Nordic Events for January 2024: Virtual & Scandinavian Film Festival LA 

Godt nytt år! Happy New Year! January brings both virtual events available to all and a couple of special events happening in the Los Angeles area that might be of interest to local readers. Additionally, online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: January 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates for the current and upcoming months.

What’s on your calendar for January?


A reminder that Thomas Dambo TROLLS: Save the Humans is on display at South Coast Botanic Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula through January 14. Danish artist Thomas Dambo is considered the world’s leading recycle artist and is known internationally for his larger-than-life, folklore-inspired, whimsical troll sculptures made from reclaimed materials. I’ve been fascinated by Dambo’s work found around the world and was thrilled to be able to see it for myself here in Southern California. I highly recommend a visit to see the collection of trolls before they leave.

The Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo @SFFLA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends, January 13 & 14 and 20 & 21, with films from Scandinavia and its Nordic and Baltic neighbors. The festival program features a wide variety of films, including the Oscar entries for Best International Feature from each of the Nordic countries. Will any of these Oscar entries make it onto the list of nominations announced on January 24?

🇳🇴 Norway: Songs of Earth, written and directed by Margreth Olin (Saturday, January 13, 1:30 p.m., view trailer)

🇸🇪 Sweden: Opponent, directed by Milad Alami (Sunday, January 14, 4:30 p.m., view trailer)

🇩🇰 Denmark: The Promised Land, directed by Nikolaj Arcel (Sunday, January 14, 7:00 p.m., view trailer)

🇫🇮 Finland: Fallen Leaves, directed by Aki Kaurismäki (Saturday, January 13, 7:00 p.m., view trailer)

🇮🇸 Iceland: Godland, directed by Hlynur Pálmason (Sunday, January 14, 2:00 p.m., view trailer)

Festival goers can purchase a festival pass which includes access to all screenings as well as the opening gala on Saturday, January 13, or buy individual tickets. Buy passes and tickets now.

Save the date! The annual Nordic Spirit Symposium will take place February 9 and 10 at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. This year’s topic is “Vikings: New Technology – New Discoveries.” Experts from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden will join for an in-person symposium on recent exciting Viking Age discoveries. A top scholar from the Netherlands will embellish the program with a presentation about the Vikings in the Low Countries. For more details and registration information, visit the website or view the brochure.


The History of Norwegian Sweaters (Thursday, Jan. 4, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Learn about the history of different types and styles of Norwegian sweaters, including Setesdal, Fana, Marius, and Olympic from textile expert and Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson. Laurann will also discuss the symbolism behind some of the patterns and colors on sweaters made today. This is an open online meeting of Sons of Norway Lodge 1-001 Nidaros, from the Minneapolis, Minnesota, West Area. Laurann will join the meeting remotely to share the presentation. Visitors wishing to attend the meeting may sign up for the Zoom link here.

Intro to Finnish (Sunday, Jan. 7, 12:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Finland? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Joona Sundström is the perfect way to get a feel for Finnish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Intro to Swedish (Sunday, Jan. 7, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Swedish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Sweden? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Jean Hanslin is the perfect way to get a feel for Swedish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Sámi Histories, Colonization & Today Lecture 1 (Wednesday, Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m. CT)

This is the first of a three-part lecture series held on the third Wednesdays of January, February, and March over Zoom. The Sámi are the only recognized Indigenous people in Europe, whose lands, Sápmi, are claimed and divided by the Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Russian nation-states. Despite the central roles they’ve played in Fennoscandia, the Sámi are commonly rendered as marginal, ahistorical wildlings whose lands are a mismanaged frontier, ripe for the taking. This lecture series illuminates how untrue those renderings are. In this first lecture, students will learn about Sámi oral and archaeological histories, diversity, and land tenure.

ASI Nordic Handcraft: Stamped Tea Towels with Kayla Ann (Thursday, Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Create your own stamps and print a tea towel in just an evening. Kayla will guide students through the process of carving a simple stamp or two, then printing a tea towel right at home. These skills will work for all kinds of future printing projects on paper or fabric, plus you’ll keep your reusable stamps and all the tools you need to keep printing. Suitable for ages 18+.

