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.

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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!

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

October was a slow reading month so I saved my two reads from that month to share this month. It’s been a very varied period of reading and listening: two children’s books about the Sámi Indigenous peoples of Northern Europe, an LA-based contemporary novel, two historical fiction both coincidentally about a village woman and a man of faith not from the community (luckily different settings, one England in the mid-1600s and the other Norway in 1880), and finally a contemporary crime fiction set in Oslo.

I still have a couple of categories on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge to cross off. Currently, I’m reading a Scandinavian classic, Sigrid Undset’s third book in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. Still to read are a book by or about refugees to Scandinavia (planning Sara Omar’s Skyggedanseren translated from the Danish to the Norwegian) and a Scandinavian book with a film or TV adaptation (haven’t decided yet). Would love to hear about any Scandinavian/Nordic books you’ve read!

What have you been reading lately?


Samer by Sigbjørn Skåden, Illustrated by Ketil Selnes

This is a Norwegian children’s book for ages 9-12 that I discovered when researching Sámi culture and history for a special event I was helping plan at the elementary school where I work. (Special thanks to my mother who helped make it possible for me to read it here in the US!) It’s written by a Sámi author and is even available in the Sámi language. My knowledge of Sámi history was very limited. Reading this book was enlightening and provided a good basis on Sámi history and issues. However, I still have much to learn. Too bad it’s not available in English as it would be a good introduction to Sámi culture and history for English language readers.

Reading Challenges:


Children of the Northlights by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

This was another book I added to my reading list for my school project. It has been on my bookshelf for a long time and was a delight to finally read. First published in 1935, it was written after extensive visits by the authors to the land of the Sámi in the early 1930s. Interestingly, this newer edition published in 2012 includes a note in the beginning noting the authors’ use of the term “Lapp” which is now considered derogatory. The story follows Sámi siblings Lise and Lasse as they go about their daily lives during winter time. I especially enjoyed reading about their relationship with their reindeer and seeing all the pictures featuring Sámi daily life during winter. I question whether Sámi children’s school experience was as pleasant as depicted in the story since the book covers a time period when Sámi were forced to become and learn Norwegian (per an official Norwegianization policy).

Reading Challenges:


The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
(Narrated by Greta Jung)

I was drawn to this book because it was a contemporary immigrant story that takes place in Los Angeles with a family mystery to boot. It’s about Margot who returns to her childhood home in Koreatown only to discover that her mother, Mina Lee, is dead in the apartment. In the process of trying to find out the true cause of death, Margot learns about her mother’s difficult past. There’s a dual timeline: Margot in 2014 when she discovers her dead mother and 1987 when her mother arrived in Los Angeles as an undocumented immigrant from Korea. I started this book as an audiobook but switched to ebook. I felt the narrator did not do justice to the characters. I enjoyed Margot’s and Mina Lee’s stories, and I got a kick out of the setting being here in Los Angeles where the characters visited familiar places, in particular Santa Monica Pier in both timelines, but the narrator’s rendition of the characters grated on me. Finishing the book by reading it made a big difference. I recommend this book but suggest you read it instead of listening to it.

Reading Challenges:


Tidelands (Fairmile #1) by Philippa Gregory
(Narrated by Louise Brealey)

This was a book club pick that I wasn’t overly thrilled to read. I love historical fiction, but England in the 1600s didn’t really interest me as much as other times and places, or at least so I thought. It turned out I loved this book. It was not about royalty as I had assumed it would be. Rather, it was about an ordinary person, Alinor, a poor woman whose husband had left her and their two kids to fend for themselves in a remote village. The story takes places during England’s Civil War in 1648, and religious and political history (Royalists vs. Parliamentarians and Catholicism vs. Protestanism) play a role but not in a way that requires any background knowledge. I got so wrapped up in Alinor’s life and the hardship and judging she had to endure. I admired her strength, perseverance, and independence. The whole book club group enjoyed this book so much that we selected book number two in the series, Dark Tides, for our next read. The audiobook was an excellent listen.

Reading Challenges:


Death Deserved (Alexander Blix & Emma Ramm #1) by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger
(Translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce)

Jørn Lier Horst is a favorite Norwegian crime fiction author with his William Wisting series, but Thomas Enger is new to me. Their joint project intrigued me. I always enjoy returning to my native Oslo through books, and this story really took advantage of Oslo and the surrounding areas as the setting. The main characters, veteran police office Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm, were smart and likeable, and the plot was very engaging with a satisfying end. I look forward to the next installment in the series, Smoke Screen, coming out later this month.

