What I’ve Been Reading Lately (March 2021) & Latest #ScandiReadingChallenge Reads

March was quite the mixed bag in regards to the setting and genre of my books which made for a great month of very interesting and engaging reading. I also made good progress on my 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge checking off two more prompts. What have you been reading lately?


The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
(Narrated by Jennifer Lim)

I love novels that teach me about a real time and place that I know little or nothing about. This book did exactly that, and it had strong female characters to boot. The story takes place on the South Korean island of Jeju starting in the late 1930s. Women were the main providers for their families by diving and harvesting from the sea, while men watched the children and cooked. It follows the close friendship of two women from very different backgrounds as they begin their diving careers. Readers follow their struggles and their resolve during the Japanese colonization of the island, World War II, Korean War, and into modern times. It provides fascinating insight into a unique culture where women are in charge. The language was also beautiful. It was almost like reading a foreign book but yet it was in English. I listened to the book which was a wonderful experience because it helped with Korean names and words which were used often. I highly recommend this, but don’t expect a light and easy read. It’s a moving story, at times heartbreaking, about women during very challenging times.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This young adult book has been on my TBR list since it was published in 2017. I didn’t want to see the movie because the book is always better. It was worth the wait and didn’t disappoint. Sadly, the book’s topic is still very relevant today. What I thought most interesting about the story was how the main character, Starr, navigated her two identities, her Black self from the poor, gangridden neighborhood where she lived with her family and her private school self in a nice neighborhood away from home. She was careful to watch her language and behavior both places so she wouldn’t stand out. That became hard when she was witness to a police shooting of a childhood friend from her home neighborhood which became headline news. This is a powerful story that inspires empathy and compassion without being preachy.


The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

It was the setting of this historical fiction novel that piqued my interest: early 1600s on an island in the extreme northeastern part of Norway. You can practically not get any further north or east in the country. And the story is based on true events that were unfamiliar to me, a storm in 1617 that killed the men of a village and the 1621 witch trials in the same area. It’s a story about women’s resilience and ability to fend for themselves and strong female bonds in the aftermath of the storm and at the arrival of a man sent to set these women straight and rid the community of witchcraft. The setting was intriguing and I love a story with strong female characters.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book originally written in a language other than Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish that takes place in Scandinavia


Jeg vet hvor du bor by Unni Lindell (In Norwegian)

I read this book as part of a virtual Norwegian language and literature class with Mindekirken in Minneapolis, MN. They had already read the first third in the fall, and I joined them for the second third this winter. The return to work and the gradual restarting of sports and school for my boys made it hard for me to continue with the class this spring, so I finished reading it on my own. It is hard to read a crime novel over many months! You forget what turns out to be important details. I really enjoyed being able to read the last third on my own in a matter of days. I didn’t always like the decisions the main investigator made, but overall, the story and plotting were very engaging. It took place in Oslo which is always a bonus for me. Book #2 in the series, Dronen (in Norwegian), is on my TBR list.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A buddy read or group read (in real life or virtually) of a Nordic book


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for April 2021

Happy Spring! And God påske (Happy Easter) to those celebrating. April offers a new slate of virtual Nordic events to attend. Food including full spring meals, books, film, handcrafts, dance, history, and culture… whatever your interests, there are many options. Mark your calendars now so the opportunities don’t pass you by.

In Norway, Easter is synonymous with crime fiction. It even has its own name, påskekrim (Easter crime). You can read more about this unique Easter tradition here (Life in Norway). Amazon currently has many great Scandinavian crime fiction books on sale for 99 cents as well as other good books in translation. Take a look at my Scandinavian Ebook Deals if you’re interested in adding to your kindle library or need something new to read this Easter weekend.

What events interest you?


Nordic Easter — Virtual Crafts and Celebration (Friday, April 1 – Monday, April 5)

Join the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for an Easter-themed workshop exploring unique traditions and children’s crafts from different Nordic regions! Easter in the Nordic countries is all about welcoming the long-awaited spring after the dark and cold winter months, and Nordic families head out to the countryside to enjoy the long weekend together. All Nordic people love their chocolate eggs, but children’s Easter traditions differ in each country.

PBS Masterpiece: Atlantic Crossing (Premiering April 4)

The new Norwegian eight-part drama series Atlantic Crossing is coming to PBS Masterpiece on April 4. A princess steals the heart of the president of the United States in an epic drama based on the World War II relationship of Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha. Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) stars as Roosevelt, opposite Swedish star Sofia Helin (The Bridge) as the beautiful Martha, who flees the Nazis with her three young children and lives under Roosevelt’s protection.

Norwegian Dancing Alone Together (Monday, April 5, 10:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. CT)

This is the first of three connected dance classes offered by Carol Sersland and Kari Tauring of Norway House in Minneapolis, MN. It has been a tough year for dancing and they want to give participants of all ages and abilities a chance to move to a tune called Tussen i Buchmannhaugen, or The Land Spirit in Buchmann’s Hill. This tune is a gangar from Telemark, Norway, and played on the hardingfele, or the hardanger fiddle. The second (April 12) and third (April 19) classes build upon the first one.

Skolt Sámi-Inspired Hat with Laura Ricketts (Tuesdays, April 6 & 13, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT)

The Skolt Sámi people’s homeland is where the modern countries of Norway, Russia, and Finland meet – in the Petsamo (or Pechanga) region. This hat is inspired by several of the Skolt Sámi knitted motifs observed at the Sámi Museum Siida in Inari, Finland; the Ä’vv Skolt Sámi Museum in Neiden, Norway; and the Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Sevettijärvi-Näätämö, Finland. This class includes a kit shipped to your home with three colors of Cascade 220 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, the printed pattern, and a special treat from Vesterheim. This class is two Zoom sessions on April 6 & 13 (6-7:30 p.m. CT).

Breaking Boundaries: A Conversation with Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité and Marcus Samuelsson (Thursday, April 8, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)

Hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité and chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson host the podcast “This Moment” that examines current events through the lenses of their respective current countries (Sweden and USA) and their deep roots in both places, with the thoughtfulness of two of the world’s most respected creative artists in their fields. Together, along with their vast network of compelling global guests, they are able to uniquely capture This Moment for us all. Join the four major Swedish-American Museums for a webinar that explores the road towards the creation of the podcast and a look at how the Swedish-American community can find its way forward in this global movement.

New Nordic Cinema Week 8: Aalto (Finland) and Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being (Estonia) (Friday, April 9 – Thursday, April 15)

The eighth session of Scandinavia House’s series, New Nordic Cinema, features the film Aalto (dir. Virpi Suutari; 2020, Finland), a documentary and love story of Finnish modern architecture/design masters Alvar and Aino Aalto; and the film Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being/Fred Jüssi. Olemise ilu (dir. Jaan Tootsen; 2020, Estonia), a documentary about the Estonian biologist, nature writer, and photographer Fred Jüssi. The films are available as a special double-feature package.

The Sámi People of Norway (Friday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Vesterheim is giving an online presentation for the Scandinavian Club of Albuquerque. Former Trustee, Kate Martinson, will speak about the indigenous people of the North and the interesting story of their history and current ways of life. The Sámi people have long lived across Norway and as far as Western Russia. Their unique experiences include aspects of religious transition, stewardship of land and mineral wealth, survival after near devastation during WWII, and the development of a separate Sámi Parliament in Norway. They continue to herd reindeer, protect a unique language, and share their culture and customs. Learning about the Sámi people opens a new aspect of Norway and its history.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: The Icelandic Sagas (Friday, April 9, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Second Friday Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month they present a video presentation by Professor Merrill Kaplan about the Icelandic Sagas. Participation is free. Click here to register for the presentation. After you have done so, a screen will appear giving you the link. The link will also be sent to the email with which you register.

Scandinavian Crispbread Baking Workshop (Saturday, April 10, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST)

Ever wondered how that extraordinary Scandinavian crispbread is made? Join native Dane Leda Jessen of Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a traditional baking event and get the chance to learn the secrets to how the bread gets its crisp! You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed and a Zoom link at least 48 hours prior to the event.

Virtual Book Talk — My Friend Natalia (Saturday, April 10, 1:00 p.m. ET)

On April 10, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a book talk with Finnish author Laura Lindstedt and translator David Hackston to discuss My Friend Natalia, the author’s U.S. debut, available from Liveright Publishing on March 23, 2021. My Friend Natalia is a linguistic sexual thriller centered on one woman’s potent affliction: Natalia cannot stop thinking about sex. The unnamed, ungendered therapist who narrates the novel has leapt at the chance to employ their most experimental methods.

New Nordic Springtime Supper (Saturday, April 10, 5:00-6:30 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen to make an easy roasted salmon supper with a zesty, fresh relish featuring cucumbers, radishes, scallions, and prepared horseradish. For a second course, you will make a versatile and delicious warm pearl barley salad with mustard, lemon juice, and fresh garden herbs. And then top it off with a simple free-form tart with rye crust and a delicious strawberry rhubarb filling. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and invites exchanges between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions.

Collection Connection: Bridal Crowns and Wedding Traditions (Monday, April 12, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Collection Connections is a series of Vesterheim-hosted conversations featuring beloved folk-art school instructors. Summer is wedding season in both Norway and America. Whether you are a practicing jewelry artist, an inspired folk artist, or planning a wedding of your own, join master jeweler Liz Bucheit as she highlights bridal crowns and other wedding objects from the Vesterheim collection.

Online Nordic Book Club: Youth & Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (Tuesday, April 13, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On April 13, they’ll be discussing the books Youth and Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen, volumes 2 and 3 in The Copenhagen Trilogy, which has been recently re-released in translation by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman. This session follows their Online Nordic Book Club of Childhood on March 16. The trilogy was the subject of a recent panel discussion with Michael Favala Goldman, Morten Høi Jensen, Rachel Kushner, and Ben Lerner, available to stream here.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Baking Tunnbröd (Flatbread) (Thursday, April 15, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Swedish flatbreads come in all shapes and sizes: thicker, thinner, harder, softer, grainy or full of spices. In this class, instructor/ASI staff member Erin Swenson-Klatt will demonstrate a few thin, soft flat breads – think of them as the tortillas of Sweden! The recipe packet will be provided via email one day before class with log in information. This class is recorded and shared afterwards with registrants; interested students who cannot tune in live for the weekday class may still register and watch later.

