Monday, October 31, 2011

Sights and Frights in Norway

Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the day, Visit Norway has provided some ideas for exploring the spooky side of Norway. You might try to spot Norway's most famous ghost at Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral, learn about Bergen's history of witch burnings or check into a haunted hotel near Geiranger.

For more travel tips, stay tuned for the annual Viking travel issue, coming in January! We'll take readers on a tour to Telemark and explore art nouveau architecture in Ålesund. And we'll share what we've learned in our conversations with Scandinavian travel specialists, so that your Norwegian travel experience doesn't have to be scary!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Kim Joar.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Heartfelt Felt Hearts

Has your November issue of Viking arrived? When it does, you'll notice that the annual holiday gift guide has an alternative twist this year. "Gifts from the Heart" emphasizes simple gifts with special meaning, whether its a handmade item, a donation to a charitable cause or a heritage-inspired present.

Special thanks goes to my husband, Doug, and son, Halvor, who made the hand-felted heart ornaments featured on the November cover. You can make them, too! Check out Doug's step-by-step instructions here.

Looking for more heartfelt gift ideas? You'll find them in the November issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cold Recall Opens with a Royal Flourish

Tuesday of this week was a big day because it marked the official opening of a new exhibit, Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja were on hand to kick off the exhibit in royal style.

The exhibit, which details Roald Amundsen’s historic expedition to the South Pole, is on display through November 14th and is expected to be viewed by more than 6 million visitors during its stay.
In addition to Their Majesties, the audience for the opening included modern polar explorers Will Steger, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, who each gave a presentation, and Sons of Norway CEO, Eivind Heiberg and International Board members. There's a great story about the event here and here.

This is the first time the exhibit has been shown in the United States and has been a project that Sons of Norway has been working on, in partnership with the Honorary Royal Norwegian Consulate, Destination Bloomington and the Airport Foundation MS, for a number of months.

If you are planning on traveling through the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport before November 14th, take a few minutes and detour to Concourse C to view the full exhibit in all its glory. If, however, you don't have any travel plans, you can view a PDF of the exhibit here. It's very informative and tells a story in Amundsen's own words about the reality of exploration in the early 20th century.

About the exhibit:
Norwegian Roald Amundsen led the historic featured expedition from 1910 to 1912. In addition to illustrating the challenges of arctic exploration in the early 20th Century, the display also provides a unique look at the daily lives of polar explorers. There is no admission charge for the exhibit; however it is located past the terminal’s security checkpoints, so access is limited to ticketed passengers.

The exhibit, purchased by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and on loan until November 14th, is being displayed as part of the airport’s Arts and Culture Program, which is administered by the Airport Foundation MSP, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing travelers’ airport experience. The exhibit was secured through with a partnership between the Honorary Royal Norwegian Consulate, Sons of Norway (a Norwegian-American fraternal life insurance organization dedicated to preserving Norwegian Heritage and Culture), Destination Bloomington and the Airport Foundation MSP. This is the first time the exhibit has appeared in the United States.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sons of Norway and the Royal Visit

As you may have heard, the last couple of days of the Royal visit to Minnesota have brought very big news for Sons of Norway.

On Sunday, at the Grand Dinner in Minneapolis, King Harald V gave a speech about his personal bonds to the United States and his fondness for the U.S. and Minnesota in particular. In that speech he actually took time to refer to Sons of Norway by name (the only organization specifically recognized in his speech). He said:
"And I am grateful to the Sons of Norway and the many other organizations that preserve Norwegian heritage and traditions. Norway looks to its Sons and Daughters in the United States as a bridge between our two cultures."

If that weren't exciting enough, the next day he went to Duluth for a rededication of Enger Tower, took time from his busy schedule to visit the Nortun Sons of Norway lodge! The lodge had spent much of the last year preparing for this event and spent $50,000 to update the lodge and get it ready for Their Majesties. During the invite-only event, King Harald V and Queen Sonja were treated to special remarks from our International President, Dan Rude and a musical performance by Arna Rennan. Then Their Majesites were escorted around the room and introduced to the 60 lodge and International Board members. In fact, if you click here, you can see video of His Majesty King Harald V, walking and talking with our International President as they arrived at the lodge.