Reading Challenges:


The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
(Translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin)

I loved Lars Mytting’s The Sixteen Trees of the Somme so The Bell in the Lake, the first book in his new trilogy, was high on my TBR list. When it was released in English during the pandemic, I had the chance to listen in on a  virtual chat between the author and translator and became even more enthusiastic about it.

The story takes place in the 1880s in the valley of Gudbrandsdalen in central Norway (also the setting of Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter). It’s about a young village woman who is torn between two outsiders in the community, the new priest who’s selling the village’s stave church to Germany and the German artist/architect who’s come to draw the church so it can be resurrected properly once it arrives in Germany.

I had mixed feelings about the book, much of it having to do with wanting and expecting to love it. I did love the setting and the historical aspect of the story. Getting a glimpse of life in Norway in the 1880s was intriguing, and stave churches have always interested me. Mytting’s descriptive writing really enhanced those aspects. However, I had trouble getting into the story itself. It was a little slow to get going, and at times the dialogue was a bit cumbersome. The dialogue was written in an old Norwegian dialect and it was also translated into an old English dialect. Another issue I had was not totally understanding the chemistry between the characters. Despite this, however, I am very eager to read the second book in the series, Hekneveven. It jumps ahead to the early 1900s and continues the legacy of the stave church, its bells, and descendants of the first book. It came out in Norway in October 2020 to great acclaim. The English translation’s release date is TBD.

Reading Challenges:


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 day or so. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone. My most recent read, Death Deserved, and many other recent books I’ve enjoyed are currently on sale for $0.99 (as of the publication of this post).

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 December 2020: The Christmas Edition

Virtual Nordic events continue to flourish with something for everyone, and this month many events are Christmas themed. Be sure to visit last month’s listing of virtual Nordic events; many of those events are now available to view as saved recordings.

Local LA readers, the Norwegian Church’s Julemarked, or Christmas Market, will continue until Christmas. This is an opportunity to stock up on Christmas food essentials, treats, and fresh baked goods, as well as Christmas decorations and gifts. The shop is open during regular church hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please confirm hours before heading to the store by emailing or calling.

A few new Nordic themed experiences that aren’t dated events have come on my radar recently:

   

      

  • For a daily dose of some Christmas spirit the Nordic way, check out Jacquie Lawson’s interactive, animated Nordic Advent Calendar. It’s full of games and amusements and daily surprises.
  • For a cozy Norwegian Christmas atmosphere with all the feels, watch the Norwegian Netflix original series, Home for Christmas. Season 1 dropped last December and Season 2 will be released December 18, 2020. It’s about a 30-year-old single woman trying to find a boyfriend in time to bring home for the Christmas family dinner. I watched the first season. I laughed and cried and loved the wintery Christmas setting in Norway. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the second season.
  • On the other end of the seasonal spectrum is the movie The Sunlit Night (via Amazon Prime Video), a romance/drama set in Northern Norway, specifically Lofoten, during the summer. I read and enjoyed the book by Rebecca Dinerstein upon which it is based, and she wrote the screenplay for the movie. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the area and the midnight sun and I’m sure that the setting of the movie will be spectacular since it was filmed on location.
  • Fans of Norwegian World War II history can watch The 12th Man (via Netflix), a movie which follows a Norwegian saboteur’s journey to reach safety after narrowly escaping a Nazi attack. (New to Netflix October 2020)
  • A new podcast, The Nordics Unveiled by Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing embarks on a journey to the North “exploring the themes of Nordic mythology, folk music, Sami tradition, discovery of forgotten Nordic works in music, philosophy, architecture and nature.”

Finally, mark your calendars for the Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo (@SFFLA) which will take place virtually January 7-10 and January 14-17 in cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. They will offer virtual screenings of films chosen by the Nordic and Baltic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best International Feature Film. Explore the schedule and plan your weekends. Your can buy a festival pass for access to all screenings or individual tickets.


12 Days of Christmas Gifts – Silent Auction & Instant Shop (December 1 – 12)

Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, is introducing something new to the Gingerbread Wonderland spirit! This holiday auction serves as a unique opportunity to support Norway House AND check items off your shopping list at the same time. The majority of items will be available in a traditional auction style, closing at 8:00 p.m. CT on December 12. Alongside their auction, they will also have an Instant Shop of items, open and convenient for immediate purchases of Norway House special merchandise. Check their event page for a link to preview auction items.