ASI Nordic Table: Easy Finnish Flatbreads with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Jan. 18, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi Bissell of the True North Kitchen food blog for two easy Finnish flatbreads featuring whole grains for flavor and nutrition! Kristi will start by demonstrating ruisreikäleipä, or Finnish ring bread. Originally hung from the rafters, Kristi’s version of this yeasted rye bread features honey and a cereal soaker, which creates sweet grainy flavor and a soft texture. Kristi will also share her un-yeasted version of rieska, a quick bread that uses buttermilk, baking powder and baking soda for rise. This bread can be made after work for dinner, and uses barley flour and oats for wholesome nutrition, texture and flavor. Students will be ready to start their ovens immediately after class!

ASI Nordic Handcraft: Scandinavian Loom Beaded Folk Band (Fridays, Jan. 19 – Feb. 9, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Explore the beauty and fun of beading on a loom in the Scandinavian tradition! Inspired by designs from Nordic bandweaving, this class will take you from start to finish to make your own red and gold beaded bookmark. Learn about the historic use of loom beading and how a remarkably simple process can transform glass seed beads into delightful designs. Over the four sessions, students will practice warping their own loom, reading a chart, and various finishing options; they should also plan to work on their projects outside of class. Suitable for ages 16+.

Immigration Stories – From Closed Doors to Open Doors (Saturday, Jan. 20, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Artist Arna Rennan will give a presentation about emigration from central Norway featuring songs, images, and anecdotes that she collected in Bøverdalen, Norway. Between 1900 and 1920, half of the population of Bøverdalen immigrated to the United States. Another portion of the population left around 1950 to join relatives who had settled in the United States. Economic and social conditions were among the primary reasons for leaving. Arna takes a closer look at the existing class system found in Norway at the time and how the rural communities dealt with poverty. She will share some of these stories to bring the immigrant experience to life. This is a hybrid presentation. Watch from home on Zoom as Arna presents at Vesterheim.

Exploring Numedal Style Rosemaling with Patti Goke (Sunday, Jan. 28, 1:00 p.m. CT)

When you hear of the style of painting that comes from Numedal, Norway, what image comes to mind? It is hard for even experts in rosemaling to think of a typical Numedal piece. That is because it had so many influences from Hallingdal and Telemark painters. Come and explore with Patti Goke, Vesterheim Gold Medalist, the different looks of the painted items from Numedal Valley. She has traveled twice to the valley known as the “Valley of the Middle Ages,” both times with Vesterheim on Folk Art Study Tours.

Wellbeing Workshop: Embracing Winter with Norwegian Friluftsliv (Tuesday, Jan. 30, 11:00 a.m. PT)

In 2024, the National Nordic Museum is prioritizing their personal well-being! Join health psychologist Kari Leibowitz, PhD in this one-hour interactive workshop to learn about the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv; the psychological and health benefits of getting outside, connecting with nature, and practicing friluftsliv; and how you can incorporate the practice into your own life to make the most out of the winter.

Introduction to Norwegian Genealogy (Thurs., Feb. 1 & Fri., Feb. 2 (10:00 a.m. CT)

Join the Norwegian American Genealogical Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for this online class. It is for those who are familiar with genealogy basics, but haven’t dug into Norwegian genealogical research yet. The class will focus on Norwegian naming traditions, history and geography along with strategies for reading old handwriting and finding where in Norway your ancestor may have originated. This class also includes a copy of their “Research Guide for Norwegian Genealogy: For Beginning and Experienced Genealogists.” This class is two days with different material presented each day.

ASI Nordic Table: Scandinavian Chocolate Treats with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Feb. 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Very few of us can say no to a chocolate treat, and Scandinavians regularly end up on the list of top 10 countries for chocolate consumption per capita—so join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for an overview of their favorite classic chocolate bakes! From kladdkaka (chocolate gooey cake) to a few beloved cookies, and even an oven free chocolate treat, the chokladboll, Kristi will share tips and tricks for working with cocoa and chocolate to create satisfying and easy treats perfect for dessert or fika.

Virtual Sámi Film Festival (Feb. 9-12)

The 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival returns to the National Nordic Museum this February. Presented as a partnership between the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York, the festival will take place virtually from February 9-12 and in-person at both venues. The program will include a variety of contemporary and historical Sámi features, documentaries, and short films curated by Liselotte Wajstedt, an award-winning Stockholm-based Sámi multimedia artist from Kiruna, Sweden.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

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