April 2024: In-Person & Virtual Nordic Events

Happy Spring! And welcome to the latest listing of Nordic events. In addition to the usual list of virtual food, arts & crafts, book & film, and genealogy & history events, this month’s post includes a few special online premieres and in-person events happening in Southern California. Let me know in the comments what interests you the most.


IN-PERSON SOCAL EVENTS

For Southern California readers, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County invites you to celebrate their 70th anniversary with a performance of Nordic folk music by Danish String Quartet at the Westside Museum in Costa Mesa on Friday, April 12. “The versatile members of the Danish String Quartet bring the musical flavors of their homeland, weaving Nordic folklore into the sound world of classical music. The string quartet sound further enhances the depth of feelings invoked by the sublime melodies and harmonies in sophisticated arrangements of traditional Faroese ballads, waltzes, and Nordic folk tunes.” Tickets are $35 and readers of AVikingInLA can receive $5 off with code HYGGE.

On Saturday, April 20, the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44, will host their annual Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo. There will be demonstrations of traditional crafts such as rosemaling, spinning, weaving, wood carvers, and wood burners, as well as a genealogy booth. Watch the preparation of traditional foods such as aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and Norwegian waffles. Enjoy open-faced sandwiches, rømmegrøt, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. The fair will also feature products from Norrdesign T-Shirts, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Karlsson’s Scandinavian Designs, and Joan Johnson Watercolor Cards. Admission is free. See their flier for details.

On Sunday, April 28, the Los Angeles Kubb Club is holding its 8th annual West Coast Kubb Championships in South Pasadena’s Orange Grove Park. They welcome players of all levels and ages. A team can have anywhere from 2 to 6 players. There will be a full morning of group play and two playoff brackets in the afternoon. Everyone is guaranteed several hours of kubbing fun and there are many opportunities to bring home some hardware – even if you’re not a touring player! Since 2016, the LA Kubb Club has welcomed friends and fellow kubb enthusiasts from around town and all over the country to Orange Grove Park every April for a day of fun and friendly competition in the sun. They hope you’ll join them!

Then on the weekend of May 18 & 19 in Thousand Oaks, the Scandinavian Festival returns for its 50th anniversary. Tickets are already on sale. Consider volunteering at the festival. For your time, you will receive an official festival t-shirt and complimentary admission. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults, college students, and high school students. They need assistance with children’s crafts, family activities, and gate entrances. At the last festival, my son and I volunteered, him at the Take a Liking to a Viking photo opp station and me at the Head Wreaths booth. Interested or have questions? Reach out to scanfestvolunteers@gmail.com.


ONLINE PREMIERES

Last month the website Crossings: Norway & North America 1825-2025 went live in anticipation of the bicentennial of the first organized Norwegian migration to North America. Visit the website to learn about this first migration from Norway to North America in 1825, find resources for the bicentennial year, and view upcoming events around the country. The website will be updated as the bicentennial year approaches.

Premiering on April 12 is the Netflix film Stolen directed by Norwegian Sámi Elle Márjá Eira. It is an adaptation of Swedish Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius’ novel of the same name. “The film adaption portrays a young woman’s struggle to defend her indigenous heritage in a world where xenophobia is on the rise, climate change is threatening reindeer herding, and young people choose suicide in the face of collective desperation. But the story also lays bare the tensions that arise when modern ideas come up against a traditional culture with deeply rooted patriarchal structures” (source). I really enjoyed the book (Reading Lately, April 2023) and am eagerly looking forward to this film adaptation.


VIRTUAL EVENTS in APRIL

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: April 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Vesterheim’s online folk art courses sell out quickly. To see what’s coming up in later months and to sign up before it’s too late, visit Vesterheim: Online Folk Art Courses.

ASI Nordic Table Event: Barley in the Nordic Kitchen (Thursday, 4/11)

Barley is one of the earliest cultivated grains in the Nordic region, and thousands of years later, it still deserves our attention! Low in gluten and high in fiber, barley was historically used for bread baking as well as brewing. In this virtual demo, Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will help us decode the different types of whole barley available, and also share why this is one of her favorite flours to keep on hand. Kristi will demo a delicious scone, a fresh salad perfect for spring, and discuss how she incorporates it into other dishes from breakfast to dinner. Healthy, delicious, and accommodating, barley might become your new favorite grain! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Norwegian Raspeboller ​​(Potato Dumplings): Techniques and Different Ways to Serve as a Traditional Feast (Saturday, 4/13)

Join Vesterheim and Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen in making traditional Norwegian potato dumplings, known by many names such as raspeballer, komle, and klubb. Nevada will show various techniques in how to make them and the different ways to serve and stuff them. We’ll include mashed rutabaga and various meats for a complete meal. So, come and enjoy a whole platter of dumpling deliciousness. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Decoding the Baldishol Tapestry: Learning to See the Hidden Stories, Symbolism, and Techniques in the Textile (Sunday, 4/14, Free)

Created in the late 1100s and rediscovered rolled up and stuffed under the floorboards of the Baldishol Church in Norway in the late 1800s, this impressive fragment of a much larger tapestry (or series of tapestries) depicting the “Labors of the Months” remains shrouded in mystery. In this webinar, join tapestry instructor and historical enthusiast Laura Berlage of Erindale Tapestry Studio on her journey to crack the code of what this piece has to tell us. From expressions of wealth to ancient churches, raising doves to the Medieval fur trade, constellation calendars to the language of love, there are so many overlapping stories to explore, including thoughts on why the piece was tucked away for centuries.

Family Handcraft at Home: Hand Quilting (Enrollment Deadline: 4/16)

Enroll now to enjoy this family course that begins May 1 and will be available all month. Enjoy the slowness of handcraft while learning to sew a finished quilt block without a sewing machine. Quilt blocks can make lovely wall hangings, a small mat for your morning coffee or tea, or a sweet blanket for a child’s toy. This project is perfect for school aged children (and up) who can confidently use a needle and thread. Enjoy the process of working at your own pace while watching the detailed video tutorial, leading you through each step of your quilt block. The $30-per-family price covers the cost of a special folk art class kit designed for two participants to explore quilting. Enrollment Deadline: 4/16

Vesterheim: Chip Carved Butter Spreader (Friday, 4/19)

Learn basic carving and chip carving while making a butter spreader! In this course you will learn Scandinavian knife holds to carve a butter spreader and then adorn the handle using chip carving techniques. Each student will receive two butter spreader blanks made out of dry basswood. One will be carved and adorned in class while the other will be saved for practice. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Films from the Faroe Islands (Virtual Screening Package) (Available 4/19 – 5/5)

Presented in Faroe Islands Culture Days, see virtual screenings of some of the best contemporary films from the Faroe Islands in “Fog-Swept Cinema”. From April 19 through May 5, a virtual screening package will be available with three feature films — the coming-of-age drama Dreams by the Sea, the surrealist feature 111 Good Days, and the documentary Skál — as well as four short films, showcasing today’s leading filmmakers from the North Atlantic archipelago. Virtual screening packages are available throughout the U.S.

Springtime Smørbrød with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, 4/25)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a celebration of spring smørbrød! In this hands-on virtual class, you will prepare an assortment of Scandinavian-style open face sandwiches showcasing the delicious ingredients of the spring season. Kristi will also share tips and tricks for styling your smørbrød with Nordic flair. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Genealogy Session with Swedish American Museum (Saturday, 4/27)

Delve into ancestry and history at one of Swedish American Museum’s Genealogy sessions. This month, Marie Thourson will be discussing the Great Chicago Fire. In October 1871, roughly 10,000 Swedish immigrants were living in Chicago. Half of them clustered in the neighborhood around Chicago Avenue, known as “Swede Town,” where merchants, doctors, and other businesses flourished. Five Swedish churches stood in this area as did the Svea Society, a cultural magnet for more secular Swedes. When the Fire broke out in Mrs. O’Leary’s west side barn on the evening of Sunday, October 8, north side residents thought they were safely distant from the flames. By morning, they were fleeing for their lives. Based largely on eyewitness reports in Swedish and Swedish American newspapers, this talk brings to light the experiences of the Swedish community.

