The Norwegian county of Telemark, stretching from the Skagerak coast in the east to Europe’s greatest mountain
plateau Hardanger in the west, holds a special place in Norway’s national consciousness and identity. Telemark is the birthplace of skiing, unique folk traditions, distinctive dialects and famous artists, which have all come to represent something uniquely Norwegian – protected from the outside world. “It’s weird to think that one century ago, when my great-grandfather was living here, many of these small villages were roadless. Nowadays, there are highly developed tourist destinations in every direction,” says Johan Angre, CEO of Flatdal Handlaft, which is based in the village of Flatdal.