Virtual Cinema — The County (Iceland) (Thursday, April 15 – Sunday, April 18)

See a virtual screening of the film The County / Héraðið directed by Grímur Hákonarson (Iceland, 2019). Set in a small Icelandic farming community, The County tells the story of Inga, a middle-aged dairy farmer, who rebels against the monopolistic practices of the Erpsfjörður, a powerful local farming cooperative. Screenings are co-presented by Scandinavia House with National Nordic Museum and Scandinavian Film Festival of Los Angeles. It is available to audiences throughout the US (92 minutes, in Icelandic with English subtitles).

May Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Norges historie (History of Norway) (Deadline to sign up: April 16)

Join Eddy of Vesterheim this May for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language and history along the way! 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 Syttende mai themed craft, and a yummy treat. The adventure starts on May 1 and the vocabulary and phrases will focus on Norges historie, Norway’s history, during this special month of Norway’s Constitution Day, Syttende mai (on May 17). Enrollment deadline is April 16.

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/ Ruth Lillegraven (April 17, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on April 17 for a virtual book talk with Norwegian author Ruth Lillegraven to discuss her book Everything Is Mine. The talk is in conversation with Dr. Elizabeth De Noma. Family secrets, revenge, and righteous fury collide in an international bestselling novel of psychological suspense and intrigue.

Nordiska’s Book Club: An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good (Thursday, April 22, 6:00 p.m. PST)

To broaden readers’ Nordic reading repertoire and to engage with fellow bookworms, Nordiska, a Nordic gifts and goods store in Poulsbo, WA, has created Nordiska Book Club. In recognition of Norway’s fascination with mystery and crime during Easter, they have selected a lighthearted Nordic mystery novel, An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good written by Helene Tursten and translated into English by Marlaine Delargy. For more information and to register, click here.

Painting Bryggen with Jana Peterson (Thursdays, April 22 & April 29, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Jana Peterson joins Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, to offer a two-part online painting class. Participants will learn how to make their own “Bryggen” masterpiece over the course of two 1.5-hour sessions. Jana will take you through the steps to create the pictured work of art. Each session will have an opportunity for questions to be asked and answered live. You’ll need a set of supplies to participate and they have options: purchase one of their Curated Kits with your registration if you sign up by April 8 or use the materials list to compile your own supplies.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Spring Market (Friday & Saturday, April 23 & 24)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe in one online location during the absence of in-person festivals. The event will include 55+ Nordic vendors, giveaways, new products and more. To participate, visit the event’s Facebook page and mark that you are “Interested” or “Going” and keep an eye on the “Discussion” tab as soon as the event starts to join in the action.

New Nordic Cinema Week 9: Games People Play (Finland) (Friday, April 23 — Thursday, April 29)

The ninth session of the series features the film Games People Play / Seurapeli (Finland, 2020; dir. Jenni Toivoniemi). A comedy about the tragedy of remaining forever young, Games People Play takes place over the course of a nostalgic weekend, when an old group of friends gathers to celebrate Mitzi’s birthday at an idyllic seaside villa — just as they did as teenagers. But the party gets off to a bad start when it turns out that the birthday girl isn’t so happy about the surprise; and with the addition of a new boyfriend in the group, who happens to be a Swedish Hollywood star.

A Modern Syttende Mai: An Intimate Cook-Along Class with Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen (Saturday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated food writer and author Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen in making a traditional 17 May meal with a few modern twists. Whether in Norway or abroad, Norway’s Constitution Day is a celebration full of lively parades and gatherings with elaborate tables of delicious spreads and outdoor grills on the ready. In this class, you’ll make the toppings from Nevada’s cookbook for two of her Nordic-inspired hot dogs – The Summer Dog and The Viking. She’ll show you how to prepare homemade strawberry ketchup and two variations of aioli. For the side, you’ll prepare a spring potato salad bursting with radishes and cucumbers. To round off the meal, you’ll make traditional potato tarts with fresh berries and whipped cream. Enrollment Deadline: April 3, 2021. This class is also offered on Sunday, April 25.

Virtual Nordic Handcraft Workshop: Posament Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT)

Learn how to make elegant posament bracelets, which have been found in Viking burial sites, by braiding pewter thread and sewing it to a soft leather strip. “Posament” refers to knotting and braiding wire into ornaments used to decorate textiles. Students will practice creating either a “Josephine” or triangular series of braided knots on nylon cord before class, then join jewelry instructor Liz Bucheit over Zoom to construct a length of knots with coiled pewter thread and sew the finished braid to a softened leather strip to fashion a bracelet. A pewter button provides the finishing touch. Kits are included in the class fee.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): The Almost Nearly Perfect People (Sunday, April 25, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join for a conversation about The Almost Nearly Perfect People by author Michael Booth. An American living in Denmark, Booth explores the perception in Western media of the Nordic region as a utopic place. Through his engaging anecdotes of personal experiences and research on the social welfare state, he presents some of the realities – as he sees them – of the Nordic region today. Enrollment deadline: April 23.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: A Valborg Fest with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, April 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready to grill for Valborg, Sweden’s holiday to welcome back spring! Whether we can gather with friends outside or not this year, Valborgmässoafton on April 30 has always been an opportunity for Swedes to look ahead to warmer and longer days ahead with a big bonfire and music. Patrice will demonstrate an appropriately spring-y menu that could even inspire a Minnesotan to break out their grill in April, or at least give some great ideas for dinners into May and beyond. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can see several recipes and prepare them later.

New Nordic Cinema Week 10: Diana’s Wedding (Norway) (Friday, April 30 – Thursday, May 6)

The tenth session of the series features the film Diana’s Wedding (Norway, 2020; dir. Charlotte Blom). On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana Spencer is marrying Prince Charles in the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. And on that same day, another celebration is taking place in the canteen of a Norwegian small-town factory: the wedding party of Liv and Terje, attended by their newborn daughter Diana. While less glamorous than those of the royal counterpart, the wedding and its following years are indisputably more fun — for all but the young Diana, who sees it as a rollercoaster filled with chaos, inflicted by the worst parents in the world.


Which April 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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (February 2021)

This was a niche reading month for me! All the books were in translation from Scandinavia. They did at least represent a variety of sub-genres — refugee and immigration fiction, folktales and legends, and crime fiction. And very fulfilling for me was that I finally checked off the last prompt for my 2020 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. Now I can focus fully on the 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge and other reads.

What have you been reading lately?


Skyggedanseren (The Shadow Dancer) by Sara Omar
(Translated to the Norwegian from the Danish by Inge Ulrik Gundersen)

This is the follow-up to a book I read a year ago, Dødevaskeren (The Dead Washer). This duology is about Frmesk, a Kurdish woman who immigrates to Denmark at a young age, and the abuse and struggles she had to endure as a female in a Muslim community, both in Kurdistan and Denmark. The structure of the two books combined was very unique and interesting. Book #1 alternated between Frmesk’s life as a young child in her grandparents’ household in Kurdistan and her life in Denmark 30 years later when she was alone in a hospital bed for unidentified reasons. Book #2 filled in many blanks in Frmesk’s life. It alternated between the next years with her grandparents in Kurdistan and her young adult years in Denmark when she was a university student and then married a Kurdish man. Frmesk lived a difficult, hard, and painful life. The only shining light for her was her grandparents. Everyone else failed her. It was an extremely tough read with much abuse happening at all ages in her life, but it was eye-opening to see what girls and women in certain parts of the world have to endure even when they emigrate to supposedly more open-minded societies. The story of Frmesk has made a deep impact on me.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2020: A book by or about refugees to Scandinavia


By the Fire: Sámi Folktales and Legends, Collected and Illustrated by Emilie Demant Hatt (Translated from the Danish by Barbara Sjoholm)

This is another book that’s been on my radar for a while and that I finally read when an opportunity arose to join a virtual book club meeting to discuss it in honor of Sámi National Day which was February 6. I’m not normally interested in folk tales and legends, but I am intrigued by Sámi history and culture. I did enjoy reading these stories collected by a Danish artist and ethnographer during her travels among the Sámi in the 1920s. This collection of stories with accompanying linoleum prints and “Field Notes and Commentary” by the author as well as an “Afterword” by the translator which featured photos of the storytellers and more background information provided a very unique and enlightening look at Sámi culture.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021:

  • A buddy read or group read (in real life or virtually) of a Nordic book
  • Bonus 1: A prompt from a previous year’s challenge (2020: A book by, about, or involving the Sámi indigenous people)

Smoke Screen (Alexander Blix & Emma Ramm #2) by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger (Translated from the Norwegian by Megan Turney)

I don’t usually read the next installment in a series this quickly (I read #1, Death Deserved, in November 2020), but I wanted to read #2 in advance of a virtual event with the authors and a favorite bookstagrammer which took place this month. I really enjoyed the first in the series, so it wasn’t hard to pick this one up. Just like in the first book, online news journalist Emma Ramm and police investigator Alexander Blix inadvertently join forces to solve a mystery. In this case, there’s an explosion in Oslo on New Year’s Eve and one of the victims is the mother of a girl who was kidnapped 10 years earlier and never found. What ensues is a dual investigation as the cold case of the kidnapping is reopened and the explosion is investigated. I like smart police procedurals with likeable investigators, and the setting being Oslo is certainly a plus. This was a very engaging read which I may have liked even better than the first one. For those wondering, book #2 can be read without having read #1.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021:

  • An unplanned or impromptu Scandinavian read
  • Bonus 2: A book by a Nordic author you’ve enjoyed before

Pakkis by Khalid Hussain
(Translated from the Norwegian by Claudia Berguson and Ingeborg Kongslien)

This book has been on my radar for many years, and I finally seized the opportunity to read it when I learned that it was the pick for Vesterheim’s monthly reading group in February. Written by the author when he was 16 years old, it’s a short account exploring a slice of life of a teenage Pakistani immigrant and his family in Oslo. It’s based on his own experiences as an immigrant in the 1970s. The book’s character, Sajjad, arrived in Norway at the age of 4 and learned the language easily. His parents, however, had more trouble assimilating. The book tackles the difficulty Sajjad has of navigating his two conflicting identities, that of his family and religion and the other of his assimilated Norwegian identity. It also explores conflicts that arise relating to the father’s expectations and the son’s wishes. Originally published in 1986, it seemed like it could have been written recently. The only things missing were cell phones and social media. It was an interesting look at an immigrant family’s experiences which most likely shares many similarities with immigrant experiences elsewhere and in contemporary times.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021:

  • A Scandinavian book you’ve been meaning to read
  • A buddy read or group read (in real life or virtually) of a Nordic book
  • Bonus 1: A prompt from a previous year’s challenge (2018: An immigrant story)

What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Currently, the first book in the Alexander Blix & Emma Ramm series, Death Deserved, is free!

Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for March 2021: More Nordic Film & Language Learning Opportunities

Welcome to March and a new slate of virtual Nordic events. Mark your calendars now so the opportunities don’t pass you by.

March welcomes another virtual Nordic film event, Nordic Lights Film Festival hosted by National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA. Films will stream March 7-14. Partnering with National Film Festival for Talented Youth, they will also be presenting a shorts program that includes emerging filmmakers from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies; those films will only be viewable in Washington State. However, many have no restrictions. For programming and ticket information, visit the festival website. Personally, I’m intrigued by The Birdcatcher’s Son/Fågelfångarens son, a drama from Sweden that takes place in the late 1800’s on the Faroe Islands.

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, continues to celebrate contemporary Nordic filmmaking with its virtual New Nordic Cinema film event. Festival films will be available to ticket holders all over the U.S. Each session is limited to 250 tickets. The sessions will take place over seven days (Friday – Thursday), with all films available for viewing on a virtual cinema screening platform throughout this period.

  • Week 3, February 26-March 4: Maria’s Paradise/Marian paratiisi (Finland, 2019; dir. Zaida Bergroth) and The Reformist – A Female Imam/Reformisten (Denmark, 2019; dir. Marie Skovgard)
  • Week 4, March 5-11: Uncle/Onkle (Denmark, 2019; dir. Frelle Petersen)
  • Week 5, March 12-18: Force of Habit/Tottumiskysymys (Finland, 2019; dir. Kirsikka Saari, Elli Toivoniemi, Anna Paavilainen, Alli Haapasalo, Reetta Aalto, Jenni Toivoniemi, Miia Tervo)
  • Week 6, March 19-25: Echo/Bergmál (Iceland, 2019; dir. Rúnar Rúnarsson)
  • Week 7, March 26-April 1: Beware of Children/Barn (Norway, 2019; dir. Dag Johan Haugerud)

March is also when many Scandinavian language centers begin their spring semesters of language learning opportunities which are still online and available to a wider audience.

What events interest you?


New Nordic Cinema Week 3: Maria’s Paradise and The Reformist (February 26 – March 4)

Celebrate the start of Women’s History Month with this double feature, both directed by women and about strong women: Maria’s Paradise/Marian paratiisi (Finland, 2019; dir. Zaida Bergroth) and The Reformist – A Female Imam/Reformisten (Denmark, 2019; dir. Marie Skovgard). The Reformist is a documentary about Muslim leader Sherin Khankan as she established Europe’s first female-lead mosque. Maria’s Paradise is about a charismatic seer in 1920s Finland.

Nordic Women in Film – Iceland: Borders & Boundaries (Tuesday, March 2, 5:00 p.m. – Thursday, March 4, 5:00 p.m. PST)

In the final week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Icelandic movie And Breathe Normally (director Ísold Uggadóttir, 2018). “Two women’s lives will intersect while trapped in circumstances unforeseen. Between a struggling Icelandic mother and an asylum seeker from Guinea-Bissau, a delicate bond will form as both strategize to get their lives back on track.” Q&A and panel discussion will take place Wednesday, March 3, 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST exploring the question “How do filmmakers influence physical, geographical, and emotional boundaries?” Registration opens February 15.

Digital Exhibition: Conversations with a Shipwreck (March 4 – June 5)

Beginning Thursday, March 4, Scandinavia House Online is proud to introduce the interactive digital exhibition Conversations with a Shipwreck with a haunting, multimedia meditation on the Swedish warship Vasa, created in word and image by ASF Fellows Joan Wickersham and Adam Davies. Through presentations of poems and large-format photographs, with short durational video and audio, this digital art and literary exhibition responds to the legendary warship — which sank only minutes into her maiden voyage — exploring themes of memory and oblivion, technological triumph and fiasco, permanence and impermanence, mortality and time.

New Nordic Cinema Week 4: Uncle (March 5 – 11)

In the fourth week of Scandinavia House’s New Nordic Cinema, watch Denmark’s Uncle/Onkle (2019, dir. Frelle Petersen), “a beautiful exploration of small-town Danish life that is both stunningly picturesque and quaintly endearing in its navigation of young love and complicated relationships” (view trailer).

New York International Children’s Film Festival: Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers (March 5 – 14)

Screening at the New York International Children’s Film Festival is the Norwegian live action film Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers directed by Silje Salomonsen and Arild Østin Ommundsen. Vega, 9, and her wild sister Billie, 5, are going on an overnight outdoor hike in the lush Norwegian woods. The trip is full of exciting climbs, silly jokes, and happy trekking until Dad pulls one acrobatic stunt too many, falling into a cave and injuring his leg badly. Unable to move, he asks Vega and Billie to get help. Anxiously retracing their steps, they know that everything depends on them now, as Vega tries to keep them focused on the goal despite setbacks, surprises, and Billie’s many distractions. They bravely face their fears, discover their superpowers, and find strength in their sisterhood. Recommended for ages 7+. In Norwegian with English subtitles.

Thursday Night Soup: New Nordic Ärtsoppa (Thursday, March 11, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Most Americans probably aren’t familiar with Sweden’s Thursday night soup tradition of ärtsoppa (yellow pea soup). It might be safe to say that many young modern Swedes are not as familiar with ärtsoppa as the generations that came before them, and the national dish has fallen out of fashion in more recent years. While pea soup has been around for many centuries, the ärtsoppa tradition dates back to the time when Catholic rule came to Sweden and meat was forbidden on Fridays, thus a meat-fast began Thursday nights. The soup is said to have been used to assassinate King Erik XIV who consumed a bowl laced with arsenic in the late 1500s. In class, you will learn about the traditional Thursday night soup and prepare a modern ärtsoppa flavored with Thai curry, coconut milk, cilantro lime yogurt, and fried lefse crisps, as well as ärtsoppa’s long-time partner pancake dessert (plättar). Sign up for this small-group event to be able to interact with food historian Patrice Johnson as she cooks.

Second Friday Nordic Spirit Classics: Viking Women: Valkyries and Housewives – Mistresses and Mothers (Friday, March 12, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is beginning a monthly series of Second Friday Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. The topic of the first one is “Viking Women: Valkyries and Housewives – Mistresses and Mothers” by Marit Synnøve Vea of Avaldsnes, Norway. Participation is free. A link for the virtual presentation will be given the day before the event. For access information, please contact nordicspiritclassics@gmail.com.

The Nordic Book Club: Exile by Jacob Ejersbo (Sunday, March 14, 4:00 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center in San Francisco welcomes you to join their Nordic Book Club where they’ll read books by Nordic authors in English. They plan to cover writers from all the Nordic countries. March’s book is Exile by Danish writer Jacob Ejersbo. It’s the first in a trilogy inspired by his own childhood in Tanzania. The event is free of charge, but you must register.

Virtual Intro to Finnish (Sunday, March 14, 12:45 – 2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited about a new language? This two-hour introductory workshop 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 Intro to Swedish (Sunday, March 14, 3:00 – 5:00 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 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. This class is currently sold out, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Seattle Jewish Film Festival: The Crossing (Sunday, March 14, 5:00 p.m. – Wednesday, March 17, 5:00 p.m. PT)

This is the story of adventurous 10-year-old Gerda and her brother Otto, whose parents are in the Norwegian resistance movement during the Second World War. Just before Christmas 1942, their parents are arrested, leaving the siblings on their own, whereupon they discover two Jewish children, Sarah and Daniel, hidden in a secret cupboard in their basement. It is now up to Gerda and Otto to finish what their mother and father started: to help Sarah and Daniel flee from the Nazis, cross the border to neutral Sweden, and reunite with their family. Directed by Johanne Helgeland with screenplay by author Maja Lunde, this is a family drama (rated PG) in Norwegian with English subtitles. Ticket sales end 2 hours before streaming period. There is no grace period after the 72-hour timeframe expires. Available for viewing throughout the United States.

Online Nordic Book Club: Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen (Tuesday, March 16, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. At this meeting, they’ll be discussing the book Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen, which has been recently re-released in translation by Tiina Nunnally as part of the The Copenhagen Trilogy. The trilogy was the subject of a recent panel discussion with Michael Favala Goldman, Morten Høi Jensen, Rachel Kushner, and Ben Lerner, available to stream here. This event is free. For more information and to register, visit the event page.

April Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Vår i Norge / Spring in Norway (Deadline to sign up: March 17)

Join Vesterheim in April for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language and culture along the way! The theme for the April adventure Vår i Norge (Spring in Norway). 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. Gather your family to share in the fun as you gain a new understanding of the Norwegian language and Norwegian culture. Enrollment deadline is March 17.