Vesterheim: Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Sat., 4/27 & Sun., 4/28)

In this online class, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. The class will consist of three sessions over two days, and each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session you will have time to complete the steps that Liz has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. Enrollment Deadline: 4/13

LOOKING AHEAD

Vesterheim: Gravlax 101 with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, 5/4)

Join Patrice Johnson, the self-titled “Nordic Food Geek,” for a delicious Nordic-inspired brunch that will teach you the beginning ins and outs of gravlax and all of the important accompaniments. This class will have your kitchen smelling like a Nordic deli! We’ll also make a signature cocktail and mocktail, and other delicious bites perfect for your favorite weekend meal. Enrollment Deadline: 4/19

ASI Nordic Table Event: Swedish Cardamom Buns with Kristi Bissell (Thurs., 5/9)

Turn out kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) worthy of a bakery display case with a little help from Kristi Bissell of the Scandinavian cooking blog True North Kitchen! Cardamom buns are a popular option in Swedish bakeries which go all in cardamom’s deep floral flavor by incorporating the spice into the dough, filling, and glittery sugar topping. Luckily these decadent buns can also be tackled at home with some basic baking techniques. In this hour-long demo, Kristi will demonstrate how to mix and knead the yeasted dough, prepare the filling, and bake a batch of buns at home. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

Vesterheim Filmprat: Stolen (Wednesday, 6/12)

Register now to join Vesterheim’s Filmprat to discuss Stolen, the new Netflix original film based on Ann-Helén Laestadius’ novel of the same name premiering April 12. This spellbinding Swedish story follows a young indigenous woman as she struggles to defend her family’s reindeer herd and culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law. Based on real events, Ann-Helén Læstadius’ award-winning novel Stolen is part coming-of-age story, part love song to a disappearing natural world, and part electrifying countdown to a dramatic resolution—a searing depiction of a forgotten part of Sweden. Enrollment Deadline: 5/23


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

March 2024: Virtual Nordic Events & Upcoming In Person Events

It’s a short and sweet list of online activities and events for March! However, Nordic enthusiasts in Southern California have a couple of big events they can look forward to in the next couple of months.

On Saturday, April 20, the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44, will host the Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo. There will be demonstrations of traditional crafts such as rosemaling, spinning, weaving, wood carvers, and wood burners, as well as a genealogy booth. Watch the preparation of traditional foods such as aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and Norwegian waffles. Enjoy open-faced sandwiches, rømmegrøt, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. The fair will also feature products from Norrdesign T-Shirts, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Karlsson’s Scandinavian Designs, and Joan Johnson Watercolor Cards. Admission is free. See their flier for details.

Then on the weekend of May 18 & 19, the Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks returns for its 50th anniversary. Tickets are already on sale. Early bird pricing ($15) is available through March 31. Children 12 and under are free and parking is always free. Consider volunteering at the festival. For your time, you will receive an official festival t-shirt and complimentary admission. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults, college students, and high school students. They need your skills to assist with children’s crafts, family activities, head wreath station, and gate entrances. Interested or have questions? Reach out to scanfestvolunteers@gmail.com.

What’s on your calendar for March?


VIRTUAL EVENTS in MARCH

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: March 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Intro to Swedish (Sat., Mar. 2, 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.

Intro to Finnish (Sun., Mar. 3, 1:00 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.

Nordic Spirit Second Friday: History of Scandinavia Leading to the Viking Age (Fri., Mar. 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

Join the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation for a Zoom video presentation to learn about Scandinavian history from the end of the Ice Age leading up to Viking Age. Topics include Nordic Bronze Age and amber, thriving long-distance trade and expansion, kings and longhouses, diffusion of metallurgy, bog iron and Nordic Iron Age, regional warlords viable, replacing elite of the Bronze Age, Hjortspring boat c. 350 BC, Clinker-built connection with Viking ships 1200 years later. Email nordicspiritclassics@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link.

Webinar: Exploring Numedal Style Rosemaling with Patti Goke (Thurs., Mar. 14, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Come and explore with Patti Goke, Vesterheim Gold Medalist, the different looks of the painted items from Numedal Valley. 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. Patti Goke has traveled twice to the valley known as the “Valley of the Middle Ages,” both times with Vesterheim on Folk Art Study Tours. She has also done individual study of the style and painters. Registration required for this free event.

Genealogy Session with the Swedish American Museum: Cemeteries (Sat., Mar. 23, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Delve into ancestry and history with the Swedish American Museum at one of their educational Genealogy sessions! The topic for March is cemeteries. Genealogists love cemeteries, and headstones make a good source material. This lecture explains some important differences in burial traditions between Sweden and the U.S. and how you can use resources online to search for gravesites in Sweden.

ASI Nordic Table Event: Open Faced Sandwiches for Spring (Thurs., Mar. 28, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Nordic open-faced sandwiches are a wonderful way to highlight seasonal ingredients. Known by various names including smörgås in Swedish and smørrebrød in Danish, open faced sandwiches are often eaten singly or in combination for a light lunch or as a part of a celebratory buffet. Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for this demo which will take us right into spring flavors—from fresh and colorful produce to favorite Easter ingredients—with assemblages of simple components that make for impressive sandwiches. Kristi will share her philosophy for building beautiful and interesting sandwiches, including tips for prepping components ahead for spring gatherings such as Easter, Mothers Day, and graduations. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Meet the Author and Bake Along with Nichole Accettola, Scandinavian from Scratch (Sat., Mar. 30, 2:00 p.m. PT)

Join the National Nordic Museum for a special edition of Meet the Author, a bake along with Kantine chef (a Scandinavian-inspired eatery in San Francisco) and author Nichole Accettola. You’re invited to bake hazelnut cookies with Accettola from her cookbook Scandinavian from Scratch: A Love Letter to the Baking of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The cookbook brings to the page an assortment of baked goods and simple morning and midday meals rooted in Scandinavian cuisine.

ASI Nordic Table Event: Barley in the Nordic Kitchen (Thurs., Apr. 11, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Barley is one of the earliest cultivated grains in the Nordic region, and thousands of years later, it still deserves our attention! Low in gluten and high in fiber, barley was historically used for bread baking as well as brewing. In this virtual demo, Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will help us decode the different types of whole barley available, and also share why this is one of her favorite flours to keep on hand. Kristi will demo a delicious scone, a fresh salad perfect for spring, and discuss how she incorporates it into other dishes from breakfast to dinner. Healthy, delicious, and accommodating, barley might become your new favorite grain! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

February 2024: Virtual Nordic Events, Sámi Film Fest, & Nordic Spirit Symposium

February brings an interesting mix of in-person events for Nordic enthusiasts in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City and online events for everyone.

Of special interest this month is Sámi National Day on February 6, an ethnic national day celebrated by the indigenous Sámi people across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kola Peninsula in Russia. It is always on February 6, the date of the first Sámi congress in 1917 in Trondheim, Norway, when Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. For more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.

If you or friends are in the New York City or Seattle areas, the 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival takes place in person February 9 and 10. Otherwise virtual screenings will be available nationwide from February 8-11. 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.

This month also features the annual Nordic Spirit Symposium on 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. Please note lunch and dinner must be ordered in advance. Registration for dinner ends February 1 and lunch ends February 4. For more details and registration information, visit the website or view the brochure.

Save the date for the Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo hosted by the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44, on Saturday, April 20. There will be demonstrations of rosemaling, spinning, weaving, wood carvers, and wood burners, as well as a genealogy booth. Watch the preparation of foods such as aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and Norwegian waffles. Enjoy open-faced sandwiches, rømmegrøt, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. The fair will also feature products from Norrdesign T-Shirts, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Karlsson’s Scandinavian Designs, and Joan Johnson Watercolor Cards. Admission is free.  See their flier for details.

What’s on your calendar for February?


VIRTUAL EVENTS in FEBRUARY

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: February 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Introduction to Norwegian Genealogy (Thurs., Feb. 1 & Fri., Feb. 2)

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.

Intro to Northern Sámi (Sunday, Feb. 4, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families are welcome!

Religion and Norwegian-American Quilts (Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Can you imagine a time and place without quilts? It may be hard to believe, but few Norwegians in the nineteenth century had ever seen quilts. Immigrants to the United States needed quilts for warmth and to help their homes look more American. Quilts from Vesterheim’s Textile Collection tell the story of the immigrant experience between 1860 and 1940. Join Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson and the Northeast Iowa Quilters Guild for this presentation.

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 let’s 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. 8-11)

The 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival is a partnership between the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York City with virtual screenings available February 8-11. Virtual selections in the lineup include seven short films, with narrative and documentary subjects spanning topics ranging from traditional ways of life and cultural practices, historical traumas and conflicts in the present day, to alternative universes.

Ædnan Virtual Book Talk with Linnea Axelsson (Tuesday, Feb. 13, 11:00 a.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House for a virtual book talk with Sámi-Swedish author Linnea Axelsson on Ædnan, her epic, August Prize-winning multigenerational novel-in-verse about two Sámi families and their quest to stay together across a century of migration, violence, and colonial trauma. The author will be joined by moderator Matilde Augusta Huseby for a talk about the writing of the novel. This event will be followed by a related online book club meeting at 6:00 p.m. ET (details).

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, Feb. 17)

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show and marveled at the speed that the ingredients get prepped, this class is for you! Instructor Kristi Bissell will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner! Enrollment deadline: Feb. 3 (spots available as of publication date).

Family Handcraft at Home: Wet Felting with Laura Berlage (Registration deadline Feb. 16)

Begins March 1, available all month! Using hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s sheep, learn how to both wet and needle felt over a bar of soap. Felted soaps are beautiful, and they will help your bar of soap last much longer too! Great for all ages. The kit comes with everything you need. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. Through a detailed video tutorial, Laura will take you step-by-step through the process from start to finish, with plenty of pro tips and invitations for personalizing your bar of soap. Roll up your sleeves, prepare to get sudsy, and enjoy this tactile-rich experience!

