Thursday, September 18, 2014

Knitting Conference in Seattle

Attention knitters! The Nordic Heritage Museum’s Knitting Conference is just around the corner, taking place from Oct. 3-5, 2014. If you’ve wanted to brush up on your knitting skills, it’s time to register! The conference features internationally known knitters, textile artists and will be headlined by popular Norwegian knitwear design stars Arne & Carlos. 

You probably have seen Arne & Carlos’ book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit. Their newest book, Knitted Dolls is filled with fun, whimsical knitted designs.

Learn a little more about Arne and Carlos in this video:



Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nordic Food Festivals

This month, two Nordic Food Festivals are taking place on the East Coast. The NORTH Nordic Food Festival is one of the world’s largest Nordic food festivals outside of Scandinavia. It takes place in New York City from Sept. 13-20, 2014. Nordic chefs, such as Morten Sohlberg, Marcus Jernmark, Frida Ronge and Sasu Laukkonen, will host dinners and teach cooking classes.

The Smörgåsbord Nordic Food Festival happens on Sept. 20, 2014, and is put on by the Scandinavian Cultural Center in Newton, Mass. Local chefs, including Peter Hansen, Mark Hardin and Tim Fahy, will host tasting sessions. Chef and cookbook author Sami Tallberg will discuss his books on foraging and the use of wild herbs. Love salmon? The Norwegian Seafood Council will present a Norwegian salmon cooking duel.

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New International Board Members Elected

On August 23rd, during Sons of Norway’s 2014 International Convention, held in Jacksonville, FL, delegates elected eight new International Board members! They include:

Jon Tehven—International President
Tehven previously served on the Sons of Norway board as its Secretary and prior to that had a long, successful career in the insurance industry, spending 26 years with Lutheran Mutual Life Insurance Company. During that time, Tehven spent 11 years as an insurance agent followed by 15 years as the company’s Manager of Field Training where he administered and supervised the training of sales managers and agents. In addition, Tehven was a consultant for the Self Management Group of Toronto, ON, where he provided major sales organizations with psychometric assessments for management and sales candidates. Most recently Tehven was awarded the Wartburg Medal by the Board of Regents of Wartburg College for his personal commitment to the College’s mission, quality, and character.

Ron Stubbings—International Vice President
Stubbings previously served on the Sons of Norway board as an International Director and has enjoyed a long career in the grain export industry. He has also spent many years as a leader with groups like the Normanna Foundation, Nordlandslaget Midnattsol and the Norwegian House Society.

Dan Rude—International Secretary
Rude has served previously on the Sons of Norway board as its International President and prior to that had a long, successful career in education, having spent nearly 40 years as a teacher in the Missoula community. During that time, Rude also spent time on the board of directors of various organizations, including the Missoula Education Association, St. Paul Infant Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Ray Knutson—International Treasurer
From 2012-14 Knutson served on the Sons of Norway board as an International Director and prior to that had a long career in the plumbing and inspection industry, having spent many years with Rockford Industries, Mechanical Incorporated and Miller Engineering. He also has spent a number of years serving the community through his work with groups, like the Independent Order of Vikings, Little League Baseball and the Rockford Association of Clubs.

Jon Grinde—International Director (D5)
During his time with Sons of Norway, Grinde has held a number of leadership positions at the District and International board levels. In addition, he has been involved with starting new lodges for Sons of Norway and participating in a number of other fraternal organizations.

Lyle Berge—International Director (D6)
Berge previously served as a Sons of Norway District President and prior to that enjoyed a long career in management and law, having spent many years working in Colorado law offices. He also has spent many years serving the community with the Legal Aide Society of Colorado, the Colorado Springs Cultural Committee.

Gloria Benazic—International Director (D7)
Benazic previously served as a Sons of Norway District President and prior to that had a long career in education, having spent many years as a Financial Aid Coordinator, Student Services Coordinator and Development Officer at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Odd Harald Olsen—International Director (D8)
Olsen previously served as a Sons of Norway District President and prior to that enjoyed a long career in leadership, having spent many years with Hjelmeland Kommune, Ryfylke Miljøverk and Ryfylkekommunane iks.

