Thursday, October 23, 2014

Harry Hole's Oslo

Jo Nesbø ©Niklas R. Lello
Looking for a new way to explore Oslo? Fans of Norway’s best-selling crime writer Jo Nesbø can take a guided tour of the city and follow in the footsteps of the author’s main protagonist Harry Hole. Tour guides will lead you through the streets of Oslo to places that Hole frequents.

The tour starts at the Best Western Karl Johan Hotell near Stortinget and continues on to locations such as Egertorget Square, Oslo Courthouse, St. Olavs Church, several restaurants and pubs and Royal Palace Park. Tours are available in both Norwegian and English.

For more on Jo Nesbø, check out our interview with him in the March 2013 issue of Viking and keep updated on his upcoming releases on his official website. 
Check out this video where the author talks about his protagonist Harry Hole.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Norway's Historic Hotels

Looking for a great hotel in Norway? Have a charming stay at one of the country’s wonderful historic hotels. With a storied past, many have been owned by the same family for generations and have attracted famous guests throughout the years. In the October 2014 issue of Viking, we feature five historic hotels. Read on for more hotel ideas, compiled by Viking writer Kara Eliason.

Anker Brygge 
Location: Northern Norway
Stay here to enjoy the Lofoten Islands, local fishing villages, the midnight sun and the northern lights.

Dalen Hotel 
Location: Southern Norway
If you’re looking for a bit of whimsy during your stay, this “fairytale hotel” features dragon heads, turrets and spires, and balconies.

Røisheim Hotell 
Location: Eastern Norway
This is a great destination for travelers who want to explore Jotunheimen, Norway's most popular national park. It’s a favorite hotel among mountain tourists.

Kronen Gaard Hotell 
Location: Western Norway
Built in 1898, the hotel’s Swiss chalet-style main house was a summer home for timber dealer Gabriel Block Watne. The hotel is known for its locally sourced food and scenic gardens.

Vertshuset Røros 
Location: Central Norway
This hotel is a great place to stay while visiting the Røros World Heritage site. The hotel kitchen uses quality, local ingredients when preparing meals for guests.

Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri 
Location: Fjord Norway
Located on an island in the Austevoll municipality, Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri has accommodated visitors for more than 300 years.

Location: Oslo
This hotel is located near the top of Holmenkollen, Norway's most visited tourist attraction and one of the world's most famous sporting arenas. It also features great cuisine and a well-stocked wine cellar.

Augustin Hotel 
Location: Bergen
It’s Bergen’s oldest family run hotel, and it features an impressive collection of contemporary Norwegian art.

Britannia Hotel 
Location: Trondheim
This is a great hotel for visitors who want to shop and sightsee. Opened in 1897, Britannia Hotel is called the “white swan” or the “pearl” of Trondheim.

Looking for more recommendations? De Historiske is a membership organization that includes 50 of Norway’s most charming hotels, plus 19 restaurants and two ships.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Congressman Erik Paulsen Visits Sons of Norway

Sons of Norway welcomed Congressman Erik Paulsen from Minnesota’s Third Congressional District to its headquarters in Minneapolis Tuesday, October 14. Intended to familiarize Representative Paulsen with the Sons of Norway’s story dating back nearly 120 years, the meeting focused on the ways in which the organization and its approximately 60,000 members across the US, Canada and Norway are making a difference in their communities.

Sons of Norway’s  CEO Eivind Heiberg, Fraternal Director Linda Pederson and Cultural Coordinator Anna Stoltenberg sat down with the Congressman in the Sons of Norway Board Room. As the Congressman admired the pictures of the 33 past Sons of Norway International Presidents, Heiberg outlined how the Fraternal Life Insurance Company provides financial protection, Norwegian cultural awareness, and charitable support through its Foundation.

Sons of Norway is a 501 (c)(8) tax exemption status, granted to fraternal benefit societies in the 20th century, which means that proceeds from the sale of financial products are used to support the organization’s fraternal and Foundation endeavors. With this in mind, Sons of Norway shared with the Congressman how the tax exempt status allows Sons of Norway to enhance the lives of its members and make a difference in their communities.  

Started by 18 Norwegian immigrants who wanted to protect one another in times of great hardship, Sons of Norway’s membership grew and so did the effort to uphold the Norwegian traditions in America. Today Sons of Norway is a thriving philanthropic organization supported by nearly 17,000 insurance certificates currently in force. The creation of the Sons of Norway Foundation (501(c)(3)) in 1966 meant that scholarships for educational exchange, grants for community cultural programming and humanitarian aid in times of great need could be offered in addition to the financial security and fraternalism already being provided to members.