The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza (December 1 – 14)

The Norwegian American, North America’s oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, hosts its first ever Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza! They’ve compiled a collection of recipes to help you make the required seven kinds of cookie for the holidays. Check in each day from December 1 to December 14 for a new recipe. You will see many familiar names in this Christmas Cookie Extravaganza: cookbook authors, bloggers, professional bakers, shop owners, and other leaders in the Norwegian-American community. Recipes are Norwegian or Norwegian-inspired, and each contributor shared a bit about their recipe’s origins or special tips.

NRK’s “Julekalender” Christmas 2020 Series: Stjernestøv (December 1 – 24)

Every day leading up to Christmas, Norway’s national TV station NRK will release a new episode of its Christmas 2020 series Stjernestøv (Star Dust). It is about 9-year-old Jo who experiences a tough start to Christmas when his parents divorce. He is visited by Elly, the star child from the North, and together they have an unusual and exciting December. It is in Norwegian and available for worldwide viewing.

The Norwegian American’s Christmas Calendar (December 1 – 24)

There is no Christmas in Norway without a julekalender—a special treat to open each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. So this year at The Norwegian American, they are offering their own first annual julekalender, beginning with 14 recipes from the Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and then followed by a special collection of holiday music to enjoy while you eat the Christmas cookies you just made!

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author with Lisbeth Zornig Andersen (Tuesday, December 1)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for the third talk in their new series Meet the Author. On December 1, Danish author Lisbeth Zornig Andersen will discuss her book Anger Is My Middle Name, an empowering memoir of resilience and redemption, and the rage that helped a girl escape the darkness of a harrowing childhood. The talk is in conversation with translator Dr. Mark Mussari and moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma.

Virtual Nordic Stories (for Kids): Santa’s Littlest Helper (Thursday, December 3)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for story time and craft with their special guest, librarian Sara Jensen. Listen to the Finnish story Santa’s Littlest Helper by Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson. After the story, Sara will teach kids how to make a craft with items found at home. Update: View a recording here.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim (Fridays, December 4, 11, 18)

Vesterheim’s Norwegian Christmas Celebration is going online. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. Get ready to play and learn: make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Collaborate on “missions” in person with your household or pod, or invite your friends and family to join together as a team online. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (December 4 – 6)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location during the absence of in-person events. During the first weekend in December, join Virtual Holiday Market on Facebook to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are Going or Interested in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways. For more information, visit Virtual Holiday Market.

Scandinavian Christmas Arts & Crafts (Saturday, December 5)

Join The Scandinavian School in San Francisco for their annual traditional Scandinavian Christmas arts and crafts event, this year virtual. They are planning some typical Scandinavian Christmas decorations like the clove covered orange, the classical candle lantern made out of sugar cubes, and a tomtenisse or two. Santa may even stop by for a visit. If you are unable to stop by to pick up materials, they will provide a list of what you need. For more details and ticket information, visit Scandinavian Christmas Arts & Crafts.

Panel Discussion: Nordic Colonialism in the Caribbean (Saturday, December 5)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for this virtual panel including Professor Lill-Ann Körber from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Temi Odumosu, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Malmö University, Sweden, as they examine Nordic colonialism in the Caribbean. The talk takes place in connection with the current exhibition, La Vaughn Belle: A History of Unruly Returns. Update: View a recording here.

Virtual Book Talk: Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson in Conversation w/ Chef Edouardo Jordan (Sunday, December 6)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for a virtual book talk as they welcome back world-renowned Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson for a special talk launching his new book Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End (2020, Phaidon). Nilsson recently closed his extraordinary Fäviken restaurant at the height of its success to, among other things, buy an apple orchard. In the book, Nilsson details his fascinating first-hand account of the restaurant’s evolution—candid, insightful and thought-provoking. Learn more about what it was like to run a restaurant like Fäviken, as well as all the lessons he learned along the way––from virtual obscurity to the bright lights of the world stage. Celebrated Seattle-based chef Edouardo Jordan will also join this talk.

Gingerbread Wonderland Virtual Exhibit (December 6 – January 2)

The entire Gingerbread Wonderland exhibit at Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, will be available online for the world to see. Check here for more information on how to view the exhibit from home.

