Monday, December 24, 2012

Welcome, Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve, or julaften, as it's called in Norwegian. All across Norway at 5 p.m. church bells will ringe julen inn, (ring Christmas in), signifying that the holiday has officially arrived. If you would like to hear the lovely sounds of these bells, NRK has collected them from 22 churches all over Norway. The radio program, called Kim Alle Klokker (Ring All The Bells), has become a tradition on NRK's P1. Here's a link to last's year's bells. Those who don't read Norwegian can simply scroll down to enjoy the nearly two-dozen audio files from across the country.

For those interested in learning more about Norwegian radio, stay tuned for the February issue of Viking. We'll highlight information on streaming programs online, as well as radio apps for your smartphone. In the meantime, enjoy the bells and God Jul from the staff 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. 

Photo courtesy of Flikr user bentekalsnes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Most Beautiful Voyage

Coming up during Christmas week there’s going to be a great new program being broadcasted on Public Television channels across the U.S., called A Norway Passage-The Most Beautiful Voyage.  The one-hour program is drawn from a remarkable live, six-day, 24 hour per day documentary, titled Hurtigruten: Minutt for Minutt, produced in 2011 by NRK, Noway's national broadcaster.

The program, which follows the voyage of Hurtigruten’s NordNorge ship takes the viewer along to witness some of the most beautiful Norwegian landscapes and vistas. I’ve watched the video a couple of times already and was really impressed with the combination of breathtaking visuals, informative narration and opulent soundtrack. It’s definitely worth an hour in front of a TV or computer screen.

Now, if you’ve got more time on your hands and really want to get the full effect, I encourage you to watch the complete 134 hour broadcast (it takes a minute or so to load, but is well worth it). If your time is a bit more limited, though, definitely check out the Most Beautiful Voyage broadcast. All you have to do is check your local listings to see when it will run during Christmas week.

If you do watch either of the programs mentioned here, I’d love to know what your favorite part or location was. Share in the comments below.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Message from the CEO

Christmas is nearly upon us and I wanted to take a moment from all the hustle and bustle of the season and send you a message of good tidings from myself and the entire staff here at the Sons of Norway Headquarters.

As the day grows closer I find myself thinking of Christmases past, from my childhood through adulthood. I remember the joy of spending time with my family, the feeling of peace that the season brought with it and the excitement of knowing that each Christmas would be full of new memories that I’d cherish for years to come.

For many, though, it’s easy to get jaded about what some call “the industry of Christmas” where the spirit of the season is often replaced by advertising, marketing and sales-driven information that inundates us during this time of year. It’s unfortunate, which is why I choose to remember a quote from Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States of America: 

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

I hope it helps remind you, as it does me, of the real meaning of Christmas. I also hope that the holidays will bring you a sense of peace within as well as a feeling of goodwill toward all, and that you will show great mercy and compassion for others who may be less fortunate.

Next week as you get together with family and friends to celebrate the season I hope that you will find yourself filled with peace and surrounded by all the things that bring Christmas cheer!

I also want to thank you for your Sons of Norway membership and all the good things you do for our fine organization.

God jul!
Eivind Heiberg
Sons of Norway

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweater Stockings

Don't throw out those old Nordic sweaters! If you're feeling crafty, you can give them new life and purpose by upcycling them into Christmas stockings. The directions can be found at Sweet Paul magazine, founded by Norwegian-born stylist Paul Lowe.

Sweet Paul is a great go-to for holiday inspiration throughout the year. When Easter rolls around, we'll be featuring some of Paul's recipes for a festive Nordic Easter brunch. Look for them in our March issue!

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, December 19, 2012

Top 10 Norwegian Christmas Songs

How many of the top 10 Norwegian Christmas songs do you know? This list appeared recently on the music website, Here are the most played Christmas tunes on the radio, TV and in concerts, according to TONO, a cooperative of composers, lyricists and music publishers that manages performance rights in Norway.

The Most Played Norwegian Christmas Songs
1. En stjerne skinner i natt
2. Det lyser i stille grender
3. Vi tenner våre lykter
4. Vårres Jul
5. Himmel på jord
6. Julekveldsvisa
7. Romjulsdrøm
8. Julekveld i skogen
9. Musevisa
10. Hei hå nå er det jul igjen

"A Star Shines in the Night," which tops the list, was written by Tore W. Aas and Eyvind Skeie. The song was first recorded by the Oslo Gospel Choir on their album "A Thousand Christmas Lights" in 1992.  Check out their 2009 performance on Norwegian TV below.

