Friday, May 30, 2014

Oslo Designer

In the June issue of Viking, we caught up with designer Hallgeir Homstvedt. The Oslo native opened his furniture, interior and product design studio in 2009 and exhibits his work around the world. Homstvedt’s Kavai chair (pictured above) was awarded the “Elle” Decoration Award in the category “Chair of the Year by Norway for 2013.”

Here are a few more thoughts from Homstvedt:

“Being in a positive state of mine has always helped me to be open-minded when approaching new tasks in life, as well as influenced my designs.”

“What I like most about my job is that I get to be involved in the whole process—from the original sketch, to an early prototype or computer model. In the end, hopefully it ends up in someone’s living room or office.”

Check out a few of Homstvedt’s designs below and visit his website for more information.

Herman Clock. Photo: Christian Nerdrum

DUO Sofa

Tangent vases. Photo: Christian Nerdrum

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

Norwegian Experience: Flåm railway

As part of winning this year's Norwegian Experience recruitment contest, Candice Jacobson was treated to a ride on the famous Flåm railway, which took her and her guest from Oslo to Flåm. Thanks to the great folks at Borton Overseas, Candice had a great view of some of the most stunning sites along the way!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Norwegian Experience: Bergen

In continuing the coverage of this year's Norwegian Experience winner's trip to Norway, we have a photo set from their time in Bergen. From the looks of it, Borton Overseas really planned a great trip!

First we have a panorama of the Bergen Harbor. During her stay, this year's winner took a walking tour with a local guide.
This photo highlights the narrow alleyways in the Bryggen area. Note the visually interesting architecture and the way the light plays on the colors of the buildings.
Here we see the delicate lines of one of the three-masted training ships in the Bergen Harbor.
No trip to Bergen would be complete without the breathtaking views of the Sognefjord.
As you can see, this trip of a lifetime has taken our winner to some amazing locales. I think it's safe to say Borton Overseas has really outdone itself this year!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Norwegian Experience: Syttende Mai in Oslo

As you know, this year marks the 200th anniversary of the signing of Norway's constitution. This means that the Syttende Mai celebrations were even more exuberant than ever and Norwegian Experience winner, Candice Jacobson and her guest, Jerry were there to report back. Here's what Candice had to say:

I cannot even begin to describe what I saw today.  The pride of the Norwegians and instilling that pride in the younger generations is unbelievable.  I am amazed at the number of immigrants who embrace the history of the country and were wearing bunads and whose children marched in the parade.  The parade was enormous and could be compared to the United States Fourth of July celebration at the capitol.

I watched the parade in front of the palace while my brother took many photos.  He has helped so much in the making of memories for me and I am very blessed to have him with me.  I ate a hot dog wrapped in lefse and ate ice cream.  This is the tradition here.

The children are so embraced for this holiday and it warms my heart to see this.  Borton has done a beautiful job in making the arrangements for this experience.  The hotels are very nice and the restaurant last night was very good.  As for the crowds of people I can't even begin to describe....the many bunads were absolutely beautiful.  While in Lillehammer I purchased the fabric to make my bunad using the Gubransdalen fabrics.

Tomorrow we are off for a day of sight seeing Oslo that has been arranged by Borton.  Once again I want to say thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Trumpet Virtuoso

At 26 years old, Tine Thing Helseth is already one of the world’s leading trumpet players. She started playing at the age of 7 and is now at the height of her career. In addition to playing with the world’s best symphonic orchestras and as a soloist, Helseth started her own brass ensemble, tenThing, made up of 10 of her close friends.

We had the pleasure of featuring her in the May issue of Viking magazine. Here is more from our interview.

Viking: When did you start playing the trumpet, and how did you become interested in music?
Tine Thing Helseth: I started to play the trumpet when I was 7 years old. I had played a bit piano since I was 5. The moment I took my first note on the trumpet, I felt like we were best friends. And we still are! It's my voice. My mother had a good friend who played in the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, and she was my first teacher. I also played in the local school band.

Viking: What do you like doing in your leisure time?
Tine Thing Helseth: I like being with my friends and family. I am a very social person. I like cooking dinner with my friends, going out, singing karaoke or just going for a stroll. Right now I am learning German. I also read and watch a lot of television series when I’m on the road.

Helseth will be on tour this year in the United States and in Europe. This week, she’s performing with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from May 24-25 in Fort Worth, Texas. Keep an eye on her tour schedule.

In 2013, Helseth launched her own music festival, called tine@munch, where she and her famous musicians friends give amazing performances at The Munch Museum in Oslo. This year, tine@munch runs from June 12-14.

