs, there is Oscar nominated films Parallel Mothers, Belfast, or The Worst Person in the World. And for LOTR fans, on Friday, April 15th, there is a Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon in a remastered 4K extended edition.
Venture down to up-and-coming Nyhavna and take a look at the photo exhibition “Omkledd” or take a dip in the sea followed by a refreshing stay in the saunas at Havet Kulturarena. Tue-Thu 4pm – 10pm. Friday 1pm – 12am, Sat 10am – 12am, Sun 10am – 7pm.
Make up your mind regarding the hot topic of the Norwegian wolves at the exhibit at NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet: Ulv! Ulv! Open Tue-Wed 10am-4pm, and Thu 11am-4pm, Fri-Mon: closed.
Travel back in time through music history at Ringve Museum’s beautiful main building, experience an atmospheric mini-concert with live music with selected piano pieces by, among others, Beethoven, played on Ringve's historic and sonorous hammer piano from 1823.
Join the Easter walk through the old city building with guide Terje Bratberg at Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum. Learn about local Easter traditions from a bygone era.
Rockheim's permanent exhibition, The Time Tunnel, is designed as a journey through contemporary Norwegian music and cultural history. You move from the emerging youth culture of the 1950s up to the current music scene. Artists, music and instruments are highlighted in light of the cultural history of the various decades.
Trondheim Kunstmuseum and Kunsthall Trondheim have regular opening hours during Easter this year, but we also recommend that you take the opportunity to visit some of the smaller art institutions of Trondheim: For instance, Heimdal Kunstforening: Temporary Tribute by Carina Wold and Dags att gå hem by Martin Stråhle, April 14th, 16th and 17th. 12pm – 4 pm, Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst, “USIKKERKUNSTJENTE "EGOSENTRIUM", Wed-Sun April 13th-17th, 12pm – 4pm, or Trondhjems Kunstforening: Matilda Höög and Solveig Ane Kirkaune Øksendal – In Corpo Real Thu April 14th, 12pm- 4pm, Fri April 15th, 10am – 4pm, Sat April 16th, 12pm - 4 pm, and Sun April 17th , 2pm – 5pm.
Have you taken a tour of the Nidaros Cathedral yet? What better time to get better acquainted with the grand lady of Trondheim than during than Christianity's Holy Week? Daily tours every day except Long Friday April 15th and Easter Sunday April 17th.
How about a “green city walk”? Friend of the List, Gartnermoe can take you and your friends and family on a guided walk through Trondheim’s foliage as the season moves into spring. (Also, check out Steinar’s plant tips in the latest issue of The List, out now.)
There is no excuse not to get active this Easter, join Trondheim Kayak on one of their daily Easter kayak adventures down the river – all the while experiencing a different perspective of Trondheim. Three times a day, 10am, 1pm and 5pm.
Easter marks the end of the dark days and the beginning of spring. Hence many Norwegians take the opportunity to enjoy one last hurrah on the slopes, either downhill at Vassfjellet Vinterpark, Oppdal or Meråker, or exploring the vast cross country skiing trails in Bymarka. Not born with skis on your feet - like legend has it that Norwegians are? Did you know that you can also hike in Bymarka all year around? Visit Trondheim has made the roundup of accessible hiking routes in and around the city.
It’s been a long winter, but hope springs eternal at Ringve Botanical Garden, always open and always free. Ladestien is the perfect place to see the season change, enjoy lunch at Ladekaia whilst taking in the views of the fjord and the Fosen “alps”.
For urbanites looking for an easy hike close to the city, follow Ilabekken up or down from Theisendammen and enjoy great views of the city and fjord. Want to get your heart rate up, make the climb up to Våttakammen, also a short hike from Ila.
Weather permitting, Easter might also be the perfect time for the first yearly “utepils”- a modern Norwegian tradition, which simply means enjoying your beverage of choice outside.
For kings and queens of the night, Tyven, Lokal Scene, Bar Moskus, Bar Circus and Diskoteket are a few of the places staying open during Easter. Burn your easter treat calories Saturday, April 16th at Lokal, with Kognitiv Diskodans – a DJ- and producer duo playing sweaty house, breakbeat, garage, techno and micro. Then close out your Easter holiday with a bang at Bar Circus Afterski, Sunday April 17th.
