Norwegian is not in high demand so opportunities to learn and use the language here in Los Angeles are very limited. There are, however, two establishments that stand out as centers for Norwegian language and culture here in the Los Angeles area: Norwegian Church in San Pedro and Scandinavian Center in Thousand Oaks. At both places, you can not only pursue your interest in learning Norwegian, but you can also learn about Norwegian culture and customs.
Norwegian Church in San Pedro
The Norwegian Church in San Pedro, whose mission is “to create a home away from home for Norwegian residents, students and visitors,” is a thriving community and offers plenty of opportunities for folk in the greater Los Angeles area to explore their Norwegian heritage and pursue Norwegian interests.
Norwegian Language Classes for Adults
The Norwegian Church has been offering Norwegian classes for adults for a couple of years now. Participants learn the language as well as get a feel for the culture and lifestyle. Classes take place on Saturdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are led by instructor Olaug Macmillan. The fall session began Saturday, September 10, 2016, with a new series of 10 classes. For more information or to check when the next sessions starts, contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make your trip to San Pedro even more worthwhile on the day of class, stay for Lørdagsgrøt, traditional Norwegian porridge. Every Saturday at 2 o’clock, they serve porridge until it runs out. The cost is $5 per person.
The Norwegian Church used to offer a Norwegian language and culture program for children known as Skolegjengen. Starting this fall, however, they began doing it differently. Instead they now have special “Family Sundays” once a month throughout the year during which they offer different activities including Norwegian language, culture, and traditions. The “Family Sundays” begin with a family service at 11 o’clock which are then followed by kid-friendly food and activities. This fall’s dates are September 11, October 30, November 27, December 11, and January 8, with a special gathering Saturday, November 19, during the weekend of the church’s annual Christmas Bazaar. If interested, please contact the church at email@example.com for more information and to confirm dates.
Library at the Church
The Norwegian Church has a lending library of 6,000 books covering a wide variety of genres in Norwegian, Swedish, and English. The main categories are Art, Religion, Biographies/Autobiographies, Food/Cooking, Travel, History, Culture, and Fiction. Many popular Scandinavian authors are included in the collection.
The library has a self-service checkout system and is available during the church’s regular hours. There is a computer by the library that has a searchable list of all the books in the collection.
Other Programs & Events
The Norwegian Church also has a weekday program for families with babies and young children called Småbarnstreff. Every Thursday at 11 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m., a group of parents and children meets in the church garden. The kids play while parents chat. Waffles, coffee, and saft are served. Participants are asked to donate $5 per family for the refreshments. I used to go to Småbarnstreff when my kids were young and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with fellow Norwegians. For more information, click here or contact Margrete at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another popular program is the church’s Tuesday lunches. Every first Tuesday of the month, a different menu is offered. The cost is $15 per person. There is no binding reservation, but the church does appreciate a heads-up if you’re coming so they can more easily plan the meal. The December Christmas lunch is a special event with a binding reservation of $30.
Scandinavian Center in Thousand Oaks
The Scandinavian Center in Thousand Oaks is home to the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation whose missions is to “preserve and promote Scandinavian Heritage and Culture for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations.” They offer many programs and events for folk to explore and delve into their Scandinavian heritage and interests.
Norwegian Language Classes
According to the Scandinavian Center’s website, Norwegian language classes for both adults and children are offered. Adult classes are on Wednesday evenings and children’s classes are on Wednesday afternoons. For more information, get in touch with Noomi Wennberg through the Scandinavian Center at (805) 241-0391.
Scandinavian Book Club
The Scandinavian Book Club is an opportunity I will be exploring this fall. The group generally meets the fourth Thursday each month October through April at 1:30 p.m. at the Scandinavian Center. The group selects books by Scandinavian or Nordic authors that have been translated into English. Everyone can suggest books and it’s decided at each meeting what the book selection will be for the following month. All genres are considered. Books written by Americans living in a Nordic country have also been chosen. For details on the next meeting, reach out to Lana Lundin at email@example.com.
Other Programs & Events
The Scandinavian Center also offers Swedish language classes, a genealogy group, lace making workshops, and Brown Bag Lunch Programs that cover a variety of topics such as history, art, biography, music, travel, science and technology, movies, Scandinavian arts and crafts, education, and current affairs. And last but not least, they also sponsor the yearly Scandinavian Festival in April which is a favorite event of mine. The Scandinavian Center can be reached at (805) 241-0391 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on any of the programs mentioned.