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Life and health

The Norwegian Folklore Archives contain many cultural-historical texts and source materials pertaining to beliefs and customs related to life and health.

One particular source material in this field stems from questionnaires that were sent out during the twentieth century: Ove Arbo Høeg’s Archive of Plant Names, Gade and Grøn’s Archive of Folk Medicine, and the Language and Customs series of questionnaires. Replies to these questionnaires came from all of Norway’s nineteen counties.

Ove Arbo Høeg’s Archive of Plant Names

Ove Arbo Høeg (1898–1993) was a professor of botany at the University of Oslo 1947–67.

One of his areas of research was ethnobotany, and his collection of plant names and stories about local uses of both wild and cultivated plants in folk medicine created an abundant material.

Following the publication of the book "Planter og tradisjon – floraen i levende tale og tradisjon i Norge 1925–1973" (Plants and tradition: Flora in living speech and tradition in Norway 1925–73), the entire collection was donated to the Norwegian Folklore Archives in 1981.

The archive has all the questionnaire replies as well as the cover letters from the individual letter writers. The material is organized according to alphabetical lists of species (in Latin). In addition, a registry has been created that makes it easy to find out who submitted the replies (personal name) and where they lived.


Selberg, Torunn. “Ove Arbo Høegs arbeide med tradisjon om planter og folkemedisin i Norge”. In “... enn all din kunnskap drømmer om, Horatio!” Nye perspektiver i tradisjonsforskningen, edited by Bente Alver and Torunn Selberg (Bergen: Forlaget folkekultur, 1990), pp. 70–86.

Gade and Grøn’s Archive of Folk Medicine

This archive is based on questionnaires issued by the physician Fredrik Gade (1855–1933) and the physician and medical historian Fredrik Grøn (1871–1947) in 1911.

Gade and Grøn’s aim was “to collect the traditions that still lived among the populace”, as enquires had apparently proven to them that “popular remedies contain much of great cultural-historical interest”.

The Norwegian Folklore Archives has around 150 replies to this questionnaire.

The Language and Customs Questionnaires

This archive comprises a series of questionnaires issued from 1934 to 1947 by a national committee on the usage of Norwegian words. The questionnaires covered 133 different topics, most of which pertained to various questions of cultural-historical interest.

The replies can as yet only be read by visiting the Norwegian Folklore Archives in person.

Published Jan. 30, 2015 12:38 PM - Last modified Jan. 3, 2022 1:50 PM