As one of the smallest nations in the world, the Faroe Islands struggle everyday to make our selves heard in the world. Ask someone somewhere in the world if they know the Faroe Islands, and chances are they will have heard about the Faroese football team. But here at 62° North and 7° Eastern we take pride in a lot more than football games.
The Faroe Islanders originate from the exploring Vikings and Irish munks residing on the wind swept islands around 900 A.D. Centuries of isolation from the world has generated a strong minded, hardened and self supplying population. The Faroese are used to living together with nature, and in respect of nature’s powers and supply. The severe isolation has however also resulted in a population that seeks contacts and cooperation with the outside world. Working alongside other cultures and with a strong knowledge of how to cooperate, has ensured that Faroese sailors and fishermen, carpenters and in recent decades, engineers are held in high esteem across the world.
Nature is the foundation
During the last century fishing has been the major export, but a great part of everyday life and food is linked to the surrounding nature. Pilot whales, wild birds and fish are still an integral part of the Faroese cuisine and everyday life. The long standing necessity to utilize all of natures’ gifts now comes as an advantage to the Faroe Islanders: an increasing number of local industries are emerging that manufacture products from fish protein processing to fashion wear made out of Faroese wool and fish scale. The traditional Faroese culture in this regard complements the global pursuit of sustainability.
Seeking out, drawn home
The Faroe Islanders have over time had to seek business relations and cultural ties with the surrounding world, but always with the knowledge that the journey would end back home. The small Faroese society has developed a tightness in families and relations that is still strong today. Although the Faroe Islands are rooted in the past where family guaranteed your survival, the Faroe Islanders still embrace globalization – conscious of tradition and history while doing so. This stable foundation provides the ones seeking out with the necessary backbone and courage to succeed, knowing that there is a family, a society and relations to come back home to.
Religion plays its part
Christianity plays a big part in the Faroese culture. From the Christening in year 1000, the Faroe Islands have had a strong sense of religion. In hard times and isolation religion was the obvious place to seek help. Until this day religion plays an important part of everyday life, culture, arts, music and legislation. However with the Faroe Islands being a democracy, society takes the right to freedom of religion seriously, this ensures an open debate in the discussion between the religion and the secular.
The arts have exploded
In older times the stories and the fables were being passed down by the fire from the elderly to the young generation. This tradition of story telling lives on today in songs, stories and pictures, interpreting the past and looking to the future. The Faroese artistic scene has recently exploded in new directions and in numbers. Though the link between Faroese culture and our artists’ tales is no longer as visible, it still represents the bone and marrow of our identity.