Intro to Sámi Knitting with Laura Ricketts (Sunday, Feb. 18, 10:00 a.m. PT)

The Sámi are Scandinavia’s only UN-recognized indigenous people and have a culture rich with fiber traditions. In this virtual Introduction to Sámi Knitting class, students will be introduced to traditional Sámi knitting, which was almost exclusively used to produce hand garments. Students will view many images of mittens from the instructor’s trips to northern Scandinavia and learn about the four characteristics that set Sámi mittens apart: cuffs, thumbs, decreases, and braids (with and without tassels). Students will create a sample swatch by practicing each of these elements and leave with the knowledge to translate their skills into a full-sized pair of mittens. Click here to learn more and view the class level and required materials list.

FamilieTid: Family Cook Along – Nordic Tacos (Sunday, Feb. 18, 11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Join chef Patrice Johnson for this fun and delicious way to experience Scandinavian food culture. Tacos are a long favored Friday evening meal across the region, and families who love this tradition are finding ways to vary their beloved tacos. In class, students will dabble in traditional Nordic tacos and an Icelandic Skúffukaka (chocolate brownie cake topped with coconut).

Vesterheim Folk Art School Registration for Summer Classes Opens (Tuesday, Feb. 20, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Registration for online and in-person summer classes (April-September 2024) opens Tuesday, February 20. Get ready to register by checking out this PDF catalog of classes. You will find classes in Rosemaling and Painting, Fiber Arts, Design and Inspiration, Heritage and Language, Music, Weaving, Nordic Cooking, Knifemaking and Metalwork, Woodworking, Youth and Family, and Jewelry.

Scandinavian Flat Plane Figure Carving: One Blank to Rule Them All with Charlie Banks (Saturday, Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join carving instructor and Vesterheim Gold Medalist Charles Banks for a lecture on Scandinavian flat plane figure carving and his creative process. In this webinar, Charles Banks will talk about the different figures and characters he has made all with the same starting blank, and what that means for the development of his creative process. He will discuss how he has used this simple blank to push himself to try out new character designs and poses. Come learn about how starting with one blank, a whole menagerie of characters can be made. Leave with the inspiration to start carving yourself!

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

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?


LOS ANGELES AREA IN-PERSON EVENTS

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.


VIRTUAL EVENTS

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?

December 2023: Nordic Events, Christmas Edition

Happy December and all that this month brings! This month I share both virtual events available to all and a few special events happening in the Los Angeles area that might be of interest to local readers.

Last month I shared the news of the arrival of Thomas Dambo TROLLS: Save the Humans to South Coast Botanic Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and since then, I’ve seen them for myself and the experience didn’t disappoint. 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 now here in Southern California. I highly recommend a visit to see the collection of trolls on display through January 14, 2024.

 

On Saturday, December 2, the SWEA Los Angeles Christmas Fair returns after a few years’ hiatus, this time to Santa Monica, to celebrate Swedish heritage and Swedish food. Highlights include a diverse selection of Swedish vendors, Santa Claus ready to spread festive joy and listen to holiday wishes, Saint Lucia Celebrations, and Swedish delicacies such as Swedish pancakes, glögg, and baked goods.

The Norwegian Church in San Pedro hosts many Christmas events this time of year, the first of which is their annual Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday, December 5 (registration required). Visit their Facebook page for updates on Christmas events.

And finally, have you marked your calendars for the 25th anniversary of the Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA? The festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends in January 2024 (January 13 & 14 and 20 & 21) with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. Details about the programming will be released soon.

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: December 2023 to see details about book selections and meeting dates for this month and into the new year.

What’s on your calendar for December?


Norwegian Television Julekalender: Snøfall (Premieres December 1)

Does your family understand Norwegian? Tune in to this Norwegian julekalender, a TV series doled out daily in 24 short episodes leading up to Christmas. Start with Season 1: “A wonderland full of magic and love. An orphan girl in a sad world. A secret portal separates them. Can Selma find the way?” Or jump ahead to Season 2: “Noah is 10 years old and has a very important Christmas wish, but what if the letter to Santa doesn’t arrive?”

Hallmark Christmas Movie: My Norwegian Holiday (Premieres December 1)

Hallmark Channel’s original Christmas movie My Norwegian Holiday premieres December 1. Grieving her grandmother’s death, JJ seeks dissertation inspiration. Henrik, drawn to her troll figurine, invites her to Bergen, Norway, to trace its origins.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program Winter Registration Opens (December 1)

Registration for Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program for the next trimester of classes (January – March 2024) is now ope. Each trimester, they offer a range of Norwegian classes for beginning learners to those that are more advanced, many of them online. Culture classes are designed to expand learners’ knowledge of traditional and contemporary Norwegian culture.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday & Saturday, Dec. 1 & 2)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways and shop Nordic by visiting or contacting the businesses. For more information, visit their website.

Exploring Møre og Romsdal Style Rosemaling (Sunday, Dec. 3, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Come learn about the various examples of rosemaling from the area known as Mǿre og Romsdal Fylke (County) in Western Norway! Join Nancy Odalen, Vesterheim Gold Medalist and a recipient of one of the 2022-2023 Folk Art Residency grants, for a lively discussion about the rosemaling that was created within the county of Mǿre og Romsdal. Odalen will have examples from the Vesterheim Collection and from the museum in Romsdal.

A Swedish Meatball Dinner with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:00 p.m. CT)

A Swedish meatball dinner ticks every box for a winter meal: cozy and comforting, balanced and delicious! Join Kristi Bissell of the True North Kitchen blog for an afternoon demonstration of her dream meatball dinner menu – Swedish meatballs with a creamy gravy and lingonberries, an elegant celery root puree, and essential pickled cucumbers. Plus, learn the secrets of Kristi’s truly satisfying vegetarian meatball recipe, too! Whether you tackle the whole menu at once, or pull just a few of the recipes straight to your Christmas smörgåsbord, these are classic, fail safe recipes that will impress your loved ones this holiday season.

Norwegian Christmas Cookies Workshop (Saturday, Dec. 9, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Join Sunny Gandara of Arctic Grub to bake some of the most popular Norwegian Christmas cookies and to learn about the cookie evolution in Norway from the old times until today. Get your apron on and get in the Christmas spirit with this baking class! (And yes, you’ll be making krumkaker!) After registering and a few days ahead of the class, you will receive an email with the recipes so you can prepare if you’d like to bake along.

Online Cooking Class: Holiday Food (Monday, Dec. 11, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the Swedish American Museum for an online cooking class to learn how to make holiday food. You will receive the recipe in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. This is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

Family Book Adventure: Now That Night is Near by Astrid Lindgren (Register by Dec. 16)

Beginning January 1 and available all month, join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading and outdoor adventure! Your family can be any combination of folks as long as there’s at least one adult to help navigate the online portion. Decorah schools librarian Shannon Horton will get you reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure.

Knit a Norwegian-Inspired Hat (Four Saturdays, January 6-27, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT)

Register by December 21 to join this online knitting class for intermediate knitters. Join Kate Running to learn how to work with two colors of yarn to make this patterned hat. Work with a Nordic-inspired motif and learn the cultural tradition of stranded knitting. Intermediate level, no colorwork experience necessary. Yarn is provided.  Students may choose to provide their own yarn to swap out with the yarn that is sent in the kit. A kit of materials including Strikkegarn yarn (a $40 value included in the cost of registration) will be shipped to your home. Enrollment Deadline: December 21.

Knitting Selbu Mittens (Three Sundays, January 7-21, 12:00-1:30 p.m. CT)

Register by December 21 to join this online knitting class for intermediate knitters. Dating back to 1857, Selbu mittens are one of the most iconic Norwegian garments. They have existed as currency, as souvenirs, and as a source of financial independence for women who had few options. In this intermediate knitting class, you will make a pair of Selbu mittens with live demonstrations as well as a prerecorded tutorial to reference on your own time. The instructor will discuss history, tips and tricks, and easy modifications as you knit a pattern inspired by pieces in the Vesterheim collection.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

November 2023: Nordic Events in SoCal and Virtually

This month I’m happy to share two very special Scandinavian events happening in the Southern California area plus an assortment of virtual Nordic events as well.

First, thank you to Karen at Copenhagen Pastry in Culver City for putting this experience on my radar: the outdoor exhibit Thomas Dambo TROLLS: Save the Humans at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula. I’ve been fascinated by Dambo’s work elsewhere and am thrilled to be able to see it for myself now here in Southern California.

Danish artist Thomas Dambo is considered the world’s leading recycle artist and is known internationally for his larger-than-life Troll sculptures made from recycled wood. His sculptures can be found all over the world (visit www.trollmap.com) and now you can see six of them here in Southern California through January 14, 2024. “Thomas’ vision is to create art that inspires people to go explore, have adventures in nature, and demonstrates that trash can be turned into something beautiful.” Read more about the artist here.