Are you interested in listening to Norwegian radio? In the February issue of Viking, we'll highlight the resources available for those in North America who want to tune in. For information on streaming radio online, as well as smartphone apps, stay tuned!

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, December 14, 2012

A message from the CEO: Newtown CT shooting

Sons of Norway was saddened to learn of the tragic shooting this morning in Newtown, CT. At this time we have not been made aware that any Sons of Norway members in District 3 were affected, but we are reaching out to district leaders in order to determine if that is, in fact, the case.

In the meantime my thoughts and prayers, and those of the entire staff at the Sons of Norway Headquarters as well as our members throughout North America and Norway, are with the families of those affected by this senseless tragedy. 


Eivind Heiberg
Sons of Norway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Magic

It finally snowed in Minnesota this week. Within a few hours, the bleak fall landscape was transformed into a bright and glittering wintry world. Even though I'm a native Minnesotan, and I've seen plenty of winters, there's still something about the first snowfall that I find, well...magical.

We've tried to capture a little of that magic in Viking this month by sharing the photography of Per Breiehagen. A native of Hallingdal, Norway, Breiehagen now lives in Minneapolis and has photographed his adorable daughter, Anja, as the model for his wonderful "Winter Magic" photo series. I first encountered Breiehagen's work over a year ago when I attended the annual meeting of the Twin Cities chapter of Nordmanns Forbundet, or Norwegians Worldwide, as the organization is now known outside Norway.

It looks like the members of the Viking team weren't the only ones enamored by Breiehagen's work. His photography is also featured in this month's issue of Norwegians Worldwide magazine. I guess those of us of Norwegian ancestry—wherever we are in the world—can appreciate great photography, a really cute kid, and the magic of winter.

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

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Viking Chats With Actor Kristofer Hivju

Did you catch Joe Stych's interview with Kristofer Hivju in the December issue of Viking? The Norwegian actor is bringing his talent to American audiences with an role in the HBO series "Game of Thrones." We couldn't fit the whole conversation in the magazine, but you can read the full interview here!

Viking: Where did you grow up and how did that upbringing affect your career path?
Kristofer Hivju: I grew up in Oslo, and I'm a third generation actor. My grandmother was an actress and my father and my mother are actors, so I grew up at the National Theater. I had no intentions of becoming an actor—actually, I wanted to be a rock star. I was playing bass in a band and I didn't do any acting before I was 16. But that changed when I got the part of Hamlet in a school production. I didn't even ask for it, but they said, "let's take the guy who has the acting parents and hire him!"

When I did act for the first time, I felt the rush; the kind of dope that you can't get anywhere else but on the stage. So I just went up to the head of the school and said "I have to change to a drama school now."

V: When you started acting, did you think you were going to be in movies and on TV shows?
KH: I discovered acting from inside, in a way. From my first meeting with the craft was experience, how to use the craft. I wasn't like, watching these people on TV and saying, "I want to be like them." I just experienced how fantastic it is to have that power and have that extreme concentration, and the joy of making people laugh of making them cry; that emotional power, if you want to call it that. I've seen the craft from inside with my mom and dad as actors. I've seen the glory and the hell of acting, in a way.

When I went into it I knew what to expect. And nobody told me it's going to be just fun.

When I told my dad I was going to drama school, he said, “if you want to do this, you really have to want to do this, because it's a lot of pain and a lot of persistence. But if you get good at it and if you love it it's the greatest thing.”

My dad, he really loves being an actor and he really is one of the best actors in Norway. I knew how much work it takes to get it just right.

V: Do you have a favorite genre that you like to work on?
KH: The theater is what I've done mostly; It's what I've been producing and writing myself, and that will always be my job. Theater has been my wife and movies have been my mistress. Film is what someone has been hiring me to do, but theater is really what I've been doing.

When I started 6-7 years ago I met a good friend of mine who is a movie director, and we started to create stories. We made some films and they had some success, so in a way my love for screen-telling started more as a storyteller than as an actor. Acting is just a different way in.

