Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nordic Noir

With Easter right around the corner, many Norwegians love taking part in Påskekrim, Norway’s tradition of reading crime fiction at Easter. In the April 2014 issue of Viking, check out the feature story on Nordic Noir to learn about this uniquely Norwegian Easter pastime and why crime novels are so popular.

If you’re looking for a Nordic crime novel to curl up with this Easter, here are a few recommended titles. Happy reading!

“Eva’s Eye: An Inspector Sejer Mystery” by Karin Fossum

“The Ice Princess: A Novel” by Camilla Läckberg

“The Land of Dreams” by Vidar Sundstøl

“The Bat” by Jo Nesbø

“The Seventh Child” by Erik Valeur

 Check out these titles coming soon:
“The Son” by Jo Nesbø
Out May 13, 2014

“The Hidden Child: A Novel” by Camilla Läckberg
Out May 15, 2014

“The Murder of Harriet Krohn” by Karin Fossum
Out November 18, 2014

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Accomplished Animator

In the April 2014 issue of Viking, we talked with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and illustrator Torill Kove. She currently lives in Montreal where she works on short films and children’s books. Here’s more from our interview.

Q: What makes a great film in your opinion? 
A: There are many different ways for a film to be great. Sometimes I can't even really put my finger on what it is. But I really like a good story, or content that invites to reflection on what it means to be a human being; some little insight about the complexity of life. I love films that leave me with a feeling of having witnessed something unfold, even if I am not quite sure what it is.

Q: What are some of the challenges and rewards of working on a short film versus a long format? 
A: The biggest challenge for the feature director is to be able to communicate clearly to the creative team what your vision is. It's not easy because this vision only exists in your mind. The goal is to get the final product as close to this vision as possible, using the skills and talents of the team. The responsibility feels bigger on a feature because in addition to being art. It’s also a business, which means that your producer's livelihood depends on the film's success at the box office. When directing and animated short, you can be much closer to the actual creative work. Many animators do everything themselves, perhaps with one or two assistants. It is often a very personal process where the translation from vision to film doesn't have to pass through so many different channels. It's more direct. From an artistic point of view this is very satisfying. Short films do however not generate income once they are made. They travel to festivals, occasionally screen on television, and if there's an audience for them, they can have long, if not very profitable, lives on YouTube. The disadvantage of this is that finding funding for short films is difficult. The advantage is that once you have funding you can allow yourself to work quite free from pressures of box office expectations.

Check out Kove’s Academy Award-winning short film, “The Danish Poet.”

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

National Volunteer Week

Next week marks the 40th National Volunteer Week (NVW), which is a time for all organizations, including Sons of Norway, to celebrate the good work of its members and the positive impact they make on communities throughout North America and Norway. Specifically, NVW is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

What’s more, National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

So, to mark the occasion, we are asking all lodges to share their volunteer activities with us! Let us know what kinds of projects you are undertaking, let us know what the impact on your community is and if it was successful. Also, don’t forget that Sons of Norway  has the “Spotlight on Volunteerism” contest, where lodges can submit their own volunteerism stories for a chance to he highlighted in Viking magazine. To learn more about this project, contact Membership Coordinator, Joe Eggers at jeggers@sofn.com.

In the meantime, we hope everyone enjoys National Volunteer Week and undertakes a new project for the betterment of their community!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More With the Hemsing Sisters

In the April 2014 issue of Viking, we highlight talented Norwegian violinists Ragnhild and Eldbjørg Hemsing. The sisters hail from Valdres, Norway, and have been playing violin since the age of 5. Here’s more from our interview.

Q: How did you become interested in playing the violin?
A: We grew up with music all around us. Our mom is a violinist. She plays both classical violin as well as the Hardanger fiddle, and we got introduced to both musical worlds at an early stage. Our father was a very keen Langeleik player, the other national folk music instrument in Norway. The violin is such a beautiful instrument with a very wide range, in which you can really create your own personal voice. Both of us started to play the classical violin and folk music on the Hardanger fiddle at age 5, so it has been natural to combine these two musical worlds.

Q: What was it like playing for Norway’s Royal Family?
A: In 1996, when we were 6 and 8 years old, we were asked to play at the celebration for May 17th, The National Day in Norway, which was held at the National Theatre in Oslo. The whole Royal Family was present, and it was a very special occasion. I remember we thought the scariest thing was not to play wrong notes, but to bow and curtsey the right way for the Royal Family. Since then, we've played for The Royal Family many times, both in Norway and abroad. And we are now very good at bowing correctly.

Q: What do you enjoy about playing the Hardanger fiddle, Norway’s national folk instrument?
A: We are both very grateful to have grown up with traditional Norwegian folk music, and especially the folk music from our home region, Valdres. In this form of music, there is such a freedom and a versatility, which gives us strength and advantage as classical violinists. The traditional tunes are advanced and complex with a very specific rhythm, which tells us from which part in Norway you come from. It's like a musical dialects. We are both very proud and feel honored to be a part of this tradition and to be able to bring it to further generations.

