March 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & New Online Language Classes

In addition to a variety of virtual Nordic events, this month welcomes the start of new online language classes at certain institutions as well.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language and Culture Program has opened registration for the spring semester and offers online classes featuring language and literature starting at the end of March and continuing through the beginning of June.

The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center in San Francisco also offers online Norwegian language classes as well as Danish, Swedish, and Finnish classes starting at the beginning of March. In addition to classes, they offer a virtual monthly Language Café to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, or Swedish.

For Los Angeles area readers, the 45th Scandinavian Festival returns to Thousand Oaks on June 4-5, 2022, at California Lutheran University. It is 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. If you are interested in volunteering at the 2022 Scandinavian Festival, please contact Karen Ashim at ScanFestVolunteers@gmail.com.

What looks intriguing to you this month?


Nordic Lights Film Festival (February 25 – March 5)

The Nordic Lights Film Festival is devoted to celebrating Nordic cinema—this year, once again, virtually. All films are available to watch during the run of the festival. You may choose your own viewing schedule but once you start a film, you will have 72 hours to finish it. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies and will only be viewable in the state of Washington.

Celebrate Laskiainen with Scandinavia House (March 1 – 6)

Join Finnish singer Ida Metsberg as she shows you how to make your very own laskiaispulla, while sharing her own childhood memories of Laskiainen/Shrovetide! This event will take place as a virtual event premiering on March 1 via YouTube and Facebook. It will remain available to stream through Sunday, March 6. Laskiainen (Shrovetide) is often described as a “mid-winter sliding festival”. Associated with Shrove Tuesday, it is a celebration of the beginning of Lent that takes place before Easter, but includes both pagan and ecclesiastic traditions.

Nordic Literature in Translation: The Land of Short Sentences (Saturday, March 5, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House for a Nordic Literature in Translation event with this year’s American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizewinner Hunter Simpson and the author of the work in translation, Stine Pilgaard, moderated by Shimanto Reza. Now in its 43rd year, ASF’s Annual Translation Competition awards prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a 20th- or 21st-century Nordic author. In today’s event, Pilgaard and Simpson will discuss the writing and translation of the book.

Scandinavia House Nordic Book Club: Adorable (Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This month, Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club will be discussing Adorable by Ida Marie Hede, out in translation by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, which was recently discussed by the author in the virtual panel “The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen,” now streaming here.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center Nordic Book Club: Hotel Silence (Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss Hotel Silence by Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon.

National Danish Book Club: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal  (Tuesday, March 8, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (Spejl, skulder, blink) by Dorthe Nors, translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra. The Literary Event, an interview with Dorthe Nors, will take place on Tuesday, March 8, while the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, March 15.

Panel: Jon Fosse’s SEPTOLOGY (Wednesday, March 9, 4:00 p.m. PT)

Community Bookstore (Brooklyn, New York), Brazos Bookstore (Houston, Texas), and Third Place Books (Seattle, Washington) invite you to an evening celebrating the release of A NEW NAME: SEPTOLOGY VI-VII by Jon Fosse, one of Norway’s most celebrated authors and playwrights. This event, co-sponsored by the Norwegian Consulate General in New York, will take place on Zoom Webinar. Click here for more information and to register.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—1000 Year History of Iceland in One Hour: From Viking Settlement to Recent Times (Friday, March 11, 7:30 p.m. PT)

A fascinating thousand-year history of Iceland, land of fire, ice, Vikings, Icelandic horses, puffins and much more, is ably described by Dr. Elisabeth Ward. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. The monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics is a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, March 13, 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.

Introduction to Swedish (Sunday, March 13, 1:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about learning Swedish, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? In this two-hour introductory workshop, students will get a feel for the Swedish language, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Wendy Swallow’s Searching For Nora: After The Doll’s House (Wednesday, March 16, 7:00-8:30 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. Following February’s discussion of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, join in March to explore Wendy Swallow’s Searching for Nora: After the Doll’s House. Author Wendy Swallow will join the event, and following the small group discussions in breakout rooms, there will be a Q&A with the author. Enrollment deadline: March 9, 2022.

Workshop: Scandinavian Fish Pie with Patrice Johnson (Friday, March 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

If you’ve never tried a savory Scandinavian fish pie, this winter is the perfect time to do so! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook this one dish meal – cod or haddock in a creamy filling topped with mashed potatoes. While our main dishes cook, we’ll prep a salad and simple dessert. This class is designed as a cook along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling classic Scandinavian comfort food at home. This program is sold out, but you can ask to be added to a waitlist.

Hearty Nordic Meal with North Wild Kitchen (Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and celebrated food writer and author Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen in making a hearty meal highlighting the traditional flavors of Norway. In this class, you’ll be making the Reindeer Stew (beef or other game meat can be substituted for the reindeer) with Samisk Bread “reinsdyrgryte med Samisk brød”, and the Light and Fluffy Cheesecake “ostekake” from her cookbook. The class is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club: Unto a Good Land by Vilhelm Moberg (Saturday, March 19, 10:30 a.m. CT, Free)

In this meeting, participants of The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club will be discussing the second half of book 2 in The Emigrant Novels series by Vilhelm Moberg, Unto a Good Land, as well as reviewing the whole book. Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of The Emigrant Novels.

Virtual Book Talk: Swedish-American Borderlands (Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Swedish–American Borderlands studies connections and contacts between Sweden and the United States from the seventeenth century to today, exploring how movements of people have informed the circulation of knowledge and ideas between the two countries to produce new understandings of what we perceive as Swedish, American, and Swedish American.  The volume investigates multiple transcultural exchanges between Sweden and the United States. Rather than concentrating on one-way processes or specific national contexts, Swedish–American Borderlands adopts the concept of borderlands to examine contacts, crossings, and convergences between the nations, featuring specific case studies of topics like jazz, architecture, design, genealogy, and more. In this virtual book talk, editors Dag Blanck and Adam Hjorthén present the volume’s contribution to the history of Swedish-American relations.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, March 20, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually on March 20 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.