But right now I really love doing screen work, because I love the principle that you just do a scene, and then you're finished with it and you can go on. In theater, you can do a major successful night, but you know that the people who are going to watch you tomorrow didn't see that. You have to do it perfectly again.

V: You just got a part as Tormund Giantsbane on Game of Thrones. How do you get into character for something like that?
KH: I'm already a Viking, so making me a Wildling [a class of people from the show] is not a long process. I'm really trying to get into the universe by reading the books and understanding the principles of that world. I'm also working out, doing training, and practicing my English dialect.

V: Are you excited about expanding your work to the American scene?
KH: Very. For me, watching American movies is something that started with sitting on my father's lap when I was 10 years old, and seeing films that I was not allowed to see. Being in that extremely safe zone, and looking into that spectacular world, that's where that dream started.

At one point I was very close to getting a part on True Blood so that was like the start of my American career. I told my girlfriend that Hollywood just called, and we just celebrated together in our first small apartment on a very rainy day. Suddenly they called for that audition.

V: How did the audition go?
That was the first taste for me, and I enjoy doing auditions. I love getting like one scene from a huge movie with some huge star, and just to do that scene, for me, is just incredible in itself. Then to go further and further and getting the job, it's a special kind of game. It's not the kind of game that they play in Norway. In Norway you go to maybe one audition and they hire you. Or the director calls and says “do you want to do this part? I have a cool project.” So it's like being in a competition over here. And of course competitions are most fun when you win.

V: You also got a part on the movie “After Earth” with Will Smith. Have you started filming that yet? What was the process like?
I enjoyed it a lot. The funny thing is that I came down to them with this huge beard, and the first person I met—the makeup guy—said, “you need to cut everything off.” I thought that they had cast the whole package! But [Director M. Night] Shyamalan didn't care about the beard. It took two days to shave because I was fighting to keep it. I thought that it would be cool to have a military guy from the future that I was playing have a big beard, and I said maybe they changed the rules of hair politics in the army. I convinced a couple of the producers, and Shyamalan was always on my side, but when the issue came to Will Smith's table, he said one inch, no discussion. That's as far as we can go. So I went from this enormous beard to totally shaved up and military. That was a fun sight.

V: How is acting in Norway is different from acting in America?
KH: Acting is acting. Whether I'm standing on a stage and 50 people are watching or doing a big movie with hundreds of people around, the work is the same.

But it's fantastic that they come to your door in a limousine, and put you on first class, and that you travel in your bed and a bar and a movie theater and a restaurant at the same time for 16 hours. That makes traveling is fun.

But they do treat you really well in America. I think their philosophy is: if we treat you well, you perform better. That's really generous and exotic. Also everything is bigger, but that's true for all of America.

V: What are your future plans?
KH: I'm trying to take it one day and one roll at a time. So, now I'm going into the shooting period with “Game of Thrones” and I'm looking forward to that. So let's see where it goes! I have my own things I'm working with, but who knows. You can try to resist the flow, but you can’t avoid it. 

V: Is there anything else you want to tell Viking readers?
KH: The “Game of Thrones” premier is in March, 2013. One thing I can say is that not that many Norwegian actors are working abroad. My point is that my agent [I don’t have her name, but I know you were in touch] has been my bridge into the American film industry. It helps that she is Danish, and the Danes have been making great movies for a while. Norwegians have too, but Denmark has more contact with the US, and she has really done great work for me and made this journey come alive in a way. You can't forget the people who help you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Alt for Norge" Casting Call

Remember the article in the October, 2010 issue of Viking about "Alt for Norge," the Norwegian reality TV show where Norwegian-Americans compete to be the most Norwegian? The show has become a hit in Norway, winning the country's Emmy Award for best reality TV series. Now entering its fourth season, the producers of "Alt for Norge" are looking for the next season's contestants to travel to Norway and compete in good-natured, extreme cultural challenges. The winner earns a reunion with long lost Norwegian relatives and a cash prize of $50,000.

You might quality if:
  • you are a fun, outgoing and adventurous American. 
  • you are of Norwegian descent—even a little Norwegian heritage is enough to qualify.
  • you have never traveled to Norway.
  • you are a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old.
Note that there will be open casting calls in Minnesota at the Mall of America on Sat., Dec. 12 and in Chicago on Fri., Dec. 7. Applications and video submission are due Jan. 6, 2013. For more information, visit Email questions to

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Sons of Norway!