Please join us in thanking these eight individuals for their steadfast dedication to Sons of Norway and congratulating them on their accomplishments.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Nordic Colleges Stateside

In the September 2014 issue of Viking magazine, we highlight U.S. colleges and universities with strong Nordic ties. In the article, we highlight the University of Washington-Seattle, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA and St. Olaf College. Of course there are many more that we would have loved to include, such as Concordia College, Waldorf College, Luther College and Augsburg College, to name a few.

If you’re looking for more Nordic college or university recommendations, check out Sons of Norway’s NorwayConnects website. It has a lot of great information on study programs in and about the Nordic countries, scholarships information and job opportunities in North America and aboard. Check out their listing of Nordic colleges. 

Another wonderful resource is NORTANA (Norwegian Researchers and Teachers Association of North America). It's a non-profit organization for researchers and teachers involved in Norwegian language, literature and area studies. 

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Educating Norway

As summer transitions to fall, heading back to school is top of mind for many families. The September issue of Viking magazine is all about education. In the issue, we cover topics such as Nordic colleges stateside, tips on hosting an exchange student and a spotlight on global educators and explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft. On page 38, check out our interview with Norway’s Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen. Isaksen was appointed to his role in October 2013 and is responsible for implementing government policy from nursery school through higher education in Norway. Here’s one more question and answer that didn’t make it into the article.

Q: How does having a strong primary education affect higher education?
A: Achieving better outcomes in education, health and economic productivity depends on developing a wide range of skills. The ability to acquire and retain knowledge is just one skill. Character, including perseverance, motivation, self-esteem, self-control, conscientiousness and forward-thinking behavior, is another set of skills. According to research done by Nobel laureate James Heckman, the most economically efficient time to develop skills and character is in the very early years, when developmental support is most effective. To quote Heckman: “Early learning begets later learning and early success breeds later success.”

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Friday, August 22, 2014

International Convention: Immersed In Dedication

Today is going to be a great day! It's the first day of Sons of Norway's 2014 Invernational Lodge Meeting and you can tell from the buzz in the air that the delegates are ready to go.

For those who don't know about Sons of Norway, the International Lodge Meeting is our highest level of governance that brings together insurance-owning members from throughout North America and Norway. During the meeting these delegates hear reports from a variety of sources, internal and external, they discuss matters of importance to the organization and then vote on resolutions and law changes that are brought before them.

On the surface it may sound a little stiff and old fashioned, but I personally find it to be fascinating. I think I'm fortunate to be able to spend two days listening to members voice their opinions and discuss issues that will affect the entirety of Sons of Norway. It's an amazing experience to spend so much time completely immersed in dedication and surrounded by passionate members.

If you ever want to experience the best of Sons of Norway, I wholeheartedly recommend you attend a future district or international convention!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Art of Salmon Smoking

In the August 2014 issue of Viking, we highlight 4th generation salmon smoker Ole-Martin Hansen. The Norway native uses his great-grandfather’s recipe, which includes beech wood and juniper, and runs acclaimed London smokehouse Hansen & Lydersen.

Check out this video to learn more about his art of salmon smoking.


Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Apply and Earn Today!

This month, U.S. Bank, one of the sponsors of this year’s International Convention has a special offer! This is a great opportunity for Sons of Norway members who haven’t yet applied for this wonderful member benefit!

Apply and get approved for the Sons of Norway Visa Signature® Card and earn 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase!* Redeem points for your choice of rewards including travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more!


*Apply, get approved, make a purchase and receive 2,500 bonus points.  Only new accounts qualify for bonus rewards points.  Account must be open and in good standing to earn and redeem points.  Full terms and conditions are provided to cardmembers. The creditor and issuer of the Sons of Norway Visa Card is U.S. Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. © 2014 U.S. Bank National Association.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Smørbrød Photo Shoot

Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes of a Viking magazine photo shoot? Here’s your chance! In the August issue, we feature three tasty smørbrød (open-faced sandwich) recipes from award-winning food writer and recipe developer Lynda Balslev. It took an entire day and a whole team of people to make it a success! Read on to get a glimpse of our photo shoot day.