Jardar Johansen: North Norwegian Christmas Concerts (December 6 – January 4)

Jardar Johansen offers two digital Christmas concerts from Tromsø in Arctic Norway: a live recording of his 19th traditional North Norwegian Christmas Concert from the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø in 2019 and a special recording of traditional Christmas songs from the charming Hillesøy Church on ‘yttersia’, the outer edge of the Tromsø region. English subtitles. Cost per concert is 350 NOK, approximately $40. One ticket allows you to enjoy one concert to be viewed as much as you want from one IP address for 30 days after purchase.

Online Nordic Book Club: The Brahmadells (Tuesday, December 8)

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 Brahmadells by Jóanes Nielsen, translated to English by Kerri A. Pierce, who recently moderated the virtual panel Faroese Authors You Should Know. One of the first Faroese books to be translated into English, The Brahmadells is an epic novel chronicling the lives of a particular family—nicknamed “the Brahmadells”—against the larger history of the Faroe Islands, from the time of Danish rule, through its national awakening, to its independence. Visit the event page for more information and to register.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Woven Hearts (Wednesday, December 9)

On Wednesdays this month, experience the Nordic holidays with a series of virtual workshops from the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY. In this series, learn how Scandinavians prepare for Christmas through programs teaching how to make traditional holiday craft items. The first event on December 9 will feature woven hearts (flettet julehjerte). Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: The craft workshop is now available as a recorded video.

Classic Scandinavian Treats by Farm Table Foundation (Thursday, December 10)

Learn how to prepare Scandinavian holiday treats and hear some of the stories and history behind those delicacies. The evening will highlight four specialties: Swedish kanelbullar and Norwegian knots, which are two different techniques employed in making two delicious Scandinavian cinnamon buns; Lucia buns, a pretty, spectacular golden saffron bun traditionally served on Sweden’s darkest day of the year (December 13, St. Lucia Day); and the Danish kringle, the many-layered fruit-filled pastry that Denmark is famous for. Register here.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim: Week 2 (Friday, December 11)

Vesterheim’s Norwegian Christmas Celebration is online. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. A new game starts every Friday in December. Make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December. Watch Vesterheim’s website livestreams or Facebook page for the launch on Friday.

Scandinavian Christmas Baking Virtual Workshops (December 12 & 13)

Join Scandinavian School in San Francisco’s native Dane Leda Jessen for two traditional Scandinavian baking events: December 12 for Danish Christmas cookies called jødekager and finskbrød and December 13 for Swedish lussekatter. You can join for a single event or for both. On both dates, Leda will also be sharing her secret recipe for Glögg, a mulled drink enjoyed all over Scandinavia at Christmas time. For more details and ticket information, visit Scandinavian Christmas Baking Workshops.

Lucia Celebration with American Swedish Institute (Sunday, December 13)

This special concert is a wonderful annual tradition for both performers and audiences. Gather the family around the computer or tablet this year and celebrate light during the long winter with the youthful voices of the ASI Lucia Choir for a magical 20-minute performance over Zoom. $10 per connection. Register here.

Virtual St. Lucia Celebration with Scandinavia House (Sunday, December 13)

On Sunday, December 13, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual St. Lucia celebration with Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz. The event will take place as a Zoom webinar. Each year, Scandinavia House has shared in this tradition with processions from members of the Swedish Church Choir in New York, who join in traditional Lucia gowns with candles to sing Scandinavian and American holiday carols such as the “Sankta Lucia” at various events. This year, They’ll be taking the tradition virtual with a discussion and Q&A on the St. Lucia celebrations with Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, a singer in the Swedish Church Choir and actress with the Scandinavian American Theater Company, who has led the performances at Scandinavia House each year. Register here. Update: Now available as a recorded viewing here.

Virtual Panel Discussion: The US and the Nordics, 2021 (Tuesday, December 15)

Organized by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and the University of Washington’s Scandinavian Studies Department, this panel will examine current attitudes in the Nordic countries toward the United States. Thought leaders with backgrounds in journalism, government, culture, and business will also offer suggestions on how the US might strengthen its ties to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland over the next four years. For more details and to register, visit National Nordic Museum’s event page. Update: View a recording here.

