View towards Oslofjorden from Grefsenkollen, taken June 2019
Happy Summer! I’m combining June, July, and August events into one post and will update as new events come on my radar. Don’t delay in signing up for classes you may be interested in. They fill up quickly. Of particular interest for some may be the many online Nordic cooking classes offered by Vesterheim, American Swedish Institute, and The Nordic Heart this summer. Explore herring, gravlax, Scandinavian waffles and cakes, Nordic inspired cocktails and meals, and more!
Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books? Find summer selections for online book clubs listed at the end of the post.
And finally, for Los Angeles area readers, I hope you’re planning to attend the 45th Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks on June 4 and 5 at California Lutheran University. It’s the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. Enjoy historical craft demos, food demos, a Viking village and games, Saami camp, country crafts, a children’s stage in addition to the main stage (which will feature ABBA FAB – Tribute to the Music of ABBA both days), Nordic vendors, Nordic food booths, and more. See festival map.
New in-person event addition! Norwegian 80s band a-ha has two concerts scheduled in California in July. On Friday, July 29, they will perform in Napa at Oxbow RiverStage (ticket information). Then on Sunday, July 31, they will perform at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (ticket information). Will you go see them?
What’s on your calendar this summer?
Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? Vesterheim’s June Family Friluftsliv Adventure is for you! Through hands-on activities and short videos, you and your family will explore the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, spend time outdoors together, and learn and practice Norwegian words and phrases, all on your own schedule. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these activities along with a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning and a yummy treat.
Join Dr. Scott Radnitz, the Herbert J. Ellison Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, as he talks with Norwegian author Erika Fatland about her latest book The Border. “An astute and brilliant combination of lyric travel writing and modern history, The Border is a book about Russia without its author ever entering Russia itself. Erika Fatland gets to the heart of what it has meant to be the neighbor of that mighty, expanding empire throughout history. As we follow her on her journey, we experience the colorful, exciting, tragic, and often unbelievable histories of these bordering nations along with their cultures, people, and landscapes.”
What is assumed or generalized about Sweden and the United States? Compare and find out how different yet alike Swedes and Americans are in this fun and open discussion hosted by American Swedish Institute. This class is also offered Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Join Scandinavia House for a virtual talk with acclaimed Norwegian author Erika Fatland on her new book The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage, out now from Pegasus Books. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to email@example.com. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.
Seeking some fun inspiration for outdoor drinks and snacks this summer? Look no further than the new The Family Camp Cookbook from Emily Vikre. Emily will share a little about her newest cookbook and talk about pinnebrød, a favorite camping bread from across the Nordic countries. And because Emily owns Vikre Distillery in Duluth, she’ll also show us how to whip up a couple beverages, one alcoholic cocktail and one family friendly option. Recipes will be shared in advance so you can prepare a drink alongside Emily if you like.
Papercutting is an art that spans history and cultures, from simple silhouettes to intricate designs. Join artist Anna Brones to learn the basics of papercutting and how to create your very own papercuts using a craft knife and cutting mat. This evening workshop will cover everything from paper and cutting techniques, to composition and design inspiration.
Whether you are going all out with a big celebratory smörgåsbord or taking a simpler approach, we could all use a few easy recipes for our Midsommar tables. Follow along as Patrice demonstrates simple preparations for gravlax, herring, potatoes and strawberries. You’ll feel totally ready to tackle some of these classic dishes at home after class!
No Midsummer gathering is complete without aquavit and herring. Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen and learn how to make an aquavit cocktail to pair with three unique flavors of pickled herring, all starting with jarred pickled herring from the store. Students will be sent the ingredients list and class preparation approximately one week before the class in order to prepare. Enrollment deadline: June 3.
Join Scandinavia House and learn to create wonderful paper-cut beings with celebrated Danish paper-cutting artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen in a class held via Zoom. Clausen, who has held paper-cutting workshops in Denmark, Japan and the U.S., has created a magical paper-cut universe inhabited by beings previously confined inside the paper. In this online workshop, Clausen will share his techniques and guide viewers through creating their own paper-cut magic. Participants will also explore the paper-cut artwork of renowned storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and hear about Clausen’s own journey to becoming a paper-cutting artist. The class will be limited to 30 participants to allow for audience interaction.