Panel Discussion: Seizing Symbols: Hate Groups’ Co-opting of Culture (Sunday, March 21, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for this panel discussion. Why have far-right extremist groups co-opted symbols of the Nordic countries’ pre-Christian past? What is understood and misunderstood by such groups about the culture referenced? This panel will explore the appropriation of Norse symbols by white supremacists and other types of hate groups in North America and Europe. This event is free, but RSVP is required to receive link.

Collection Connections: Dairy Production & Cooking Utensils (Tuesday, March 23, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Norwegian food specialist and Vesterheim instructor, Darlene Fossum-Martin, and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik as they focus on objects in the collection that tell a story about Norway’s unique food traditions. From wooden dough bowls, to cheese molds, to milk strainers, and beyond!

Collection Connections: Gudbrandsdal Rosemaling from Past to Present (Wednesday, March 24, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim Gold Medalist and rosemaling instructor, Pam Rucinski, and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik as they highlight the journey and shifts in the painting style of Gudbrandsdal rosemaling. Pam will share some examples from the collection. She will discuss how travel to Norway has influenced the work of contemporary Gudbrandsdal rosemalers. Pam will trace the impact Jakob Klukstad and other master artists, including woodcarvers, have had on rosemaling for over 300 years.

Travel Seminar – Spectacular Mountains, Waterfalls and Fjords of Norway (Wednesday, March 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. CT)

Join Mindekirken’s Magne Hatlevik, a Møre og Romsdal native, for a tour across beautiful landscape as you visit some of Norway’s most important national symbols featured in Eidsvoll, Hamar, Lillehammer, Åndalsnes, and Trollstigen. Travel through Western Norway’s rugged terrain winding your way from Sunnmøre all the way back to Oslo. During a time when Norway’s borders might be closed for all but necessary travel, Magne will bring a piece of Norway to you.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): The Mercies (Wednesday, March 24, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join her in March to discuss The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. “After a storm has killed off all the island’s men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft… Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1620 witch trials, The Mercies is a feminist story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.” (Description from Goodreads)

Virtual Nordic Table Workshop: Waffles for Våffeldagen with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, March 25, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CT)

Jump right in and make some waffles to celebrate one of Sweden’s well known food holidays, Våffeldagen (Waffle Day). Students can follow along from home to make a light lunch or afternoon fika from Swedish-style waffles. Traditionally thin and heart shaped, these recipes will work with any thinner waffle iron. This is a live “cook along” class taught over Zoom. A shopping list will be shared one week in advance so students can make sure they have the ingredients on hand.

Nordiska Book Club — The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman (Thursday, March 25, 6:00 p.m. PT)

To broaden readers’ Nordic reading repertoire and to engage with fellow bookworms, Nordiska, a Nordic gifts and goods store in Poulsbo, WA, has created Nordiska Book Club. In recognition of International Women’s Day in March, they have decided to highlight a lesser-known woman’s narrative from Nordic history. They will be discussing The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown. Join them in reading and discussing this Viking woman’s story. For more information and to register, click here.

The 45th Annual Kalevala Day Festival – The Healing Power of Singing (Saturday, March 27, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. PST)

The National Nordic Museum together with the Finnish Choral Society invites you to the 45th Annual Kalevala Day Festival—The Healing Power of Singing. The Kalevala Day tradition goes back to 1835, when the national epic of Finland, the Kalevala, was published for the first time by Elias Lönnrot. The Kalevala epic played an important part in developing Finland’s national identity and Finnish language, art, and music. The first Kalevala Day was celebrated on February 28th, in 1885. The Kalevala Day celebration continues to this day in Finland with cultural events. The event will be shown on YouTube Live on the Museum’s website starting at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 27.

Meet the Author: The Copenhagen Trilogy (Sunday, March 28, 10:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, to discuss The Copenhagen Trilogy by Danish author Tove Ditlevsen. In this talk, translator Michael Favala Goldman as well as Professor Marianne Stecher-Hansen will discuss this courageous and honest trilogy from literary icon Tove Ditlevsen—a pioneer in the field of genre-bending confessional writing—which explores themes of family, sex, motherhood, abortion, addiction, and being an artist. The talk will be moderated by Elizabeth DeNoma.

 


Which March 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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (January 2021)

My 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge is live, but I’m still reading my last book for the 2020 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. Too many other books have wormed their way onto my currently-reading list so it’s taking longer to complete the ones in progress. I’m not in a rush, though, and I’m enjoying each book in its own time and place, whether it’s on a walk, in the car, inside or outside, or in bed.

What have you been reading lately?


The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
(Narrated by an ensemble of seven)

This was a book club pick for which I had not been a part of the selection discussion, so I went into it not knowing anything about it. I loved that it introduced me to a part of history with which I was not familiar, the CIA during the Cold War, in particular the role of women at the agency. Additionally, I was introduced to Boris Pasternak, a famous Russian poet at the time and the author of Dr. Zhivago, and his mistress Olga. All of this intrigued me. I liked how the story jumped between East and West until the plot lines merged. I definitely enjoyed the first half more than the second half which I felt dragged a little. Unfortunately, the ending was unsatisfactory for me. Overall, however, it was a very enjoyable listen with an ensemble of seven narrators, and I appreciated the insight into the role of the agency, women, and literature during the Cold War.


The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

This book has been on my TBR for a while and reading it now was spurred by an upcoming virtual visit by the author to my son’s English class. It’s a Southern California immigrant story, but not your typical one. The story takes place in a small town in the Mojave Desert. A Moroccan immigrant who’s lived in the area with his family for 20+ years is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The book explores the family’s grief and the aftermath of the incident from the perspectives of a diverse group of people in the community. I liked the slow reveal of who was responsible for the hit-and-run and the secrets kept by the family members. I enjoy complex structures, and in this case, the various perspectives jumped back in time as well. I really enjoyed this book.


The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
(Narrated by Emily Shaffer, Kirby Heyborne, Lauren Fortgang)

This was an impromptu pick after seeing it mentioned on Instagram several times and the audiobook being available at hoopla. It being a Jane Eyre retelling meant nothing to me since I haven’t read Jane Eyre, but I was drawn to the domestic thriller/mystery aspect. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it instead of listened to it? The narrators’ performances of the main characters were good, but the voice and tone for the housewives annoyed me. Also, the language in the book was off-putting, so many f-bombs. This was maybe even more obvious because I was listening to it and couldn’t skim over them. I didn’t like any of the characters but kept reading because I wanted to know what would happen next and that’s what got me to the end.


When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson (Author, Illustrator), Omar Mohamed (Author), Iman Geddy (Illustrator)

This book will stay with me for a long time. It’s a middle grade graphic novel memoir about the refugee camp experience of Omar and his disabled brother. Omar and Hassan had to flee civil war in Somalia as very young children without their parents and arrived at a refugee camp in Kenya as orphans and lived there for about 15 years before being resettled to the USA. It was an eye-opening look, both heart-breaking and heart-warming, at life in a refugee camp from the perspective of a child — the living situation, food insecurities, educational system, and resettlement process. The drawings added tremendous value to the story. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I highly recommend this book.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for February 2021: Sámi National Day & Nordic Film plus more!

A new month means new opportunities to attend virtual Nordic events on topics of all kinds. There are films, crafts, books and authors, cooking and baking along with family language and art opportunities.

This is also a month to bring awareness to the only  indigenous group of Europe, the Sámi. Saturday, February 6, is Sámi National Day celebrated by the indigenous peoples of Sápmi, an area consisting of land in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The first Sámi National Day was celebrated in 1993. It commemorates the first Sámi congress which was held February 6, 1917, in Trondheim, Norway, when Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. Sámi National Day didn’t become an official flag day in Norway until 2003. Celebrating the day has become increasingly popular with celebrations and programs not just taking place domestically in those countries but also abroad. (If you’re interested in more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.)

February is the month for virtual film events! Three film events featuring Nordic films will take place over the next few weeks.

Nordic Women in Film is a free, 5-part event series presented by the five Nordic embassies in the US. (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Women in Film and Television International, and Women in Film & Video Washington, DC. Weekly film screenings will be accompanied by Q&As and special conversations relating to the week’s film and theme.

  • February 2-3: “Boundless Art, Boundless Success” featuring Finland’s Tove
  • February 9-11: “Inconvenient & Outrageous Women” featuring Denmark’s Queen of Hearts
  • February 16-18: “Personal Stories & Big Budgets” featuring Norway’s Hope
  • February 23-25: “The Gaze” featuring Sweden’s Lucky One
  • March 2-4: “Bordering & Boundaries” featuring Iceland’s And Breathe Normally

South Social Cineclub’s Travel the World features films from Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. All screenings are at 7:00 p.m. UK time (11:00 a.m. PST, 2:00 p.m. EST) and you can watch the films as part of their exclusive BFI Player extended free trial offer.

  • Thursday, February 11: The Painter and the Thief by Benjamin Ree (Norway)
  • Wednesday, February 17: The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
  • Tuesday, February 23: Rams by Grímur Hákonarson (Iceland)
  • Wednesday, March 17: Festen by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
  • Tuesday, March 23: Under the tree by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Iceland)
  • Tuesday, April 27: A white white day by Hlynur Pálmason (Iceland)

Scandinavia House’s New Nordic Cinema celebrates contemporary Nordic filmmaking by showcasing some of the best new contemporary feature films and documentaries in weeklong sessions.

  • Week 1, February 12-18: The Deposit /Tryggð (Iceland, 2019; dir. Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir) and Gods of Molenbeek /Aatos ja amine (Finland, 2019; dir. Reetta Huhtanen)
  • Week 2, February 19-25: Phoenix /Føniks (Norway, 2018; dir. Camilla Strøm Henriksen) and Transnistra (Sweden, 2019; dir. Anna Eborn)
  • Week 3, February 26-March 4: Maria’s Paradise /Marian paratiisi (Finland, 2019; dir. Zaida Bergroth) and The Reformist — A Female Imam /Reformisten (Denmark, 2019; dir. Marie Skovgard)

What events interest you?


