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.