May 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Norway’s National Day 17. mai

Better late than never! We’re half way through the month of May, but many virtual events remain to be experienced. And for Norwegians and fans of Norway, the most important date of all is still ahead of us, Norway’s Constitution Day on May 17, known as Syttende mai in Norway.

Once again, Norway’s national TV station NRK will broadcast live throughout the day starting on Monday, May 16, at 10:50 p.m. PT and a recording will be available to view later. 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. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai på NRK (in Norwegian).

For LA-area readers, Norway’s national day will be celebrated in traditional style at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro on Tuesday, May 17, starting at 5 o’clock. For more details, visit the event page for Sjømannskirken’s 17.mai feiring.

Another in-person Nordic event is happening soon in the LA-area. I hope you’ve marked your calendars for the 45th Scandinavian Festival which returns to Thousand Oaks on June 4 and June 5 at California Lutheran University. It is the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. I’ll be returning as a volunteer!

And finally, are you interested in learning or improving your Nordic language skills? This is the time when some institutions are sharing new class schedules.

Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, recently opened registration for summer classes, both in-person and virtual. Offerings include a new slate of Norwegian classes starting in June (levels 1 through 4). For a peek at all classes to be offered this summer, visit Vesterheim Folk Art School Class Schedule: July -September 2022. Don’t delay in signing up because online classes fill quickly.

American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis has a series of virtual Swedish and Finnish language classes beginning in May. For a full overview of offerings, visit ASI: Lifelong learning in Swedish and Finnish.

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

Syttende Mai with Vesterheim! (Tuesday, May 17, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Vesterheim invites everyone to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day with them. In addition to their on-campus festivities, they will be offering an online presentation from Norway. At noon (CT), Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story My Last 17 Mai in My Hometown, Now as a Red Russ. Last year, Anne Elisebeth joined this event to share her memories of her first Syttende Mai parade (view recording), and this year she will continue the story with her memories of russefeiring, a long-standing tradition for high school graduates in Norway. To watch from home, registration for the Zoom link is required and available here.

Family Friluftsliv Adventure with Vesterheim in June (Register by May 18)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? June’s Family Friluftsliv Adventure is for you! You’ll get to explore the Norwegian tradition of friluftsliv as a family, and you can do it when it works for your family’s schedule. Through hands-on activities and short videos, you and your family will explore the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, spend time outdoors together, and learn and practice Norwegian words and phrases. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these activities along with a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning and a yummy treat.

Swedish Museum Series: Jamtli (Wednesday, May 18, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT)

ASI’s Swedish Museum Series returns with a virtual tour of one of Sweden’s oldest and largest open air and country museums, Jamtli in Östersund. This museum features some of Sweden’s most spectacular pieces including The Överhogdal tapestries, which are over 1,000 years old. After the program, registrants will receive a recording of the tour.

Nordic Innovation Summit 2022 (Thursday, May 19, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT)

The Nordic Innovation Summit 2022 will be held in a hybrid format with a free live-streaming option from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p. PDT. Protecting the future of democracy is a principal theme in this year’s Nordic Innovation Summit. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the threat of cyberattack and the need for enhanced security and energy independence looms large in the minds of government leaders and corporations. This year’s Summit deals with the most important issues confronting the world today. Visit the website for information on keynote speeches, presentations, and panels.

Demo: Swedish Strawberry Rulltårta with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, May 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST)

Learn to make this festive rulltårta cake filled with roasted strawberries and vanilla pastry cream just in time for your Midsommar celebration! Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen will share some of her favorite cake baking tips to help students be successful in making a beautiful rolled cake at home. 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 and a recording will be shared after class, available for re-viewing for one month.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, May 22, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Anxious People (Thursday, May 26, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, hosts its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. They invite you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works with them the last Thursday of each month. For May’s meeting, they will be reading the dark comedy Anxious People by reputed Swedish author Fredrik Backman, translated by Neil Smith.

Swedish American Museum Book Club: Swedish Again: a memoir of motherhood and identity (Saturday, May 28, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss Swedish Again: a memoir of motherhood and identity by Anna Dahland.

Writing as a Vehicle for Change: Swedish Women Authors (May 31 –  June 21)

With discussions and reading material in English, this program explores Swedish and Finnish-Swedish women writers—from Victoria Benedictsson to Lena Andersson. Learn about their historical and social contexts, reflecting on love, emancipation, social rights, class, and gender. Class will begin with an introduction and meets Tuesdays, May 31 – June 21, 5:30–7:00 p.m. CT.

Virtual Meet the Author: The Border by Erika Fatland (Saturday, June 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT)

Join Dr. Scott Radnitz, the Herbert J. Ellison Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, as he talks with Norwegian author Erika Fatland about her latest book The Border. “An astute and brilliant combination of lyric travel writing and modern history, The Border is a book about Russia without its author ever entering Russia itself. Erika Fatland gets to the heart of what it has meant to be the neighbor of that mighty, expanding empire throughout history. As we follow her on her journey, we experience the colorful, exciting, tragic, and often unbelievable histories of these bordering nations along with their cultures, people, and landscapes.”