Don’t forget, the Norwegian Church’s annual Christmas Fair takes place Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 19, in San Pedro. Experience a Christmas atmosphere like no other with gifts for young and old, a bakery with Norwegian Christmas baked goods, a cafe with delicious food, and in addition, there will be raffles with great prizes.

And finally, a heads-up to readers interested in Vesterheim Folk Art School online classes in rosemaling and painting, Nordic cooking, weaving, jewelry, heritage and language, fiber arts, youth and family, and woodworking that registration will open November 10 for classes offered January through March. Classes are popular and spaces go fast, so don’t delay signing up if something interests you. View a PDF of the class list and get ready to register.

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: November 2023 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

What’s on your calendar for November?


Intro to Finnish (Sunday, Nov. 5, 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.

Supporting Multilingualism (Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7:00 p.m. PT)

Join the Scandinavian School in San Francisco to learn tools for encouraging and strengthening the language at home. Focus will be on language learning of children and teens, but much of the information will be useful for adult learners as well. This seminar is built to serve also those who do not share the language their children are speaking – finding ways to support their child’s learning. After sharing some information, discussions will continue  in smaller facilitated groups – sharing tips, exploring language learning methods and finding ways to test our just gained knowledge of multilingualism in our day-to-day lives.

Nordic Wafers and Tarts with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Nov. 9, 4:30 p.m. CT)

Bake along with Kristi as she makes Nordic Lemon Wafers and Scandinavian Almond Tarts (Sandbakkels). Kristi will also have some fun filling ideas for your almond tarts. This class is just what you need to kick off the holiday baking season! This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along. The class is currently sold out but you can join the waitlist.

Gift Guide Auction by The Norwegian American (November 10-20)

Beat the holiday rush and take some of the stress out of the Christmas season by shopping online with The Norwegian American at their Gift Guide Auction. Working with select vendors, they have tried to find something for everyone on your list: decorations, jewelry, books, clothing, treats, and more! Bidding will start on November 10 and end of November 20. All proceeds go to The Norwegian American. Are you a reader of The Norwegian American? If not, consider subscribing now.

Vesterheim Folk Art School Registration Opens (Friday, Nov. 10, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Registration for Vesterheim online classes in rosemaling and painting, Nordic cooking, weaving, jewelry, heritage and language, fiber arts, youth and family, and woodworking offered January through March will open November 10. Classes are popular and spaces go fast, so don’t delay signing up if something interests you. View a PDF of the class list and get ready to register.

Nordic Spirit Classics: Viking Age Roads to Power: King Harald Fairhair and the Control of Maritime Traffic in Western Norway (Friday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m., Free)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation‘s Nordic Spirit Classics series continues with an online selection from the 2022 Nordic Spirit Symposium. For centuries, trade and traffic that passed through a narrow strait along the southwestern Norway coast, the “North Way,” was controlled by powerful princes and kings. The two speakers from western Norway will discuss the pre-Viking and Viking era of Avaldsnes and Haraldseid in western Norway, and one particularly powerful king, King Harald Fairhair. Contact nordicspiritclassics@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link.

Vesterheim Filmprat: John, the Last Cowboy (Friday, Nov. 10, & Saturday, Nov. 11, Free)

In a twist on Vesterheim’s bokprat discussions, join in November for a screening and discussion of the film John, the Last Cowboy. The documentary is centered on 92-year-old John Hoiland as he manages his large ranch in Montana all by himself. Although wealthy people are lining up to buy his property, John’s wealth is not in the value of the ranch but rather in the freedom to work his own land. View the film via livestream on Friday night and then join the discussion on Saturday afternoon. If you can’t join online for the Friday night screening, you can pay a small fee to view the film on your own schedule on Vimeo.

Webinar: Exploring Viksdal Style Rosemaling (Sunday, Nov. 12, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Viksdalmaling is not fanciful with Telemark scrolls and imaginative flowers but instead with twisted tongues, elongated teardrops, moons and circles, and plenty of crosses. Viksdalmaling is rich in symbolism and history, yet perhaps on the verge of extinction again. This presentation is about history, trade, design, color, and symbolism in Viksdal rosemaling. Viksdal design is about the clash between Viking ideology and Christianity. Come watch and learn about this little-known fascinating style of rosemaling.

Intro to Swedish (Sunday, Nov. 12, 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.

Cooking Class: Fish Dishes and Rulltårta (Monday, Nov. 13, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the Swedish American Museum for a cooking class to learn how to make fish dishes and rulltårta (Swiss roll). You will receive the recipe in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. It is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

Knowing Selma Lagerlöf (Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Delve further into the life and accomplishments of Nobel prize winner Selma Lagerlöf with instructor Ingela Haaland. Learn how folk traditions helped form her writing style, discover her role in film production, and see how she received inspiration from travels far and wide in the world. Learn what lasting contributions Lagerlöf’s writing have made upon literature to this day.

Holiday Baking: Traditional Rømmebrød and Brune Pinner with Nevada Berg (Saturday, Nov. 18, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Join celebrated cook and author Nevada Berg in making some of Norway’s most beloved holiday treats – sour cream wafers and brown syrup cookies! Rømmebrød are thin and crisp sweet breads doused with sugar and cooked over a hot griddle, while brune pinner have a strong hint of syrup and cinnamon and a topping of sugar and almonds to accentuate every bite. Both of these last a good couple of weeks in a cookie tin – unless they’re eaten up beforehand! Come ready to learn, eat, and have fun! The class is currently sold out but you can join the waitlist.

Webinar: Making Folk Costumes: A History of Craftsmanship, Patience and the Love of Traditions (Sunday, Nov. 19, 11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Join Barbro Tronhuus Storlien for a lecture on Norwegian folk costumes. Norway has a variety of more than 450 different folk costumes, and many of these have intricate embroideries. Many of the folk costumes are easily recognizable while others are more unknown. In this lecture, Storlien will talk about the differences and similarities between the Norwegian areas, show some of the techniques and raise the important question – how do we keep this knowledge alive for future generations?

Intro to Northern Sami (Sunday, Nov. 19, 2:00 p.m.)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Nordic Pizza Party with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, Nov. 19, 4:00 p.m. CT)

How does immigration influence the pizzas served in Norway and Sweden? Join us for an  evening of surprising tastes and fun twists on Nordic pizza. We’ll make our own dough, and then top it with the modern flavors of Scandinavia: kebab, banana curry, and filet-hollandaise. We’ll also toss a traditional pizza salad and shake up a couple of New Nordic-inspired beverages. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along. Enrollment Deadline: November 5

Virtual Studio Visit with Ole Brodersen (Premiering Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Scandinavia House invites you to a virtual studio visit with Norwegian artist Ole Brodersen. Brodersen’s photographic practice focuses on landscapes and how they are affected by the forces of nature. A 12th-generation native of Lyngør — a car-free island off the coast of southeastern Norway — Ole’s heritage and experiences are deeply entangled with the sea. His father was a sailmaker; his grandfather was a sailor; as a child, Ole rowed to school, and as an adult, he circumnavigated the Atlantic in a pilot cutter built in 1894. This heritage influences and forms the basis for Ole’s pictorial experiments.

Genealogy Session: Forest Finn Ancestry (Saturday, Nov. 25, 10:00 a.m. CT)

This presentation by Robert Johnson begins with an overview of Forest Finns in Sweden and Norway, describing their migration, life, and acculturation into Swedish society. He will discuss ways to identify Forest Finn ancestry, including locational, documentary, and DNA. And finally, you will look at records specific to Forest Finn research.

Typiskt svenskt / Typical American Discussion (Wednesday, Nov. 29, 5:30 p.m. CT)

Gunn Edberg-Caldwell leads this fun, open discussion about the similarities and differences between Sweden and the United States. What do people generalize or assume about each country or culture? What can one learn from the other? Participants will compare and discover how different yet alike these two countries really are.

Sparkly Pewter Thread Earrings with Liz Bucheit (Wednesday, Nov. 29, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Explore a new “twist” on a traditional craft! Using pewter wire thread and a macramé style weave, students will create a pair of hoop earrings with a silver drop and sterling silver French hook ear wires. Finished hoops are approximately 1 inch in diameter and display a soft shimmery sparkle in sunlight and candle light. No previous experience is necessary, but a willingness to use hand tools is required. Enrollment Deadline: November 15

Looking Ahead to December

(Enrollment deadlines are in November; spots are still available as of publication date.)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday & Saturday, Dec. 1 & 2)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways and shop Nordic by visiting or contacting the businesses. For more information, visit their website.