Extreme North: Virtual Programming with Bernd Brunner and Eric Jaronski (Thursday, March 24, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Scandinavia House and Deutsches Haus at NYU present a virtual program with acclaimed author Bernd Brunner and renowned Germanist, writer, and mastermind of @neinquarterly, Eric Jaronski. In today’s program, hear a reading by Brunner from his latest book, Extreme North (W. W. Norton, February 2022), translated by Jefferson Chase – an entertaining and informative voyage through cultural fantasies of the North, from sea monsters and a mountain-sized magnet to racist mythmaking – followed by a conversation with Jarosinski.

Swedish American Museum Book Club: Pakkis by Khalid Hussain (Saturday, March 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss Pakkis by Khalid Hussain, translated from the Norwegian by Claudia Berguson and Ingeborg Kongslien. Khalid Hussain is a Norwegian-Pakistani writer and film producer. Hussain was born in 1969 in Pakistan and moved to Norway without his parents in 1975. He came to attention after writing the book Pakkis in 1986 when he was 16 years old. Drawing upon his own life experiences, Hussain voiced in Pakkis the unique challenges of many young immigrants in Norway.

Nordiska’s Book Club: The Real Valkyrie (Thursday, March 31, 6:00 p.m. PT)

To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8) and National Women’s History Month in March, Nordiska has decided to highlight women’s lesser-known roles in Nordic history. Women’s histories have historically been marginalized, but due to the work of researchers and writers like Nancy Marie Brown, incredible stories are finally being spotlighted. Join in reading and discussing Brown’s latest publication, The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women. Receive a 15% discount on the book club pick by using the code “bookclub22” when purchasing the book through Nordiska’s online store.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events for April.

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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (January 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

It was a surprisingly strong reading start to 2022 and even more surprising was the fact that most of my reads were Nordic books (Icelandic and Norwegian). The high number of books is due to binge reading/listening to the last 2 books in an engrossing crime fiction trilogy as well as reading a short novel and a middle grade book. Future months are not likely to be this full of books.

The 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge is underway. I’m currently reading the first book for the challenge, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen, a book I’ve had both in original language and in English on my shelf for a while (2022 Reading Intentions, read off my shelf!). This book takes place in the time period 1910s and 1920s and chronicles the life of a family living on a remote island in Northern Norway, a life very tied to geography and weather. For details on the reading challenge and insight into this time period along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
(Narrated by Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber)

I love historical fiction that opens my eyes to a period of time or an event that I have little to no knowledge of, and this book did just that in a big way. The book is based on a real-life scandal in the Memphis, Tennessee, area in which poor children were kidnapped and sold to wealthy families (1920s-1950). Just the thought of that is unbelievable and then seeing it from the perspective of a child experiencing it was heartbreaking. The structure of the book was unique. The story jumped between 1939 when 12-year-old Rill and her younger siblings were kidnapped to the present when a successful daughter returns home to help with her father’s illness and begins to dig into her family’s history. I followed both storylines with equal interest and engagement eager to find out the connection. A 5-star listen and read for me. (I generally listened to it but had to have the ebook available too so I could read in the evening.)


The Island (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #2) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)
(Narrated by Angela Redman)

After finishing the first book in the Hidden Iceland trilogy last month, I decided to jump on the second book. The ending of the first book was a cliff hanger and the cover of the second book was too enticing to postpone. The structure of the series is unique in that it is in reverse chronological order. In this book, we learn more about investigator Hulda’s past and follow her as she investigates a murder that takes place on the island pictured on the cover. If you’re fascinated by Iceland’s geography, this book is for you. You are immersed in the setting.


The Mist (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #3) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)
(Narrated by Angela Redman)

I just decided to binge read/listen to this trilogy while I was at it, and I have no regrets. Iceland’s geography continues to play a significant role in the story, and I am fascinated by it. I will keep Ragnar Jónasson on my list of authors to return to, but I will take a break from his crime fiction for the time being. There are other Icelandic crime authors I’d also like to read. I’d like to return to Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s Children’s House series and try Eva Bjorg Ægisdóttir’s The Creak on the Stairs (Forbidden Iceland Book 1).


Because Venus Crossed an Alpine Violet on the Day that I Was Born by Mona Høvring (Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson and Rachel Rankin)

I was drawn to the cover (stunning fjord) and title (so odd and unique) of this one. However, when I started reading, there was a disconnect because I had thought the setting would be spring or summer time in a mountain village. Instead it was winter, and every time there was a reference to snow and cold, I was thrown a little. Minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but still an issue for me. It’s a short novel about two sisters in their early twenties who go to a mountain hotel to reconnect. Growing up they had been very close but then the older one abruptly left home to marry and ended up at a sanatorium after a nervous breakdown. This is their opportunity to find the relationship they had when they were young, but circumstances arise making it hard. It had a dreamlike quality and the writing/translation was lovely. A very enjoyable book! (But the title is still a mystery to me.)