Contemporary Folk Art at Disney’s Norwegian Pavilion (Tuesday, December 15)

Join master woodworkers Phil Odden & Else Bigton and master rosemaler Patti Goke, as they discuss their work on Disney’s Norwegian Pavilion at Epcot. Phil, Else, Patti, and their teams worked on all of the woodwork and painting in the recent Frozen remodeling of the buildings and will share how these different crafts have informed and influenced patterns, design decisions, and overall planning. These master artisans will also discuss what it means to make and share craft in today’s world and in a location like Disney that serves millions of visitors each year.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Yarn Tomte (Wednesday, December 16)

This December, experience the Nordic holidays with a series of virtual workshops from the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY. In this series, learn how Scandinavians prepare for Christmas through programs teaching how to make traditional holiday craft items. In this second event, see how to make a yarn tomte! A Swedish tomte (known as a nisse in Denmark and Norway or tonttu in Finnish) is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: Now available as a recorded viewing here.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Out Stealing Horses (Wednesday, December 16)

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 December to discuss Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses, a novel beloved by readers the world over. Enrollment deadline is December 9. (Watch the movie afterwards, details below.)

Virtual Crafts & Cocktails (Thursday, December 17)

Recharge from your day with an evening of creativity and fun! Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for their virtual Crafts & Cocktails event to get a mini-virtual tour from one their docents, learn a cocktail recipe, and make a craft using supplies you have around the house. This month make paper woven hearts, perfect for your Christmas tree or to adorn gifts.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim: Week 3 (Friday, December 18)

This is the final game of Vesterheim’s online Norwegian Christmas Celebration. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. A new game starts every Friday in December. Make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December. Watch Vesterheim’s website livestreams or Facebook page for the launch on Friday.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Pepparkakor with the Bissell Family (Saturday, December 19)

Gather your family and friends and celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen. 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.

Virtual Nordic Holiday Cooking & Glögg with Morten Sohlberg & Ulrika Bengtsson (Saturday, December 19)

This holiday season, see how to celebrate Scandinavian-style with a special cooking and glögg-making workshop! Morten Sohlberg, the chef and owner of Smörgås Chef restaurant at Scandinavia House, and his family will present an online demo of making one of their favorite holiday dishes — Swedish meatballs, a popular Smörgås Chef classic — as well as an introduction to his upstate Blenheim Hill Farm, with some live music from his sons Edvard and Erik Sohlberg. Following the food demonstration, Swedish chef Ulrika Bengtsson will present an online demo on how to make glögg. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Update: Now available as a recording here.

Koselig Cocktails with Vesterheim (Saturday, December 19)

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 December 9. Update: This class is now sold out, but they are offering another one on February 11, 2021.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Potato Lefse with the Kittelson Family (Sunday, December 20)

Gather your family and friends and celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen. 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.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Julgranskaramell (Wednesday, December 23)

In this final holiday craft workshop, learn how to make a julgranskaramell. Meaning “Christmas tree candy” in Swedish, a julgranskaramell is a special type of ornament that Scandinavians hang on their Christmas trees, consisting of small tubes filled with candies that are then brightly decorated with colorful tissue paper. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: Now available as a recording here.

Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival (December 25 – January 1)

Due to popular demand, Big Ears Festival is restreaming the entire Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival series over eight consecutive days during the holidays! The festival was a tremendous success garnering glowing reviews and acclaim when it ran November 6 – December 11. Starting Christmas Night, December 25, eight evening-length shows featuring 15 outstanding artists and bands will begin. You can purchase the festival bundle which gives you access to all 8 shows, or you can purchase individual show tickets. For schedule and ticket information, visit Big Ears Festival: Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival.

New Nordic Appetizers for a New Year (Sunday, December 27, 1:30-3:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim to ring in the New Year with some New Nordic Cuisine inspired appetizers! Celebrated chef, cookbook author, food historian, and “Nordic Food Geek”, Patrice Johnson will demonstrate creative takes on classic appetizers, plus meatball canapes, a dessert, and a cocktail. She will also discuss classic Nordic recipes for gravlax, potato patties, and add some of her own Northern flavors. Enrollment deadline is December 20, 2020. For more information and to register, click here.

An extra/ordinary Holiday in Extraordinary Times (ongoing until January 10)

The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, invites you to enjoy this virtual exhibition and video. Winding through ASI’s courtyard and the Mansion grounds, the Nordic story trail is an outdoor experience with story stations designed by community partners from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland telling five popular tales. From Sweden, come the timeless stories by author Astrid Lindgren about the playful Pippi Longstocking. In Denmark, a classic story by Hans Christian Andersen about a little fir tree encourages us to live in the moment. In Iceland, a gift of clothing protects children from the legend of the Yuletide cat. Across Finland, arctic foxes run over the frozen tundra, sparking fires that light up the sky. For Norway, storytelling is explored through song and nisse, the mythological protector of farms. View more information about each of the tales from these Nordic countries at the exhibition page.


