The Path to Nidaros
St. Olav’s Ways
In Norway there are several pilgrim paths leading to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, the longest and most known is the Gudbrandsdalen path as it was the main road during the Middle Ages, going 643 km from Oslo to Trondheim. The historic trails have been used by pilgrims and other travelers since the year 1032. The Norwegian king Olav II was born in 995 in a time the country had several small kings and earls. When Olav was 12 years old he became a viking at sea, during his stay in Normandy he learned about Christianity and he was baptised in 1014. He came back to Norway with the vision and the call to unite his kingdom to become one Christian country under a new Christian legislation. In 1030 king Olav was killed at a battle in Stiklestad. People believed king Olav was a holy man and they convinced the bishop to open his grave one year later. According to the stories king Olav his hair and nails had grown and a wonderful fragrance came up from the coffin. The king was declared a saint in 1031. The relics were placed in the church and the pilgrimages to the holy king’s relics started immediately. Later on they built the great Nidaros Cathedral on top of the grave of Saint Olav.
A pilgrimage is a tradition in all religions. Human beings have through all times been searching for their origin, closeness to eternity, something that is holy for them. A place where the border between the earthly and the heavenly reality is thinner than any other place. People were searching for comfort, healing and forgiveness for their sins. The journey is the most important on a pilgrimage, eventually you learn it’s not about the destination but about the path itself. You find answers to the questions you’ve never asked. When the Lutheran reformation reached Norway in 1537, pilgrimages were banned. Only in the 20th century people started again to come to Trondheim as pilgrims, less for religion reasons.
The Path to Nidaros
Every year thousands of people decide to put their life on hold to walk the ancient paths. A significant increase which grows every year. To understand this modern evolution, Belgian documentary maker, Hilse De Groote travels to Norway to walk in the footprints of those pilgrims. All by herself she conquers the challenges of the trail, to learn what it is all about. The Path to Nidaros is a personal journey, showing the beauty of Norway.