#SlothyWorldReads2022: Book from the country you’re from (Norway)


Our Own Little Paradise by Marianne Kaurin (Middle Grade)
(Translated from the Norwegian by Olivia Lasky)

I came across this Norwegian middle grade book in translation at Netgalley and couldn’t resist since I was familiar with the author, was drawn to the cover, and liked the premise. On the last day of 6th grade when Nora’s classmates share all sorts of foreign vacation plans for the summer, Nora ends up lying about an upcoming trip to the tropics. However, she is outed by a new boy in class who lives in her apartment complex. The summer spirals into much more than she ever expected in so many ways. It was a very enjoyable and heartwarming book about a 12-year-old’s desire to fit in and make friends with the added difficulty and pressure of social media and socio-economic differences, and there were many examples of Norwegian culture present, my favorite being the summertime shrimp.

Thanks to Netgalley and Arctis Books for an advance copy of this! It will be released on April 12, 2022.


Dálvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra by Laura Galloway
(Narrated by Laura Lefkow)

I’m not usually drawn to memoirs, but the cover and premise of this one intrigued me. A woman from Indiana finds she shares some DNA with the Sámi people, the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and plans a trip to visit the area. This first visit eventually leads to a 6-years-long stay there. The memoir is an absorbing account of her time in Sápmi interspersed with reflections on her childhood and early adult life in the US. It provides a fascinating, unique look at the modern culture of the Sámi and their relationship with outsiders. I was captivated by this book. Going to the Scandinavian Arctic is now even higher on my bucket list.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World Reading Challenge: Arctic & Antarctic


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

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.

February 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Sámi National Day

While Nordic organizations around the country are transitioning to more and more in-person events, there are still many virtual ones to enjoy!

February is 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.  (If you’re interested in more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.)

Marking the day has become increasingly popular with celebrations and programs not just taking place domestically in those countries but also abroad. In the virtual community this month, there are many online events – celebrations, a movie screening, book events, craft workshops, presentations, and more. Look for events marked with ❤️💙💛💚. Happening now in Tromsø, Norway, is Sámi Week (January 31-February 6). Highlights usually include an Arctic Market, the Norwegian Championship in Lasso Throwing, and the Norwegian Championship in Reindeer Racing, but unfortunately they are canceled this year due to national restrictions. View pictures from previous years here.

And finally I share an in-person event for readers in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. Today the Norwegian Oscar submission for Best International Feature, The Worst Person in the World, opens in limited release in theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang calls it “a funny, melancholy dazzler from Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier… [a] charming, wistful, ineffably tender movie… It’s time well spent.” Will you see it, or have you already?

Which events look intriguing to you this month?


Book Talk: River Kings with Dr. Cat Jarman (Friday, February 4, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual literary talk with bioarchaeologist Dr. Cat Jarman to celebrate the release of her new book River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads out on February 1, 2022, from Pegasus Books. Learn about an epic story from the Viking Age that traces the historical path of an ancient piece of jewelry—found in a Viking grave in England—to its likely origin thousands of miles east in India. Update: The virtual talk is available now for streaming.

Sámi álbmotbeaivi – Samenes nasjonaldag (Sunday, February 6)❤️💙💛💚

Norway’s national TV station NRK celebrates Sámi National Day with celebrations from all of Sápmi. This recorded program is in Norwegian and Sámi, but you’ll still enjoy the unique joik music, traditional Sámi dress and jewelry, and impressive landscapes. View the program now.

Exploring Arctic Highways – Celebrating Sámi National Day (Sunday, February 6, 3:00 p.m. PT) ❤️💙💛💚

Join a Facebook Live virtual celebration of Sámi National Day. During the celebration, enjoy some of the Sami National Day celebrations taking place outside of City Hall in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, learn more about Sámi National Day, and enjoy a performance by Sámi artist Sara Ajnnak. The celebration will also include an introduction to the new exhibition Arctic Highways, which is currently on its way over the Atlantic to make its world debut at House of Sweden, Washington, DC, next month before continuing to tour North America and Europe.

Nordic Book Club: The Book of Reykjavik (Tuesday, February 8, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This month, Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club will be discussing The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction, an anthology edited by Becca Parkinson & Vera Juliusdottir, which was recently discussed by authors and translators in a virtual panel.

Nordic Book Club: The Nordic Theory of Everything (Tuesday, February 8, 6:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Finnish author Anu Partanen.

Movie Screening: Älven min vän (Thursday, February 10, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT, Free)❤️💙💛💚

Älven min Vän (The River, My Friend) is a portrait of the lives of four Sámi women and their relationship to the Lule River in Sweden. The film shows the consequences of the forced resettlement of Sámi people who were displaced from their land because of the construction of river dams and were alienated from their indigenous culture and way of life (such as reindeer husbandry, clothing, language, food and music). At the same time, the film shows the deep relationship between the women and the river. Register for this free event and receive a link to the movie. Then join the Zoom event to meet the director Hannah Ambühl.

Nordic Spirits Second Friday: Are You What You Wear? (Friday, February 11, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free) ❤️💙💛💚

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, California, invites you to a virtual presentation presented by Prof. Thomas DuBois of University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn about Sámi traditional dress. There are clear norms about how Sámi dress in different regions of Sápmi – the areas of Norway, Finland, and Sweden where Sámi people traditionally reside. But the actual components of the dress vary and they are often made at home by family members rather than purchased from a professional seamstress. This presentation will explore the ways the Sámi use dress to express their identity and the many variations and expressive choices that come into play. Particiaption is free. Registration is required.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, February 12, 10:00-11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på 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 a conversation table held entirely in Swedish every second Saturday each month. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Norwegian Family Language Adventure: Explorers (Register by February 15)

Join Vesterheim in March for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language 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 craft, and a yummy snack. The adventure starts on March 1 and will focus on Oppdagelsesreisende, the Norwegian word for explorers! Register by February 15.