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

Norwegian Experience: Day 1.5

We just got an update from this year's Norwegian Experience winner, Candice Jacobson, that we thought we should share.

Words cannot express my feelings of being in Norway during such a memorable occasion.  

My day in Eidsvoll was spent touring the residence where the constitution was signed.  The park was very busy as many school children were there for field trips.  They were also busy preparing for Saturday's events.  The kings and queens from Norway; Sweden and Denmark will attend.  

We then drove to Lillihammer for the next two evenings.  Today we drove to Ringebu to connect with family and a tour of the Stave church.  The church was opened for us and the tour was done by a distant relative Einer Sperry.  The tour was very indepth and rich with history.  We then were taken to the family's farm and had a tour. We the toured the area and visited a local bakery for afternoon coffee.  

When we returned to Lillehammer we were met by our tour guide.  Our first stop was a Bunad Store where I purchased fabric to make my bunad.  We then toured the Olympic site and saw where the 94 down hill ski jumping occurred.  We also toured the museum of many restored Norwegian buildings including a stave church.  Tomorrow we head to Brambu to visit our grandfather's birthplace on our return to Oslo.  Thank you so much for this gift.

It sounds like Candice is having a great time! Be sure to keep checking back to learn all about her trip, which is sponsored by the great people at Borton Overseas!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Norwegian Experience: Day 1

For today's post about Norwegian Experience winner, Candice Jacobson, and her first day of the trip we have some photos that she and her guest took while visiting Eidsvoll. As you'll see, this is already turning into a trip of a lifetime!

The freshly restored Eisdvoll 1814 house, site or Norway's independence from Sweden.

 The Eidsvoll grounds was a hive of activity with thousands of visitors. a special live TV broadcast from Eidsvoll will be made on Saturday evening, May 17th. Special guests will include the Kings and Queens of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

 The gracious museum staff made special accommodation so Candice could participate in a one hour top-to-bottom tour of the mansion.  Candice, in blue jacket, listens to a curator describe this very room where Norway's independence from Sweden was signed. Those planning to visit Eidsvoll should reserve their tour well in advance. Tours in English are limited and all visitors are required to wear shoe covers and be escorted at all times.
 A cool breezy and cloudless day welcomed Candice to Norway and the start of her 'Norwegian Experience'.


 The village of Eidsvoll across from the 1814 Museum and Constitution Center.

Don't forget, we are currently running the 2015 Norwegian Experience Recruitment contest, and for each member you recruit you get an entry. Also, don't forget to check out Borton Overseas, the sponsor of this contest and long-time Sons of Norway partner. Not only do they fully support this program, they also offer members a 5% discount on all travel packages booked through Borton Overseas!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Norwegian Experience 2014

Once again, Sons of Norway and our Travel Sponsor, Borton Overseas, have awarded a complimentary trip to a Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest winner! This year's winner is Candice Jacobsen from Minnesota, and she & her guest will spend the next couple of weeks traveling around Norway, reconnecting with their roots. Over the next week or so we will be posting interviews with the winner about her trip and the amazing experiences she is having.

To kick things off, Sons of Norway did a short interview in advance of her trip and here's what she had to say:

SofN: It looks like you have a great trip planned by Borton Overseas! Is there anything you are MOST looking forward to doing during your time in Norway?

CJ: I am very excited to be making this trip to Norway and am very thankful for all the Borton Overseas has done to make this possible. 

SofN: Have you ever been to Norway before?

CJ: I have never been to Norway but it has been a dream of mine for years.

SofN: What do feel is the most important thing people should know about Sons of Norway? 

CJ: I feel remembering our heritage and sharing that with people is so important.  Sons of Norway is a great way of learning about one's heritage from the organization itself and its members.  The benefits they offer its members is also very important and helps the organization stay strong.

SofN: Do you have family from or in Norway?

CJ: I will be spending time getting to know my second cousins on my grandmother's side and tracing my Norwegian Heritage on  my grandmother's and grandfather's side of the family.

SofN: Will you be connecting with your heritage while in Norway?

CJ: Arrangements have been made to visit the farms where grandmother's and grandfather's lived in Ringebu and Brandbu in Oppland. We will be celebrating our heritage and Norway's Bicentenary by visiting the Eidsvoll Museum and Cultural Center as well as attending Syttende Mai festivities in Oslo.