Needle Felting with Laura Berlage: Nisse Family (Two Fridays, December 1 and 8, 2:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Needle felting is fun! Learn to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s flock of sheep into your very own adorable family of nisse. Laura will take you step-by-step through the process via Zoom. No previous experience is necessary. Experience the magic of needle felting or learn some new tips to add to your growing skillset. Enrollment Deadline: November 17

 

A Swedish Meatball Dinner with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:00 p.m. CT)

A Swedish meatball dinner ticks every box for a winter meal: cozy and comforting, balanced and delicious! Join Kristi Bissell of the True North Kitchen blog for an afternoon demonstration of her dream meatball dinner menu – Swedish meatballs with a creamy gravy and lingonberries, an elegant celery root puree, and essential pickled cucumbers. Plus, learn the secrets of Kristi’s truly satisfying vegetarian meatball recipe, too! Whether you tackle the whole menu at once, or pull just a few of the recipes straight to your Christmas smörgåsbord, these are classic, fail safe recipes that will impress your loved ones this holiday season.

Wet Felted Soaps (Sunday, Dec. 10, 1:00 p.m. CT)

From your own kitchen, tackle a simple wet felting project by covering a bar of soap with a colorful layer of felt. These “felted” soaps are perfect for traveling or keeping next to the tub, as they work as a washcloth and soap all in one. Plus, they’re a great starter project for learning the basics of wet felting! And (hint, hint) these are the perfect easy stocking stuffer! Suitable for ages 16+.

Felted Folk Ornaments (Thursday, Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Create a festive, quick decoration with needle felting this season! This fun project makes use of cookie cutters you may already have at home, or walks you through using cardstock to create a needle felting form to work in, to make a felted ornament with clean lines, even shape, and adorable details. Students will receive a kit with materials to make two average cookie cutter sized ornaments. These are the perfect last minute gift to decorate a present or tree!

Needle Felted Gnome with Laura Berlage (Friday, Dec. 15, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Create a jolly felted gnome ready to bring home some holiday joy in this afternoon-long class. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from instructor Laura Berlage’s own sheep into a felted festive gnome (known in Sweden as a tomte, or in Norway as a nisse) complete with long cap and beard! Students will get tips for shaping a cheerful face as well as hear stories from Laura’s farm and discuss gnomes in Scandinavian culture and beyond. Suitable for all skill levels, ages 14+.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

October 2023: Virtual Nordic Events

Hope you’re enjoying fall wherever you may be. The special Nordic events that have been happening around the country this past summer are coming to an end soon. However, there’s still a chance to experience Edvard Munch in Massachusetts, Sámi Dreams in Iowa, and Icelandic book arts and textiles in Oregon.

I highly recommend the Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth exhibit in Williamstown, MA, if you or any friends or family are anywhere nearby (last day October 15). Munch has a large body of work and might be best known for depicting emotions in figures, but my favorite paintings are his landscapes so this exhibit was right up my alley and didn’t disappoint at all. I was very impressed with how the exhibit was curated. “The exhibition is organized thematically to show how Munch used nature to convey human emotions and relationships, celebrate farming practice and garden cultivation, and explore the mysteries of the forest even as his Norwegian homeland faced industrialization.” I saw favorites presented in a new light and was introduced to new ones from private collections.

If you miss this exhibit, you can catch it November 18–April 1 in Potsdam, Germany; and April 27–August 24, 2024, in Oslo at Munchmuseet. Or consider buying the book/catalog, Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth (pictured above), that accompanies the exhibit.

Selections for Online Nordic Books Clubs, October 2023

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: October 2023 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Are you a Nordic film enthusiast in the Los Angeles area? AFI Film Fest 2023 (October 25-29 in Hollywood) will screen films from around the world, including Best International Feature Film submissions for the upcoming Academy Awards from Denmark and Finland. On October 26, you can see Finland’s Fallen Leaves (Kuolleet Lehdet), and on October 28, you can see Denmark’s The Promised Land (Bastarden) which will be followed by a conversation with director Nikolaj Arcel and actor Mads Mikkelsen.

And finally, Southern California readers, mark your calendars for the Norwegian Church’s annual Christmas Fair which is taking place Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 19, in San Pedro. You will experience a Christmas atmosphere like no other with Christmas gifts for young and old, a bakery with Norwegian Christmas baked goods, a cafe with delicious food, and in addition, there will be raffles with great prizes. On the weekends, sandwiches and Norwegian hot food will be served.

What’s on your calendar for October?


Vesterheim Museum’s Benefit Auction (Oct. 7-15)

Vesterheim’s Benefit Auction is open for bidding. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Vesterheim Annual Fund in support of Vesterheim’s Folk Art School. This year, the auction includes 78 items of one-of-a-kind folk-art by artists working in the Norwegian tradition. There are also incredible getaways offered – an 8-day European River Cruise for two in 2024 from Viking and a stunning stay in Colorado.

Concert by Gangspil (Oct. 11, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join Vesterheim for the first live streamed event in the Vesterheim Commons. Danish folk duo Gangspil will take you on an entertaining and varied journey through the traditions of Danish folk music. These lively musicians perform old dance tunes and songs from every corner of their Scandinavian home country. Performing live from the newly completed Vesterheim Commons, this performance will be live-streamed and allow you to join the music-making happening in Decorah!

Cooking Class with Sunny Gandara: Spud-tacular Potatoes (Saturday, Oct. 14, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Potatoes are the lifeline of Norwegian cuisine, and many Norwegians can’t imagine what a meal would be like without them. In this class with Sunny of Arctic Grub, you’ll learn four Norwegian classic potato dishes employing four different cooking methods: Hasselback poteter (a crispy baked potato sliced into fan-shape like slices, drizzled with garlic butter and fresh herbs), purre-og potetsuppe (a creamy leek and potato soup, a classic in Norwegian cuisine and completely dairy-free), fløtegratinerte poteter (sliced potatoes baked in cream and cheese a la potatoes au gratin), and potetpannekaker (fluffy potato pancakes served with cardamom-scented sour cream and a blueberry coulis). From appetizers to dessert – this class has it all!

Handcraft at Home: Carving a Snowman (Enrollment deadline Oct. 15)

Beginning November 1 and available all month, this beginner wood carving class will allow you to create your own snowman character inspired by Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, right down to the carrot nose and stick arms. Folk Artist and Youth Educator Steph Hughes will guide and show you how to carve a wooden snowman through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you. Enrollment Deadline: October 15, 2023

Cooking Class: Flygande Jakob and Apple Dessert (Monday, Oct. 16, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the Swedish American Museum for a cooking class where you will learn how to make Flygande Jakob, a Swedish chicken casserole, and an apple dessert. You will receive the recipes in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. It is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

Nordic Appetizers for Autumn and Winter (Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson as they celebrate the flavors of the season with an evening of Nordic appetizers. Create fun Nordic bites like salt-brined cucumbers topped with creme fraiche and honey, lingonberry-brie bites, salmon spring rolls, and other delicious appetizers. Recipes for a signature cocktail and non-alcoholic beverage will also be included. Enrollment Deadline: October 05, 2023 (still available as of publishing date)

Introduction to Joik (Saturday, Oct. 21, OR Sunday, Oct. 22, 3:00 p.m. CT)

What is a joik? What does it feel like to joik? The joik is the traditional form of Sámi song, and has its own musical rules and a very special connection to nature and all living beings. In this class with instructor Ailloš and facilitator Elisabeth Berg, you will learn about this traditional way of singing and learn a couple of joik-melodies yourself. Offered two days. Enrollment Deadline: October 12, 2023 (still available as of publishing date)

Genealogy Session with Swedish American Museum (Saturday, Oct. 28, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Dr. Joy Lintelman is a U.S. social historian specializing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special interests in Swedish American immigration, food history, local history and public history. She serves as a full professor at Concordia. In addition to a number of journal articles and book chapters published over the past three decades, her book, I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson was released in 2009 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Her current research examines the urban experiences of Swedish Americans, focusing on a historic neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota called East Side Flats.

Telemark-Style Rosemaling Welcome Sign (Oct. 28 & Oct. 29)

Welcome! (Or should we say Velkommen?) Come try your hand at the Telemark style of rosemaling and make a welcome sign to greet visitors to your home! The class, instructed by Lise Lorentzen, includes demonstration and plenty of hands-on practice. You will have the opportunity to choose between making a sign reading “Welcome” in English or the Norwegian “Velkommen.” This class is designed for beginning painters with previous experience, as well as more advanced painters and will be taught using acrylic paints. A complete kit of materials shipped to your home (a $60 value) containing paints, brushes, woodenware, and more is included in the cost of registration. Enrollment Deadline: October 14, 2023

Scandinavian Figure Carving: Tomte (Wednesdays, Nov. 1, 8, & 15)

Interested in carving a “Scandi Classic” to help spruce up your home for the holidays? Join carver Charles Banks as together you carve a tomte, the Swedish cousin to Norway’s beloved nisse that is often associated with the winter solstice and Christmas! Students will experience the history, traditions, and steps involved in the creation of this folk art classic. Emphasis will be placed on the introduction and skillful use of traditional cuts, stylized shapes, and painting techniques to bring your tomte to life. The face design will allow for explorations of your own skill for other faces in the future. Your registration fee includes a complete kit of materials shipped to your home. Enrollment Deadline: October 18, 2023 (Currently sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.)