Celebrate Midsummer with Aquavit and Herring (Saturday, June 11, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. CT)

No Midsummer gathering is complete without aquavit and herring. Join Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen and learn how to make an aquavit cocktail to pair with three unique flavors of pickled herring, all starting with jarred pickled herring from the store. Students will be sent the ingredients list and class preparation approximately one week before the class in order to prepare. Enrollment deadline is June 3.

Virtual Viking Metal-Weaving Bracelet Class (Saturday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PT)

Dating back to the Viking era, this metal-weaving project is a great introduction to jewelry making. Using copper and silver wire, learn the steps for metal knitting—a simple looping technique—over a round, wooden dowel. Once the knitting is made, a drawplate is used to pull the knitting through, which compresses and lengthens the wire into a beautiful hollow chain. Then, by attaching end caps and a clasp, you’ll transform the chain into a lovely bracelet. All bracelet materials are provided, including complete instruction from start to finish through discussion and demonstration of all steps in the process. Materials will be sent by mail upon registration.

Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events for June.

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.

Virtual 17th of May Celebrations for Norway’s Constitution Day

Curious how you can celebrate Norway’s national day on Monday, May 17? With the pandemic still limiting how we can celebrate, organizations are hosting virtual events this year as well. Below you’ll find a sampling of virtual events from various locations around the U.S. with strong Norwegian ties as well as Norway’s own national broadcast. In this listing, all times have all been converted to Pacific Daylight Time for ease of planning.

On our national day, Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution which happened on May 17, 1814. However, Norway’s call for independence was not accepted and so it stayed in a union with Sweden and didn’t become independent until 1905.

It is known to be a day of children’s parades and marching bands, hot dogs and ice cream, speeches and songs, and bunads and flags. “The celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day is a party like no other.”

11:50 p.m. (5/16) – 7:00 a.m. (5/17) Pacific Daylight Time — NRK’s Gratulerer med dagen!

This is a tough one for folk on the U.S. West Coast to watch live due to the time difference, but you’ll be able to watch a recording at your convenience. Produced by Norway’s national TV station, program hosts Nadia Hasnaoui og Christian Strand will be filming from Oslo’s Akershus festning (Akershus Castle) overlooking the Oslo Harbor. In addition to seeing how Norwegians all over Norway celebrate, you will also get a glimpse of how the royal family will commemorate the day. There will be food and entertainment segments as well. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai 2021 på NRK (in Norwegian).

7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. PDT — Norway Day: A Virtual Celebration from New York City & Washington DC

Norway Day is a collaboration between Sjømannskirken in New York and Norwegian groups and organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. At 7:00 a.m. PT, join the Raising of the Flag ceremony which includes a speech by the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and music from Rockville Brass Band. This is followed by a church service from the Norwegian Church in New York at 8:00 a.m. PT (service in Norwegian). Finally, at 1:00 p.m. PT enjoy a 17th of May concert with musicians from both Norway and USA.

9:00 a.m. PDT – 17. mai Celebration at Pacific Lutheran University/Scandinavian Cultural Center

Join PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center in Tacoma, WA, for the premiere of their 17. mai – Norwegian Constitution Day celebration.

10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT — Virtual Kids’ Craft: Collage a Norwegian Flag for Syttende Mai

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and celebrate Syttende Mai with a Norwegian flag art project! Make a Norwegian collage flag. Cost: Free; RSVP required to receive the link.

10:00 a.m. PDT — Syttende Mai with Vesterheim

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, for a free webinar as they celebrate Syttende Mai with friends from Norway and the United States! First Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Next, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) will offer Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park.
Register to receive the free Zoom link.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Seattle

Join an online celebration from Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. It will begin with a pre-program lineup of entertainment and fun from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Then a virtual program from The National Nordic Museum will feature remarks from Grand Marshal Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen from Seattle’s Sister City Bergen; Honorary Marshal Eric Nelson, CEO, National Nordic Museum; and Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Royal Norwegian Embassy; and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. It will also include memories from past Syttende Mai celebrations and Syttende Mai song sing-alongs.

5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Minnesota

Syttende Mai Minnesota will host an online event in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day. Connect with the Norwegian-American community and hear remarks from Her Excellency Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States. Afterwards, Ethan Bjelland from Norway House and Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program will lead us in singing a few celebratory songs! This event is complimentary and accessible to everyone. Register by May 16.

5:30 p.m. PDT — 17. mai feiring med Sjømannskirken i Los Angeles

Sjømannskirken in Los Angeles is hosting an in-person celebration with limited capacity. However, festivities will be live-streamed on their Facebook page for those who would like to follow along. The program includes speeches, music, song, Norwegian flags, and a raffle.

How will you be celebrating 17. mai this year?