This Thanksgiving we have a special message from the Sons of Norway CEO, Eivind Heiberg.

Dear Son of Norway Members,

With Thanksgiving upon us, I find myself reflecting on the many things in my life for which I am thankful. In addition to the blessings of family, friends and good health, I am thankful for you, the remarkable members that make Sons of Norway what it is today.

Your dedication to your lodges and communities, as well as your passion for preserving Norwegian heritage and culture is inspiring. Every day I hear about a lodge or group of members who are engaging and giving back to their community in true fraternal spirit. It gives me a great sense of pride every time I hear one of these stories.

So, this Thanksgiving, I want you to know that I am thankful for all you and your fellow members are doing throughout the organization. I hope today is filled with peace, joy, appreciation and thankfulness. Also, if you find yourself in a moment of reflection on the things you are thankful for this year I hope you'll share them with me by contacting me at


Eivind Heiberg
CEO, Sons of Norway 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sons of Norway: Good Neighbors Once Again

Throughout the day Sons of Norway will be mentioned on the radio as part of the Good Neighbor segment on WCCO 830AM radio! You can listen in at 7:52 a.m., 12:40 p.m., and 5:50 p.m. by clicking here and selecting the “Listen Live” link.

This is part of a daily segment that WCCO runs, acknowledging individuals and businesses in the Twin Cities who do impressive things to make their community a more vibrant place to live. I hope you’ll tune in today, or listen online if you have a chance.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Recovery: the Foundation Does its Part

As the east coast begins its long march towards recovery following the devastating results of Hurricane Sandy, the Sons of Norway Foundation has already given its first Helping Hands grant to a member-family in the Breezy Point section of Staten Island. This area has sustained some of the worst flooding and experienced significant fire damage, so the grant will go a long way to helping the family in their recovery efforts.

At this point we’ve hear from another member in the Rockaway area of New Jersey as well as a number of lodges who were in Sandy’s path and expect to hear from more families who have been displaced as they determine their full scope of damage.

I’m sure everyone is aware of the destruction caused by Sandy and there are definitely going to be a number of member-families in need this fall. That being so, Sons of Norway is asking members to make a donation to the Humanitarian fund, so the Foundation can provide much needed support to those affected by the hurricane. To make a donation, click here and fill out the linked form. Any amount helps, and remember--it's tax deductible!

In the meantime, our thoughts are with all those displaced by the hurricane. We hope your recovery is swift and successful!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Holiday Dessert

Looking for a finale for your Thanksgiving dinner? Here's a beloved Norwegian dessert, served primarily in the fall when apples are plentiful, known as Tilslørte Bondepiker, or Veiled Farm Girls. The recipe, originally featured in our October 2010 issue, is from Viking friend and foodie Scott Givot.

Tilslørte Bondepiker
1½ lbs. apples
½ cup water
Approximately 3/8 cup white sugar
2 cups dried, ground white bread
3/8 cup sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2½ Tbsp. butter
1½ to 2 cups heavy whipping cream
1½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Peel the apples, cut them in wedges and remove the core. Cook the apples in slow boiling water until tender. Stir frequently to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pan. Add sugar to taste. Continue stirring until achieving the consistency of applesauce with some chunky bits remaining. Cool. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Stir and brown over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until the mixture is evenly browned. The crumbs should have the color of light caramel. Pour onto a flat platter to cool. Whip the cream until stiff, adding vanilla, if desired. Layer bread crumbs, applesauce and whipped cream in a glass bowl. Place a layer of cream on top. Sprinkle with a few breadcrumbs to garnish. Serves 4.

And remember—Sons of Norway's Recipe Box has dozens of tasty, traditional Norwegian recipes for the holidays or any day!

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You're Invited: Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast

Will you be joining Sons of Norway and 800 of its closest friends next week at the Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast (NATB)? If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, I highly recommend you do so ASAP because space is limited and filling up fast. If you’re not familiar with the NATB, it’s an event, founded by Sons of Norway in 1985, that is devoted to bringing together people of Nordic heritage and offering thanks for the privileges of freedom, faith, family and friends.  

