Photo: Nasjonal turistveg Gaularfjellet - Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens Vegvesen
Fjord Tours Articles / 7 Feb 2022

The Norwegian Inspiration Behind Frozen 2

The Disney movie Frozen quickly became a smash hit with kids around the world when it was released in 2013. As it was one of the most popular animated films ever, it’s no surprise that the much-anticipated sequel that came out in 2019 gave children across the globe Frozen fever once again.

Heavily influenced by Norwegian nature, culture and traditions, the hit Disney movies have become instant classics that have captured the hearts and imaginations of children everywhere. Let’s have a look at some of the Norwegian places and traditions that inspired Disney’s Frozen franchise!

Midtnes Hotel Bilde 2
Photo: Midtnes Hotel

St Olaf’s Church

In the first Frozen movie, the chapel where Elsa’s coronation takes place is rumored to be based on the historic St Olaf’s Church in Balestrand. This beautiful church is set within a picturesque location by the idyllic Sognefjord and was built with the familiar design of Norway’s historic stave churches.

The Viking-style architecture of stace churches have actually inspired more than just the Arendelle chapel – in fact, much of the architecture in the Frozen movies is based upon the elaborately carved wooden churches like the famous Borgund Church, which is one of Norway’s most well-known and best-preserved examples of the stave church tradition. A visit to a stave church is a must when in Norway, and though there are only 28 remaining stave churches in the country, opportunities for seeing them are plentiful.

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Photo: Bergen Tourist Board, Girish Chouhan, Visitbergen.Com


The historic city of Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, inspired the look and feel of the fictional Arendelle village in the Frozen franchise. The village of Arendelle is a typical fairytale setting, with a large castle set within a traditional village, surrounded by lush green forests and sparkling waters.

The grand Arendelle castle was inspired by two separate locations in Norway – the exterior of the castle is inspired by the medieval Akershus Fortress in Oslo, while the interior is said to be based on the stunning Stiftsgården in Trondheim, a historic wooden building that serves as a second home to Norway’s king.

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Photo: Maria Johnsen/

Aurora borealis

One of the most fascinating natural phenomena in the world is the northern lights, so it’s no wonder that the fairytale world of Frozen drew inspiration from this magical sight. Frozen’s Grand Pabbie, also known as the Troll King, has the power to summon colorful lights in the sky at will. Luckily, nature offers us the chance to see this magical spectacle with our own eyes, and Norway is one of the best places in the world to see the polar lights.

The winter months are a fantastic time to see the aurora borealis, and anywhere in Northern Norway with minimal light pollution is a great spot for catching nature’s own spectacular light show – travelers usually find that Tromsø is a great bet for chasing the northern lights. Going on a tour is the best way to experience the lights, with a local guide showing you the way to the spellbinding lights and maybe even giving you some tips on capturing great photos of this natural phenomenon.

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Photo: Tromsø Safari

The indigenous Sami people

The Frozen movies drew inspiration from the customs and traditions of the indigenous Sami people of Northern Europe. Norway’s reindeer herding Sami population has ancient traditions and a strong heritage which Disney wanted to pay homage to. Many aspects of Sami culture can be seen in both Frozen films – in fact, both movies feature songs that draw on the traditional Sami musical style of “joik”.

The Northuldra people Anna and Elsa meet in the enchanted forest in Frozen II were heavily inspired by the Sami people in terms of clothing and customs. If you’d like to find out more about the real-life inspiration behind Frozen, learning about Sami culture and traditions is key – and there are plenty of opportunities for getting to know the Sami way of life in Northern Norway.

These are just a few of the many Norwegian places where you can see the real-life inspiration behind the hit Disney movies with your own eyes. Why not take on your own Frozen-inspired adventure in Norway? Become one with these fairytale surroundings, see the real life inspiration behind the movies, and relive the magic of Frozen with a trip to Norway!

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Photo: Rjan Bertelsen / Www.Nordnorge.Com