Laugh it out on Thursday April 14th: Vorsdag // Stand up - Open mic at Antikvariatet, or show off your smarts at pub quiz night at Bar Moskus, Monday April 11th, at Good Omens or Ladekaia, Tuesday April 12th, and Wednesday April 13th at Diskoteket.
Enjoy some live music this Easter; for the classic Easter music, visit Nidaros Cathedral: Wednesday April 13th Organ concert, Friday, April 15th Joseph Haydn: Stabat Mater, and Organ Meditation (FREE), Saturday April 16th.
Friday, April 15th, Cantare along with musical friends, performs Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Hospitalskirken.
For a more contemporary music experience, there is Jazz Saturday with David Andersson and musicians from NTNU jazz at ØX, Saturday April 16th 3pm – 5pm, and Donkey Thieves release concert (Support: Johannes Granås), Saturday April 16th at Antikvariatet.
At Lilleby, Restaurant Jossa is hosting Easter at Lilleby - a small Easter festival of sorts. Enjoy live music and delectable dishes: Thursday, April 14th, Linnea Jansson of Hey Gloria, Friday April 15th, Jazz at Jossa with Sondre Ferstad, Vegard Lien Bjerkan, Bjørn Marius Hegge and Håkon Mjåset Johansen, and Saturday, April 16th, Spring Concert with Andreas Elvenes, Truls Lorentzen, Håvard Lund, and Jovan Pavlovic.
Explore the region
In Trondheim you are never far away from neither the mountains nor the sea. The days off during Easter can be a great opportunity to explore more of the Trøndelag region that Trondheim is a part of.
Only a short train journey away you find the mountain town of Røros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking through the preserved wooden houses of yesteryear puts you right back in time to when Røros was a sprawling mining community. Learn more about this history by joining a guided walk. The tour takes you 50 meters down below ground and 500 meters into the mountain to Bergmannshallen.
On the coast, at picturesque Stokkøya in Åfjord, enjoy Easter Jazz at Strandbaren April 10th thru April 12th, Shell fish lunch, Wednesday April 13th, Italian Easter, Thursday April 14th, and Easter pub quiz and DJ-set Friday, April 15th. Other Easter activities in Åfjord include a beach clean up with a competition for the kids, as well as a hike up the mountains and bonfires on the beach.
Further south, at the Costal Heritage Museum, in Stadsbygd, you can travel back in time to 1866 and learn about the proud maritime traditions of the region through the eyes of Jacob Aasan, a Lofoten fisherman.
Or venture even further out on the Trondheim fjord and visit the island of Hitra. At The Coastal Museum in Fillan, children can discover the mouse hole in the exhibition “The People of Flatvika” or run around in the play pen in the fishery.
Come all ye faithful
An Easter holiday guide would be remiss if we don't ankowledge that Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar, as it marks the foundation of the faith of Christianity. The Christian Easter came to be during the Jewish holiday Passover or Pesach. This year Easter also coincides with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Check out msit.no for Ramadan program.
Naturally there are church services, concerts and differently themed mass throughout the holy week. In Nidaros Cathedral there is Palm Sunday High Mass, Maundy Thursday Eucharist (a bi-lingual service in both Norwegian and English, with the Anglican Church of Trondheim), and Good Friday Reflection (in English), followed by possession of the cross through the streets of Trondheim. At Church of Our Lady (Vår Frue Kirke), there is street teater, music, mass and Easter Lamb on Maundy Thursday. For full program, visit kirken.no/trondheim or Nidaros Cathedral.
For Easter celebrations outside of the Church of Norway, visit The Catholic Church of Trondheim, The Pentecostal Church Betel,The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church, The Babtist Church of Trondheim, or The Russian Orthodox Church.
For the adventurous...
If you want to get a better sense of local sensibilities and experience a, dare we say a little less holy, Easter tradition – watch or join the motorcade from Trondheim to Åre in Sweden on Maudy Thursday, April 14th. The parade starts at Shell in Sluppen, travelling northeast on the E6 motorway. Unlike Norway, Sweden does not close stores during the Easter holidays, hence why many Norwegians throughout the years have taken the opportunity to go shopping in Sweden.* Eventually this became more of an event like it is today, with organized motorcades crossing the border on Maudy Thursday, dressing up in costumes, blasting music and showing off their cars, all over Norway.
*Norwegians bargain shopping in Sweden is a year-round phenomenon, known as “harryhandel” - “harry” being used as a derogatory term for something tacky or out of touch in Norwegian society.
(Thank you to Aina Berg, MiST)