Nordic Women in Film – Finland: Boundless Art, Boundless Success (Wednesday, February 2, 8:00 p.m. – Thursday, February 3, 8:00 p.m. EST)

In the first week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Finnish Oscar-nominee Tove (director Zaida Bergroth, 2020) about Moomin-creator Tove Jansson. “In the midst of her artistic struggles and unconventional personal life, Tove Jansson found worldwide success from an unexpected side project: the creation of the beloved world of the Moomins. TOVE is a captivating drama about the creative energy of an iconic talent and her turbulent search for identity, desire, and freedom.” (Film only available to viewers in the US.) Q&A and panel discussion will explore the question “What does it mean to live and create freely? What lies behind artistic ambition and who is to judge the worth of one’s work?”

  • Online Q&A on Tove with director Zaida Bergroth, actress Alma Pöysti, producer Andrea Reuter and screenwriter Eeva Putro: Wednesday, February 3, at 3-3:30pm EST
  • Online Special Conversation on Boundless Art, Boundless Success. Speakers: Zaida Bergroth (FIN), Isabella Eklöf (SWE), Terry Pheto (ZAF/US), Pamela Green (US). Wednesday, February 3, at 3:30-4:30pm EST

Virtual Nordic Stories (for Kids): Children of the Northlights (Thursday, February 4, 10:00 – 10:30 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for story time and craft with their special guest, librarian Sara Jensen. Listen to the story Children of the Northlights by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. Inspired directly by a remarkable journey the d’Aulaires took to northern Europe and their time spent among the Sámi, Children of the Northlights is a brightly illustrated portrait and celebration of the Sámi people, culture, and snow-covered landscapes of the frozen north, from two of the twentieth century’s greatest storytellers. After the story, Sara will teach kids how to make a craft with items found at home.

Thursday Night Soup: Swedish Ärtsoppa (Thursday, February 4, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. CT)

Most Americans probably aren’t familiar with Sweden’s Thursday night soup tradition of ärtsoppa (yellow pea soup). It might be safe to say that many young modern Swedes are not as familiar with ärtsoppa as the generations that came before them, and the national dish has fallen out of fashion in more recent years. While pea soup has been around for many centuries, the ärtsoppa tradition dates back to the time when Catholic rule came to Sweden and meat was forbidden on Fridays, thus a meat-fast began Thursday nights. The soup is said to have been used to assassinate King Erik XIV who consumed a bowl laced with arsenic in the late 1500s. In class, you will make this traditional classic. Sign up for this small-group event to be able to interact with food historian Patrice Johnson as she cooks.

Bieggolmmái: Sámi National Day (Friday, February 5, 9:30 a.m. PST)

Join The British Museum in London for a celebration of Sámi culture on February 5, ahead of Sámi National Day on February 6. In this event, they ask how Sámi way of life can remain strong and resilient in the face of climate change, land encroachments and other challenges, while remaining hopeful for the future. Leading the discussion about this unique culture are Anne May Olli, Director of Norway’s RiddoDuottarMuseat; Liisa Holmberg from the Sámi Film Institute; Ingá-Máret Gaup Juuso, a Sámi Yoik artist; and Chair Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, an elected member of the Sámi Parliament in Finland. You can also view this event on YouTube any time after it is streamed.

Nordic Spirit Symposium: Nordic Spirit Classics (Friday, February 5, & Saturday, February 6)

This year Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation’s annual Nordic Spirit Symposium will be virtual. It will bring you some of the best presentations from the early Nordic Spirit years, including Dr. Richard Hall’s “Vikings in England”, Dr. Steven Koblik’s “Scandinavia During WWII”, and Prof. H. Arnold Barton’s “Scandinavian Immigrants to America”. Participation is free. For schedule details and access information, visit Nordic Spirit Symposium: Nordic Spirit Classics.

Sámi Anthem Sing-Along (Saturday, February 6, 9:30 a.m. PST)

Join Sámi Cultural Center of North American for a virtual Sámi Anthem Sing-Along to celebrate Sámi National Day. Start your celebration with a brief slideshow and performance of Sámi Sova Lavlla by musician Martin (Baehr) Dodd. English lyrics will be provided. Listen, lip-synch, or sing along from home. Request the Zoom link by emailing samicenterna@gmail.com.

Virtual Book Talk—Sámi Media and Indigenous Agency in the Arctic North (Saturday, February 6, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on February 6 for a Sámi National Day book talk with authors Tom DuBois and Coppélie Cocq. “In Sámi Media and Indigenous Agency in the Arctic North authors Tom DuBois and Coppélie Cocq examine how Sámi people of Norway, Finland, and Sweden use media to advance a social, cultural, and political agenda anchored in notions of cultural continuity and self-determination.” Event is free but you must RSVP to receive the Zoom link.

Online Nordic Book Club: The Women I Think About at Night (Tuesday, February 9, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. At this meeting, they’ll be discussing the book The Women I Think About at Night by Mia Kankimäki, who joined Scandinavia House last month for a book talk on the novel with moderator Heli Sirviö (available to stream here). Visit the event page for more information and to register.

Nordic Women in Film – Denmark: Inconvenient & Outrageous Women (Tuesday, February 9, 5:00 p.m. – Thursday, February 11, 5:00 p.m. PST)

In the second week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Danish movie Queen of Hearts (director May El-Toukhy, 2019). “A woman jeopardizes both her career and her family when she seduces her teenage stepson and is forced to make an irreversible decision with fatal consequences.” (Film only available to viewers in the US and Canada.) Q&A and panel discussion will explore question “How are women portrayed in unexpected ways in films, and what happens when women are “inconvenient” and outrageous? Why is it so important to be seen on screen?”

  • Online Q&A on Queen of Hearts with director May El-Toukhy and lead actress Trine Dyrholm: Wednesday, February 10, at 3-3:30pm EST
  • Online Special Conversation on Inconvenient & Outrageous Women. Speakers: Trine Dyrholm (DK), Sofie Helin (SWE), Elina Knihtilä (FIN). Wednesday, February 10, at 3:30-4:30pm EST

Koselig Cocktails with Vesterheim (Thursday, February 11, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. CT)

An important part of Nordic culture is the willingness to embrace the cold, dark winter. In this class, you will focus on hot beverages and the power they have to get us feeling koselig, or cozy. You’ll learn some new recipes while also developing the skills to create your own unique hot toddy. Take your warm cocktail outside and embrace the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, or getting outdoors. Skål! Cost includes the price of the kit, some spices, and an ingredient list you will need to source materials for your class. Registration deadline is February 1.

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/ Kristín Eiríksdóttir (Saturday, February 13, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for the next talk in their popular series Meet the Author. On February 13, Icelandic author Kristín Eiríksdóttir will discuss her book A Fist or a Heart (Elín, ýmislegt). The talk is in conversation with translator Larissa Kyzer and moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma.

Fastelavn Buns – Scandinavian Baking Workshop (Saturday, February 13, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST)

The Scandinavian School in San Francisco, CA, invites you to join native Dane and baker extraordinaire Leda Jessen for a Scandinavian baking event for Fastelavn, a family celebration in Denmark. Learn how to make Fastelavn buns, a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and filled with cream. You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed prior to the event, and together with Leda you will bake the day away.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Swedish Semlor (Saturday, February 13, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. CT)

Learn how to bake a wintery Swedish treat, the semla, or Fat Tuesday bun. Semlor are cardamom-infused, almond paste-filled, and whipped cream-topped treats originally indulged only on Fat Tuesday, before the Lenten fast until Easter. These days, Swedes eat semlor in many forms, from New Years until Easter. In this one-hour class, Erin Swenson-Klatt will share a recipe that even novice bakers can tackle at home, along with lots of baking tips and some history and cultural context for these classic baked goods. After watching this one-hour demo, students will be prepared to tackle semlor on their own at home, any time.

Winter Wonderland Snow Art Workshop (Premiered February 13)

As the snow starts falling and creates a winter wonderland outside, take advantage of the weather by making your own snow and ice art! Snow is an excellent medium for all kinds of art-making, including three-dimensional snow murals and molded snow sculptures. You can also freeze colored water with natural objects to create your own snowy fort, similar to a community art installation now up in Ruovesi Finland!

Virtual Book Talk: The Memory Theater (Tuesday, February 16, 2:00 p.m. ET)

On February 16, Swedish author Karin Tidbeck (of Amatka and Jagannath) joins Scandinavia House for a book talk on her latest novel The Memory Theater, available beginning today from Pantheon Books. With moderator Sara Lefkowitz, she’ll discuss her new novel, a fantastical tour de force about friendship, interdimensional theater, and a magical place where no one ages — except the young.

Nordic Women in Film – Norway: Personal Stories & Big Budgets (Tuesday, February 16, 5:00 p.m. – Thursday, February 18, 5:00 p.m. PST)

In the third week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Norwegian movie Hope (director Maria Sødahl, 2019). “What happens with love when a woman in the middle of her life gets three months left to live?” Q&A and panel discussion will take place Wednesday, February 17, 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST exploring the question “Movies about personal stories tend to receive less attention and smaller budgets than films about broader topics. Why is that and what makes the personal political?” Registration opens February 1.

