Cod has always been the fish which brought the most joy to the people living along the Norwegian coast – they literally put their trust into the cod – what else would they do?
At the south tip of Tromsø you will find Folkeparken and Perspektivet open-air museum. Perspektivet have throughout the whole summer been offering free-guided tours in the exhibition “In Cod We Trust”.
The exhibition is held in a big boathouse close by the sea and surrounded by beautiful nature. As soon as you step inside the boathouse you have committed yourself to a time-travel back to the 18th century. The first thing you notice is the smell along with two huge, wooden sail boats, which brings the right atmosphere to this exhibition, and with help from the guide, you are quickly dragged into the universe where the people in Northern Norway needed to trust the sea in order to survive. But it wasn’t without any risks. Each year 30.000 men/boys would leave their families to go fishing on Lofoten Islands, hoping that this would bring them enough income for the rest of the year.
The story starts at home with the whole family helping to produce warm clothes, especially woolen socks and gloves due to the harsh weather. Furthermore, they would have to prepare food for the journey. This yearly trip was an investment – but one which could give the family better economy as well. The cod brought most joy to the coast in a sense that it was the most common fish to catch. But how could they put their trust into the cod and that it would be possible to catch them the following years? What influence could it have on a society if the cod stayed away for at least one year?
This exhibition does not answer these questions. However, it gives a fulfilling insight into the dramas, hard work and not least love, which were involved with the Lofoten fishery. After finishing this time-travel you will understand why the exhibition is called “In Cod We Trust”.
Written by Marie Søndergaard