Virtual Nordic Events for October 2021

Virtual events are still going strong despite reopening across the country. This month continues to see plenty of opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, learn, and discuss virtually with others from around the country. What interests you?


17th of May Pin Design Competition (October 1 – November 15)

With a new year comes a new 17th of May commemorative pin design. This year help the Seattle 17th of May Committee design the commemorative pin for 2022. Enter your design in the shape of a shield showcasing a Norwegian flag and celebrating Norway’s culture and heritage in the Pacific Northwest. The winning design will be the festival’s official pin. You can win five pins and a family membership to the National Nordic Museum in Seattle. Find pins from previous years, contest rules, and how to submit your design by clicking here. Submit your design by Monday, November 15, 2021.

FamilieTid: Learn Folk Dances with The Nordic Dancers of Decorah (Saturdays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Gather the family together on Saturdays in October to learn traditional folk dances as performed by the Nordic Dancers from Decorah, Iowa. Each Saturday, a new video will be released. You’ll learn about the history of each dance, the dance steps, and then be able to dance along with the Nordic Dancers from your home. Click here to subscribe to Vesterheim’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of the dances.

Leif Eriksson International Festival 2021 (October 5 – 17, Free)

This year’s festival will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual events. Leif Eriksson Day on October 9 will be celebrated with a short virtual appearance by the beloved Norwegian singer and actor Hanne Krogh, who will be coming to Minneapolis for the festival in 2022. Krogh is one of Norway’s most celebrated stars. Other highly anticipated virtual events are a tour of Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Hamar, Norway, and a concert with mother-son duo Elizabeth and Trygve Misvær with Sámi songs, stories, and joik, a unique form of musical expression for the Sámi people. View the program here.

Nordic Book Club: Wild Swims (Tuesday, October 5, 5:00-6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of Scandinavia House’s online Nordic Book Club. Each month they select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On October 5, they’ll be discussing the new story collection Wild Swims by Danish author Dorthe Nors (Karate Chop; Mirror, Shoulder, Signal), out in translation by Misha Hoekstra from Graywolf Press.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: Leif Erikson (Friday, October 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. In October, join to learn about Leif Erikson. Leif’s story of how he discovered America for Europeans is one that includes encountering polar bears, being stranded on an island, being tutored by King Olaf, and enjoying feasts of salmon and wine in his longhouse in the New World. He then sailed home to Greenland and into legend. Dr. Ernst F. Tonsing, Professor Emeritus of California Lutheran University, will recount the amazing legend of Leifr Eiriksson in anticipation of the national commemoration of the Scandinavian hero the next day. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Vesterheim Benefit Auction (October 9 – 17)

The auction includes a variety of beautifully handcrafted folk art, Norwegian sweaters, a Viking River Cruise, and a Colorado Getaway, along with many additional unique items. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Vesterheim’s Folk Art School, which has provided classes since 1967 in fiber arts, woodworking, painting, cooking, jewelry, blacksmithing, knifemaking, and more. Vesterheim’s annual Benefit Auction items are ready for viewing! Check out the pieces at www.biddingforgood.com/VEST-AUCTION, register your account, and get ready to start bidding from anywhere in the world.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, October 9, 10:00-11:30 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på det nya programmet – Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is an online conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Book Talk: Dog Park (Sunday, October 10, 3:00 p.m. ET, Free)

On October 10, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., for a virtual book talk with acclaimed Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen on her new novel Dog Park. With moderator Bethanne Patrick, she’ll discuss the writing of the novel, an international bestseller, out in translation by Owen Frederick Witesman from Knopf on September 21.

Visit Binkhaven! (Sunday, October 10, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Binkhaven is a real-life Norwegian fantasy nestled in Door County, Wisconsin. Join Vesterheim for a conversation with owner Elliot Taillon about the story behind Binkhaven as well as a guided tour of this one-of-a-kind historic cottage that is filled to the brim with one of the biggest collections of American rosemaling in the country. Not only is the main building designed in a Nordic theme, two of the cottages on the property were imported from Telemark, Norway!

Scandinavian Fall Baking Favorites: Swedish Apple Cake and Homemade Apple Donuts with Kristi Bissell (Sunday, October 10, 3:00-4:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen for an afternoon of delicious fall-themed baking! Begin with Swedish Apple Cake, baked with a hint of cardamom and topped with caramelized apples, and then Kristi will share a recipe for one of her family’s favorite autumn treats . . . Easy Baked Apple Donuts! This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and encourages exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions. Participants will be provided with a shopping list and recipes prior to class.

Kindertransport Virtual Exhibition Tour (Tuesday, October 12, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

Explore American Swedish Institute’s special exhibition Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War during a live, virtual tour via Zoom. Each week will feature an ASI staff member and a special guest. Participants can look forward to a distinct, highly interactive tour led by experts each month. Throughout this series, each speaker will provide a unique perspective on the exhibit’s content. October 12: Special guest Rabbi Alexander Davis, Senior Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN, will use themes from Judaism to bring a faith-based approach to this story.