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

September 2023: Nordic Events (Virtual & SoCal In-Person)

Welcome, Fall! Even though it’s not officially fall yet, it still feels like that since students are returning to school. I wonder if any of you had the chance to enjoy any virtual programming over the summer or visit any of the special Nordic events happening around the country (some of which are still going on!).

Southern Californians, have you marked your calendars with the family friendly Vista Viking Festival happening this month? California’s premiere Viking festival and Norse heritage event takes place September 16 and 17 just north of San Diego. Visitors can mingle with Vikings and the Norse Gods at the living history Viking Village, play and do crafts in the Kids Village, splurge on Nordic goods at the marketplace, learn all things Norwegian with cultural demonstrations in the Heritage Hall, indulge in festive foods and drinks, enjoy live music and battle demonstrations, and even try your hand at axe throwing and hone your Viking skills in various competitions.

New this year, there will be an exclusive tasting event with Viking Spirits. Viking Spirits will be offering two flights of selected products, either 4 spirits or 4 wines. Each of the four daily seatings is limited to 25 participants so get your tickets now. These tickets are in addition to the Vista Viking Festival tickets.

For ticket and parking information to Vista Viking Festival, please visit Tickets and Parking. Save 10% with early bird pricing which ends September 7. Buy tickets here.

Also happening this month is the Norwegian Church’s fundraiser Shrimp Party and Pier Dance on Saturday, September 16, in San Pedro. The Church will serve a 3-course meal along with drinks, and there will be live entertainment and good times, all in support of the Norwegian Church ($100 fee). If interested, reach out quickly as there are limited spots available.

Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books or just want some book suggestions? Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings for details on reading selections and meeting dates for September.

What’s on your calendar for September?


SEPTEMBER EVENTS

Intro to Swedish with Jean Hanslin (Thursday, Sept. 7, 6:00 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.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Sven Hedin: Great Explorer, Feckless Adventurer, or Self-Promoting Foreign Devil on the Silk Road? (Friday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

Join the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation for a Second Friday presentation from the past Nordic Spirit Symposium, “The Nordic Explorers: From Polar Frontiers to the Silk Road”. Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh, Dept. of History, University of Washington, Seattle, shared about Swedish explorer Sven Hedin and his exploits on the Silk Road. Participation is free, but you must be registered to receive the link.

Intro to Finnish with Joona Sundström (Sunday, Sept. 10, 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.

Virtual Arctic Watercolor Class with Willow Heath (Tuesday, Sept. 12, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Celebrate the Arctic landscape with a watercolor project led by Willow Heath. Willow will give step-by-step instructions on creating your own masterpiece, inspired by the landscape of the Arctic Circle. See class description for required materials.

Webinar: Knitting Nordic Heroes (Saturday, Sept. 16, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

From Merit Emstad who designed the first Selbu mitten to emigrants from the Nordic countries, knitters made an economic impact. These women helped give a sense of national pride, they hired women who at the time could not work out of the home, they set standards for the way we read knitting patterns, and they helped restore their economies. This talk with Steph Anderson will bring light to these heroes, some of whom are famous and some who had to fight to get credit for their work. Registration required for this free event.

Painting with Wool – Rosemaling (Sundays, Sept. 17 & 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Try out needle felting to create a unique wool “painting” in the style of Scandinavian folk art! Students will explore the magic of needle felting to recreate a motif inspired by rosemaled designs on a flat felt base. To begin, students will learn how to stretch a felt backing onto an embroidery hoop, then use needle felting techniques to transform a beautiful array of hand-dyed roving from the instructor Laura Berlage’s own sheep. Kits ($33 value) are included in the class fee. Each kit includes felt backing, wool, and needles.

Dr. Jenni Haukio and Eliza Reid – the First Ladies of Finland and Iceland – with Neil Gaiman (Wednesday, Sept. 20, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Dr. Jenni Haukio and Eliza Reid, the First Ladies of Finland and Iceland, engage in a talk with bestselling author Neil Gaiman exploring the globally captivating traditions and themes of Nordic literature, rooted in a rich cultural heritage. Notable authors in their own right, Dr. Jenni Haukio and Ms. Eliza Reid have published a number of titles in the past years on a variety of themes, including their multifaceted roles as First Ladies of their respective countries. In this conversation with fellow author and master storyteller Neil Gaiman, Dr. Haukio and Ms. Reid reflect on how literary storytelling has historically shaped the national identities of the two Nordic countries and continues to work as an essential tool in amplifying equality and democracy in contemporary societies. A livestream of the event will be available on this NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register.

ASI Demo: Baking Norwegian Skoleboller with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Sept. 21, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for the new school year with a favorite Norwegian baked good, the skolebolle, or Norwegian School Bun! Of course, this vanilla custard flavored bun is a treat for all ages. Kristi Bissell will walk students through the cardamom flavored yeasted dough, the vanilla custard, and the rising and baking process. This lovely bake is sure to be a fall favorite for young and old alike, and students will be ready to tackle the recipe at home after this demo! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the recipe at home at a later date.

Intro to North Sámi (Sunday, Sept. 24, 2:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Webinar: Kayaking the Lofoten Islands: Norway’s Craggy Crown Jewels (Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT, Free)

The Lofoten Islands are a surreal seascape of soaring, snow-speckled peaks rising steeply from deep fjords, white sand beaches, and aquamarine bays. Amidst this natural splendor are historic fishing villages, small cities, and picturesque farms – all bathed in 24-hour daylight during summer months and forever changing in the moody weather of the islands’ arctic location. It’s a kayaker’s dream destination. Dan York, a lifetime paddler and traveler, will share images and stories from two kayaking expeditions he has led to these magical islands, the first in 2017 and the second in 2023. Registration required for this free event.

Rosemaling in the Os Style: Scrolled Box (Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

In this 4-day class, students will be painting a modern version of Os boxes, which can be used for all sorts of treasures. The Os style of rosemaling developed in the west coast of Norway about 1875. Annanias Tweit perfected this style and created a workshop at his farm where he and his apprentices painted tiner, sending baskets, trays, chairs, ale bowls, and delightful small boxes in the bright Os Style. They were sold in the Husflidens of Bergen and even now you can find small antique boxes from that period. A complete kit of supplies shipped to your home (a $105 value) containing paints, brushes, the wooden box, and sandpaper is included in the cost of enrollment. Enrollment Deadline: September 14, 2023


LOOKING AHEAD TO OCTOBER

(Enrollment deadlines are in September; spots still available as of publication date.)

Scandinavian Loom Beading: Green Bookmark, Level 1 (Four Fridays, Oct. 6-27, 2:00-4:00 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 for making your own sparkly beaded bookmark. Learn about the historic use of loom beading and how a remarkably simple process can transform seed beads into delightful designs. The class kit includes a handmade loom designed by the instructor and enough beads, silk thread, needles, and patterns to make two projects, if you wish. Enrollment Deadline: September 22, 2023

Webinar: Exploring the Art of Sámi Joik (Saturday, Oct. 7, 3:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Iŋgor Ántte Áilu Gaup (artist name: Ailloš) grew up in a reindeer-herding family on the Norwegian side of Sápmi, a region that stretches over Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula, traditionally the home of the indigenous Sámi population. Ailloš and joiking are inseparable. He has been joiking as long as he can remember, and it has become key to his work as composer, actor, and teacher. The joik is the traditional form of Sámi song. It has its own musical rules and a very special connection to nature and all living beings. Join Vesterheim to hear Ailloš tell about his life in the far North and hear him joik.

Sparkly Pewter Thread Pendant (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Are you ready for a new twist on tradition? Using pewter wire thread and a macramé style weave, you will create a beautiful pendant with a silver drop. Kit materials will provide you the option to create either a round or V-shaped pendant suspended from enough leather cord to accommodate your preferred necklace length, or you can use a chain of your own! No previous experience is necessary, but a willingness to use hand tools is required. Enrollment Deadline: September 27, 2023

Høstlige Frukt: Divine Flavors of Fall Cocktail Class (Friday, Oct. 13, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Join Malina Bickford, National Brand Director for Sweden’s Åhus Akvavit, for a delightful fall cocktail class to celebrate the rich bounty of autumnal fruits and flavors! From juicy apples to luscious figs, you’ll discover how to transform these seasonal treasures into captivating creations. Bring your favorite aquavit! Malina Bickford will discuss Nordic folklore associated with the autumnal ingredients and guide you through creating two fruit-forward, crowd pleasing cocktails plus a spirit-free “mocktail.” Enrollment Deadline: September 29, 2023

Nordic Appetizers for Autumn and Winter (Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson as they celebrate the flavors of the season with an evening of Nordic appetizers. Create fun Nordic bites like salt-brined cucumbers topped with creme fraiche and honey, lingonberry-brie bites, salmon spring rolls, and other delicious appetizers. Recipes for a signature cocktail and non-alcoholic beverage will also be included. Enrollment Deadline: October 05, 2023

Handcraft at Home: Carving a Snowman (Begins November 1, available all month)

This beginner woodcarving class will allow you to create your own snowman character inspired by Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, right down to the carrot nose and stick arms. Folk Artist and Youth Educator Steph Hughes will guide and show you how to carve a wooden snowman through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you. Enrollment Deadline: October 15, 2023


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.