Duodji Reader: Virtual Book Talk (Tuesday, February 15, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT, Free)
❤️💙💛💚

American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a virtual panel on Duodji Reader: A Selection of Twelve Essays on Duodji by Sámi Duojárat and Writers from the Past 60 Years, produced by Sámi Allaskuvla / Sámi University of Applied Sciences and Norwegian Crafts. Edited by Gunvor Guttorm and Harald Gaski, Duodji Reader explores the Sámi duodji, the artistic crafts form of the Indigenous people of the European Arctic, through essays written by 11 prominent Sámi scholars, duojárat, and writers from North, South, and Lule Sámi areas. Duodji demonstrates a holistic circle of creation, how nature and humans collaborate in recognising, visualising, and shaping items that serve the need for both practical use and aesthetic form.

National Danish Book Club: The Liar (Tuesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is The Liar (Løgneren) by Martin A. Hansen. The Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. PT. The accompanying Literary Event is unscheduled at this time.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Wednesday, February 16, 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 at Vesterheim, discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Henrik Ibsen remains the second most often played playwright in the world behind William Shakespeare. Join Vesterheim this month for a conversation about the play A Doll’s House, significant at the time for the way it addressed the fate of a married woman living in a male-dominated culture.

ASI Workshop: Swedish Meatballs with Patrice Johnson (Friday, February 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! 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 meal. This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club: Unto a Good Land by Vilhelm Moberg (Saturday, February 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join The Nordic Heart‘s book club to discuss the first half of book 2 in The Emigrant Novels series by Vilhelm Moberg, Unto a Good Land. Book 2 opens in the summer of 1850 as the emigrants disembark in New York City. Their journey to a new home in Minnesota Territory takes them by riverboat, steam wagon, Great Lakes steamship, and oxcart to Chicago County.  Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of The Emigrant Novels.

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, February 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

In these online classes hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner. These classes are sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

The History of Norwegian Sweaters (Saturday, February 19, 7:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Learn about the history of different types and styles of Norwegian sweaters, including Setesdal, Fana, Marius, and Olympic from textile expert and Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson. Laurann will also discuss the symbolism behind some of the patterns and colors on sweaters made today. This is an open meeting of the Washington D.C. Sons of Norway Lodge. Visitors wishing to attend should contact Bill Deroche at programs@norwayDC.org for a Zoom link .

In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Norwegian Immigrants Brought to the United States (Tuesday, February 22, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson to explore the immigrant experience through stories associated with artifacts in Vesterheim’s collection. Between 1825 and 1980, nearly one million Norwegians left for new lives in America. She’ll discuss the reasons for leaving, what they brought, and where they settled. This is an open meeting of the Denver Iowa Public Library. Visitors wishing to attend may contact Kelly Platte at kplatte@denver.lib.ia.us for a Zoom link.

Lapskaus Soup: From our Kitchen to Yours (Wednesday, February 23, 6:30-7:30 p.m. PT)

This online demonstration hosted by Nordic Northwest in Portland, OR, will warm your heart. It’s the perfect time for the wintery and hearty Norwegian meat and potatoes soup “Lapskaus”. Learn how to make this traditional recipe, along with options to suit your particular taste buds. This demonstration features Broder Söder’s chef along with Nordic Northwest’s Cook & Eat committee. Whether you have made this recipe for years or are brand new to it — you won’t want to miss the opportunity. You will appreciate an “ancient classic” that is still relevant and practical today.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Black Fox (Thursday, February 24, 6:00 p.m. PT) ❤️💙💛💚

For the month of February, Nordiska will be celebrating Sámi National Day (February 6) by reading Barbara Sjoholm’s book Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer. Though she was not Sámi herself, Emilie Demant Hatt became closely acquainted with a variety of Sámi cultures during her travels in Sápmi, the Sámi’s traditional territory, in the early 1900s. Emilie Demant Hatt lived an extraordinary life which has been retold by Barbara Sjoholm in this first English-language biography.

Nordic Lights Film Festival (February 25 – March 5)

The Nordic Lights Film Festival is devoted to celebrating Nordic cinema—this year, once again, virtually. All films are available to watch during the run of the festival. You may choose your own viewing schedule but once you start a film, you will have 72 hours to finish it. Full schedule and individual tickets will be available in early February. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies and will only be viewable in Washington State.

ASI Workshop: Bake Your Own Semlor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT)

This online class meets in two sessions, first from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and then 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.

Vesterheim’s Primstav Murals (Friday, February 25, 8:00 p.m. CT, Free)

The murals in Vesterheim’s Gathering Room were created in 1999 by Norwegian rosemaler Sigmund Aarseth and Iowa rosemaler Sallie DeReus. The murals are an example of interior painting, relatively common in Scandinavia, in which every surface is decorated. The murals are inspired by the primstav, a calendar stick widely used in Norway during the Middle Ages. The initial purpose of the primstav was to help keep track of Saint’s days and the church year when Christianity was adopted in the eleventh century. Over time, however, the primstav acquired worldly calendar associations that had to do with seasonal agricultural and domestic activities. Vesterheim’s Martha Griesheimer will give this online presentation in an open meeting of the Boulder Sons of Norway group. Everyone is welcome! Visitors wishing to attend may contact Erik Sirnes for a Zoom link: eriksirnes@hotmail.com.

Book Club: Antiphony (February 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free) ❤️💙💛💚

The Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, hosts a book club that reads a wide range of books from the Nordic countries. The February read is Antiphony by Laila Stien translated from the Norwegian by John Weinstock, a novel about a woman who goes to Northern Norway and becomes acquainted with three generations of Sámi women.

Fastelavn Buns – Scandinavian Baking Workshop (Saturday, February 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT)

It is that time of year again to celebrate the Danish tradition of Fastelavn! Native Dane and baker extraordinaire Leda Jessen is ready to bake the traditional yummy Fastelavn buns together with you. You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed prior to the event, and together with Leda you will bake the day away.

Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Norma Refsal (Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27) ❤️💙💛💚

In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

Nordic Book Club: Psalm at Journey’s End (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. PT)

Join Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a discussion about the book Psalm at Journey’s End by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen.

Koselig Nordic Dinner with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. CT)

The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out but you can join the waiting list.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading for next month? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events in March.

And finally, Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for April through June 2022 opens on Thursday, February 10, at noon (CT) with new online and in-person classes in rosemaling, woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus special youth and family programming. They can’t wait for you to see what’s in store, so they’re sharing the class schedule now so you can start making your February 10 registration plans.


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.

My Reading Intentions for 2022

There’s no time like a new year to set some intentions, in this case related to reading. 2021 saw many wonderful reading experiences (see my Goodreads list of completed books). Highlights included completing the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, listening to the 40-hour-plus The Eighth Life, discovering new Scandinavian authors to return to (in particular Norwegian Ingvild H. Rishøi and Swedes M.T. Edvardsson and Stina Jackson), and reading around the world. In the hopes of having an equally satisfying and fulfilling year in 2022, I’ve set some intentions to help guide my reading. Otherwise, I might find myself in a state of limbo due to indecision.

Continue with my Scandinavian reading 🇳🇴🇸🇪🇩🇰

This is a no brainer intention, one that I’ve had for several years now. For the past 4 years, I’ve done it by creating a Scandinavian Reading Challenge with prompts to complete in no particular order, and I’ve really enjoyed expanding and diversifying my Scandinavian reading that way. This year, however, instead of creating my own prompts, I will be participating in The Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge and reading a Scandinavian book, most likely a Norwegian one, that takes place in each of the decades from the 1910s through the 2010s finishing with a book spanning multiple decades – 12 books in total. I’m very excited about the new iteration of my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. You can read more about it on its page, 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

Read off my shelf 📚

This year I would really like to make progress on reading books I already have on my shelf. I look forward to doing the research and finding appropriate books for my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge, but I will prioritize books I already have on my shelf, which includes many in Norwegian. I also have many unread Book of the Month selections waiting patiently and I want to work on reading those as well.

Read from more places in the world 🌍 🌎

I’ve always enjoyed reading from around the world, but I haven’t necessarily kept track of places I’ve visited through books. Last year I discovered and worked on The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge. I didn’t follow their timeline, just their map. I read books for every area of the world, many times multiple books for an area, but moving forward I would like to read more from certain areas: Central and South America, Middle East, and Africa. In August, Women in Translation Month returns, a favorite reading event, and I will continue to focus on authors from outside Western Europe for that.

Improve with sharing on Instagram

I enjoy the bookstagram community very much. I have my favorite accounts that I follow. My intention when I set up my account a few years ago was to share my interest and love of Scandinavian books and other books in translation and interact with fellow readers and participate in the community. It hasn’t quite worked out that way so I’ll see how I can improve with that this year.


I am excited about the new reading year ahead, in particular my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. Have you set any reading intentions for the new year?

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (December 2021) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update 

I finished the 2021 reading year on a high note, and thinking back, it’s been a very good reading year – many good books in a variety of genres from diverse authors in many different settings.

Mid-year I discovered The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge and completed it with books I had already read during the year and continued on my own schedule for the rest of the year. It’s an impressive selection of books I’ve read, if I may say so myself; click here to see the map with completed reads. One area remains, Arctic & Antarctic, which I plan to complete in January with a book that takes place in the Scandinavian Arctic area.

I also completed my Scandinavian Reading Challenge by the end of year unlike other years when I’ve had to wrap up some reads in the first month of the new year. Of the 12 books I read for the challenge, half were by non-Norwegian authors, which I was pleased to see, but only three were in Norwegian, a number I would like to increase in the next year.

Speaking of my next Scandinavian Reading Challenge, it will be a little different in 2022. Instead of creating my own prompts for the challenge, I will be participating in The Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge and reading Scandinavian plus potentially Icelandic and Finnish books to complete those prompts. Stay tuned for more information on that.

How’s your reading year been, and what have you been reading lately?


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

This was a spontaneous read that was nowhere near my TBR list, but I was immediately drawn to the cover and the premise: a mother and teenage stepdaughter’s journey to discover what’s going on when their husband/father suddenly disappears leaving only a mysterious note. The question of whether we can ever truly know the people we love the most is an intriguing one. I enjoyed the evolving relationship between the stepdaughter and mother. It was a fun read that took me from the houseboats of Sausalito, CA, to the university town of Austin, Texas.

 


The Tenant (Kørner and Werner #1) by Katrine Engberg
(Translated from the Danish by Tara Chace)

Katrine Engberg is a Danish crime writer, a new-to-me Scandinavian author whom I learned about from Abby at Crime by the Book, a great fan of Nordic Noir. I definitely enjoyed the setting of Copenhagen during summer time, and the crime and ensuing investigation were intriguing. However, I was not a fan of the pair of male and female investigators. They just did not seem like good partners. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the writing and/or the translation was not as smooth as I had expected. There were unnecessary sexual descriptions and subplots. At times some translated words seemed more vulgar than they needed to be and this turned me off. Upon checking a Norwegian version of the book, it seems this may be a translation issue?