For more on the Hemsing sisters, check out their website and be sure to their watch performance videos.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ane Brun on Tour

Ane Brun
In the August 2011 issue of Viking, we highlighted talented musician Ane Brun. The singer-songwriter hails from Molde, Norway. Since 2003, she recorded eight albums and runs her own label, Balloon Ranger Recordings. Who are some of Brun’s musical influences? Chopin, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Jeff Buckley, Arcade Fire, Price and Beethoven.

Recently, Brun’s song, “Don’t Leave,” caught the world’s attention when it was featured in a 2014 Super Bowl commercial for Chevrolet and The American Cancer Society, celebrating cancer survivors in a dedication to World Cancer day. Watch it here.

This spring and summer, Brun is on tour in Europe promoting her latest album, “Rarities.” Says Brunk, “’Rarities’ is a compilation of songs and recordings that have either not been released, or have been released on other compilations or as singles. This is a way to empty our cupboards of recordings that have been lying around, and another way to mark my ten year anniversary as an artist."

For the latest on Ane Brun, follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Name Game

Statistics Norway revealed its annual list of most popular names for newborn babies born in Norway. Nora and Lucas topped the list in 2012. Here’s a look at the 2013 list.

Top 10 boys’ names in Norway 2013:

1. Filip
2. William
3. Lucas
4. Mathias
5. Jacob
6. Oscar
7. Oliver
8. Alexander
9. Magnus
10. Isaac

Top 10 girls’ names in Norway 2013:

1. Emma
2. Sarah
3. Sophie
4. Ingrid
5. Nora
6. Maja
7. Linnea
8. Thea
9. Sophia
10. Emilie

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Susanna Tours the U.S.

Susanna Wallumrød began singing and playing piano as a child. In 2000, she started her duo, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra with Morten Qvenild. They released their own album in 2004 and began touring the world. This year, Susanna celebrates 10 years in the music industry and won her first Norwegian Grammy Award.

This month, the singer-songwriter-pianist will be touring the United States before returning to Norway in April. Here’s where you can catch her performances:

Upcoming dates:
March 25, International House, Philadelphia
March 26, Constellation, Chicago
March, 27, The Green Building, Louisville
March 28-29, Big Ears Festival, Knoxville
March 31, Joe’s Pub, New York

Check out this video of Susanna and the Magical Orchestra performing “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

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

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 8: International Women's Day

Gina Krog, advocate for women's suffrage.
Photo: National Library of Norway
Women and men around the world paused yesterday to celebrate International Women's Day. In Norway, names like Camilla Collett, Gina Krog and Gro Harlem Brundtland are just a few in the pantheon of Norwegian women whose work and ideals have helped shape modern Norway into a progressive society with policies that protect and support all women.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime
minister of Norway. Photo: UN Foundation
Last June, Norway celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage. If you missed Viking’s feature “The Good Fight: Why Was Norway the First Independent Nation to Give Women the Vote,” or if you’re new to Viking, check it out in the digital edition of the June 2013 issue online. Coming this spring, Viking explores the policies and social climate that consistently earn Norway one of the top rankings in Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report. Watch for our upcoming feature in the May issue of Viking.

Ann Pedersen is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Stylish in the Sky

Photo: Ole Musken
If you’ve taken a long-haul flight recently on Norwegian Air Shuttle, you may have noticed the cabin crew and pilots looking extra stylish. Norwegian design trio Moods of Norway teamed up with Norwegian to create uniforms that harken back to the 1960s golden era of aviation and Pan Am glamour. The navy, red, white and light blue color palette reflects Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft interior.

Known for making “Happy Clothes for Happy People, ” Moods of Norway incorporated its signature style, with playful winks of humor throughout the design. Female flight attendants have scarves and jacket linings with illustrations of hills and farm animals.
Photo: Ole Musken
Socks for men are printed with travel tips, such as “remember: toothbrush, be on time, buckle up, know your exits, enjoy the flight, have fun.” Jackets have “coffee” or “tea” embroidered on the sleeves.

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

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sochi in Review

Number 2 Marit Bjørgen out in front
at Sochi. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
Three days into the 2014 Winter Olympics, the online edition of People Magazine posted an article titled “Six Reasons to Root for Norway at the Olympics (When the U.S. Is Out of Contention).” Citing Norway as having a “quirky, fun-loving style” that has entertained Olympic fans for decades, the article offered six slightly irreverent reasons to root for the other red, white and blue.

A seventh (reverent) reason? Norway is the most successful nation in Winter Olympic history, both in total medals and gold medals won. When Viking ran its Winter Olympics preview in the February issue, we featured four Norwegian athletes expected to be strong medal contenders. Now that the games are over and the tallies are in, here are just a few post-view statistics and highlights.

Finishing third overall in medal count behind Russia and the U.S., the 134 Norwegian athletes took home 11 gold, 5 silver and 10 bronze medals for a total of 26. By sport, they took home 11 medals in cross-country skiing, 6 in biathlon, 4 in Nordic combined, 3 in alpine skiing and 1 each in snowboard and ski jumping.

