You find Sami culture spread across northern Sweden – but nowhere will it be more pronounced than in Jokkmokk which is sort of the cultural heart of Sami life in Sweden. The biggest museum about the Sami life and tradition is found in the city of Jokkmokk as well. It is called the Ajtte and is the official mountain and Sami museum of this area.
The main focus of the museum is Sami life and culture and the famous national park in the area called Laponia which supposedly is wonderful to visit but we skipped it since we are a bit pressed on time and the weather in the mountains is a little questionable today with possible snow at high altitude so we prefer stayed a bit lower.
The museum has a special interactive section with the Laponia national park area where you stand at a platform and get to experience the park as you fly through it and go to places you wouldn’t be able to reach without going for some very long hikes. It is a quite fun little attraction and since there isn’t a lot of visitor at the museum there is no pressure on us to give up our spot before the journey across Laponia is finished and we fly back to the museum.
The Lapponia area is actually an important area for the Sami who use it for their reindeers during the summer time when they can avoid the mosquitos of the lower elevation and enjoy the coolness of the higher mountains and eat a bit during the midnight sun during the summer.
The main focus of the museum is the Sami culture where there is exhibition about all the important aspects of the life of the northern people. There is a section with the cloth and silver of the Sami which is unique to this people and is still an item which is usually sold as traditional souvenirs all over northern Scandinavia.
There is a section dedicated to the religion and the drums of the Sami people – it seems the drum was very important for the Sami during their different religious ceremonies. It is interesting the drum seems to be so important amongst the people living in the arctic. The Inuit living on Greenland similar had the drum as their most important item during the special ceremonies when they needed to get in touch with the spirit world.
Another section is dedicated to the Sami traditional life as reindeer herders telling the story of how they move across the landscape with their animals searching for the best pastures depending on the season. Moving across a landscape with no roads and just using the reindeers as the only mean of moving the goods the Sami needed at their next camp.
A final section is dedicated to the settlers of the northern – for centuries the Sami lived alone in the north but without the last few centuries Swedish settlers started to move north in search of new places to make a living in the northern Swedish forest.
The museum gives a good impression of the life in the north of Sweden and is clearly one of the most important museums of Sami culture anywhere in Scandinavia. If you only go to one museum about Sami culture and tradition this one would make a great pick.
Outside the museum is a little collection of Sami buildings the traditional turf houses and houses for storing food out of the way for the animals of the north.