Norwegian and Swedish Travellers
The Norwegian and Swedish Travellers are a group or branch of the Romani people (also known as "Gypsies", zigenare, sigøynere) that have been resident in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 for some 500 years, as distinct from other Romanies who arrived starting in the late 19th century. The estimated number of Romani Travellers is 20,000, while in Norway the number is probably less than 10,000.


By history and culture, they are related to similar groups of Romani people in other countries, such as British Romani groups like Romanichals, Lowland Scottish Travellers
Scottish Travellers
Scottish Travellers, or the people termed loosely Gypsies and Tinkers in Scotland, consist of a number of diverse, unrelated communities, with groups speaking a variety of different languages and holding to distinct customs, histories, and traditions...

 and German Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...


Modern-day Travellers are the descendants of the first Romanies that arrived in Scandinavia during the 16th century. Some were deportees from Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 to Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, but most came via Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. The Danish Tatere first arrived in Denmark about 1410. They were met with hostility, and segregated themselves on the moorlands of Jutland, where some prospered in wool production and trade. They did not integrate in Denmark for nearly 400 years. According to their oral tradition, they were originally forced out of Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

, India, when invaders conquered it. They do not consider themselves “gypsies”.

A related group are the Finnish Kale
Finnish Kale
The Finnish Kale "blacks") or the Finnish romanis are a group of the Romani people that live primarily in Finland and Sweden.Their main languages are Finnish and Finnish Romani. They are mostly Christian.-History:...

, who are the descendants of early Scandinavian Romanies that had been deported in the 17th century from Sweden proper to Finland, the latter a province of the Swedish Empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

 at the time. Over the years, the Finnish Kale developed separately from the other Scandinavian Travellers (particularly after Finland was lost to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1809), and their languages and customs now differ markedly. The Finnish Kale, however, maintain that their ancestors had originally come from Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, thereby supporting the idea that they and the Scandinavian Travellers are distantly related to present-day Romanichals.

Romani Travellers in Norway at times have been confused with the indigenous Norwegian Travellers
Indigenous Norwegian Travellers
The indigenous Norwegian Travellers are an ethnic minority group in Norway. They are a wandering people who once travelled by foot, with horse-drawn carts and with boats along the southern and southwestern coastline of Norway.-Names for the group:...

, although they perceive the latter group to be non-Romanies by culture and origins.

Names for the group

By the settled majority population, the Norwegian Travellers are known as tatere, and in Sweden they used to be called tattare. Both terms hint to the original misconception that these people were Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

. Before the turn of the 20th century, the majority population made little distinction between tatere/tattare and "Gypsies" ; this situation changed mainly due to the arrival of Kalderash
The Kalderash are a subgroup of the Romani people, from the Roma meta-group. They were traditionally smiths and metal workers and speak a number of Romani dialects grouped together under the term Kalderash Romani, a sub-group of Vlax Romani.-Etymology:The name Kalderash The Kalderash (also spelled...

 Roma from Russia and Central Europe in the last decades of the 19th century, to whom the latter term came to be applied almost exclusively.

Skojare was a former name for Travellers in Sweden; in Norway skøyere was associated with indigenous Travellers. Fant was another term formerly applied to both Romani and non-Romani Travellers in southern Norway and some parts of Sweden. All these terms nowadays are considered pejorative due to their connotation of vagabondage
Vagabond (person)
A vagabond is a drifter and an itinerant wanderer who roams wherever they please, following the whim of the moment. Vagabonds may lack residence, a job, and even citizenship....

 and vagrancy
Vagrancy (people)
A vagrant is a person in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income.-Definition:A vagrant is "a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging;" vagrancy is the condition of such persons.-History:In...


In Sweden, tattare is now considered a disparaging term and has been completely abandoned in official use. Since 2000 Swedish Travellers are officially referred to as resande (Travellers), and counted as one of several groups within the "Roma" national minority. They often refer to themselves as resandefolket (Travelling people), or dinglare. Less common is the term tavringar. In recent years there has been an attempt to term Swedish Travellers as tschiwi, but this usage is contested.

For Norwegian Travellers, however, the name tatere does not carry the same stigma as in Sweden; some Traveller organizations maintain this term in their official names. In Norway the Travellers are categorized as a national minority group, officially referred to as tatere, reisende (Travellers) or romanifolk. Norwegian Travellers refer to themselves by various names, such as romany, romanoar, romanisæl, vandriar (Wanderers), etc. In contrast to Sweden, in Norway a distinction is made between romanifolket and rom (i.e., Roma groups that arrived since the 19th century) in the official legislation on national minorities.


The Travellers in Sweden and Norway speak a form of the Romani language
Romani language
Romani or Romany, Gypsy or Gipsy is any of several languages of the Romani people. They are Indic, sometimes classified in the "Central" or "Northwestern" zone, and sometimes treated as a branch of their own....

 known to academics as Scandoromani
Scandoromani , also known as Tavringer Romani and the Tattare language, is a North Germanic based Para-Romani. It is currently spoken by the Norwegian and Swedish Travellers, a Romani minority community, in Sweden and Norway ."Scandoromani" is a term coined by academics...

, sometimes referred to as Tavringer Romani. Many words of Scandoromani origin have survived in the Scandinavian languages, both in common speech and slang. Examples:
  • Tjej, meaning "Girl" in Swedish (Official)
  • Puffra, meaning "Gun" in Swedish (Common)
  • Hak, meaning "Place" in Swedish (Common)


Romani Travellers in Sweden and Norway have founded organisations for preserving their culture and lobbying for their collective rights. One example is Föreningen Resandefolkets Riksorganisation, based in Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

, Sweden.


Romani Posten (also Romaniposten, The Romani Post; ) was a news magazine for the Romani Traveller community in Norway. It had no political or religious affiliation, and published articles in Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

. At its most frequent, it came out eight times per year. On 6 September 2003, it was founded as an on-line publication; the first print edition October 2006. Jone Pedersen was the founding publisher and editor-in-chief. As of 2007, it had ceased publication.

Notable people

Sources, further reading

(This is a lexicon and grammatical overview of Swedish Scandoromani by Lenny Lindell; includes several Traveller song texts in extenso.)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.