This year we’ve got some amazing speakers! First, we have none other than Governor Mark Dayton sharing his thoughts and reflections on the topic of freedom. Next Luther College president, Richard Torgerson Ph. D. will discuss the importance of faith. Then we’ll close the morning with Marcia Zimmerman, Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel, speaking to the audience about the blessings of family & friends. Then, helping us throughout the morning will be, Mirja Hanson, Honorary Consul General of Japan at Minneapolis as our MC.

This is going to be a great morning of reflection and fellowship for the Nordic-American community here in the Twin Cities, so if you are within driving distance, I recommend you check it out. If you would like to learn more about the Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast, click here to download an invitation and ticket information. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Viking Wins Excellence Awards

Viking magazine had a strong showing at last week's 16th annual Excellence Awards, hosted by the Minnesota Magazine Publishing Association (MMPA). In the category of Associations Over 30,000 Viking silver awards for overall design and for the design of its February 2012 cover. Our January 2012 Travel Issue also won a silver for best single topic issue.

The judges have spoken, but what's your call? Did you have a favorite cover, article or issue this year? If so, share your thoughts with our staff at

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Message From Our CEO: Hurricane Sandy Relief

I'm sure by now you've read about the aftermath of the superstorm that affected much of the East coast of the United States earlier this week. I hope that you will join me in keeping all those affected in our thoughts as communities up and down the eastern seaboard recover from this disaster.

Speaking of recovery, I am happy to report that our Foundation stands ready to assist members who have been negatively affected by the storm. The Foundation is prepared to offer Helping Hands to Member Grants for up to $1,000 for current Sons of Norway members who are displaced from their homes due to heavy damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

If you have been displaced due to the storms, or know another member who has been, notify your Zone Directors, District President or Cindy Olson at the Foundation office (800-945-8851) to learn how you can receive one of these grants. If you were not affected by the storms, I'd like you to consider donating to the Foundation's Humanitarian Fund, so it can continue its great work of supporting our members in a time of need.

In closing, my thoughts and those of the entire Sons of Norway staff are with our members on the east coast this week as they begin the slow process of recovery after such a devastating event.


Eivind Heiberg

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Knit and Connect at Vesterheim

Every fall when I notice a chill in the air it makes me want to grab my knitting needles and get busy. Maybe this is an ancestral memory—an urge that was once essential for our survival. These days, knitting is no longer a necessity for making it through the cold Midwestern winter, but a luxury and a creative outlet. Maybe these are even better reasons to grab those needles and seek the company of other knitters.

I wish I lived a little closer to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, so I could attend their Knit-In on Nov. 3–4. Knitters will be dropping by any time from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. one or both days. In addition to knitting and conversation, there will be special presentations, tours of Vesterheim's textile storage, and a stash sale of yarn, patterns and notions. For a schedule of the day and more information contact Laurann Gilbertson at or call 563-382-9681. More information is also available at

I also wish I could take one of the upcoming knitting classes at Vesterheim: “Knitting a Danish Nattrøje Sweater” on Nov. 1–2, or “Knitting a Swedish Halland Sweater” on November 5–6. In fact, Vesterheim has a great traditional arts program for all ages. I encourage you to check it out!

Do you like the idea of taking a class to learn—or improve—your skill at a Nordic craft? Then look for our upcoming article about combining hobbies and travel in the January 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.
Photo courtesy of Vesterheim.

Norwegian Hockey Comes to Minnesota

With so many North Americans lamenting the ongoing NHL lockout, Minnesota finds itself in a very fortuitous situation because we still have high-level international hockey to enjoy! This week the Norwegian National U18 hockey team traveled to Minnesota to take part in the NIT Bauer Invitational Tournament.

This Norwegian team is comprised of 25 players from the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation, many of whom are expected to make an appearance at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In addition to playing in the tournament, the U18 team, coached by Robert Jonsson, will also play a couple of friendlies with local Minnesota college teams, like St Olaf and Augsburg.

If you are in Minnesota this week, I definitely recommend you check out the tournament and cheer for the Norwegian Athletes! If there’s one thing Minnesota is known for, it’s our hockey, so when you throw in a team from Norway you just know it’s going to be a great showing by everyone involved. I believe tickets for the tournament are available from the New Hope Arena and can be purchased over the phone or at the door.