Issue: Viking, August 2014
Date: May 5, 2014
Location: Blue Ox MPLS, Hopkins, Minn.
Photographer: Tom Thulen 
Art Director: Amy Armato
Food Stylist: Betsy Nelson

Viking art director Amy Armato pulled inspiration food photographs and mocked up a cover to share with photographer Tom Thulen before photo shoot day.

The first shot of the day was the ingredient spread from page 18. It took three hours to get the perfect shot! Food stylist Betsy Nelson made sure every ingredient was placed perfectly by using her tiny food tweezers.

The Gravlax Smørbrød with Linie Aquavit and Svalka Snaps Glasses from IKEA.

Each photograph transferred directly to a computer in the layout. This allowed us to make sure everything was looking good on screen as we snapped photos.

Watch for another behind-the-scenes photo shoot blog in October. We will have a special guest cover star! For more great recipes, including Smørbrød, check out the Sons of Norway Recipe Box.

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Norwegian Actors in "Hercules"

On July 25, the action-packed thriller Hercules hit American big screens. The film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules. Did you know the film also features three actors from Norway? Keep your eyes peeled for Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Tobias Santelmann.

You may recognize Hennie from the May 2012 issue of Viking. He starred in popular Norwegian films “Headhunters” and “Max Manus: Man of War.”

Berdal was featured in Viking’s November 2013 issue. In addition to acting on stage at The Norwegian Theatre and in Norwegian films, last year, she had a role opposite Johnson in “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.”

Catch our upcoming interview with Santelmann in Viking’s October issue!

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Ties

If you’ve wanted to dig into your family tree and learn more about your ancestors, summer is the perfect time to start! Check out the genealogy article on page 20 of Viking magazine’s August issue, where we feature ways to get started on your genealogical journey. Also highlighted are wonderful ways to display your findings—from modern genealogy charts to activities for the kids. We had the pleasure of including the founder of Creative Family Tree, Virginia Rufener-Angus, who creates customized family trees. Check out the interview on page 25 and read more below.

Q: What makes your particular method of displaying family history unique? 
A: I think my trees are unique in three ways. First, I focus on making each tree a work of art that can be proudly framed and displayed in a client's home. I make each tree one at a time, so I can customize background colors and designs to match individual decor and style preferences. I can also add features to a tree that emphasize family history. For example, I can add a map of Norway for a family with Norwegian history. I’ve created trees with the Declaration of Independence as a background for members of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution, and a tree with the Mayflower Compact for a member of the Mayflower Society.

Second, I’m able to integrate real images of an individual's ancestors in a way that maintains a uniform color design. Clients scan their own images and forward them to me over the Internet. I make these part of the overall family tree design in a way that is consistent with the unique and individual approach for that client. In this way, family resemblances and blending can be seen across generations at once.

Finally, I can have the final electronic files delivered for professional printing and delivery almost anywhere in the world. I can locate a professional print shop near to a client's destination and deliver an electronic file for printing. This limits the costs for shipping and handling of the final product to a minimum. Of course, within North America, I can have printed, framed and boxed products delivered to your doorstep from a variety of excellent suppliers. As well, I've hand-delivered prints to customers who live near by.

Q: How can our readers get started on gathering their family history and contacting you to create a customized work of art? 
A: Simply email me. I require the names and dates of individuals on the tree. I also require digital images of those folks for whom you want photos on your tree. These can be modern digital camera images or scans of old photographs. You do not have to have images for everyone on your tree. I can work with what you have.

