Welcome to the newest listing of Nordic events happening this month!
With the Oscars around the corner (March 12), there’s no time like the present to watch the films with Nordic connections, most of which you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Two Nordic films are nominated for Best Short Film (Live Action) – Norwegian film Night Ride filmed in Trondheim (YouTube, free), and Danish film Ivalu filmed in Greenland (Amazon Prime Video or Vimeo). Triangle of Sadness, directed by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, is nominated for three awards – Best Directing, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture (Fandango). Animated short film My Year of Dicks directed by Icelandic director Sara Gunnarsdóttir (Vimeo, free) and documentary A House Made of Splinters directed by Danish filmmaker Simon Lereng Wilmont (Amazon Prime Video) are nominated in their respective fields. Have you seen any of them?
While on the topic of films, there’s a new Norwegian movie available to stream at Netflix. At the beginning of February, Netflix released Viking Wolf (Vikingulven), an original Norwegian horror/mystery movie that premiered in Norway in the fall of 2022. It’s about a teenager who starts having strange visions and bizarre desires after witnessing a grotesque murder at a party in her new town. The movie is directed by Stig Svendsen from a screenplay co-written by him and Espen Aukan. Will you watch it?
In music news, Norwegian singer-songwriter Anna of the North has a US and Canada tour happening in March and April. “Anna Of The North makes the kind of music you can take along with you on the dancefloor, on a long drive with a loved one, or in the dead of night when you’re alone and need someone to understand how you feel.” Read more about her here. Her North American tour celebrates the release of her third full-length album, “Crazy Life.” Visit her site for schedule and ticket information. She will be in Los Angeles at El Rey Theatre on Wednesday, March 29.
Are you a reader? Expand your Nordic reading repertoire by joining my 2023 Nordic Literature Reading Challenge. Or join an online book club meeting. Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings for details on reading selections and meeting dates for March and upcoming months.
What’s on your calendar for March?
Virtual Events in March
Join Vesterheim and Bodil Petterssen Meleney for an online presentation about beloved dollmaker Rønnaug Petterssen. Petterssen’s dolls are featured in Vesterheim’s exhibition, Dolls: Playing with Identity. Rønnaug Petterssen was born in 1901 into a rural fishing community in Eidsfjorden in Vesteralen, Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. Growing up, time to play was scarce and toys were a luxury. Rønnaug made herself a doll and she would make repairs and fashion new clothes as needed. In 1934, Rønnaug started her own dollmaking business and by 1936-37 she had two or three employees. She developed dolls with Norwegian costumes, studying costumes in the collection of the Norwegian Folk Museum. Rønnaug Pettersen made a variety of dolls (pressed felt and plastic) and was the leading maker of Norwegian costume dolls from 1934 to 1979. The 8-inch costume dolls were particularly popular with American tourists.
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.
Learn the basics of weaving through the use of humble materials and step-by-step instruction. A common picture frame, with glass and backing removed, becomes the ultimate structure with which to create upon. Learn how to wind it with cotton thread to create your warp, and build up your piece weft by weft with a variety of yarns. Discover how color blocking, thread patterns, and textured effects can yield endless possibilities!
Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.
Are you curious about the state of handweaving in Sweden today? Weaver Christine Novotny of CAN Goods traveled through the Nordic countries summer 2022 as part of North House Folk’s Artisan Development Program and is here to report on her trip! In particular, Christine has takeaways from visiting the new generation of weavers coming out of Sweden’s largest craft education schools, Handarbetets Vänner in Stockholm and Sätergläntan Institute for Craft in Dalarna. She will share the stories of some of the younger weavers she met, the work they are doing, and how they are both pushing the boundaries of traditional Swedish weaving as well as preserving knowledge of techniques and materials. Christine will also share some of her other favorite travel highlights (textiles and beyond) from her time in Stockholm and Dalarna.
Need some fun ideas for simple, creative weeknight dinners? Look to the Swedes for some unique flavors that are easy to pull together even on those busy nights. You’ll make an American version of västerbottensostpaj (cheese pie), embrace the Swedish motto “Tacos, not just for Friday’s anymore” with taco paj, and you’ll dive into the oddly delicious Swedish hotdish called flygande jakob. Menu will include signature cocktails that every age can enjoy.
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.
Join the Sons of Norway Washington D.C. lodge and Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson for this online presentation on Norway’s contributions to the Scandinavian Modern Design movement. There were many, but the artists and products were not as well known as their Danish, Swedish, and Finnish counterparts. During the presentation, Laurann will introduce some of the most important designers of the mid-twentieth century and learn about their work in furniture, textiles, silver, glass, ceramics, and enamel.
Get ready for våffeldagen (Waffle Day) on March 25 by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen makes a batch of Scandinavian style waffles with festive toppings. Kristi will demo how to mix and cook the typical thin, heart shaped Scandinavian waffles and share fun ideas for making them into the centerpiece of a meal for this unique holiday. Students will leave with the recipes and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of waffles at home!