Vesterheim Collection Connections: Hardanger Fiddles (Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim Gold Medalist Karen Rebholz and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik as they discuss Hardanger fiddles, the national instrument of Norway. Harkening back to its inception in the Baroque period, the Hardanger fiddle is richly ornamented with shell, bone, and ink and is played with asymmetric rhythms, multiple tunings, and non standard tones. The Hardanger fiddle has four or five sympathetic strings that resonate with the four bowed strings producing an ethereal sound. The traditional music has been preserved by means of an unbroken aural chain. Using examples from Vesterheim’s collection and Karen’s own collection, they will show how each fiddle is a work of art with unique form, decoration, and sound.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Swedish Pea Soup and Pancakes (Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. CT)

Looking for some tips and tricks to make Swedish pea soup a part of your winter repertoire? Patrice Johnson will walk you through a traditional örtsoppa recipe along with its classic accompaniment, Swedish pancakes. These recipes are both simple and satisfying, and their history as a traditional Thursday dinner in Sweden are fascinating, so Patrice will cover history as well as cooking tips.

Radical Nationalism and the Politics of Nostalgia — Virtual Panel (Thursday, February 18, 10:00 a.m. PST)

Join American Scandinavian Foundation for a virtual round-table discussion on “Radical Nationalism and the Politics of Nostalgia,” which will touch upon topics such as Nordic and U.S. right-wing extremism, populism, white melancholy, and the normalcy of whiteness. The event will take place as a Zoom webinar. For more information on panelists and to register, visit here.

March Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Vikings and Mythology! (Deadline to Join: February 18)

Join Vesterheim in March for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language along the way! The March adventure will focus on Vikings and mythology. 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. Gather your family to share in the fun as you gain a new understanding of the Norwegian language and Norwegian culture. Enrollment deadline is February 18.

Family Handcraft at Home: Try Rosemaling! (Deadline to Join: February 22)

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. Vesterheim invites you to try your hand at this historical handcraft. Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to do the family handcraft at home. You can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore rosemaling whenever it is most convenient to you and your family members. Enrollment deadline is February 22.

Launch Celebration: Smoke Screen by Enger & Horst (Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 p.m. UK)

To celebrate the launch of the paperback edition of their latest Nordic Noir thriller Smoke Screen, Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst will be in conversation with top crime fiction reviewer Abby @crimebythebook. This is the second installment in the Alexander Blix and Emma Ramm series. “When the mother of a missing two-year-old girl is seriously injured in a suspected terrorist attack in Oslo, crime-fighting duo Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the case, and things aren’t adding up…” Email cole@orendabooks.co.uk if interested in attending.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): Pakkis (Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join her in February to discuss Pakkis by Khalid Hussain. Drawing from his own personal experiences as a Pakistani immigrant to Norway in the 1970s, Hussain discusses the challenges of Sajjad, a teenager in Oslo, as he tries to negotiate his identities as Pakistani and as a new immigrant to Norway. This coming-of-age story illuminates the struggles and challenges of negotiating race and integration in Norway.

Nordic Women in Film – Sweden: The Gaze (Tuesday, February 23, 5:00 p.m. – Thursday, February 25, 5:00 p.m. PST)

In the fourth week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Swedish movie Lucky One (director Mia Engberg, 2019). “Ageing gangster Vincent works long nights and dreams of another life. When he is unexpectedly given responsibility for his teenage daughter Grace, his life starts to change.” Q&A and panel discussion will take place Wednesday, February 24, 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST exploring the question “What happens with the world when young women define their own reality instead of being defined by others?” Registration opens February 8.

Virtual Book Talk: A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall (Thursday, February 25, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Join Scandinavia House for a book talk with Ingrid and Joachim Wall on the book A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall, their moving memoir of an inexplicable crime, a family’s loss, and a legacy preserved, out now in translation by Kathy Saranpa from Amazon Crossing. “Kim Wall was a thirty-year-old Swedish freelance journalist with a rising career. Then, in the summer of 2017, she followed a story that led to an eccentric inventor in Copenhagen. Instead of writing the next day’s headline, she’d become one.” The event will take place as a Zoom webinar. For more information and to register, visit here.

Virtual Crafts & Cocktails (Thursday, February 25, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PST)

Recharge from your day with an evening of creativity and fun with National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA. Get a mini virtual tour from one of their docents, learn a cocktail recipe, and make a craft using supplies you might have around the house. This month’s craft is handmade polaroids! Materials needed for this craft are paper, pen or pencil, watercolors/markers/collage materials, and scissors.

Nordiska’s Book Club — By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends (Thursday, February 25, 6:30 p.m. PT)

To broaden readers’ Nordic reading repertoire and to engage with fellow bookworms, Nordiska, a Nordic gifts and goods store in Poulsbo, WA, has created Nordiska Book Club. Each month they will select a title from their library and then host a virtual club meeting via Zoom to discuss the book. This month, they will be discussing By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends collected and illustrated by Emilie Demant Hatt (first published in Danish in 1922) and translated by Barbara Sjoholm (2019). The translator will be a part of the meeting to discuss her work on the book. For more information and to register, click here.

ASI’s Virtual Midwinter Folk Festival (February 27 & 28)

This joyous annual celebration of folk music, dance and songs brings together some of the foremost artists and practitioners from Sweden, locally and nationally to share the Scandinavian skills and traditions in a weekend of virtual workshops and a culminating concert. For programming and ticket information, visit the event page.

Nordic Women in Film – Iceland: Borders & Boundaries (Tuesday, March 2, 5:00 p.m. – Thursday, March 4, 5:00 p.m. PST)

In the final week of Nordic Women in Film, watch the Icelandic movie And Breathe Normally (director Ísold Uggadóttir, 2018). “Two women’s lives will intersect while trapped in circumstances unforeseen. Between a struggling Icelandic mother and an asylum seeker from Guinea-Bissau, a delicate bond will form as both strategize to get their lives back on track.” Q&A and panel discussion will take place Wednesday, March 3, 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST exploring the question “How do filmmakers influence physical, geographical, and emotional boundaries?” Registration opens February 15.


Which February 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.

Introducing the 2021 #ScandiReadingChallenge

I invite you to participate in my 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. Last year my reading focus was distracted. This year I want to leave room for distraction and unexpected reads. I’m also offering more opportunity to read books beyond the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. You can explore Iceland and Finland as well.

With that, I’d like to introduce the 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. I hope you’ll consider participating. You do not need to commit to completing all the prompts. You may use the two bonus prompts as substitutes for any of the given prompts if they don’t speak to you or as additions if you finish them all. My hope is just that you’ll consider Scandinavian/Nordic books for your reading and that we can share reading ideas and thoughts on what we’re reading throughout the year.

Prompts for Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021

  1. A Scandinavian book you’ve been meaning to read
  2. An unplanned or impromptu Scandinavian read
  3. A book by a new-to-you Scandinavian author
  4. A Scandinavian book from a favorite genre
  5. A prize-winning Scandinavian book
  6. A book originally written in a language other than Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish that takes place in Scandinavia
  7. A book set in a Nordic country you would like to visit or revisit
  8. A Nordic book you chose for the cover
  9. A Nordic book in a genre you don’t normally read
  10. A buddy read or group read (in real life or virtually) of a Nordic book
    Bonus 1: A prompt from a previous year’s challenge (201820192020)
    Bonus 2: A book by a Nordic author you’ve enjoyed before

Here are some printable PDF forms you might find helpful:

What prompts look most interesting to you?

I’m looking forward to the prompt encouraging me to read a Nordic book as a buddy read or a group read, either in real life or virtually. I’m already reading Jeg vet hvor du bor by Norwegian author Unni Lindell for my Norwegian language and literature class. My college Zoom group recently agreed to read Anxious People by Swedish author Fredrik Backman together. There’s always invitations on bookstagram to join a buddy or group read. Maybe this is the year for that.

I also look forward to exploring books written in a language other than Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish but that take place in Scandinavia. Many such books have come on my radar over the years, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them. The most recent addition to the list is The Mercies by British author Kiran Millwood Hargrave which takes place in a fishing village in Northern Norway in the early 1600s.

I look forward to hearing about any Scandinavian/Nordic books you read this year. Feel free to share your reads in the comments on my monthly “What I’ve Been Reading Lately” posts or over at Instagram with the hashtag #ScandiReadingChallenge.

Happy reading!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (December 2020) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

December and 2020 are a wrap, but I’m still going to need a little time to complete my 2020 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. I still have one category left to check off, a book by or about refugees to Scandinavia (just started Sara Omar’s Skyggedanseren translated from the Danish to the Norwegian). I’m okay with taking January to wrap it up since my reading focus was bit distracted this past year. Then I need to finalize plans for my 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory
(Narrated by Louise Brealey)

I’m not one to usually binge read books in a series, but the first book in the Fairmile series, Tidelands, was such a captivating and engaging read that our book club selected the second book to read right away. Dark Tides jumps ahead 20 years from where the first book left off. Family members have scattered around the globe: Alinor and her daughter have made their way to London, Alinor’s brother is in New England, and Alinor’s son has settled in Venice. I really enjoyed these different perspectives and the insight into life in 1670 in those places. I thought the story was a little slow to get going, but once it did, it moved fast and intensively. You are definitely going to have opinions about the characters in this book, good and bad. We’re eagerly awaiting news of the next book in the series. The audiobook was a fantastic listen.

Reading Challenges:


Dregs (William Wisting, #1) by Jørn Lier Horst
(Translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce)

Jørn Lier Horst is my favorite Norwegian crime writer. I usually read his books in Norwegian, but this time I thought I’d try one in English. I began by listening to the audiobook, but I was turned off by the narrator’s interpretation of the characters and switched to ebook. What a difference that made. Wisting is a likeable and respectable police investigator who works in a smalltown, coastal community south of Oslo. This crime, like others in the series, requires him to travel around the area to investigate. Horst’s books usually tackle a greater social issue; this one questions whether incarceration is effective. (This is the first Wisting book to be translated into English but actually the sixth book in the series. Wisting, the TV series, is available to view through Amazon Prime Video.)