Pederson emphasized the value of fraternal benefit societies by citing a recent study done by Phillip Swagel, a professor at the University of Maryland, which states that for every $1 the federal government invests, fraternal benefit societies produce $76 in value back to society. In 2013 alone, Sons of Norway members organized nearly 20,000 civic events, volunteered almost 400,000 hours and donated over $1,000,000 to their communities. Congressman Paulsen was captivated by stories of lodge events and fundraisers put on by members including a fundraising gala hosted by Vennekretsen Lodge in Anoka, MN, that raised over $65,000 for Hope 4 Youth, a local nonprofit that provides services for homeless youth.

Congressman Paulsen also spoke highly of the Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast, founded by Sons of Norway in 1985, which he has previously attended. Bringing together people of Nordic heritage to offer thanks for the privileges of freedom, faith, family and friends, the event gives guests an opportunity to give back to the community by supporting two local non-profits -  the Second Harvest Heartland and Minnesota Military Family Foundation.

Sons of Norway is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of its members, the communities it serves and the world in which we live. Congressman Paulsen posed with Heiberg and even agreed to take a selfie with Stoltenberg in order to post to NorwayConnects, Sons of Norway’s new website geared at bridging the gap between Norway and North America by connecting young adults with college, career, financial and cultural resources.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photographer Captures Norway’s Beauty in Stunning Video

Norway is known for its diverse and dramatic landscape. Home to natural wonders like the fjords, midnight sun and the northern lights and boasting one of the longest and most rugged coastlines in the world, the natural beauty of Norway is nothing short of spectacular.

Inspired by the drama of his home country’s varied landscape, photographer Morten Rustad set out on a five month journey to chronicle all 19 of Norway’s counties, capturing “everything from the deep fjords in the Southwest, to the moon landscape in the North, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and settlements and cities around the country, both in summer and wintertime.” The result of his 10,000-mile trek is a remarkable time-lapse video comprised of tens of thousands of images that showcase Norway in a truly vibrant display. 

Released in late September by Rustad Media, the video already has over 869,000 views on Vimeo and over 410,000 on YouTube.

Interested in seeing more of Rustad Media’s work? Visit to see some of their other time-lapse videos. You can also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the journey and its filming locations by checking out the news section of

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sondre Lerche on Tour

Photo: Eric Ray Davidson
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche is making his way through the United States this fall with songs from his new album, “Please.” After finishing the American leg of the tour, Lerche will head to Europe at the end of October, stopping in Bergen on Nov. 8 and Oslo on Nov. 15, before landing in Asia. Here’s where he’ll be singing this month in the United States:

Oct. 8 Troubadour (with TEEN), Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 9 The Independent (with TEEN), San Francisco, CA
Oct. 11 Doug Fir (with TEEN), Portland, OR
Oct. 12 Nectar Lounge (with TEEN), Seattle, WA
Oct. 15 Bluebird Theatre (with TEEN), Denver, CO
Oct. 16 Vega (with TEEN), Lincoln, NE
Oct. 17 Turf Club (with TEEN), St. Paul, MN
Oct. 18 Lincoln Hall (with TEEN), Chicago, IL
Oct. 19 Magic Stick (with TEEN), Detroit, MI
Oct. 20 Altar Bar (with TEEN), Pittsburgh, PA

Check out some of Lerche's videos online, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sons of Norway and Telemark County Announce Signing of Memorandum of Understanding

Sons of Norway (SON), a Minneapolis-based Fraternal Life Insurance company and the Telemark County Council (Telemark) announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will result in closer collaboration for the strengthening of ties between North America and Norway.

The Memorandum, signed by Telemark Mayor, Terje Riis Johansen and SON CEO, Eivind Heiberg, outlines the areas of focus for ongoing cooperation, collaboration and alignment between the two groups. Specifically, SON and the Telemark agree to strive for complementarity and compatibility in the ongoing development of business opportunities, tourism, and cultural and educational exchange.

Commenting on the MoU, Sons of Norway CEO, Eivind Heiberg stated, “This is a first step towards what I believe will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship. By working closely with Telemark, and its executive board, this partnership will not only strengthen our respective organizations, but it will also reinforce the long-standing bond that exists between Norway and North America, with the result being increased opportunities for professionals, students and individuals to experience the culture of our respective nations

 “Sons of Norway is one of the most important organizations who connects the heritage of the United States and Norway. They can make a big difference in what we are working to achieve. ” says Johansen.