We'll keep up with Candice during her trip, so be sure to keep checking back throughout this week and next.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top Designs

Each year, the Norwegian Design Council recognizes companies and designers for their innovative work, in categories such as textiles, packaging and graphics. In the May 2014 issue of Viking, we highlighted several 2013 winners. Here are a few more companies and products that also received Design Excellence Awards from the Council.
Scandinavian Business Seating is dedicated to making well-designed, comfortable office chairs. The Håg SoFi chair is no exception. This line of chairs comes in a variety of models, materials and colors.
Viking Footwear has been making footwear since 1920. Today, the company creates boots and shoes for men, women and kids—all handmade with natural rubber. Viking Junior Thermo Boot Extreme keeps little feet dry and warm for those cold and wet weather days.

Vestre designs modern furniture for private and public environments. Stoop is a multiple stair bench that serves as a table or bench and provides stadium-style seating—perfect for hanging out with friends.

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bicentennial Celebrations

This month we celebrate Norway’s 200 years of independence. On May 17, 1814, 112 Eidsvollmen signed Norway’s Constitution at Eidsvoll. In February 2014, Eidsvoll House reopened after an extensive restoration.

As part of the grand reopening, NRK collaborated with Norwegian company Øyedrops and 3D designers to create a film that was projected onto Eidsvoll House. The images highlight Norway’s changing industry, politics and demography from 1814 to present day.

Visiting Eidsvoll House is the best way to experience a major piece of Norway’s history. Take a guided tour of the House and hear stories of the events that took place there in 1814. For groups of 10 or more, booking tickets in advance is recommended.

Check out the May issue of Viking for more on Norway’s bicentennial.

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Coffee Master

It’s no secret that Norwegians love their coffee. In the May 2014 issue of Viking, we talked with Norwegian coffee expert Tim Wendelboe, who shared his passion and knowledge for great-tasting coffee. Wendelboe runs an espresso bar, coffee roastery and training center in Oslo called Tim Wendelboe where he imports, roasts and sells high quality coffees. The World Barista Champion and World Cup Tasting Champion is also an author and host of an online TV coffee series for Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. Here’s more from our interview.

Q: How did you make coffee into a career for yourself? 
A: I grew up in Bærum, a 30-minute drive outside of Oslo. After graduating high school, I moved to Oslo. I went for a walk downtown and found a cafe that was seeking employees. Little did I know that it was one of the first coffee shops in Oslo called Stockfleths. I did not even drink coffee at that time, but I got a full-time job there in September 1998. I ended up managing the store at the age of 20. The owner also wanted me to compete in barista competitions that they had started organizing in Norway, so he signed me up. I sort of fell in love with the competition format as it constantly pushed me to improve my skills. After a lot of practice and many competitions, I finally won the World Barista Championships in 2004 in Trieste, Italy, and that really boosted my opportunities and career. Two years later, I quit my job at Stockfleths, where I was managing six stores together with a friend of mine. In 2007, I started my own roastery and store named Tim Wendelboe, and now I feel like I have the best job in the world.

Q: What prompted you to start your coffee shop and training center in Oslo? 
A: I started to realize that I needed a place where I could do trainings. Also, I was disappointed by the coffees that were available in Oslo at that time, so it became natural to start roasting coffee as well. I also felt it would be natural to have a small espresso bar where people could come and learn and taste how I wanted my coffees to taste like. In 2007, I opened a small coffee shop and roastery on the corner of Grünersgate and Fossveien at Grünerløkka in Oslo. We only serve coffee and coffee with milk (espresso based drinks like cappuccino). There are hundreds of cafes in Oslo that serve everything you want. My place is more like a showroom for coffee where you can come and taste something you might have never tasted before.

Q: What are your best tips for making coffee? 
A: You definitely need to get a coffee grinder that has adjustable grind settings. Otherwise, you need soft clean water, the best quality beans you can get (buy them from a local small roaster) and use clean brewing equipment like a filter brewer or French press. Coffee is a fresh product, so use the beans fast after they are roasted and drink the coffee as soon as it is brewed.

Q: What are some trends you are seeing on the coffee scene right now? 
A: Filter coffee is coming back in more countries because we are able to get better quality ingredients from coffee producers and a lot of roasters are doing a better job roasting the coffees. I think a lot of roasters are roasting lighter. This accentuates the quality of the coffee so you need to buy the best beans if you want to roast light. Lighter roasts have more acidity but far less bitterness and is more interesting as it is easier to taste the flavors, as the coffee is not dominated by charred roast flavors. It is hard to do a good light roast, but I see a trend that more roasters around the world are roasting lighter like many have done in Scandinavia for a long time.

Check out this video where Tim Wendelboe talks about his favorite coffee recipes.

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