To learn more about the U18 Norwegian team, check out their Facebook page as well as this site dedicated to the U18 team with player and selection info. For their full schedule info, click here.

Join me in welcoming this great team to the Midwest and wish them luck against some of the finest U18 hockey players in America!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oral History How-To

This past weekend I attended the biennial meeting for the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA), held at St. Olaf College. One of the day's break-out sessions was a panel discussion about a new joint project between Sons of Norway and NAHA. The project aims to capture the oral histories of post-WWII immigrants.

One of the panelists for this session was Joe Hoover, digital technology outreach specialist in field services at the Minnesota Historical Society. Viking writer Sarah Asp Olson interviewed Hoover earlier this fall for her article, "Oral History How-To." Here are some tips Hoover shared for recording in the 21st century:

Get Smart. Smart phones are a convenient and effective way to capture oral histories on the go. Add handy (and inexpensive) apps like FiRe 2 for audio and FiLMiCPro for video, and you’re all set to record anywhere.

Mics Matter. To give your recording quality a boost, use a good microphone. While high quality versions can run up to $200, Hoover has found good ones in the $5 to $10 range. “The one thing you will need is an audio input adapter,” he says. “If you just plug the mic into the iPhone it won’t record.”

Digitize. Say you recorded your grandpa two decades ago when no one had heard of an Mp3. Hoover recommends taking those tapes and converting them to a digital file format. “It actually can be very easy,” he says. “With the right cabling, you can set up the output into your laptop.”

Comfort Counts.
“I highly recommend finding a device that you’re comfortable with,” says Hoover. After all, if you’re intimidated by the technology, you may choose not to pursue the interview in the first place—a far worse tragedy than a couple crackles or pops. 

Check out Hoover’s blog for more tips and specific recommendations. And learn more about taking and archiving oral histories 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.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Support the Foundation, Bid Today

We’re down to the last couple of days for the 2012 Sons ofNorway Foundation online auction fundraiser! Tomorrow is the last day to place your bids on one of the many great items/experiences available, so if you’ve been waiting until the last minute to place a bid you’re nearly there.

There are some really cool items to bid on that would make a great addition to your Scandinavian collection or a thoughtful gift for a loved one. There’s a number of books that would fit perfectly in your personal library, beautiful collectibles that any Scandinavian would be proud to display in their home, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that would make unique gifts.

Just some of the highlights include:

Astri My Astri--A collection of 16 Norwegian heritage stories published in both English and Norwegian in the same book. The non-fiction stories touch anyone who has an interest in Norwegian heritage, culture, genealogy, or bilingual studies. The book takes one on a journey from immigrating in the 1840s to the discovery of an immigrant trunk more than one hundred years later and the subsequent unraveling of a rich family history. Among the topics included are the Minnesota Sioux Uprising of 1862, the great flu epidemic of 1918, hiking above the Arctic Circle, the heavy water assault during World War II, Norwegian rosemaling and bunader, Syttende Mai, stave churches, founding of a Norwegian Lutheran church in America, and the life of Snowshoe Thompson.

Chip Carved Plate-- Norwegians have embellished many every day items including plates.  This handsome, 10 " across, chip carved plate is done by Montana native Hans Stokken.  He learned this skill from internationally known carver, Hans Sandom.  These intricate carvings are done by hand with several sizes and shapes of gauges to achieve the symmetry this style is known for.  Some lucky bidder will have this for their wall or display case.

Guided Walking Tour of Mississippi River-- Get up close to some of the most impressive sights of Minneapolis from the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi to the Federal Building.  Spend 3 hours and lunch overlooking this scenic waterway.

Guest Host Scandinavian Hour radio show-- Have you ever dreamt of becoming a radio host?  This is your chance to appear on “Scandinavian Hour” with Doug Warne, the long standing host of this very popular radio program. Broadcast every Saturday morning in Seattle, WA, the program features music and news from the Scandinavian community.
As co-host you will also have the opportunity to promote your business or cause.  Don't miss out on this truly unique experience.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guided, Semi-Independent and Independent Travel to Norway – What’s the difference?

Today we have a guest blog post from none other than Linda McCormick, Managing Director of Sons of Norway Travel Partner Borton Overseas! In it she discusses the various types of tours available to travelers who are looking to explore Norway. Enjoy!