Reading Challenges:


Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset
(Translated from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally)

I finally finished the classic Kristin Lavransdatter by Nobel Prize winning author Sigrid Undset, a trilogy I read over three years, one book a year. It’s a surprisingly fascinating account of a woman’s life from childhood to death in medieval Norway. The first book, The Wreath, was definitely my favorite because it was unlike anything I expected from a book written in the early 1900s about Norway in the 1300s. The second, The Wife, was my least favorite due to all the political history I was unfamiliar with and the many characters I had trouble keeping track of. The third book, The Cross, was a very strong finish and I’m glad I committed to completing the series. In this final installment, Kristin returns to her childhood home of the first book with her husband to live out their years. We see how Kristin’s marriage unfolds and how her seven sons grow up and make decisions about their lives. And coincidentally, the Black Death makes an appearance at the end of the book, which was fascinating to read about considering we’re dealing with a pandemic of our own right now.

Reading Challenges:


By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone. Kristin Lavransdatter, the whole trilogy, just went on sale for $2.99. Dregs by Jørn Lier Horst is currently on sale for $3.99 and his Death Deserved, which I enjoyed last month, is available for $0.99 (as of the publication of this post).

What have you been reading lately?

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for January 2021 + Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA

A new slate of virtual Nordic events is available for all to enjoy. There are exciting opportunities to explore Nordic film, books & authors, cooking & baking, arts & crafts, languages, music, and history. What interests you?

This is the month when Angelenos would normally gather in Beverly Hills to enjoy and discuss movies from the Nordic and Baltic countries. This year, however, film enthusiasts from all over can enjoy the Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo (@SFFLA). It will take place virtually over three weekends in collaboration with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. Starting this Thursday, January 7, view films chosen by the Nordic and Baltic countries to compete for an Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film from the comfort of your own home on your own time. Explore the schedule and plan your weekends. You can buy a Festival Pass for access to all screenings or individual tickets.

Finally, have you set a goal to learn or improve a Scandinavian language? This is the time to consider registering for a class that you normally wouldn’t be able to attend. See In-Person Scandinavian Language Classes Now Online to explore classes that normally meet in person, but now due to COVID restrictions, they are meeting online and available to you. I’ll be joining a language and literature class offered by Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program in Minneapolis that’s being conducted in Norwegian and will be reading a Norwegian crime fiction book. I’m so curious to see how that will work out for me.


The 22nd Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo @ SFFLA: Weekend One (January 7 – 10)

For three weekends this month, SFFLA and Scandinavia House in New York, NY, will bring you “top films from the top of Europe.” Weekend One offers Oscar submissions from Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, and Estonia. Weekend Two you can watch Oscar submissions from Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, and Finland. Weekend Three offers an animated feature submission from Norway/Latvia plus possibly additional programming. Support the festival with a Festival Pass or you can purchase single tickets.

Weekend One film talks/Q&As available to watch include:

Virtual Nordic Stories (for Kids): Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (Thursday, January 7, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for story time and craft with their special guest, librarian Sara Jensen. Listen to the story Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter. The story is illustrated by Icelandic artist Birgitta Sif. After the story, Sara will teach kids how to make a craft with items found at home.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Home Baked Limpa (Saturday, January 9, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Slightly sweet and aromatic limpa bread is a familiar Swedish-American standby. Simply the word for “loaf” in Swedish, it makes a great accompaniment to soups, a yummy sandwich base and excellent toast. The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, invites you to tune in to watch Erin Swenson-Klatt walk through this loaf from start to finish in an hour. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. The recipe packet will be provided via email one day before class with login information. This workshop will be recorded and available to all registrants after class to watch later.

Virtual Intro to Finnish (Sunday, January 10, 12:45-2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited about a new language? This two-hour introductory workshop offered by the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, 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.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Kringle with the Mineck Family (Sunday, January 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, IA, as they celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen together. In this live, family-led cooking demonstration, you’ll learn about traditional Nordic holiday recipes, passed down from one generation to the next. Upon registration, you will receive a list of ingredients and equipment needed, a recipe, and the Zoom link for the event. This event is free.

Virtual Intro to Swedish (Sunday, January 10, 3:00-5:00 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 offered by the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, 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.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): Growth of the Soil (Sunday, January 10, 5:30-6:45 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join her in January to discuss the classic Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun.

Race in the Colonial Past and Present (Tuesday, January 12, 12:00 p.m. EST)

American-Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a virtual conversation between artists Jeanette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle on “Race in the Colonial Past and Present,” moderated by Ursula Lindqvist. In the mid-17th century, Denmark established a colonial presence in the Caribbean and participated in the transatlantic slave trade until the early 19th century. Listen to the two artists discuss colonialism and how commemorative representations can impact the public discourse surrounding Danish colonial history. The event will take place as a Zoom webinar.

Online Nordic Book Club: A Drop of Midnight (Tuesday, January 12, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. At this meeting, they’ll be discussing the book A Drop of Midnight by world-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, who joined Scandinavia House last fall for the online panel “Equity, Inclusion, and Immigration in the Nordic Countries,” available to stream here. Visit the event page for more information and to register.

The 22nd Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo @ SFFLA: Weekend Two (January 14 – 17)

For three weekends this month, SFFLA and Scandinavia House in New York, NY, will bring you “top film from the top of Europe.” Weekend One offers Oscar submissions from Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, and Estonia. Weekend Two you can watch Oscar submissions from Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, and Finland. Weekend Three offers an animated feature submission from Norway/Latvia plus possibly additional programming. Support the festival with a Festival Pass or you can purchase single tickets.

Q&A with Norway’s Official Academy Awards Entry Hope (Premieres Thursday, January 14, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Join American Scandinavian Foundation + Scandinavia House for a virtual Q&A with Norway’s official Academy Awards entry Hope (Håp)’s director Maria Sødahl and lead actors Stellan Skarsgård and Andrea Bræin Hovig, moderated by Scandinavian Film Festival LA director Jim Koenig. Hope, along with Norwegian Oscar short The Kicksled Choir (Sparkekoret), is virtually screening as part of the second weekend of the Nordic & Baltic Oscar Contenders series, available across the U.S. January 14-17, organized by ASF + Scandinavia House and Scandinavian Film Festival LA.

Q&A with Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award Contender The Kicksled Choir (Premieres Thursday, January 14, 9:00 p.m. ET)

Join American Scandinavian Foundation + Scandinavia House for a Q&A with the Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award contender The Kicksled Choir (Sparkekoret, Norway, 2020) director Torfinn Iversen, producer Julia Andersen, and lead actor Benoni Brox Krane, moderated by the Scandinavian Film Festival LA director Jim Koenig. The short film is virtually screening with the Norwegian feature Hope as part of the second weekend of the Nordic & Baltic Oscar Contenders series, available across the U.S. January 14-17, organized by ASF + Scandinavia House and Scandinavian Film Festival LA.

Virtual Lecture: Head to Head—Edvard Munch, August Strindberg, and Photographic Self-Representation (Thursday, January 14, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for a lecture that will focus on the relationship between Edvard Munch and August Strindberg, and each artist’s engagement with photographic self-portraiture. This talk is presented by Linda Rugg, PhD, of UC Berkeley.

Q&A with Sweden’s Official Academy Awards Entry Charter (Premieres Friday, January 15, 8:00 p.m. ET)

In coordination with the Nordic & Baltic Oscar Contenders 2020 film series, held as virtual cinema this year by Scandinavia House with Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. & BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA, see an interview with director Amanda Kernell & lead actor Ane Dahl Torp on Charter, Sweden’s submission for the Best International Feature Film Academy Award.

Q&A with Marja & Ingir Ane Bål Nango about Njuokcamat/The Tongues (Premieres Friday, January 15, 9:00 p.m. ET)

In coordination with the Nordic & Baltic Oscar Contenders 2020 film series, held as virtual cinema this year by Scandinavia House with Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. & BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA, see an interview with directors Marja Bål Nango and Ingir Ane Bål Nango on Njuokcamat/The Tongues, submitted for the Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action). They’ll discuss the making of the film about an attack on a Sami woman and revenge in the tundra.

Virtual Nordic Handcraft Workshop: Faroese Knitted House Slippers (Saturdays, January 16 & 23, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Tackle a unique knitting project from the Faroe Islands while learning new skills in this multi-session virtual class. Skóleistar are the woolen soft shoe liners from the Faroe Islands, traditionally worn inside wooden clogs or rain shoes, but also doubling as a cozy house slipper. In this class offered by American Swedish Institute, explore some of the knitting traditions of the Faroe Islands and choose among two charted designs to make our own pair of skóleistar. For skill, materials, and registration information, visit the ASI’s event page.

The Habbestad Ensemble: Echoes of Norway (Sunday, January 17, 2:00-3:30 p.m. CT)

Norway House’s Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota is proud to present a family of musicians from Oslo, representing three generations of talent. The Habbestad Ensemble has been making music together since 1996. In 1997, they toured the United States for the first time, and they have performed extensively throughout Scandinavia and Europe. This online event will feature a 45-minute streamed concert by the Habbestad family from their home in Norway and a happy hour post-concert talkback in which guests will be able to chat and ask questions of the ensemble.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Kroppkakor and Beyond (Wednesday, January 20, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Dumplings are common across many cultures, but few are as imposing as the Swedish versions: whether klimp, kroppkakor or palt, Swedish potato dumplings are not for the faint of heart. Patrice Johnson will lighten up the foreboding kroppkakor to suit modern tastes, preparing students to tackle this hearty winter meal on their own. This class offered by American Swedish Institute is designed as a demonstration so students can see several recipes and prepare them later.

Kaffe and Cocktails with Impact Coffee (Thursday, January 21, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)

Kaffe (coffee) has long been used as an ingredient in spirits and cocktails, and it has a special place in the hearts of Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans. Participants in this class will learn how to make three coffee cocktails at home: a Hot Maple Whiskey Coffee, a Chocolate Espresso Martini, and a Norwegian Snow, a variation on the White Russian. Class participants will learn a bit of the history behind these classic coffee cocktails, as well as how to make your own coffee liqueur with cold brew you make at home using Impact Coffee (roasted in Decorah, IA). Cost of class includes a kit shipped to your home. No special equipment is necessary. Registration deadline is January 11.