Looking forward SON and Telemark will continue to meet and discuss strategies for achieving the objectives outlined in the MoU and work together to plan the next steps in the evolution of this new partnership.

Actor Tobias Santelmann

In the October 2014 issue of Viking, we had the pleasure of including Norwegian actor Tobias Santelmann. He hails from Lindesnes, Norway, and graduated from The Oslo National Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2006. You may recognize him from the Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated hit Norwegian film “Kon-Tiki.” Like many Scandinavian actors, he’s making his way into Hollywood circles. This summer, he appeared on American big screens alongside Dwayne Johnson and fellow Norwegian actors Aksel Hennie and Ingrid Bolsø Berdal in “Hercules.” Santelmann is currently filming the movie “Point Break,” set to release next summer, and is a remake from the 1991 version with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Learn more about Santelmann on page 9 of Viking’s October issue. Here are a few more comments from Santelmann that didn’t make it into the article:

“To act in another language is emancipatory. It helps me in many ways when I am playing a character who is far from me personally.”

“The word ‘career’ is a tricky word for me. I feel and am fortunate to be working. I love my job as an actor.”

Follow Santelmann on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more on Santelmann and other leading actors in Norway, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming November issue of Viking!

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Andrew Zimmern in Viking

Travel Channel star and James Beard Award winner Andrew Zimmern graces the October 2014 cover of Viking magazine, and we couldn’t be more excited! In addition to hosting his hit television shows, including “Bizarre Foods,” Zimmern is a chef and food writer. Born in New York, Zimmern lives in Minnesota with his wife and son. In the article, he talks about Nordic food, life and values. Here are a few more comments from Zimmern that didn’t make it into the article:

“Here’s what I adore about Nordic and Scandinavian culture: They embrace everything that’s around them. They accept what they have. And we do that here [in Minnesota] to a large extent; people who move away from here are people who don’t figure out how to deal with winter. I like to ski and snowboard, but it’s not like I go out every day with the cross-country skis. But we love our outdoor activities, including sledding, ice fishing and ice-skating. I hunt in the winter, and we snowmobile. We’ve turned wintertime into a really cool exploration that we’re not afraid of. We’ve got our son Noah going to different state parks every weekend in the winter, and we’re talking about tromping in the woods through four-foot snowdrifts. We have so much fun doing that, coming home all wet and cold, having hot chocolate to warm up and then snuggling and watching a movie. In Scandinavia, the acceptance that you work with the cards that you’ve been dealt is a big part of their cultural way of viewing life. Spending time in Iceland in small little towns where nine months of the year you can’t even go outside: bleak, wind-swept sorts of places where they’re eating dried fish, always having a piece of harfiskar in their pocket so they can put dried fish in their mouth and eating the same four food items all winter long. I mean, it makes you hard in the best sense of the word.”

In July, the Viking team had an exclusive photo shoot with Zimmern at The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which serves up Nordic-inspired cuisine. We had three hours of Zimmern’s time on set, so things had to move pretty quickly. Here’s a look at how the day went and a few behind-the-scenes shots.

What: Andrew Zimmern photo shoot for the October 2014 issue of Viking magazine
Where: The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
When: July 11, 2014
9-10 a.m., photographer Steve Henke and his team set up the shots
10 a.m., Zimmern arrives on set
10-10:30 a.m., wardrobe and makeup
10:30-11 a.m., shot one, (the cover photo)
11-11:15 a.m., set up for shot 2
11:15-11:40 a.m., shot 2  (seen on page 16)
11:40 a.m., food delivered by The Bachelor Farmer’s Executive Chef Paul Berglund  
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m., shot 3 in the Afghan Room (seen on page 14-15)
12:15-12:45 p.m., shot 4 (seen on page 3)
1 p.m., photo shoot wraps

Zimmern and photographer Steve Henke

Zimmern brought a whole bag of pocket squares to the set!

Planning the cover shot on set.

Half-way through the shoot.

The Bachelor Farmer Executive Chef Paul Berglund puts the finishing touches on the dishes.

The amazing Afghan Room at The Bachelor Farmer.

If you’re in the Minnesota area, see Andrew Zimmern speak at the Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast in Bloomington, Minn., on Nov. 25. For details, go to

Keep up with all of Zimmern’s globe-trotting adventures on his website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

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

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.