There are many options available when it comes to travel packages, and it may be confusing to know the difference. Each has its own benefits so you must evaluate what type of traveler you are to determine which type of travel package suits you best.

Guided Packages
“If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” may be what you’re thinking of when you hear “guided tour.” However, guided tours have changed over the years, allowing more free time for participants to enjoy shopping or sightseeing on their own. Many guided tours focus on specific regions, or may have a theme or be activity-focused. Guided tours have set departure dates and you will travel in a group on a set itinerary, and everything is taken care of for you from luggage handling to wake-up calls. Your knowledgeable tour guide will be with you all the way, providing valuable commentary on history, culture, and a multitude of other topics of the places you will visit. Tours offer a tremendous value for their price – you pay one price for all inclusions – hotels, transportation, sightseeing, several meals, tour guide services – and you know exactly what out-of-pocket expenses you will be responsible for. It’s a great way to keep within your budget and meet fellow travelers.

Semi-Independent Packages
This is a great option for travelers who want independent travel with some guided touring. With this type of package you have flexible departure dates and will travel with your own companions. There is a set itinerary and your package will include accommodations, transportation such as train and boat, and arrival and departure transfers, as well as specific city tours or guided activities based on your specifications. This gives you the flexibility of being on your own with free time, but having scheduled tours so you won’t miss out on experiences and sights you really want to see. You will also know what out-of-pocket expenses you will have, so this is also a good option to keep within your budget.

Independent Packages
Many people want the freedom of traveling on their own, with the comfort of knowing that there is a confirmed hotel room waiting at the end of the day. This option requires having a basic itinerary, since your accommodations and transportation will be confirmed, but you will have the freedom of traveling on your own without a set schedule during the day. Independent tours can be set up with public transportation such as train, boat or bus or with a rental car, depending on your preference. Your sightseeing and activity expenses will be paid locally.

All of these packages include airfare from the US, and are pre-paid in US dollars before you leave the US. You receive vouchers and tickets for all the included items, as well as detailed itinerary, contact information, and destination information pertaining to your specific itinerary.

Visit to view all travel packages. Don't forget, Sons of Norway members receive a 5% member discount on Borton Overseas packages and customized itineraries!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Foundation Auction: Amazing Experiences for All!

This is the last week to bid on items being auctioned off as part of the Sons of Norway’s new online fundraiser! There are still a lot of great deals to be had, especially on the unique experiences being offered. So, if you are looking for something new to try, or need a gift for the person who has everything, any of the experience below would definitely do well!

Dessert and Star Party: This is an evening for a party of 6 to 8 persons to enjoy the night sky. Gourmet Dessert will be catered by The Flower and Bea Teas and the Star Party will be conducted by Dr. Terry Flower, Emeritus Professor of St. Catherine University. Location is in the suburban St. Paul area.

The Seattle Great Wheel: Going to be in Seattle?  Experience the newest waterfront attraction, The Seattle Great Wheel. It is the largest observation wheel on the West Coast, standing 175 feet tall and extending nearly 40 feet beyond the end of the pier over Elliott Bay. Open year-round, it has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas, which accommodate over 300 passengers at any given time.

The winning bidder will receive six tickets for a half-hour glimpse of the amazing views of Seattle's beautiful harbor and Puget Sound.

Sightseeing Tour of Minneapolis and St Paul: Enjoy a relaxing tour for 4 of Minneapolis and St Paul including lunch and all entrance fees from 9 AM to 3 PM.  The tour will include locations of special interest for Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans such as both the Leif Erickson and Ole Bull statues.  The Tour will be catered to customers request.

Guided Walking Tour of Mississippi River: Get up close to some of the most impressive sights of Minneapolis from the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi to the Federal Building.  Spend 3 hours and lunch overlooking this scenic waterway.

Behindthe Scene Tour of the Nordic Heritage Museum & Dinner for Two: Eric Nelson, CEO of the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, WA, will give a behind the scenes tour of this unique museum and invites you and a guest to join him for dinner at the famous Ballard watering hole, Copper Gate Restaurant & Bar.  The winning bidder will also receive a year's membership to the museum.

Behindthe Scene Tour of Norwegian American Genealogical Center: Blaine Hedberg, Naeseth Chair for Research & Publication, will give a behind-the-scenes tour of this Norwegian-American treasure, and donate up to 3 hours of personal genealogical research (valued at $150) for the highest bidder.  What do you know about your family's Norwegian roots?  Blaine will bring your family story to life right in front of you.

