Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Imitation Game

This holiday weekend, a new suspense film hits the big screens in the United States. “The Imitation Game,” comes out on November 28. Did you know that Norwegian director Morten Tyldum worked on the film? You may recognize Tyldum’s name from directing “Headhunters.” He’s now one of Norway’s talented directors that’s making his way into Hollywood.

“The Imitation Game” stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a British genius who helps crack the German Enigma Code that helped Allies win WWII. Keira Knightley plays a gifted cryptanalyst.

Read about the Oscar buzz the film is already garnering from Variety magazine and Aftenposten. Tyldum could be the first Norwegian to win an Oscar for Best Director. Check out the official trailer here:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Repeat Victory for Carlsen

Photo: Vladimir Barsky
Over the weekend, Norwegian chess phenom Magnus Carlsen defended his title as World Chess Champion at the 2014 World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia. He defeated India’s Viswanathan Anand in the 11th round with a final score of 6.5- 4.5.

Carlsen started playing chess at the age of 5 and quickly turned heads worldwide. He became an International Grandmaster at the age of 13. Check out Viking’s September 2013 issue where we featured Carlsen as one of our “Young Norwegians to Watch.”

Learn more about the championship’s results and press conference videos. Follow Carlsen on Twitter and Facebook. 

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Making of a "Charticle"

Have you ever heard of a “charticle?” In the magazine biz, it’s a term we use for an infographic. Essentially it’s a hybrid of a “chart” and “article.” In the November 2014 issue of Viking magazine, we had the opportunity to execute a full-page charticle on Nordic stars as part of our “Cinema Scandinavia” feature. Check it out on page 20.

Charticles can be powerful attention grabbers that communicate information in a visually appealing way. Plus, they are very fun, yet sometimes challenging, to execute! Our “Cinema Scandinavia” feature highlights the crossover between the American and Scandinavian film industries. While researching for the story, I found myself writing down names of Norwegian actors and directors and linking them to actors in Hollywood that they are working with. And the idea for a charticle was born!

To properly executive a charticle, it takes lots of collaboration between an editor and art director. And thankfully, I have a terrific partner in Viking’s art director, Amy Armato. This particular charticle was months in the making. From my first hand-drawn version (see picture below) created in late June to the final days of sending the November issue to the printer in late September, it was a fun and challenging task—lots of drawing, erasing, collaborating, editing, fact checking, designing, more erasing, more designing and more proofreading. Whew!

Here’s a peek at how our “Nordic Stars” charticle from Viking’s November issue was created.

The hand-drawn version: June 20
An initial layout starting to take shape: September 5

Refining, editing, proofreading: September 16

The finished charticle! September 24

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More With Eugenie Skilnand

In the November 2014 issue of Viking, we feature ballet dancer Eugenie Skilnand. She has been a member of the Norwegian National Ballet since 2000. Here’s more from the interview.

Q: How did you get involved with ballet? 
A: My father’s work moved my family to a very isolated place in Finland when I was around 3 years old, and my mother put me in a ballet class to get me to meet other kids my age. I was so shy, I would refuse to come out from underneath the piano the whole class, but at home I would show my mother everything the other kids did.  Since then I just always had to dance!

Q: What has been your greatest achievement as a dancer? 
A: The call from my first director offering me a contract as an apprentice with the Norwegian National Ballet was a big moment. It was the start of my life as a professional dancer. Other highlights include the first time I saw my name on the cast list in a solo part as Clara in “The Nutcracker,” my first title role as Cinderella and my return to stage after giving birth to my daughter.

Q: What are your future career goals? 
A: I have about six more years dancing with the company before I retire. The shame about being a dancer is that the older I get, the better my self-esteem gets, which makes me a better dancer. However, the extreme physicality a dancer needs, decreases with age. But I continue to work hard, and so far I still feel that my body is strong enough to handle it. I hope for some more soulful moments on stage!

Q: What are some of your hobbies? 
A: I love to relax at home with my husband and baby. Of course now with my 15- month-old daughter, there is less relaxing that I would like at times, but she also gives me a lot of extra energy! The weekends when I am not performing is sacred family time.

Photo: Erik Berg

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Norway: The World's Most Livable Country

Per Eide/
The Human Development Index by the United Nations Development Programme ranked Norway as the world’s most livable country. The data is based on three dimensions of human progress—having a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a good standard of living. A country’s income is a large factor in the ranking, and Norway has the world’s sixth highest gross national income per capita.

Here’s a look at the top 10 rankings:
1. Norway
2. Australia
3. Switzerland
4. The Netherlands
5. The United States
6. Germany
7. New Zealand
8. Canada
9. Singapore
10. Denmark

For more information, check out this article. 

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping! In the November 2014 issue of Viking, we rounded up 25 Nordic-inspired gifts for the entire family. Here are a few more of our favorites.

Gather around the table and play Hnefatafl (nef-ah-tah-fel)—a chess-like game that is referred to in old Norse manuscripts.

Norwegian brand SWIMS offers shoes and outerwear for both men and women to keep you dry and fashionable. For the sporty guy on your list, we love the Luca Sneaker. 

Do you love hit television show “Vikings?” Watch for season 3 to premier on The History Channel in 2015. If you've never seen it, catch up with DVDs from season 1 and 2.

The Norwegian National Doll Costume is handmade by Debbie’s Doll Dresses and fits 18’’ or American Girl dolls.

The Pengus Beanie from Scandinavian children’s wear company Mini Rodini keeps little ones cute and cozy.  The brand is a favorite of celebrity kids.

The Iittala Lempi Glasses made from blow glass come in a 2 pack with color choices of blue, grey or purple.

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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Modern Manager

In the November 2014 issue of Viking, we highlight savvy Norwegian businesswoman Anita Krohn Traaseth. In September, she started a new role as director for Innovation Norway. The busy business leader, author, blogger, wife and mother of three believes in a contemporary management style. Check it out on page 54, and read more from the interview below.

Q: How did your upbringing prepare you for leadership as an adult? 
A: I was given freedom and trust in my childhood. My parents were more concerned about developing character at an early age and being robust than striving for excellent grades. I was allowed to determine my own interests and was given responsibility at the age of 12 when I earned my first income picking strawberries and working for a local radio station. I was not introduced to the world of intellectuals, nor did I have expectations of how to define success. I have a working class background from the 1970s, where freedom and responsibility were key.

Q: It’s clear that you have a strong sense of style. What importance does self-presentation hold as you prepare for work each day? 
A: Well, for almost 15 years I dressed in a classic, dark corporate outfit with glasses and a ponytail. I was never very interested in defining my own style; I went with practical and standard. I had been trained not to create attention to anything but content (it was strange enough being an outspoken woman in a male-dominated environment). After I turned 40, I decided it was time to explore a more personal style by using colors and letting my hair down (which is blond and long, and that in itself can be a hindrance to being taken seriously in a very conservative business environment). Now, I don’t care too much. I know my track record, and I understand that you will never get everyone to like you. I like to dress classically, comfortably and feminine. I have started to try out new fashion and design—especially from Norwegian designers.

Q: What destination in Norway would you recommend to visitors? 
A: I would recommend all of Norway—from north to south and east to west! We can offer everything from sandy beaches in picturesque surroundings to year-round activities and sports in the mountains and fjords. We’re known for spectacular nature, but our biggest cities can also offer high quality entertainment, design, food and shopping. Small villages throughout our country boast unique, historical attractions and specialties. It all depends on what you, as a tourist, want to see, as we still have a variety of undiscovered destinations and experiences to offer.

Check out Anita Krohn Trasseth’s blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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