Ongoing Special Events

Virtual Cinema: Out Stealing Horses (Norway)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, continues to host a virtual cinema presentation of Out Stealing Horses, a film based on the award-winning novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson. Immediately following the film there is a pre-recorded discussion between Stellan Skarsgård and filmmaker Hans Petter Moland. Half of the proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

Virtual Cinema: A White, White Day (Iceland)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is also hosting a virtual cinema presentation of the hit Icelandic film A White, White Day with Film Movement. A White, White Day is an emotionally complex exploration of the ravages of loss set across the hypnotic landscape of Iceland. Half of the proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.


Which December events or experiences sound interesting to you? God jul!

Family Norwegian Language Adventures with Vesterheim

A highlight of this pandemic fall has been our Family Norwegian Language Adventures with Eddy. Early in September, I discovered Vesterheim, The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center, in Decorah, Iowa, while researching virtual Scandinavian events. Through their Folk Art School, they offered an impressive range of classes and events! What really caught my eye was the October Family Norwegian Language Adventure focused on friluftsliv (“free air living” or “embracing the outdoors”), a virtual experience we could participate in here in Los Angeles.

The organizers promised a family-fun outdoor adventure while learning some Norwegian language along the way. This sounded perfect for our family. I had been teaching my 14-year-old son Norwegian over the summer, and with this “adventure” we could maybe review some of that and involve my 16-year-old son and husband too. Also, with all the screen time taking place, we could all benefit from a new incentive to get outside and have more family time.

The $20 registration fee included a kit “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 snack.” The snack was what sealed the deal. If everything else was a bust, we would at least have a snack and the good feeling of supporting an institution promoting Norwegian culture. It was a quick and easy decision to register, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was signing us up for.

Our kit arrived at our doorstep towards the end of September. Per the instructions, we waited until October 1 to open it. The kit was such a treat to open. Prepared with great care and pride in a nice gift box, the kit went way above my expectations. The treat was a Kvikk Lunsj to enjoy on a hike. There was a journal to make notes and drawings of our language learning and nature observations along with bingo cards for a game of outdoor bingo. We also received cards highlighting objects from the Vesterheim collection connected to the theme of friluftsliv.

October 1 was also the day that the corresponding virtual game on the GooseChase app went live. The game included missions that would get our family outside and help us practice our new Norwegian vocabulary that we learned through the language videos created especially for this “adventure”.

We fell into a nice routine. One day each weekend we watched a video at dinner time and practiced the new content. Each video had a general language focus. The first video explored things you might see in nature. The next one covered weather. The third video discussed clothing. The final one delved into two sayings associated with friluftsliv (“Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.” and “Ut på tur, aldri sur!”). I really appreciated how the adventure included some culture in addition to the vocabulary.

The videos were fantastic! Eddy, the instructor, was very engaging. She used movement, props, and humor to invigorate the videos. Music and special effects added to the fun. The content material and length were just right; each video was 5 to 7 minutes. Eddy ended each session with a suggested task to practice content covered and these corresponded to the missions in the GooseChase game.

  My teenage boys were not particularly thrilled about participating in all the GooseChase missions, but I thought the missions were a fabulous complement to the adventure. Our favorite was the family game of “natur bingo” to practice Norwegian words for things we saw in our backyard. Another highlight was “Ut på tur, aldri sur!” (a walk/hike), though sadly the whole family didn’t go, so I saved the Kvikk Lunsj for another tur. We earned points by submitting photo, video, or text evidence for the missions we completed. There was friendly competition with other teams to earn the most points.

When registration for November’s adventure with its focus on kos (coziness) opened up last month, I was quick to register our family. Once again, we were impressed by the kit. This month’s “yummy snack” was Swedish ginger thins and gløgg mulling spice. We have already watched the first two language videos and completed two of the missions (“What does kos mean to you?” and “Familie tre!”) and I see more points coming our way soon. Registration for the December jul-themed adventure just opened up and I’m already looking forward to it even though we haven’t finished November’s adventure yet!

Here’s Eddy introducing the December Family Norwegian Language Adventure