Join Kristi for this cook-along virtual workshop where you will practice baking two different types of Swedish knäckebröd! Knäckebröd, or crispbread, is a classic part of the Midsommar table, but also a great snack to have on hand for light summer meals and picnics. Students will work in their own kitchens to make a batch of rye and oat-based crispbread and a gluten free seed-based crispbread. While the breads bake, Kristi will even share some ideas for tasty seasonal toppings for your homemade knäckebröd! This class is designed as a cook along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling a classic Swedish baked good.
What is assumed or generalized about Sweden and the United States? Compare and find out how different yet alike Swedes and Americans are in this fun and open discussion hosted by American Swedish Institute. This class is also offered Tuesday, June 7, at 9:30 a.m. CT.
Join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading and outdoor adventure! Your family can be any combination of folks as long as there’s at least one adult to help navigate the online portion. Decorah schools librarian Shannon Horton will get you reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. There is no live Zoom event and no scheduled class time – your family can participate anytime during the month when it works for your schedule! On the first of the month, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access.
Translator Philip Roughton joins Scandinavia House with Doug McIntyre for a discussion on celebrated Icelandic novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate Halldór Laxness’s novel Salka Valka, out June 7 in new translation from Archipelago. “A feminist coming-of-age tale, an elegy to the plight of the working class and the corrosive effects of social and economic inequality, and a poetic window into the arrival of modernity in a tiny industrial town, Salka Valka is a novel of epic proportions, living and breathing with its vibrant cast of characters, filled with tenderness, humor, and remarkable pathos.”
Dating back to the Viking era, this metal-weaving project is a great introduction to jewelry making. In this virtual class, learn the steps for metal knitting—a simple looping technique—using copper and silver wire over a round, wooden dowel. Once the knitting is made, a drawplate is used to pull the knitting through, which compresses and lengthens the wire into a beautiful hollow chain. Then, by attaching end caps and a clasp, you’ll transform the chain into a lovely bracelet. All bracelet materials are provided, including complete instruction from start to finish through discussion and demonstration of all steps in the process. Materials will be sent by mail upon registration.
Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, invites you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. For June’s meeting, they will be reading their first children’s novels featuring the Moomins, lovable hippo-like characters created by the talented Tove Jansson. Since the Moomin books are shorter in length, they have selected the first two books for June’s book club discussion: Moomins and the Great Flood (1945) and Comet in Moominland (1946).
ASI’s Swedish Museum Series returns with a virtual tour of Alma Löv, the unique contemporary museum nestled deep in the forests of Värmland. This low-budget museum project, with high artistic ambitions, was founded by artist Marc Broos in 1998 and is today run by his daughter Stella Broos.
Nordic waffles are one of Scandinavia’s most iconic foods. They can be sweet or savory and are topped with a variety of (occasionally unusual) garnishes. Join the “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson as you create your own versions of Nordic waffles. Waffles aren’t just for brunch anymore! Enrollment deadline: June 24.
Acclaimed Danish author Ida Jessen joins Scandinavia House with translator Martin Aitken for a virtual discussion on the new book A Postcard for Annie, available June 28 from Archipelago. With moderator Désirée Ohrbeck, they’ll discuss the writing and translation of the prizewinning anthology hailed as an “insightful, original collection” (Kirkus Reviews) following the inner lives of several women on the brink, or sidelines, of catastrophe.
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.
Blueberries are a classic summer fruit in the north, whether you gather them in the wild or find them at the market. Just in time for blueberry season, join Kristi as she demonstrates a trio of Nordic-inspired recipes featuring this fruit in different ways: Blueberry Rye Crumble Bars, Blueberry Cardamom Compote and a Blueberry Creme Fraiche Tart with Rye Crust. Students are sure to leave with new ideas and baking tips.
Join Kristi as she prepares three delicious recipes for tender summertime new potatoes! Make an Herbed New Potato Salad with Pickled Golden Beets and Capers and a Savory Goat Cheese and New Potato Tart. Finally, Kristi will demonstrate a few ideas for potato open-face sandwiches on rye bread (smørbrød), which are very popular in the Scandinavian region and a great way to use up leftover potatoes. Enrollment deadline: July 1.
