Happy Spring! And God påske (Happy Easter) to those celebrating. April offers a new slate of virtual Nordic events to attend. Food including full spring meals, books, film, handcrafts, dance, history, and culture… whatever your interests, there are many options. Mark your calendars now so the opportunities don’t pass you by.
In Norway, Easter is synonymous with crime fiction. It even has its own name, påskekrim (Easter crime). You can read more about this unique Easter tradition here (Life in Norway). Amazon currently has many great Scandinavian crime fiction books on sale for 99 cents as well as other good books in translation. Take a look at my Scandinavian Ebook Deals if you’re interested in adding to your kindle library or need something new to read this Easter weekend.
What events interest you?
Nordic Easter — Virtual Crafts and Celebration (Friday, April 1 – Monday, April 5)
Join the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for an Easter-themed workshop exploring unique traditions and children’s crafts from different Nordic regions! Easter in the Nordic countries is all about welcoming the long-awaited spring after the dark and cold winter months, and Nordic families head out to the countryside to enjoy the long weekend together. All Nordic people love their chocolate eggs, but children’s Easter traditions differ in each country.
PBS Masterpiece: Atlantic Crossing (Premiering April 4)
The new Norwegian eight-part drama series Atlantic Crossing is coming to PBS Masterpiece on April 4. A princess steals the heart of the president of the United States in an epic drama based on the World War II relationship of Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha. Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) stars as Roosevelt, opposite Swedish star Sofia Helin (The Bridge) as the beautiful Martha, who flees the Nazis with her three young children and lives under Roosevelt’s protection.
Norwegian Dancing Alone Together (Monday, April 5, 10:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. CT)
This is the first of three connected dance classes offered by Carol Sersland and Kari Tauring of Norway House in Minneapolis, MN. It has been a tough year for dancing and they want to give participants of all ages and abilities a chance to move to a tune called Tussen i Buchmannhaugen, or The Land Spirit in Buchmann’s Hill. This tune is a gangar from Telemark, Norway, and played on the hardingfele, or the hardanger fiddle. The second (April 12) and third (April 19) classes build upon the first one.
Skolt Sámi-Inspired Hat with Laura Ricketts (Tuesdays, April 6 & 13, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT)
The Skolt Sámi people’s homeland is where the modern countries of Norway, Russia, and Finland meet – in the Petsamo (or Pechanga) region. This hat is inspired by several of the Skolt Sámi knitted motifs observed at the Sámi Museum Siida in Inari, Finland; the Ä’vv Skolt Sámi Museum in Neiden, Norway; and the Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Sevettijärvi-Näätämö, Finland. This class includes a kit shipped to your home with three colors of Cascade 220 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, the printed pattern, and a special treat from Vesterheim. This class is two Zoom sessions on April 6 & 13 (6-7:30 p.m. CT).
Breaking Boundaries: A Conversation with Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité and Marcus Samuelsson (Thursday, April 8, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)
Hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité and chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson host the podcast “This Moment” that examines current events through the lenses of their respective current countries (Sweden and USA) and their deep roots in both places, with the thoughtfulness of two of the world’s most respected creative artists in their fields. Together, along with their vast network of compelling global guests, they are able to uniquely capture This Moment for us all. Join the four major Swedish-American Museums for a webinar that explores the road towards the creation of the podcast and a look at how the Swedish-American community can find its way forward in this global movement.
New Nordic Cinema Week 8: Aalto (Finland) and Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being (Estonia) (Friday, April 9 – Thursday, April 15)
The eighth session of Scandinavia House’s series, New Nordic Cinema, features the film Aalto (dir. Virpi Suutari; 2020, Finland), a documentary and love story of Finnish modern architecture/design masters Alvar and Aino Aalto; and the film Fred Jüssi: The Beauty of Being/Fred Jüssi. Olemise ilu (dir. Jaan Tootsen; 2020, Estonia), a documentary about the Estonian biologist, nature writer, and photographer Fred Jüssi. The films are available as a special double-feature package.
The Sámi People of Norway (Friday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. CT)
Vesterheim is giving an online presentation for the Scandinavian Club of Albuquerque. Former Trustee, Kate Martinson, will speak about the indigenous people of the North and the interesting story of their history and current ways of life. The Sámi people have long lived across Norway and as far as Western Russia. Their unique experiences include aspects of religious transition, stewardship of land and mineral wealth, survival after near devastation during WWII, and the development of a separate Sámi Parliament in Norway. They continue to herd reindeer, protect a unique language, and share their culture and customs. Learning about the Sámi people opens a new aspect of Norway and its history.
Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: The Icelandic Sagas (Friday, April 9, 7:30 p.m. PT)
The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Second Friday Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month they present a video presentation by Professor Merrill Kaplan about the Icelandic Sagas. Participation is free. Click here to register for the presentation. After you have done so, a screen will appear giving you the link. The link will also be sent to the email with which you register.
Scandinavian Crispbread Baking Workshop (Saturday, April 10, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST)
Ever wondered how that extraordinary Scandinavian crispbread is made? Join native Dane Leda Jessen of Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a traditional baking event and get the chance to learn the secrets to how the bread gets its crisp! You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed and a Zoom link at least 48 hours prior to the event.
Virtual Book Talk — My Friend Natalia (Saturday, April 10, 1:00 p.m. ET)
On April 10, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a book talk with Finnish author Laura Lindstedt and translator David Hackston to discuss My Friend Natalia, the author’s U.S. debut, available from Liveright Publishing on March 23, 2021. My Friend Natalia is a linguistic sexual thriller centered on one woman’s potent affliction: Natalia cannot stop thinking about sex. The unnamed, ungendered therapist who narrates the novel has leapt at the chance to employ their most experimental methods.
New Nordic Springtime Supper (Saturday, April 10, 5:00-6:30 p.m. CT)
Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen to make an easy roasted salmon supper with a zesty, fresh relish featuring cucumbers, radishes, scallions, and prepared horseradish. For a second course, you will make a versatile and delicious warm pearl barley salad with mustard, lemon juice, and fresh garden herbs. And then top it off with a simple free-form tart with rye crust and a delicious strawberry rhubarb filling. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and invites exchanges between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions.
Collection Connection: Bridal Crowns and Wedding Traditions (Monday, April 12, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)
Collection Connections is a series of Vesterheim-hosted conversations featuring beloved folk-art school instructors. Summer is wedding season in both Norway and America. Whether you are a practicing jewelry artist, an inspired folk artist, or planning a wedding of your own, join master jeweler Liz Bucheit as she highlights bridal crowns and other wedding objects from the Vesterheim collection.
Online Nordic Book Club: Youth & Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (Tuesday, April 13, 6:00 p.m. ET)
The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On April 13, they’ll be discussing the books Youth and Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen, volumes 2 and 3 in The Copenhagen Trilogy, which has been recently re-released in translation by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman. This session follows their Online Nordic Book Club of Childhood on March 16. The trilogy was the subject of a recent panel discussion with Michael Favala Goldman, Morten Høi Jensen, Rachel Kushner, and Ben Lerner, available to stream here.
Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Baking Tunnbröd (Flatbread) (Thursday, April 15, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)
Swedish flatbreads come in all shapes and sizes: thicker, thinner, harder, softer, grainy or full of spices. In this class, instructor/ASI staff member Erin Swenson-Klatt will demonstrate a few thin, soft flat breads – think of them as the tortillas of Sweden! The recipe packet will be provided via email one day before class with log in information. This class is recorded and shared afterwards with registrants; interested students who cannot tune in live for the weekday class may still register and watch later.
Virtual Cinema — The County (Iceland) (Thursday, April 15 – Sunday, April 18)
See a virtual screening of the film The County / Héraðið directed by Grímur Hákonarson (Iceland, 2019). Set in a small Icelandic farming community, The County tells the story of Inga, a middle-aged dairy farmer, who rebels against the monopolistic practices of the Erpsfjörður, a powerful local farming cooperative. Screenings are co-presented by Scandinavia House with National Nordic Museum and Scandinavian Film Festival of Los Angeles. It is available to audiences throughout the US (92 minutes, in Icelandic with English subtitles).
May Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Norges historie (History of Norway) (Deadline to sign up: April 16)
Join Eddy of Vesterheim this May for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language and history along the way! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun Syttende mai themed craft, and a yummy treat. The adventure starts on May 1 and the vocabulary and phrases will focus on Norges historie, Norway’s history, during this special month of Norway’s Constitution Day, Syttende mai (on May 17). Enrollment deadline is April 16.
Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/ Ruth Lillegraven (April 17, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)
Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on April 17 for a virtual book talk with Norwegian author Ruth Lillegraven to discuss her book Everything Is Mine. The talk is in conversation with Dr. Elizabeth De Noma. Family secrets, revenge, and righteous fury collide in an international bestselling novel of psychological suspense and intrigue.
Nordiska’s Book Club: An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good (Thursday, April 22, 6:00 p.m. PST)
To broaden readers’ Nordic reading repertoire and to engage with fellow bookworms, Nordiska, a Nordic gifts and goods store in Poulsbo, WA, has created Nordiska Book Club. In recognition of Norway’s fascination with mystery and crime during Easter, they have selected a lighthearted Nordic mystery novel, An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good written by Helene Tursten and translated into English by Marlaine Delargy. For more information and to register, click here.