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ask a Former FBC


In the July 2014 issue of Viking magazine, we talked with former Sons of Norway Financial Benefits Counselor Sverre Aasgaarden. After nearly 30 years of working with members, Aasgaarden hung up his FBC hat in January 2014. But as a member of Bernt Balchen lodge in Pennsylvania, the Norway native still has plenty of advice to offer. Check out the article on page 10 of Viking’s July issue. Here is more from the interview.

Q: Tell us a little about your background. How did you come to the United States?
A: I was born in Norway—just outside of Tønsberg, which is 70 miles south of Oslo. I moved to New Orleans in 1978. I was working at that time for the Norwegian government Seamans service. I spent a couple of years in New Orleans, then ended up in Vancouver, BC. Sons of Norway then approached me. I’d been moving around the world for the past 20 years with postings in places such as Kuwait, Singapore, London, Rotterdam and Liverpool. I then ended up in New Orleans and Vancouver. I was looking forward to trying to settle down a little bit. It was a great experience moving around. Sons of Norway was an interesting proposition. I finally said yes and jumped right in.
No regrets.

Q: How old were you when you first came to the United States? 
A: 38 years old.

Q: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in Sons of Norway during your career? 
A: One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is actually in Viking magazine. It has taken a dramatic change over the years to become a very, very good magazine. The articles every month on the financial benefits are excellent. As an organization, I think we’ve become more structured, more all-inclusive. Today, we manage to reach a far bigger audience than we did in the past.

Q: Have you noticed a difference in what members request or need from you as a FBC? 
A: Members are more aware of what we do. We still have quite a ways to go there. We need more benefits counselors throughout the country to cover the lodges better. The counselors today do an excellent job of keeping the membership informed. But there are still some gaps in coverage throughout the country. Home office is doing a great job. One of the things we’ve always been very good at sons of Norway is to update insurance programs, and we are very competitive out there.

Q: Now that you’re retired will you continue to be active in your lodge? 
A: I’ll be active. I hold a couple positions in the lodge. I’m auditor, and I’m involved in the lodge’s scholarship program.

Q: Do you return to Norway very often? 
A: Every second year I try to make a trip. I have two brothers there.

For more information on Sons of Norway’s financial products, check out the Finance section in Viking magazine monthly and visit the “Financial Products” page of the Sons of Norway website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pettersen Swings into Second


Norwegian professional golfer Suzann “Tutta” Pettersen may have struggled with back pain earlier this season, but she’s back on track. This past weekend, she took second place at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. American Mo Martin edged Pettersen out by one stroke. Check out this video of Pettersen commenting on her performance.


This month, Pettersen graces the July cover of Viking magazine. Turn to page 15 to see our interview with her. She started playing golf at the age of 6 in Oslo and turned professional in 2000. The article also features a lot of wonderful information on the best places to golf in Norway, including the course Pettersen grew up playing on—Oslo Golf Club Bogstad.

Next month, Pettersen will be competing in the United States and Canada. Be sure to keep an eye on her competition schedule and follow her on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nordic Gifts for Newlyweds

Wedding season is in full swing! In the July 2014 issue of Viking, we rounded up some Nordic-inspired gifts for the newlyweds in your life. Here are a few more ideas.

Heart Cake Tray, $14. Ingebretsen’s. ingebretsens.com 

Nobel White Wine Glass, $45. Scandinavian Design Center. scandinaviandesigncenter.com

iittala Kastehelmi Dewdrop Clear Cake Stand, $95. FinnStyle. finnstyle.com

Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, $34.95. Williams-Sonoma. williams-sonoma.com 

Sagaform Taste Serving Set, $44.95. Scandinavian Gift Shop. scandinaviangifts.com

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Norway's National Dish

In a recent survey done by Norway's Ministry of Agriculture and Food and research firm Ipsos, Norway's national dish was named. Fårikål (mutton stew) received 45 percent of the vote in all regions of Norway expect along the west coast. Other dishes that topped the list of favorites include meatballs, potato dumplings and lamb ribs. Fårikål has been Norway's official dish for more than 40 years.

Want to try it out? Here's check out this Fårikål recipe. Here, Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad prepares the dish.



Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.