Our Story - the History of Norvegr and the Norwegian Tradition
Though our company was founded 60 years ago, our time-honoured traditions go back much further, to the time of the Vikings. Ottar the Viking’s legendary voyages still fascinate today – and unlike many epic stories, his happens to be true.
The choice of kings and queens since the viking ages
In 870 AD, a traveller arrived at the palace of King Alfred the Great in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. One of the most powerful men in Norway, Ottar the Viking captivated the royal court with colourful stories about his intrepid journey. In the great hall, as the fire blazed and wine was passed, he started by explaining the simple motive behind his quest: “I wanted to find out how far north my country ended”.
Ottar had set sail from his home port of Hålogland, located near the Arctic Circle. He voyaged the ‘North Way’ – otherwise known as ‘Norvegr’ – until the coast curved steeply to the east. Undeterred, Ottar and his Viking crew followed the route until they came to the land of the Bjarmers, in what we now know as Russia. No one had ever sailed that far north before.
Ottar was as pragmatic as he was inspired; on his travels he collected fur pelts, feathers and precious down, because in those days, wealth was measured by the value of traded goods. After many months, Ottar’s voyage took him south along the Norwegian coast to Denmark, and finally to the court of King Alfred, where he knew his precious treasures would be eagerly received.
Sable and eiderdown were regarded as marks of prestige. Arctic seabirds develop soft, warm down to insulate their bodies against the bitterly cold polar temperatures, just as arctic mammals grow thick pelts. Accordingly, those of high rank knew that these goods were not only difficult to obtain but also of exceptional quality – and of course, Norway’s bluebloods wanted only the very best.
Keeping our heritage alive
Here at Norvegr, Ottar the Viking’s story is not just a fascinating historical tale; it captures the very spirit of trading luxurious down products that underpins our company today. There are few truer pleasures than the bliss of a perfect night’s sleep, and, centuries after Ottar’s travels, we continue to uphold the time-honoured tradition of creating superlative bedding for an exclusive international clientele.
Our family started in this business back in the 1950s, producing exquisite down duvets and pillows while also maintaining and restoring products to keep them in top condition. Having gained decades of expert knowledge, we wanted to put our skills to something extraordinary, continuing ancient Norwegian tradition – and that is when Norvegr was founded.
Filled with the finest, rarest down and covered in the softest casings of pure Egyptian cotton, our down products really are something special. Many of our duvets are privately commissioned and crafted bespoke, creating one-of-a-kind products that will last for years.
Over 60 years on, we remain as passionate about genuine craftsmanship as the day we first set out on our journey.