Painting Bryggen with Jana Peterson (Thursdays, April 22 & April 29, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)
Jana Peterson joins Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, to offer a two-part online painting class. Participants will learn how to make their own “Bryggen” masterpiece over the course of two 1.5-hour sessions. Jana will take you through the steps to create the pictured work of art. Each session will have an opportunity for questions to be asked and answered live. You’ll need a set of supplies to participate and they have options: purchase one of their Curated Kits with your registration if you sign up by April 8 or use the materials list to compile your own supplies.
Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Spring Market (Friday & Saturday, April 23 & 24)
Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe in one online location during the absence of in-person festivals. The event will include 55+ Nordic vendors, giveaways, new products and more. To participate, visit the event’s Facebook page and mark that you are “Interested” or “Going” and keep an eye on the “Discussion” tab as soon as the event starts to join in the action.
New Nordic Cinema Week 9: Games People Play (Finland) (Friday, April 23 — Thursday, April 29)
The ninth session of the series features the film Games People Play / Seurapeli (Finland, 2020; dir. Jenni Toivoniemi). A comedy about the tragedy of remaining forever young, Games People Play takes place over the course of a nostalgic weekend, when an old group of friends gathers to celebrate Mitzi’s birthday at an idyllic seaside villa — just as they did as teenagers. But the party gets off to a bad start when it turns out that the birthday girl isn’t so happy about the surprise; and with the addition of a new boyfriend in the group, who happens to be a Swedish Hollywood star.
A Modern Syttende Mai: An Intimate Cook-Along Class with Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen (Saturday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT)
Join celebrated food writer and author Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen in making a traditional 17 May meal with a few modern twists. Whether in Norway or abroad, Norway’s Constitution Day is a celebration full of lively parades and gatherings with elaborate tables of delicious spreads and outdoor grills on the ready. In this class, you’ll make the toppings from Nevada’s cookbook for two of her Nordic-inspired hot dogs – The Summer Dog and The Viking. She’ll show you how to prepare homemade strawberry ketchup and two variations of aioli. For the side, you’ll prepare a spring potato salad bursting with radishes and cucumbers. To round off the meal, you’ll make traditional potato tarts with fresh berries and whipped cream. Enrollment Deadline: April 3, 2021. This class is also offered on Sunday, April 25.
Virtual Nordic Handcraft Workshop: Posament Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT)
Learn how to make elegant posament bracelets, which have been found in Viking burial sites, by braiding pewter thread and sewing it to a soft leather strip. “Posament” refers to knotting and braiding wire into ornaments used to decorate textiles. Students will practice creating either a “Josephine” or triangular series of braided knots on nylon cord before class, then join jewelry instructor Liz Bucheit over Zoom to construct a length of knots with coiled pewter thread and sew the finished braid to a softened leather strip to fashion a bracelet. A pewter button provides the finishing touch. Kits are included in the class fee.
Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): The Almost Nearly Perfect People (Sunday, April 25, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)
Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join for a conversation about The Almost Nearly Perfect People by author Michael Booth. An American living in Denmark, Booth explores the perception in Western media of the Nordic region as a utopic place. Through his engaging anecdotes of personal experiences and research on the social welfare state, he presents some of the realities – as he sees them – of the Nordic region today. Enrollment deadline: April 23.
Virtual Nordic Table Demo: A Valborg Fest with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, April 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)
Get ready to grill for Valborg, Sweden’s holiday to welcome back spring! Whether we can gather with friends outside or not this year, Valborgmässoafton on April 30 has always been an opportunity for Swedes to look ahead to warmer and longer days ahead with a big bonfire and music. Patrice will demonstrate an appropriately spring-y menu that could even inspire a Minnesotan to break out their grill in April, or at least give some great ideas for dinners into May and beyond. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can see several recipes and prepare them later.
New Nordic Cinema Week 10: Diana’s Wedding (Norway) (Friday, April 30 – Thursday, May 6)
The tenth session of the series features the film Diana’s Wedding (Norway, 2020; dir. Charlotte Blom). On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana Spencer is marrying Prince Charles in the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. And on that same day, another celebration is taking place in the canteen of a Norwegian small-town factory: the wedding party of Liv and Terje, attended by their newborn daughter Diana. While less glamorous than those of the royal counterpart, the wedding and its following years are indisputably more fun — for all but the young Diana, who sees it as a rollercoaster filled with chaos, inflicted by the worst parents in the world.
Which April events or experiences look interesting to you?
Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.