National Danish Book Club: The Employees (Tuesday, October 12, 8:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with this new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in a virtual setting via Zoom. Book Club Discussions will be moderated by Faculty Associate Nete Schmidt from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Former Danish lecturer, Désirée Ohrbeck, will facilitate accompanying Literary Events. Current and classic works of Danish literature will be read and discussed, accompanied by author and special guest interviews. Join the online book club on October 12 to discuss Olga Ravn’s The Employees (De ansatte) translated by Martin Aitken.

Smørbrød with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, October 13, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated Nordic cookbook author and food historian Patrice Johnson (AKA the Nordic Food Geek) to explore the rich tradition of Nordic-style open-face sandwiches. From Sweden (smörgåsar) to Norway (smørbrød) to Denmark (smørrebrød) these sandwiches bring together some of the Nordic region’s best flavors, colors, and ingredients. You will prepare several classic sandwiches and even some with modern twists and you will learn the crucial elements that make a perfect smørbrød. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and encourages exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions.

Taikon – The Untold Story of a Roma Freedom Fighter (Thursday, October 14, 6:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join American Swedish Institute for a special talk by Lawen Mohtadi, the 2021 Out of Scandinavia Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, on the Swedish civil rights activist and author, Katarina Taikon (1932-1995). She debuted in 1963 with the groundbreaking book Gypsy Woman, which also became the starting point for the struggle against institutional racism against the Roma minority in Sweden. Her most famous work is Katitzi, a 13-volume autobiographical children’s book series, that is widely read by generations of children and is today a part of the Swedish literary canon.

Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival: Kindertransports to Sweden (October 18-22)

The 2021 Virtual Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival includes the film Kindertransports to Sweden, which is the subject of the American Swedish Institute’s current featured exhibition. The film sheds light on the rescue effort that brought Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Sweden between 1938 and 1939, in particular highlighting four survivors.

The Pastor — Virtual Book Talk with Hanne Ørstavik and Rebecca Dinerstein Knight (Tuesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York to celebrate the release of the new novel The Pastor in a virtual book talk with award-winning Norwegian novelist Hanne Ørstavik (Love). With moderator Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, Ørstavik will discuss her new release, out that day in translation by Martin Aitken from Archipelago Books.

Demo: Mouthwatering Mushrooms with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, October 21, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Swedes love mushrooms – a quintessential fall ingredient in many dishes. Join Swedish American Institute for this demo where Erin will talk a little about the tradition of mushroom foraging in Sweden and demonstrate a couple of recipes that highlight these forest treasures. Even if you find them in the grocery store instead of the woods, you’ll know just what to do with those wonderful svampar (mushrooms). This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Voices of Sapmi: Yoiking (October 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT)

What is yoik? What does it feel like to yoik? What can it reveal to us about ourselves and our world? In this one-hour Zoom class, Sapmi musician, composer, and actor Ingor Ántte Áilu Gaup (Ailloš) will introduce participants to yoiking, the traditional singing of the Sapmi people. The Sami are the indigenous people of Sapmi, which extends across Northern Scandinavia and Northwestern Russia. More than simply a “style of singing,” yoiking is an ancient practice that reflects a way of being and relating to the world that is rare in modern times.

Kindertransport Virtual Exhibition Tour (Tuesday, October 26, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

Explore American Swedish Institute’s special exhibition Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War during a live, virtual tour via Zoom. Each week will feature an ASI staff member and a special guest. Participants can look forward to a distinct, highly interactive tour led by experts each month. Throughout this series, each speaker will provide a unique perspective on the exhibit’s content. October 26: Special guest Byron Nordstrom, Professor Emeritus in History and Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, will provide a tour rooted in historical examination. He will also explore the Kindertransport experience from a Swedish perspective.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): Viking Economics (Wednesday, October 27, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat (book club) discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right-and How We Can, Too by George Lakey gives the non-economist the tools they need to examine, compare, and contrast the economic systems used in developed countries today. Lakey primarily compares the “Viking” or Nordic model with the United States. He gives all the history and statistics one needs to understand and form opinions while never boring the reader. Lakey brings in his personal experience and conversations with his Norwegian in-laws that stimulate the broader discussion.

Nordiska Book Club: The Bell in the Lake (Thursday, October 28, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. Expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. In October, they will be discussing the Norwegian novel The Bell in the Lake (Søsterklokkene) by Lars Mytting in translation by Deborah Dawkin. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

4th Annual Sámi Film Fest (Saturday, October 30, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST)

This year, National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, is partnering with Scandinavia House in New York and the Pacific Sámi Searvi in Seattle for this must-see hybrid event, which explores Sámi values, visions, and stories through film. There will be an opportunity to participate both in-person and virtually from anywhere in the world. The program will include a variety of contemporary Sámi documentaries and short films, as well as panel discussions with the filmmakers.

Online Nordic Book Club: The Memory Theater (Tuesday, November 2, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of Scandinavia House’s online Nordic Book Club. Each month they select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On November 2, they’ll be discussing The Memory Theater by Swedish author Karin Tidbeck (Amatka; Jagannath). The author discussed the novel this past February in a virtual panel now available here.


Which October 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.

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