🇩🇰 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book by a new-to-me Scandinavian author


Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

This was an unread Book of the Month selection that my book club chose to read, and it made for a very good discussion. It’s an unusual reading experience, a suspenseful, slow burn with nothing really happening, just the characters going about their business as something unknown and mysterious is happening in the background. A family with teenage kids rents a house for a week’s vacation on Long Island, NY, but their stay is interrupted when an older couple arrives after a blackout has hit New York City. With no TV, Internet, or cell service, they try to figure out what’s happening. It’s a book that leaves the reader with many questions, many of which stay unanswered. It’s a great one for book clubs because everyone will have different opinions on the writing style, characters, and plot.

📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


The Darkness (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #1) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)

This best-selling Icelandic crime author has been on my radar for a long time thanks, once again, to Abby at Crime by the Book. I didn’t know whether to start with his debut crime series, Dark Iceland, or this newer one, Hidden Iceland. I ended up just selecting what was available immediately. A traditional police procedural, it was a very captivating read. I liked the main character Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a 64-year-old detective forced into early retirement, who takes on one last case, a cold case about a dead female Russian asylum seeker. I liked the setting, Iceland during spring time with glimpses of winter time. I learned after finishing the book that this trilogy is in reverse chronological order. Knowing this and with the ending as it was, I’m eager to continue the series sooner rather than later.

🇮🇸 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book set in a Nordic country you would like to visit or revisit


Winter Stories by Ingvild H. Rishøi
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)

I don’t normally read short stories, but at a virtual event with Norwegian authors, this particular author was mentioned as a must-read and I was drawn to the serene winter cover, so I decided I’d save it as a winter read. It’s a collection of three long short stories, all of which take place during winter time in Norway and are about vulnerable people (a young single mother, an ex-convict, and a teenager) trying to do their best for the young children in their lives, but with difficulty. The author does a compelling job of exploring their struggles, and in every story there’s an unexpected stranger whose compassion makes a significant difference. A five-star read for me.

🇳🇴 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Nordic book you chose for the cover AND A Nordic book in genre you don’t normally read


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

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 2022: Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA & Nordic Spirit Symposium plus more!

Fireworks from midnight January 1, 2022, in Oslo. Photo credit to my mother.

Happy New Year! 

I was thinking that December 2021 might be my last Virtual Nordic Events post, but with a virtual Scandinavian Film Festival LA around the corner followed by a virtual Nordic Spirit Symposium at the end of the month, I saw the need for at least one more such post.

Mark your calendars for the next three weekends of January to catch “top films from the top of Europe” in the comfort of your own home at the 23rd Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA in cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. All the information is available on the SFFLA website. You can purchase a festival pass (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65) to catch all the screenings or buy individual tickets. Be aware that for some films, the screening options are limited due to restrictions.

Happening at the end of the month, the Nordic Spirit Symposium will offer presentations on a variety of topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Which events look intriguing to you?


Friluftsliv or Lost in the Mountains: Nature Literature from Norway with Torbjørn Ekelund and Are Kalvø (Streaming Now)

Norway is known for its dramatic and beautiful nature, with fjords, mountains and endless hiking trails. Norwegians love to spend time outside, so called friluftsliv. In this event from December 2021, get to know two fantastic authors with different approaches to nature. The event begins with a literary talk with Torbjørn Ekelund, author of In Praise of Paths and A Year in the Woods, and is followed by a stand-up routine by Are Kalvø. Take refuge from the cold weather and curl up on the couch with this inspiring recorded event.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend One (Thursday-Sunday, January 6-9)

In cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY, the Scandinavian Film Festival LA will be virtual one more year. Watch individual screenings or purchase a festival pass to catch all the films (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65). The schedule for the first weekend includes Oscar submissions from Latvia (The Pit), Lithuania (Isaac), and Sweden (Tigers).

Vesterheim Bokprat: Lars Mytting’s The Bell in the Lake (Sunday, January 9, 1:00-2:15 p.m. CT)

In the first bokprat discussion of the new year, Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, will be joined by best-selling Norwegian author Lars Mytting for a discussion of The Bell in the Lake. With its broad-canvas narrative about the intersection of religion, superstition, and duty, this novel offers a unique perspective about Scandinavian life.

National Danish Book Club & Literary Event Series: We, the Drowned (Tuesdays, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT & January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen. The Literary Event will take place Tuesday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT and the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT.

Virtual Book Talk – Present Tense Machine (Tuesday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on Present Tense Machine with award-winning Norwegian author Gunnhild Øyehaug. “With author Jennifer Offill as moderator, Øyehaug will discuss the exquisite, wistful, and slyly profound new novel, out January 11 in translation by Karl Dickson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.” This event will take place as a Zoom webinar.

Scandinavia House’s Online Nordic Book Club: Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen (Tuesday, January 11, 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 January 11, they’ll be discussing Dog Park by acclaimed Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen, who recently joined Scandinavia House for a virtual panel now streaming here.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Two (Thursday-Sunday, January 13-16)

This is the second weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little different due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes Oscar submissions from Iceland (Lamb) and Estonia (On The Water), both of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Denmark’s Flee and Norway’s The Worst Person in the World are only available to Festival Pass holders in NY, NJ, and CA beginning Saturday, January 15, and remain available to view for 24 hours after start of viewing.

ASI Workshop: Needle Felted Polar Bear (Friday, January 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute and create a cute felted polar bear ready for winter fun in this virtual, afternoon class. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted polar bear that will fit in the palm of your hand. Needle felting is fun, easy and therapeutic, and as your wooly friend comes to life you’ll enjoy conversation with other students and learn more about wool and the sheep who produced your kit materials! Your kit even contains enough wool to make a second polar bear, perfect for continuing with this craft beyond class. Ages 13 and up are welcome to register alongside an adult.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series — Trolls: A Retrospective Episode 1 (Friday, January 14, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

In anticipation of the 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium happening later in the month, the first episode of a trolls retrospective will be given ahead of time. In this first episode, Troll Genesis: From the Hammer to the Cross, Britte Rasmussen Marsh, writer, researcher, and educator in Portland, Oregon, will take audience members back in time to the origin of the universe, human, and troll, according to Norse mythology. How did trolls come to populate the forests of Nordic lands? What were the first recorded interactions between trolls and humans? As medieval times graduated into renaissance, how were these encounters interpreted by the folks who lived them? Participation is free, but registration is required.

Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series: An Innovator Abroad with Rick Steves (Sunday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim welcomes Rick Steves, a popular public television host and a best-selling guidebook author, to join them in conversation. He is the founder and owner of Rick Steves’ Europe, a travel business with a tour program that brings more than 30,000 people to Europe annually. Rick is also an outspoken activist who encourages Americans to broaden their perspectives through travel. He will talk about travel for the purpose of challenging cultural assumptions, travel to Norway, and his background as a Norwegian American. Register here for the free Zoom link.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café! (Sunday, January 16, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): We, the Drowned (Rescheduled, Wednesday, January 19, 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. Seafaring has long been a part of Scandinavian culture and history. In We, the Drowned, Danish author Carsten Jensen crafts an enlightening tale of family and sailors. Examining the hardships and adventure that come with the work out on the sea, the town of Marstal, and its inhabitants – the waiting mothers and wives, the adventure-seeking young men, and the old who are bound to the sea but trapped on land. Enrollment deadline is January 12.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Three (Thursday-Sunday, January 20-23)

This is the final weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little varied due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes feature documentaries from Sweden (The Most Beautiful Boy in the World), Lithuania (The Jump), and Norway/Denmark (The President), all of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Finland’s Oscar submission, Compartment No 6, is only available on Saturday and Sunday to Festival Pass holders (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65).

 Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author – The White Bathing Hut with Thorvald Steen (Saturday, January 22, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on January 22 as moderator Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma  discusses The White Bathing Hut, a unique story of a family coming to grips with carrying a serious hereditary illness and a history of denial, concealment, and shame. Thorvald Steen’s literary career began in 1983, and he has since produced a diverse body of work spanning a variety of genres. Translated into 30 languages so far, Steen has received praise and prizes for the quality of his authorship.

The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen (Saturday, January 22, 11:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Join Scandinavian House in New York, NY, for a virtual Danish literary panel with Copenhagen-based authors Ida Marie Hede, Ursula Scavenius, and Steven Zultanski moderated by editor and writer Tom Conaghan. The authors will discuss their newly translated books each exploring themes of the body and intimacy from unique sci-fi perspectives. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Grassroots Resettlement: Refugee Support and Community Creation in Scandinavia (Tuesday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

The American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a discussion on refugee support and community creation in Scandinavia. In this panel highlighting the work of local people supporting incoming refugees in Norway and Sweden, you’ll hear from a Norwegian asylum center director, a Swedish community organizer, and two resettled refugees to Norway who have made it their life’s work to advocate for their communities and build bridges between refugees and native-born Scandinavians. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Demo: Danish Rye with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, January  27, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Hearty, healthy Danish rye bread is a Scandinavian standard, and a must-have for open-faced sandwiches. Erin will introduce an easy take on rugbrød, no sourdough starter required. She’ll cover the basics of baking with rye as she works through the steps to create a sweet, whole grain-based rye loaf, and also discuss the possibilities for tackling a sourdough starter-based loaf. Even if you might think you’re not the biggest fan of rye bread, you have to give this recipe a spin! 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.

Nordiska Book Club: An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed (Thursday, January 27, 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. For their January book club, they will be reading and discussing An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

From Northern Lights and Winter Nights: A Symposium of Nordic Stories and Culture (Friday, January 28 & Saturday, January 29)

Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation’s 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium will be a virtual program of live presentations from Scandinavia and the United States on diverse topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. The program starts Friday evening and continues on Saturday with two sessions. Participation is free, but registration is required.

FamilieTid: Cook-Along with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, January 29, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim’s online FamilieTid this month is a cook-along inspired by the classic heroine Pippi Longstocking! Grab your copy of the book (or click here to order one from Vesterheim’s Museum Store) and then join for a fun afternoon cooking adventure with Nordic Cuisine heroine Patrice Johnson. Patrice is excited to lead this fun intergenerational cooking adventure where you will recall special moments in the book that inspire your cooking of pancakes and meatballs.


LOOKING AHEAD TO FEBRUARY – Register Now!

ASI Workshop: Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, February 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

The indigenous Sámi people of Scandinavia incorporate elements of their northern landscape such as reindeer leather, braided pewter wire, and sculpted antler to embellish their clothing and handmade items. In this virtual, afternoon class, students will use these materials to make a soft bracelet inspired by the tenntråd (pewter thread) embroidery techniques often found on Sámi handcraft. Students will learn to triple braid coiled pewter wire, then sew the finished braid to a softened reindeer leather strip and finish the bracelet with an antler button. Discover this unique tradition with veteran instructor Liz Bucheit and create a beautiful bracelet in just one day. Open to ages 16 and up. Registration for this kit-based class closes on January 23.

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, February 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

In this online class hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner! Enrollment deadline is February 11.

Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Norma Refsal (Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27)

In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). Enrollment deadline is February 11.

ASI Workshop: Swedish Meatballs with Patrice Johnson (Friday, February 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! 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 meal.

ASI Workshop: Bake Your Own Semlor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT)

This class meets online from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.

Koselig Nordic Dinner with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. CT)

The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out. Register by February 18 to join the waiting list.