Virtual Lecture: Caring & Curing—Edvard Munch in the Clinic, 1908-09 (Thursday, January 21, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for a lecture exploring Edvard Munch who recorded his stay at a private nerve clinic in Copenhagen (1908–09) in numerous photographs, representing himself laid out for a bath, but also dressed and “at work.” He photographed, sketched, and painted the clinic’s doctor, as well as the nurses, care-workers, and patients who populated his world during his months-long rest cure. This talk explores the world of the clinic through Munch’s work, revealing not only one artist’s experience, but also a new kind of medical institution for caring and curing.

The 22nd Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo @ SFFLA: Weekend Three (January 21 – 24)

Concluding the festival on Weekend Three are two special feature film screenings as well as a pass for multiple short films. Feature films include My Favorite War (Norway/Latvia, 2020; dir. Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen), submitted to compete for the Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, and Life After Death (Finland, 2020; dir. Klaus Härö). Short films include:

  • Dummy / Atkūrimas (Lithuania, 2020; dir. Laurynas Bareiša)
  • Ivo (Norway, 2019; dir. Christina Lande)
  • My Dear Corpses / Mu kallid laibad (Estonia, 2020; dir. German Golub)
  • The Kicksled Choir / Sparkekoret (Norway 2020; dir. Torfinn Iversen)
  • Njuokčamat / The Tongues (Norway 2019; dir. Marja Bål Nango & Ingir Ane Bål Nango)
  • The Weight of All the Beauty /Süda Sõrve Sääres (Estonia, 2019; dir. Eeva Mägi)

Weekend Three film talks available to watch include:

  • My Favorite War – Live virtual film talk will take place on Saturday, January 23, at 2:00 p.m. ET via Zoom webinar. To learn more and register, please click here.
  • Life After Death – A film talk with the director will premiere on Friday, January 22, at 8:00 p.m. ET; click here to watch on YouTube.

February Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Eventyr! (Deadline to join: Friday, January 22)

Join Vesterheim in February for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language along the way! The February adventure will focus on eventyr, or fairy tales. 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. Gather your family to share in the fun as you gain a new understanding of the Norwegian language and Norwegian culture. Enrollment deadline is January 22.

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/ Ingrid Wall and Joachim Wall (Saturday, January 23, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for the next talk in their new series Meet the Author. On January 23, Swedish authors Ingrid Wall and Joachim Wall will discuss their book A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall (2019), a moving memoir of an inexplicable crime, a family’s loss, and a legacy preserved. The talk is moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Hardanger Lefse with the Miller Family (Sunday, January 24, 2:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim as they celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen together. In this live, family-led cooking demonstration, you’ll learn about traditional Nordic holiday recipes, passed down from one generation to the next. Upon registration, you will receive a list of ingredients and equipment needed, a recipe, and the Zoom link for the event. This event is free.

Virtual Panel —Tove Ditlevsen’s The Copenhagen Trilogy (Tuesday, January 26, 7:00 p.m. ET)

American-Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a virtual panel discussion on Tove Ditlevsen’s The Copenhagen Trilogy, in celebration of its publication in English translation by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman. In this event, translator Michael Favala Goldman and authors Morten Høi Jensen (A Difficult Death), Rachel Kushner (The Mars Room), and Ben Lerner (The Topeka School) will discuss this courageous and honest trilogy from literary icon Tove Ditlevsen, a pioneer in the field of genre-bending confessional writing, explores themes of family, sex, motherhood, abortion, addiction, and being an artist. The panel will take place as a Zoom webinar. More information and to register, click here.

Travel Seminar — Møre og Romsdal: Land of Contrasts (Wednesday, January 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CT)

Join Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program to learn about Norway’s county of Møre og Romsdal in the northernmost part of Western Norway.

Sølje-Inspired Earrings (Thursday, January 28, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT)

Learn to create your own silver- and gold-washed earrings in this short class designed to introduce you to the beauty of Scandinavian silverwork. Ever wonder why sølje pins have those shiny dangles with silver disc drops? These discs are called “spoons” or “shells” in Norwegian. Silver has long been a protective element against evil and abduction by the hulder folk in Scandinavia. Legend has it that should you run into the devil while wearing your sparkling sølje, he would see his own reflection and run away! A complete kit of supplies for two pairs of earrings is included in the cost of enrollment. Enrollment deadline is January 14.

Marcus Samuelsson Cook-Along & Virtual Book Talk: “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” (Thursday, January 28, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Join the American Swedish Institute as they, in partnership with Cooks of Crocus Hill, welcome back acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson with an evening celebrating his newest book, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food. In the first of the two programs at 6 p.m. CT, Marcus will join the team at Cooks of Crocus Hill in a cook-along live from his kitchen. Then at 7 p.m. CT, Marcus will join former Star Tribune Taste Editor Lee Dean for a virtual conversation on his new book The Rise. For registration details, visit ASI’s event page.

Virtual Crafts & Cocktails (Thursday, January 28, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for their monthly Virtual Crafts & Cocktails event to craft your own winter wonderland. This month, make intricate snowflakes, taught by local artist Jaffrey Bagge.

Scandinavian Fest: All Hearts Day Market (Friday & Saturday, January 29 & 30)

The Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe, in one online location during the absence of in-person festivals. Need a little Nordic cheer and love this month, then join the next Scan Fest, All Hearts Day Market. The event theme is Valentine’s Day, but products won’t just be themed-based. Event will include 30+ Nordic vendors, giveaways, new products and more. To participate, mark that you are “interested” or “going” to the event.

Cooking from the Heart of Norway: A Conversation with Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen (Saturday, January 30, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated New Nordic chef and author, Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen, to learn about her journey into Norwegian food culture and what it means to make Nordic food today. Norwegian cuisine has been defined by centuries of trade, migration, and the adoption of culinary dishes from other regions and cultures. For a long time, Norwegian cuisine has combined these overlaps and influences with its own strong traditional food culture. Today, there is growing interest in applying traditional techniques and using local ingredients to combine both the past and the present into new, innovative, and inspired meals. This exclusive Vesterheim conversation with Nevada will surely inspire! This event is free.


Which January events or experiences sound 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.

Online Scandinavian Language Classes

Have you resolved to learn a Scandinavian language or improve your current Scandinavian language skills in 2021? Of course there are mobile/web apps, like Duolingo and Babbel, and online and book-based options for independent study, but some of you may prefer regular, personal interaction with an instructor and other learners. Now that institutions have pivoted to offering virtual events and classes, there are many such options to consider. Winter session is open for registration at many Scandinavian centers around the country now.

Here are some options I’ve come across recently. Personally, we are familiar with and recommend Vesterheim’s Family Norwegian Language Adventures. We participated in the ones from October (friluftsliv), November (kos), and December (jul). It was a nice combination of language and culture with accompanying family activities and virtual interaction with other participants (read about our October adventure here).

Please share in the comments if you are familiar with or have experience with any other in-person programs that are now virtual.


Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Folk Art School (Decorah, IA)

Vesterheim’s Heritage and Language classes give students the tools to dive more deeply into their Norwegian roots and connect with cultural traditions. While most classes focus on the culture, language, and history of Norway, some are appropriate for anyone curious about heritage and identity. Some classes are specifically tailored for travelers while others help students travel in their imaginations. These classes sell out quickly (winter sessions are already full), so check back early for spring offerings. View upcoming classes.

A unique language learning option at Vesterheim is their Family Norwegian Language Adventures program. Each adventure promises family fun while learning some Norwegian language along the way.

Join Vesterheim in February for an adventure that will focus on eventyr, or fairy tales. Through short videos, hands-on activities, crafts, and light-hearted games, you and your family will learn and practice new Norwegian skills. In advance, a kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, including a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning as well as a yummy treat. A scavenger-hunt-type activity using the GooseChase app will get you up and moving, exploring, embracing the adventure wherever you are and whenever you choose. Enrollment deadline for the February adventure is January 22, 2021. Register here.


Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program (Minneapolis, MN)

The Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program offers a range of classes for beginner to advanced students. View Language Classes for a list of classes for beginner and intermediate students. Conversation Classes help intermediate learners build confidence by engaging them to use the Norwegian they already know. Language and Literature Classes for more advanced students incorporate Norwegian literature. For the 2021 winter session, literature classes feature the authors Jørn Lier Horst, Anne B. Ragde, Vidar Sundstøl, and Unni Lindell, as well as Netflix’s Norwegian TV series Hjem til jul. See a list of all class offerings here.

Mindekirken also offers an online Norwegian language and culture group for kids ages 6 to 10 called Den Norske Klubben. The winter session starts on January 3 and meets every other Sunday until March 14. The theme for the year is Sanger og fortellinger (songs and stories). With an informal structure, activities may include games, songs, art projects, and dramatic play. Each week is independent from the others, so children can attend as they are able. It is free to attend but registration is required. Register here.


The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA)

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center currently offers language classes for adults in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, as well as Finnish. All classes are taught by native speaking teachers with a focus on conversation and cultural literacy. See offerings here.


Scandinavian Language Institute (Seattle, WA)

The Scandinavian Language Institute offers language instruction classes to the general public in various levels of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Class levels include Beginning, Know-A-Little (Continuing), Intermediate and Advanced plus some Specialty classes. Online classes are scheduled from 4- to 9-week segments throughout the school year depending on the language teacher. They offer live Zoom or pre-recorded classes. See schedules and descriptions here.


American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis, MN)

ASI offers both adult and youth Swedish and Finnish language opportunities. There are traditional classes for adults, Svenska Skolan for kids aged 6-12, and Swedish for Teenagers, a class for students aged 13-18 who are serious about learning Swedish. If you are just curious about Swedish or Finnish and not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class, they offer a virtual intro class for each language as well. See offerings here.


I wish you “lykke til” with any of your language learning endeavours in 2021!