Are you curious about the Finnish 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 Finland? 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.
Summertime calls for casual seafood lunches and dinners in Sweden. Join Patrice for a fun demo of easy, breezy summer dishes inspired by the coast! Patrice will share three simple courses, including a caviar dip appetizer, a Skagen-inspired shrimp salad first course, and a stunning (but not so tricky to pull off) Västkustsallad, or West Coast Salad filled with vegetables and shellfish. With Patrice’s coaching, you’ll be ready to dive right into any of these dishes!
Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, invites you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. For July’s meeting, they will be reading The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland.
From August 1-31, let the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, inspire you to keep moving and remain active, while having fun with your friends and family! Choose between a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon challenge race. International participation is encouraged! All entrants will receive a custom Run Like A Viking T-shirt, racing bib, and two (2) general admission tickets (expire August 2023) to the National Nordic Museum. For more information about the National Nordic Museum, visit www.nordicmuseum.org.
Whether you’re entertaining or not, sometimes we all just need a few fun recipes to play with for a Friday night. Join Patrice for some light bites that can stand alone as a snack or appetizer or can be combined for tapas style grazing for a summery dinner. And we won’t forget a few drinks with both alcoholic and N/A options, all taking their inspiration from a glorious northern summer, to complete our seasonal Nordic cocktail hour.
More than just stories from ancient folklore, the belief in the Hulder Folk is alive and well in the high grazing areas of Northern Gudbrandsdalen. It is a centuries-old belief that serves as an explanation for the mischief that occurs on farms as well as the practices for the protection of animals and farms. Instructor Arna Rennan met with Asta, Anna, and Ann Helen Brimi, shepherd girls on Brimi seter (mountain grazing farm) who shared their encounters with the Hulder Folk or “Hidden Folk.” She also learned local folk songs from Jarnfried Kjoek that the Hulder sing to wake up sleepy shepherd girls to milk their cows. Gather the family for this special program that includes images, folk songs, and stories and draws you into the special life in the high mountains of Norway! This event is perfect for the young and the young at heart.
Get ready to wow your friends and family with this light and delicious Nordic-inspired summer supper! Kristi will show us how to make a Roasted Beet Salad with Whole Grains, Arugula and Creamy Skyr Sauce, Lingonberry Cordial, Gluten Free Seed Crackers (Norwegian Crispbread), and a stunning Summer Skyr Tart with Fresh Berries. Enrollment deadline: July 29.
Make the most of your garden produce this harvest season with a bevy of inspiration for some Scandinavian summer salads! Watch Kristi prepare New Potato Salad with Pickled Golden Beets and Capers, Creamy Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Dill, and Warm Barley Salad with Fresh Garden Herbs. Students will get lots of inspiration for using up their late summer garden bounty or farmers markets finds.
Celebrate the herbs growing in your garden or your community’s local farms with this class via Zoom! Join instructor Hannah Garry to learn how to make four New Nordic cocktails featuring traditional Scandinavian flavors along with fresh summer herbs like basil, mint, thyme, and rosemary. Enrollment deadline: August 5.
Join Patrice Johnson, the self-titled “Nordic Food Geek,” for a delicious Nordic-inspired brunch! This two-day class via Zoom will have your kitchen smelling like a Nordic deli! We’ll make rye bagels topped with caraway and everything else, gravlax, a signature cocktail and mocktail, and other delicious bites perfect for your favorite weekend meal. Enrollment deadline: August 12.
Nordic Language Café (Sunday, August 28, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)
Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.
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 in September to discuss Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. This page-turning novel is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought and has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print!
Virtual Summer Book Clubs
- Tuesday, June 7: Quake by Auður Jónsdóttir, tr. from the Icelandic by Meg Matich
- Tuesday, July 12: The Land of Short Sentences by Stine Pilgaard, tr. from the Danish by Hunter Simpson
- Tuesday, September 13: The Last Wild Horses by Maja Lunde, tr. from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley
Which events or experiences look interesting to you?
Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.