History of the Nisse.

History of the Nisse.

Artwork by Lennart Helje

Nisse ( pronounced Nisser) have been living in Denmark since the world was young. In 1200AD a statue 15cms high was discovered in Norway, carved on the pedestal were the words ‘Nisse, Riktig Storrelse’ which means gnome actual height.  Nisse can grow to 2ft tall but most are smaller. There are different types of Nisse, some live in the woods, others gardens, barns or houses but all Nisse are self sufficient in the ways of the old country crafts.  Nisse are close to their families and may move house with them while Tomte are more connected to the place they live.

Danish – Nisse

Swedish – Tomte or Nisse (a Vatte lives under the house wearing all black with a black beard).

Norwegian – Tomte or Nisse

English – gnome

The most distinctive things about Nisse are their red pointed hats, their love of looking after animals, their love of practical jokes and that they help the families they live with if treated with love and respect, all they ask for is a bowl of porridge and a glass of glogg each night, but they will become mischievous (never malevolent) with the family if they are not treated well. There are many books about Nisse/Tomte and Gnomes for sale especially on the internet, here are a few;

‘Gnomes’  by Rien Poortvliet and Wil Huygen

‘The Tomten’  by Astrid  Lindgren

‘The Tomten and the Fox’  By Astrid Lindgren

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