ExperienceTrollhaugen Lodge: The winner of this experience may use this $250 certificate towards a stay at this wonderful get away location just off of the Stampede Pass Highway. In the winter go sledding, tubing, or cross country skiing right from the lodge or go downhill skiing a few minutes away at Snoquamie Summit. Great summer activities include hiking, fishing, horseshoes and even an outdoor dance floor.  Pack your bags and enjoy all the Cascades have to offer including a fully-equipped kitchen, clothes-dryer, hot tub and fireplaces to curl up by. Accommodations are dormitory style.

GuestHost "Scandinavian Hour" Radio Program: Have you ever dreamt of becoming a radio host?  This is your chance to appear on “Scandinavian Hour” with Doug Warne, the long standing host of this very popular radio program. Broadcast every Saturday morning in Seattle, WA, the program features music and news from the Scandinavian community

Stayat the Metigoshe Ministries Retreat: Enjoy Lake Metigoshe, ND while staying at this cozy and lodge-like retreat center.  This gift certificate entitles 2 nights for one person or one night for two people in the Norwegian Room and includes meals.  Year-round recreational opportunities include hiking and biking trails, volleyball, horseshoes, basketball, fishing, outdoor campfires, wildlife watching, ice skating, crosscountry skiing and a tubing hill.  Just minutes from the International Peace Garden.

RadissonHotel Stay & Mall of AmericaShopping Experience: Visiting the Minneapolis area?  Then, don't miss out on this fun hotel and shopping experience.  The Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau wants you to enjoy all Bloomington has to offer with this wonderful stay.  One night at the Radisson Hotel and Water Park and several passes to all things Mall of America.  Two Big Pass cards for many of the major attractions in the Twin Cities area. Bring the kids and have a ball!

TwoNight stay at Historic Paulsen Log Cabin at Norskedalen: Relax for a two-night stay and take a trip back into history by staying in the 130 year old Paulsen Log Cabin while enjoying modern comforts. Experience pioneer life at the serene Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center in rural Coon Valley, WI.  It is a mix of Norwegian heritage and our ancestors experiences.




Norwegians Award Nobel Peace Prize to EU

On Oct. 12 the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its 2012 Peace Prize will go to the European Union. The unconventional choice was applauded by some and angered others, creating a maelstrom of media coverage and commentary, including articles in the New York Times, CNN and the Atlantic.

Given that Norway has opted to stay out of the union, many commentators were quick to point out the irony of the choice, like this tweet from on the day of the announcement:
Do you agree with the Norwegian committee's choice? Should the EU be recognized for bringing peace and stability to Europe, or is the Nobel committee propping up the union during a difficult time? I'd love to hear your opinion, either here or by emailing

Regardless of the controversy of this year's award, few would argue with the fact that the prize is awarded by a Norwegian committee, since Norway is recognized around the globe as a leader in peacemaking. Want to learn more about it? Stay tuned as we explore Norway's peacemaking efforts, foreign policy, and aid abroad in the December 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.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sons of Norway Foundation Auction Update

Today starts the second week of the Sons of Norway Foundation online auctionfundraiser! To mark the occasion we’ve added a few new items for member to bid on, including some gorgeous art and stoneware.

First, we’ve got some watercolor prints of traditional bunads by Sharon Aamodt that beautifully display the rich colors of Norway’s traditional garb. They can be viewed by clicking here and here.

In addition, we have a hand crafted stoneware bowl was done by artist Sherry Gorse. The dusty blues and earthy brown pattern lends itself to display on a shelf or to use as a serving piece.

Last, but not least, we have an experience up for auction that includes an evening for a party of 6 to 8 persons to enjoy the night sky. Gourmet Dessert will be catered by The Flower and Bea Teas and the Star Party will be conducted by Dr. Terry Flower, Emeritus Professor of St. Catherine University. Location is in the suburban St. Paul area.

These are great items that I think will be very popular with our members. If you haven’t yet, be sure to bid soon and bid often! Remember, all proceeds go to support the Sons of Norway Foundation. Also, be sure to keep checking back for new and updated items listed on the auction and highlighted here on the blog.