Summer 2023: Virtual Nordic Events for June, July, and August

With the passing of Memorial Day Weekend and the arrival of June, many people consider summer to be here. Once again, I’m combining virtual events for June, July, and August into one post and will update as new events come on my radar. There are a lot of handcraft and cooking opportunities. Maybe there’s a new dish or craft you’d like to learn about or try this summer?

Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books this summer? Many online book clubs continue to meet during the summer. See details about their summer meetings here.

And since I won’t be returning with a post of monthly events until the end of August, Southern California readers should mark their calendars with two very unique in-person events happening in September, coincidentally both the same weekend. Will you choose one or make time for both events?

On Saturday, September 16, the Norwegian Church in San Pedro will host their outdoor Shrimp and Dance Party – the name and picture say it all! Taking place both days of that weekend, September 16 and 17, is a bigger and better Vista Viking Festival in northern San Diego County (tickets already on sale).

What will you add to your calendar this summer?


JUNE

Exploring Coastal Sámi Handcraft (Sunday, June 4, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join Vesterheim and folk artist and culture-bearer Hege Nilsen in this webinar for a conversation exploring the traditional handcraft of the Coastal Sámi. From leatherwork, to pewter thread braiding and embroidery, to mica embellishments, you will learn about the folk art still made by this segment of Scandinavia’s indigenous people. Registration required for this free event.

Typiskt svenskt / Typical American Discussion (Tuesday, June 6, 9:30 a.m. CT or Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute as Gunn Edberg-Caldwell leads this fun, open discussion about the similarities and differences between Sweden and the United States. What do people generalize or assume about each country or culture? What can one learn from the other? Participants will compare and discover how different yet alike these two countries really are. This class is offered at two different days and times, June 6 in the morning and June 8 later in the day.

ASI Nordic Table: The Swedish Smörgåstårta (Thursday, June 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Gather some tips and tricks for building a smörgåstårta, or Swedish sandwich cake, at home. This savory centerpiece uses sandwich fillings of all varieties to feed a large group with style. Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will walk students through the fillings, cream cheese based “frosting”, and assembly of a classic smörgåstårta before discussing alternatives for a vegetarian or even vegan version, perfect for all sorts of summer gatherings. This classic Swedish dish was featured on the last season of the Great British Bake Off – students will be ready to tackle this dish at home after this class!

Virtual Scan Fest: Midsummer Market (Friday & Saturday, June 9 & 10)

The Virtual Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe, in one online location. To participate, visit the Facebook page and mark that you are “Interested” or “Going” to the event. Then during the weekend of the event, follow the Discussion tab on the Facebook page for products, discounts, and give-aways. Shop Nordic by visiting or contacting businesses that you are interested in. For a master list of businesses and discounts, visit https://www.scandinavianfest.com/ and click on “Shop by Category”.

Vesterheim Family Handcraft at Home: Intro to Rosemaling (Register by June 16)

Join Vesterheim in July for this introduction to rosemaling for the family. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. On the first of July, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access the program. Rosemaling (or rose painting) is a decorative painting technique characterized by scrolls, leaves, and flowers and has been traditionally applied to woodenware. Several distinctive styles developed throughout Norway. You’ll learn how to try different brushstrokes, resulting in beautiful decorative painting. Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to do this family handcraft at home. Enrollment Deadline: June 16.

Vesterheim Filmprat: Narvik (Wednesday, June 21, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

In a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions, join Dr. Maren Anderson Johnson for a discussion of the film Narvik (available on Netflix). In April 1940, the eyes of the world were on Narvik, a small town in northern Norway, a source of the iron ore needed for Hitler’s war machine. Through two months of fierce winter warfare, the German leader was dealt his first defeat. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.

Painting with Wool: Dala Horse (Friday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Explore the magic of needle felting with a delightful Dala horse image and take your colorwork skills to a new level. Dala horses have been a Swedish icon for centuries and this class will take a new spin on the traditional wooden painted form by recreating the image in wool. In this class, students will learn how to stretch a felt backing onto an embroidery hoop and keep it tight for ease of use and how to transform the beautiful array of hand dyed roving from the sheep at Laura’s farm’s into their own interpretation of the project. At the end, the instructor will offer suggestions for using or mounting the finished piece.


JULY

Frida Hansen: A Norwegian Art Nouveau Artist in Wool (Saturday, July 8, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join Vesterheim and writer and weaver Robbie LaFleur for a lecture on the life and work of the innovative Norwegian tapestry artist Frida Hansen (1855-1931). LaFleur spent the month of May 2019, in Stavanger, Norway, on a master artist fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation. Frida Hansen was famous for her monumental tapestries, but she also designed transparencies—curtains and hangings with wool warp and weft. In her signature technique, she left open unwoven areas in the weaving, making the textiles flowing and flexible. Her striking designs were enhanced by the play of light and dark with the open warps. Registration required for this free event.

ASI Nordic Table: Summery Tunnbröd Wraps (Thursday, July 13, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Thin and soft Swedish tunnbröd (literally, thin bread) is often used for serving hot dogs in Sweden, but they are also a great base for summery wraps. Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will demonstrate making tunnbröd on the stovetop and discuss ways to adapt this simple flatbread recipe for the grill. Then, she’ll share a few fun ideas for wrapping up summer’s best produce, perfect for indoor or outdoor meals from July onwards. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be available for download one week in advance.

Dressing the Wise and Foolish Virgins: What Tapestry Can Teach Us About Women, Dress, and Culture in 16th and 17th Century Norway (Saturday, July 15, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join Vesterheim and tapestry weaving instructor Laura Berlage of Erindale Tapestry Studio on a deep dive into the beloved Norwegian billedvev tapestry “The Wise and Foolish Virgins” as she shares how the simple question “What are these women wearing?” transformed into an enchanted journey. Learn how this visual theme intersects Norwegian-Danish history, climate change, the plague, religion, secular expectations of women in marriage, and the production of these tapestries in social context. Learn how her collaboration with The Tudor Tailor inspired the creation of a miniature interpretation of what the tapestries depict in real form, from the smock up to the crown, as well as how learning to visually “read” these tapestries gives us tantalizing hints into the fashions of the era. This visually-rich presentation is infused with stories, details, insights, and deep questions that help us think about these iconic tapestries in a new and layered way. Come ready to dive in and explore this remarkable era in Norwegian history. Registration required for this free event.

Scandinavian Hot Dog Party (Saturday, July 15, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Are you ready to upgrade your hot dog situation from ho-hum ketchup and mustard to something with some serious Nordic flair? Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen to learn how to prepare hot dogs with all the fixings from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark! Enrollment Deadline: July 1.

Nordic Christmas in July / jul i juli! (Saturday, July 22, 5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson for a Nordic Christmas in July. Who says the delicious bites of jul can’t be enjoyed in the heat of summer? In this Nordic take on Christmas in July, we’ll lighten up the menu with summer kjøttkaker, baked brown beans, potatoes, summer gløgg, and gingerbread with berry curd. Enrollment Deadline: July 10.

 


AUGUST

Run Like a Viking Virtual Challenge (August 1-31)

From August 1-31, let the National Nordic Museum inspire you to keep moving and remain active, while having fun with your friends and family! Participants can choose between a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon challenge race. International participation is encouraged! Because this race is virtual, you can walk with your family, run with your friends, or pound the pavement solo anywhere in the world. All entrants will receive a custom Run Like A Viking T-shirt (while supplies last), racing bib, two general admission tickets (expire August 2024) to the National Nordic Museum, and a free pretzel at local favorite Skål Beer Hall.

ASI Nordic Table: Swedish Pancakes, Sweet and Savory (Thursday, August 10, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Pancakes – one of Sweden’s most classic recipes and not just for breakfast! In fact, many Swedes eat pannkakor for dessert or fika. In this demo, Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will run through a great basic pancake recipe and then share ideas for seasonal sweet and savory fillings. Finally, students will learn how to turn the pannkaka into a towering dessert, the pannkakstårta, or pancake cake.

Nordic Camp Food with Patrice Johnson (Thursday, August 10, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Whether you seek adventures in the great outdoors or prefer quiet afternoons on your deck, Vesterheim’s Nordic Camp Food class with Patrice Johnson will have you celebrating the season. Prepare this outdoorsy menu on your next camping trip or in the backyard. It is also ideal for picnics and barbecues. The menu includes pinnebrød (Norwegian stick bread), sausage and condiments, potato salad, and seasonal fruit bars. Signature cocktail and spirit free beverages included. Enrollment Deadline: July 27.

