A trip to the Sami Tribe and tundra of Norway.

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On Sunday the 13th of February, Eduard Schaepman, CEO of Tribes Inspiring Workplaces alongside Marcel de Groot, CEO of Flexas began their journey to the Nordic tundra to meet the Sami people.

Who are the Sami Tribe?

The indigenous Sami people are located in the northern part of Scandinavia from Norway to Finland, their diaspora however can be found all across the world including Ukraine, Russia the United States. Known especially for their Reindeer herding, strong cultural identity & incredible ability to overcome extreme weather and environmental obstacles, there has never been a better time to learn about this inspiring community.

So why did we visit the Sami in Norway?

Well, for 5 years now, Eduard Schaepman has been visiting the Nomadic tribes of the world to learn more about their experiences and to take these incredible stories, ways of life and life lessons back to our inspiring locations. Each of our flexible workspaces are inspired by a different indigenous community or nomadic tribe. For example, Eduard previously visited the Musuo Tribe, more commonly known as the Kingdom of Women which currently inspires our Amsterdam Raamplein location, the Berber Tribe of Morocco inspired our Amsterdam Arena location.
The Sami will inspire our next location, so stay tuned for updates on our office and coworking expansions.

How long did the trip last?

The trip to meet the Sami tribe lasted 4 days from Sunday to Wednesday. Starting in Amsterdam, it involved a flight to Oslo, the capital city of Norway which was then followed by a 2-hour flight to Alta.

What is the weather like in Northern Norway?

Upon arrival, the temperature was felt instantly. Arriving at 10pm in mid-February meant the town of Alta was reaching a cool -17 °C, which seemed only shocking to the new arrivals who disembarked alongside us. The next morning, Alta presented us with -14 °C for much of the day, before temperatures dropped in the evening as we made our way through the Tundra. The sun sets early in Norway, and for us that meant around 4pm it was dark. This resulted in varying temperatures from -20 °C to -1 °C. We were informed that the weeks before our visit saw temperatures reach -30 °C.

How do I prepare for the cold in Norway?

The advice given by residents and the Sami people themselves, including our guide, was to make use of layers, ideally 3.
Avoiding polyesters and cottons makes a huge difference, therefore you will need a new wardrobe of outfits to deal well with the negative temperatures.
Step 1: Start with a thermal under layer.
Step 2: Build on top of this with a woollen middle layer to keep the heat in.
Step 3: Finally, on top, we would advise using a heavy rainproof coat or parka. Damp clothes due to the snowfall can seriously impact the rate at which heat leaves the body, so having a rainproof outer layer is essential.

What do the Sami wear?

Firstly, the Sami dress in various ways and in many ways similarly to the rest of the population facing these extreme temperatures. Across our 4-day trip, we saw conventional snow suited clothing, from waterproof jackets to winter boots. We also saw the handmade reindeer coats alongside cardigans, football scarves, woollen gloves, trainers, ski boots and everything in between. As you can see in the photos, the Sami people will wear anything and everything. The funny thing about our visit was the Sami people's seeming indifference to the cold at times. Nils, who was our main contact from the Sami community, was often seen wearing no gloves, so he could be more precise with his hands when repairing fences or handling the reindeer. We looked on with pure amazement as Nils seemed to absorb the cold and continue with his day unaffected. For various ceremonies, events or special occasions, traditional clothing will be worn. These come in a wide range of colours and offer great protection from the cold.

Extra essentials to consider

  • Gloves: We advise a normal pair of woollen gloves alongside waterproof mittens to place over the top.
  • Socks: Thick woollen socks are handy when trying to keep the heat in. Bring multiple pairs and layer where necessary.
  • Boots: Perfectly fitting boots that accommodate thick socks are perfect for the Norwegian winter. Be wary not to get snow into your boots, so tighten those laces and tuck your trousers in to ensure an airtight fit.
  • Eye protection: Bring ski goggles and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, snow and UV light.

Bonus Tip: Don't forget your hand warmers!

One thing we completely forgot to bring with us was portable reusable hand warmers. This would have been especially helpful for when the cold actually did get through to our hands. If you have access to hot water, you can reuse these again in a matter of minutes, so they are well worth the investment.

Want to learn more about our adventures through the Tundra?

Make sure you subscribe to our Nomads All Over The World Channel to stay up to date with the newest nomadic adventures, travel advice and tribal inspiration! Stay tuned for the full film of Nomads All Over The World!

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