Although you may not expect it, aquavit pairs deliciously with tropical fruits! Whether or not you have taken a class with us already, you will enjoy learning some new cocktail recipes in this new class featuring aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery will inspire you with her Nordic twist on classic tropical cocktails and her storytelling about the history of aquavit, as well as her contemporary lifestyle as a dual Norwegian citizen living in Duluth, Minnesota. Be prepared to concoct delicious tropical aquavit drinks while engaging with Emily and other cocktail enthusiasts during this fun evening class.
Gather the family and join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen as you make two classic Scandinavian cookie recipes together: Raspberry Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies (Hallongrottor) and No Bake Chocolate Oat Balls (Chokladbollar). These are two fun, family-friendly sweet treats you will want to make again and again.
Looking Ahead and Planning for April
Across Scandinavia, Easter/Påske fare includes all of the familiar suspects: chocolate, eggs, chocolate eggs, and chocolate bunnies. There is also påskeøl (Easter beer) and egg hunts in the garden. But other traditions look a little more like Halloween, especially as Swedish children dress up like witches and go door to door asking for treats. Join Patrice Johnson and learn about these traditions while whipping up a Påskebord (Easter table) that includes Not-so-devilish eggs, gjetost cider soup with rye croutons, trout with horseradish butter and mushrooms, an orange-almond dessert, and a signature cocktail/mocktail.
Southward, a tapestry of swans and maidens with shimmering threads from the famous Art Nouveau artist Frida Hansen, was an important, often-displayed monumental tapestry, so when the curators for the blockbuster show, Scandinavian Design in the United States, 1890-1980, sought key textiles, Frida Hansen’s tapestry was top of mind. But where was this 11’ x 10’ weaving now? Only a few grainy black-and-white photos and many glowing descriptions remained. In January, 2021, nearly ninety years after Southward was last displayed publicly, noted rug dealer Peter Pap opened a Tupperware container in a storage building in Maine. He unfolded a woven treasure in dusty, but pristine condition, and with a quick google search, he learned it was a long-lost Frida Hansen tapestry. Join Robbie LaFleur for this timely webinar to celebrate the life and work of Frida Hansen, and especially to hear about the Southward tapestry mystery as it unfolded.
In April, join Scandinavia House for a virtual discussion with bestselling Norwegian author Erika Fatland (The Border and Sovietistan) on her epic new book High: A Journey Across the Himalaya, Through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China, out now from Pegasus Books. The Himalaya weaves through five very different countries, where the world religions of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are mixed with ancient shamanic religions. Countless languages and vastly different cultures live in the secluded mountain valleys; modernity and tradition collide, and great powers fight for influence. Fatland will discuss this captivating new travelogue, which invites us into her close encounters with the many peoples of the region while also taking us on a dizzying, high-altitude trip through incredible landscapes and their dramatic, unknown histories.
Join Vesterheim and carver Charles Banks as he guides you through the creation of your very own flat plane figure. A Scandinavian classic, a stylized old man with cap and cane will be the character you create. Following the tradition of flat plane figure carving, students will use only a single knife to carve out this character. Students will receive an overview of the history and traditions of this style of carving, be introduced to the cuts and techniques of the reductive carving process, and learn finishing techniques – all culminating in their very own carving. Live instruction and video tutorials will be utilized as educational tools, as well as practice sticks, a unique “head study,” and printed imagery of your character. A complete kit of materials (blanks, a knife, safety gloves, a strop and stropping compound, try sticks, and a sweet treat from Vesterheim) is included and will be mailed to you.
Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series (Friday, Apr. 14, 7:30 p.m. PT)
Save the date for the next session of Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, California. The program will feature West Coast history and Scandinavian immigrant history that was essential for building the West.
Join Liz Bucheit, a Minnesota silversmith and recent recipient of an American Scandinavian Foundation fellowship to study Sámi silverwork in Norway, to hear more about her spring 2022 trip. As one of the pre-eminent American silversmiths working in the Norwegian bunad tradition, Liz has also held a long and deep interest in Sámi silverwork; she has studied both forms along traditional jewelers in Norway and maintains close ties with Norwegian and Sámi colleagues. Her 2022 trip allowed her to broaden her knowledge of historic and contemporary Sámi silverwork design, tools, and techniques in the context of her studies of Scandinavian ornament traditions. In this hour lecture, Liz will share stories and lessons from her journey through northern Norway that enrich our understanding of Sámi silverwork and its place in historic Scandinavian folk culture as well as its vibrant present.
Join Scandinavia House for a virtual talk with Barbara Sjoholm on From Lapland to Sápmi, out in March 2023 from University of Minnesota Press. She’ll discuss the book’s exploration of the cultural history of Sápmi and the Nordic countries as told through objects and artifacts. Material objects—things made, used, and treasured—tell the story of a people and place. So it is for the Indigenous Sámi living in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, whose story unfolds across borders and centuries, in museums and private collections. The objects created by the Sámi for daily and ceremonial use were purchased and taken by Scandinavians and foreign travelers in Lapland from the 17th century to the present, and the collections described in From Lapland to Sápmi map a complex history that is gradually shifting to a renaissance of Sámi culture and craft, along with the return of many historical objects to Sápmi, the Sámi homeland.
Which events or experiences look interesting to you?
Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.