There is also a great photo series, which can be found here, showing King Harald V and Sons of Norway officers/members together.

This was a very exciting event for Sons of Norway and its members in Duluth who worked so hard to make the event possible. If you know a member from Nortun lodge, make sure and congratulate them on their efforts!

Check back later for more about the Royal Visit and Their Majesties opening of the Cold Recall exhibit. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Royal Visit Continues

Here in Minnesota it's been a big week for Norwegian Americans. And it's not over yet!

Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja arrived in the Twin Cities last Tuesday. Since then, the royal couple has wasted no time hitting many Norwegian hot-spots in the area, leaving goodwill and a bit of royal fever in their wake. The king and queen have visited three Norwegian-American colleges—Luther, St. Olaf and Augsburg—and Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. They've even squeezed in a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. And on Sunday night they were the guests of honor at a banquet for 1,100 at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel.

On Monday the king and queen will travel to Duluth for the rededication of Enger Tower, originally dedicated in 1939 by King Harald's father, who was then Crown Prince Olav V.

On Tuesday, before departing for New York, the king and queen will open an exhibit honoring Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen at the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. The exhibit, on loan from Oslo's Fram Museum, is called "Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer," and will be on display for a month in the Concourse C gallery.

In a Minneapolis Star Tribune interview, Kim Ode asked King Harald if there was a particular Norwegian tradition he hoped was kept alive in Minnesota, and whether it had anything to do with lutefisk. "It's much broader than that, thank goodness," the king answered. "There are all the things with the sciences—we visited the Mayo Clinic and met several Norwegian doctors studying there. There are lots of exchange students, so much is about education."

The king added: "It's very important to get to know each other better, because more people here are calling themselves Norwegian-Americans than we have Norwegians in Norway," referring to the almost 20 percent of Minnesotans that identify themselves as Norwegian.

From here, it's on to New York, where the king and queen will visit Ground Zero and the Norwegian Seaman's Church. They'll also attend a luncheon hosted by the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and a centennial gala for the American-Scandinavian Foundation, along with representatives from the other four Nordic nations.

To read more details about the royal visit to the Midwest and New York, check out the current issue of Viking magazine.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Royal Visit Video

If you've been reading any newspapers or websites in Minnesota, then you're sure to have heard about the Royal visit of Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway. During their visit, they'll be traveling all over Minnesota and even making a short trip to Decorah, Iowa.

If you aren't able to make it to any of Their Majesties events, I encourage you to check out this video of their visit to St. Olaf college. It includes a great address by His Majesty himself.

In addition, here's a link to a TV interview that our CEO, Eivind Heiberg gave about the Royal Visit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sons of Norway in the news

This morning the King and Queen of Norway are arriving in Minnesota and it's going to be an exciting 8 days for everyone around here. In the run up to the Royal visit a number of news organizations have reached out to us to learn more about the Norwegian American community. In fact, our CEO, Eivind Heiberg was interviewed by the local CBS affiliate yesterday and I was interviewed by their sister radio station.

For you early risers, my interview should be on sometime between 6 and 6:30 on WCCO 830 and Eivind's interview can be found here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Christmas in October

If you are a Midwesterner like me, you might be having trouble deciding what time of year it is these days. My front yard, full of fallen leaves, certainly looks like October, and yet the high temps have climbed into the eighties this week, making it feel more like July. To add to my confusion, I've just finished editing the stories for the December issue of Viking.

It can be a little jarring to work on issues two or three months before their publication date—particularly leading up to the holidays. But luckily I was introduced to some photography this week that really put me in a holiday mood. The photos were the work of Norwegian photographer Per Breiehagen. In addition to assignments for clients such as National Geographic, Disney and Patagonia, Breiehagen has pursued his own creative projects, like his "Winter Magic" and "Winter Magic II" series. What started out as a single Christmas card photo of his daughter for family and friends has evolved into a wonderful, other-worldly experience. Enjoy!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.