New Nordic Summer Salmon Supper (Saturday, August 12, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Fire up the grill for a fabulous New Nordic late summer supper your guests won’t soon forget! Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a delicious evening of Spiced Salmon Skewers with Lemon, Barley Salad with Corn and Zucchini, and an unforgettable Cardamom Peach Cobbler for dessert. Enrollment Deadline: July 29.

Vesterheim Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Back to School! (Register by August 18)

Join Vesterheim and Evelyn Galstad in September for this back to school language adventure. Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy treat. Enrollment Deadline: August 18.

Heritage Grains in Contemporary Agriculture (Saturday, August 26, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Scandinavians have been using small grains like rye and barley since the Viking age, but how did these grains end up as part of the Norwegian Immigrant story? Join Vesterheim and expert Benji Nichols for a look back at Scandic bread culture and how a resurgence in “artisan” grains is fueling a whole new generation of bakers, brewers, and craft millers, from the Midwest to Scandinavia. Registration required for this free event.


Which events or experiences will you add to your summer calendar?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

May 2023: Nordic Events & Norway’s National Day

A big month for Norwegians, both at home and abroad, is coming up! Norway’s national day, known as 17. mai or Syttende mai, is Wednesday, May 17. Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution in 1814 with flags, children’s parades, traditional costumes, and ice cream, plus more of course, but those are the cornerstones. Read more here about the history of Norway’s constitution and Norway’s unique traditions for the day.

Once again, Norway’s national TV station NRK will broadcast live on the big day starting 7:50 a.m. Central European Time (Monday, May 16, 10:50 p.m. PT). In addition to glimpses of celebrations from all over the country, viewers will enjoy delicious food, special guests, lively entertainment, and of course beautiful traditional costumes.

Locally and in person, SoCal readers are invited to celebrate Norway’s national day at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro on Wednesday, May 17. Doors open at 5 o’clock. The program will be a varied and entertaining mix of professionals and amateurs. Enjoy food and drink for sale, games, speeches, singing, music, and raffles. And as always, there will be a parade around the neighborhood. A recent addition to the entertainment program is violinist Alexander Rybak, winner of Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 with this song Fairytale.

Also happening in Southern California this month is the Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo on Saturday, May 27, hosted by the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44. There will be demonstrations of spinners, weavers, rosemaling, wood burners, and wood carvers along with displays of bunads and knitted sweaters. Watch the making of aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and waffles and enjoy open face sandwiches, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. Admission is free. View their flyer for details.

Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for July through September 2023 opens on Wednesday, May 10, with new online classes in rosemaling & painting, Nordic cooking, Norwegian language (classes start in August), weaving, fiber arts, and woodworking. View the class list here. If anything catches your eye, sign up quickly because spots go fast.

And finally, if you’re a reader, consider joining an online Nordic book club. Visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings for details on reading selections and meeting dates for May and the upcoming summer months.

What’s on your calendar this month as the summer approaches?


Virtual Events in May

Eurovision 101 (Wed., May 3, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Thanks at least in part to a Will Ferrell movie and a band of Italian heartthrobs, the annual Eurovision Song Contest has finally piqued the interest of viewers throughout the U.S. So what’s the big deal? In this musical evening program taught by Vanessa Vaughan, learn the history of the longstanding music competition which launched Swedish pop icons ABBA into stardom, and get a taste of what’s to come for this year’s event. Participants will leave with an understanding of how, why, and when to watch Eurovision this year, and why Swedes in particular go so wild about this competition.

Vesterheim FamilieTid: The History of Trolls (Sat., May 6, 11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Once upon a time, strange and dangerous creatures known as trolls roamed freely in the mysterious Norwegian mountains and forests. But the trolls only went out at night, in the dark, because there was only one thing that could scare a real troll – sunlight. Gather the family together and join celebrated storyteller Lise Lunge-Larsen as she shares stories and the history of trolls in Norwegian folklore. This is certain to delight both the young and the young at heart!

Nordic Language Café (Sun., May 7, 5:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center for their virtual Language Café meet-up 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. All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking we have a spot for you in our 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 SSCC to join. And are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join us as well!

My Polar Experience (Wed., May 10, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Fjällräven Polar is an annual event developed to show that with the right knowledge, equipment, and support anyone can learn to appreciate nature – even in arctic winter conditions. For several days each year, participants drive their own dog sled across the vast landscapes of northern Scandinavia, experiencing a world completely different from their own. Join Vesterheim for an hourlong conversation as Lacey Jean shares about how winning a contest to participate in an opportunity of a lifetime connected her to her roots and acted as a catalyst for a life of adventure and tradition. You’ll be inspired by the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, embracing living outdoors as part of everyday life.

Aquavit Cocktails for Syttende Mai with Emily Vikre (Fri., May 12, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Skål! Back by popular demand, join Vesterheim for this cocktail class featuring aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. (This class is a repeat offering of the class taught in May 2022.) Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery will inspire you with her creative cocktail tips and her storytelling about the history of aquavit, as well as her memories of celebrating Syttende Mai as a Norwegian-American dual citizen. Be prepared to concoct delicious aquavit drinks while engaging with Emily and other cocktail enthusiasts during this fun evening class. Enrollment Deadline:  May 5.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series (Fri., May 12, 7:30 p.m. PT)

Save the date for this session of Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, California.

Celebrate Syttende Mai with the World’s Best Cake: Kvæfjordkake! with Nevada Berg (Sat., May 13, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and celebrated cook and author Nevada Berg in making one of Norway’s most beloved cakes from her new cookbook, Norwegian Baking through the Seasons. Vanilla sponge baked with meringue becomes the centerpiece of this dreamy layer cake filled with custard and whipped cream. Come ready to learn, eat, and have fun! This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along. Enroll by  May 5.

Stolen Virtual Book Talk with Ann-Helén Laestadius & Mathilde Magga (Tues., May 16, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House for a virtual book talk with Swedish Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius on her new novel Stolen, out now in translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles from Simon & Schuster. The discussion will be moderated by Mathilde Magga, and will later be available to stream. Based on real events, Ann-Helén Laestadius’s award-winning novel Stolen is part coming-of-age story, part love song to a disappearing natural world, and part electrifying countdown to a dramatic resolution—a searing depiction of a forgotten part of Sweden. This program will be followed by Nordic Book Club Online discussion of Stolen on June 6 (learn more and sign up here).

Syttende Mai Live with Vesterheim featuring Vidar Skrede (Wednesday, May 17, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Vesterheim invites everyone to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, with them with a livestream performance by Nordic folk musician Vidar Skrede. Vidar Skrede is a freelance Nordic folk musician, playing fiddle, Hardanger fiddle, and guitar. He is from Norway and currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has a background in the traditional music of Rogaland, his home area in the south west of Norway, and has a masters degree in Nordic folk music at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. No registration required. View on YouTube.

Summer Family Book Adventure: In the Hall of the Mountain King (Register by May 18)

Join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading adventure that begins June 1 and is available all summer long. You will be reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out – with Luther College Nordic Studies instructor Evelyn Galstad. A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure. This summer you’ll be reading The Story Orchestra: In the Hall of the Mountain King. Discover the spellbinding magic of Edvard Grieg’s musical retelling of Peer Gynt, and push the button on each beautiful scene to hear the vivid sound of an orchestra playing from Grieg’s score. You’ll also learn more about the composer and the instruments, rhythms, and musical techniques used. In the spirit of the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, the scavenger-hunt-type activity will get your family out into the great outdoors.

Rhubarb in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Thurs., May 18, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate rhubarb in all its forms! In this virtual class presented by American Swedish Institute, Kristi will demonstrate a trio of rhubarb recipes, taking inspiration from Nordic ingredients and traditional dishes. From dessert to beverage and sweet to savory, this class will cover a range of ways to incorporate rhubarb’s tart flavor and beautiful color into anyone’s early summer kitchen. Finally, Kristi will tackle rhubarb’s savory side. After all, it is botanically a vegetable, so it’s about time to try using rhubarb beyond crisps and pies! This is a live, virtual class taught through Zoom. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Billedvev Frame-Loom Weaving Virtual Workshop with Allyce Wood (Sun., May 21, 1:00-5:00 p.m. ET)

Learn the basics of weaving through the use of humble materials and step-by-step instruction in a Billedvev workshop. 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!

Intro to Swedish (Tues., May 23, 1:00-3:00 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.

Painting with Wool: Robin Needle Felting Virtual Workshop with Laura Berlage (Thurs., May 25, 6:00-9:00 p.m. ET)

Have fun with needle felting in a virtual class teaching you to make your own wool robin! Fiber arts instructor Laura Berlage will guide you step-by-step through transforming carded wool into your own adorable spring critter, using a kit of supplied materials including hand-dyed wool from  her farm’s flock of sheep, robin-specific accoutrements, and a foam work surface. Enjoy the process of making your own cute wool friend! The kit supplies enough materials to make a second robin later, offering further practice in your newfound felting skills.


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.