Of the 11 medals in cross-country skiing, 9 were won by the women’s cross-country ski team. Thirty-three-year-old Marit Bjørgen became the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever, with a sixth career gold in Sochi. In the mass start event, she was joined on the medal podium with her teammates Therese Johaug winning silver and Kristin Størmer Steira winning bronze.

In biathlon, Ole Einar Bjørndalen won two golds and became the most medaled Olympian in the history of the Winter Games with 13 medals, edging past Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie’s record 12 medals. At 40 years old, he has competed in six Winter Olympics, beginning in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Visit Team Norway's page at sochi2014.com for links to more Norwegian Olympic athlete and team statistics. And watch for an upcoming post on Norwegian Olympic speed skater and four-time gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, who takes "quirky and fun-loving" to a new level in his work with children through the nonprofit Right to Play.

Ann Pedersen is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tubfrim Winner Announced

January was a lucky month for Vegas Viking Lodge 6-152 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The lodge was the winner of the Tubfrim drawing to give away a ticket to Norway, worth up to $1,000. Their postcard was drawn from among 1,229 other cards. With one card for every pound sent to Norway that means that Sons of Norway sent at least 1,229 pounds of stamps to Tubfrim in 2013. Gene Brandvold, Sons of Norway’s Tubfrim chairperson, conducted the drawing.

What is Tubfrim?
Tubfrim was established in 1928 by Postmaster Ditlef Frantzen in Nesbyen, Norway. The aim was to collect and sell used stamps and use the proceeds to aid in the eradication of tuberculosis among Norwegian children. Since tuberculosis is no longer the threat to health that it once was, today children and youth with disabilities and special needs receive the proceeds from the resale of the stamps. Sons of Norway has been involved with the organization since 1986 and is its major contributor of stamps from a group outside of Norway.

Win a Ticket to Norway
While helping children is a great motivation for Sons of Norway members to participate, there is a special incentive to say “thank you”. For every pound of stamps collected, the member or lodge can enter a drawing, held in mid-January every year, to win a round trip ticket to Norway, worth up to $1,000.

Have questions? Need additional information?
Contact Gene Brandvold, Tubfrim chairperson, at genegbrandvold@aol.com or 952-831-4361.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"Vikings" Season 2

Photo: Jonathan Hession/HISTORY
Copyright 2014
The History Channel’s hit drama series Vikings is back! Season 2 premieres this week on Thursday, February 27, 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Set in a world ruled by raiders and explorers, the series follows the adventures of fearless warrior Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and his band of Vikings brothers as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes.

As The History Channel’s first scripted series, “Vikings” gained a loyal fan base in 2013 and became the No. 1 cable series of the year.

Here’s a peek at the Season 2 teaser of “Vikings.”

Are you a fan of the show? Share your thoughts!

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

Monday, February 17, 2014

Escape to Tromsø!

Image: Innovation Norway,
Looking for a winter escape? CNN named Tromsø, Norway, one of the 10 best cities in the world for a winter vacation.

Known as the capital of the Arctic, Tromsø is a stunning city that’s surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands. The city’s winter scene is bustling. Expect lots of snow this time of year—perfect for skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing and dogsledding.

If you’re visiting in December, January, February or March, Tromsø is a great place to see the Northern Lights.

If you’re into museums, check out the Polar Museum and Tromsø Museum. Stay at the Clarion Post Bryggen and grab a bite at Arcantandria and Aunegården.

Ready to book your trip? Visit Norway and Visit Tromsø are two great planning resources.

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Bridge

©Dag Jenssen
Located just north of Sand, Norway, Høse Bridge was recently named Best Bridge by Travel + Leisure magazine’s design awards. The pedestrian bridge connects the town to a wooden area that residents can access for recreation. Designed by Norwegian firm Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Høse Bridge is constructed from two steel lattice beams and mesh and sold panels of Corten steel.

©Dag Jenssen
In the middle of the walkway, a steel grate on the floor allows pedestrians to look down at the cascading Suldalslågen River beneath the bridge. There’s even a concrete pavilion on the south side of the river that can be used as a picnic site.

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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6: Sami National Day

Photo: lapplandfoto.se
I’ve been reading about the Sami in Norway this week as part of my research for a feature in an upcoming issue of Viking. By coincidence, it’s the same week that Sami throughout Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia celebrate Sami National Day.

Of the estimated 70,000 Sami in the four countries, more than half live in northern Norway. Nomadic people who can trace their history in northern Scandinavia back 10,000 years, Sami are the northernmost indigenous people in Europe. Among other things in their rich cultural heritage, they are known for their ancient livelihood of herding reindeer, still a source of jobs and income today, and for the folk crafts (duodji), dress (kolt) and music (joik) of their culture.

The Sami flag, designed in 1986 in the vibrant colors of traditional Sami dress, is flying throughout Scandinavia today to commemorate the first joint Sami Congress, held in Trondheim on this date in 1917. Watch for our feature on the Sami in an upcoming issue of Viking magazine.

Ann Pedersen is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in St. Paul, Minn.