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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October & November 2021)

Better late than never in sharing recent reads! October and November were busy months with less time and energy to read and write. Hence the two months are shared together now at the end of December. At least they were very productive months in the sense that I finished three unread Book of the Month selections, checked off two new areas of the world for The Book Girls’ Guide Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge, and made progress on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. I also felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished The Eighth Life, a 41-hour audiobook which took me 3 months to finish but was so worth it.

How’s your reading life been lately?


The Eighth Life (for Brilka) by Nino Haratischvili
(Translated from the German by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin)
(Narrated by Tavia Gilbert)

This audiobook was phenomenal. I think it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had. Not only was the story engrossing and eye-opening, but also the narrator had such great expression and feeling for each of the many characters. It’s the story of a Georgian family, in particular its women, beginning in the early 1900s until the present day. We get an insider’s view of the tumultuous and at times gruesome history of the Russian Empire/Union of Soviet Socialist Republics/Russia. There’s a secret and dangerous chocolate recipe, love and loss, happiness and heartbreak. I highly recommend it, but it is a big undertaking and commitment.

🌍 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Eastern Europe & Russia


The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I didn’t hesitate to pick this book up since I really enjoyed both The Nightingale and The Great Alone. However, I wasn’t as much a fan of this one, though I still enjoyed it. This one takes readers to the Dust Bowl, Texas in particular, during the Great Depression and follows Elsa as she struggles to make a life for herself and her kids with her husband, whom she was forced to marry, and his family. I did not realize just how hard and tenuous life in the Great Plains was at this time. I admired Elsa and agonized with her about her children’s lives. The insight into life in California for migrants was an unexpected but welcomed reading experience. Nothing was ever easy for Elsa, but she powered through with great perseverance and strength.

🌎 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: North America
📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson
(Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles)

This is a legal/psychological thriller that takes place in Lund, Sweden, in the southern end of Sweden. An 18-year-old girl is accused of murdering a man 15 years older than her. Both her father, a pastor, and her mother, a criminal defense attorney, struggle with trying to understand and defend her. I always appreciate a story about complicated family dynamics, and this book has a unique structure as well. The first part is from the father’s perspective which is followed by the daughter’s perspective. Finally, the mother’s perspective is shared. I really enjoyed it, in particular how the whole story was revealed through the different perspectives one after the after.

🇸🇪 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Scandinavian book I’ve been meaning to read📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

This was an unread Book of the Month selection inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) and The Book Girls’ Book Voyage’s focus on South America in October. It was a short novel that packed a powerful punch. It’s about a mixed status family separated by unfortunate circumstances. The mother and two children are in the United States while the father and one daughter are back in Colombia. The story alternates between the past (shedding light on how the family, who was at one point all together in the US, got to this point) and the present (when the daughter in Colombia is urgently trying to return to her father from a correctional facility so she can be reunited with her mother in the US). I really appreciated the insight into life in Bogotá as well as into the experiences of undocumented in the US.

🌎 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: South America (Colombia)
📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo
(Narrated by Sara Powell)

I picked this somewhat on a whim. I wanted something different from what I’d recently been reading, and the setting of London and a West African country intrigued me. It was a surprisingly compelling listen. The narrator’s interpretation of the main character was wonderful. Anna Bain, a mixed race woman in her late 40s, is newly separated from her husband of many years. Her adult daughter is busy with work, and her mother recently died. While going through her mother’s belongings, she discovers a diary belonging to her African father whom she never knew. This discovery takes her to her father’s country, fictional Bamana, where she encounters a variety of new experiences. I really enjoyed this story of new beginnings.


What have you been reading lately?

As always, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

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 2021: Christmas & Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA

A new round of virtual events is here, many of them Christmas themed. Looking ahead, the Scandinavian Film Festival LA will be virtual once again! Mark your calendars for the weekends of January 6-9 and January 13-16 and look forward to “top films from the top of Europe” at the 23rd Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA. All the information will be available soon on the website and at their Facebook page.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program is currently accepting registrations for the next semester of Norwegian classes (January – March 2022). They offer language and literature classes, most online. They also offer an online Norwegian club for youth ages 6 to 10, Den norkse klubben. It is a Norwegian language and culture group that explores the theme sanger og fortellinger (songs and stories) with an informal structure. Activities may include games, songs, art projects, and dramatic play.

And for LA-area readers, the Norwegian Church in San Pedro is hosting in-person Christmas events. See the latest newsletter for details on a Christmas sing-along, Christmas concert, Christmas services, and more. Visit their Facebook page for updates on Christmas events.

Now without further ado, here are the upcoming virtual events. Which look intriguing to you?


The Norwegian American Julekalender 2021 (Ongoing until December 24)

Each day in December, The Norwegian American brings you a special yuletide highlight to make your days merry and bright. Not a subscriber? This is the perfect time to become one! Visit Subscribe to learn more about print and online subscriptions, as well as how to purchase a gift subscription.

Vesterheim’s Virtual Norwegian Christmas Celebration (Ongoing until January 2, Free)

For those who can’t make it to Vesterheim for their in-person Norwegian Christmas Celebration, join in the warm and koselig spirit virtually! Vesterheim is offering 15 different interactive family activities that explore iconic Norwegian Christmas traditions. Download the free GooseChase app (available for both iOS or Android) and search for “Koselig Norwegian Christmas” or enter code number J5GK43 to get started.

Demo: Sweet Treats for the Holiday Pantry with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, December 10, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Stash away some sweet treats just in time for holiday entertaining and snacking! Erin will draw on up-to-date Scandinavian favorites to demo a handful of goodies to tuck away in your fridge or pantry for the season. She’ll turn to the flavors of saffron, cinnamon, almonds and more to inspire this collection that will keep through the rest of December – if you don’t eat it first!

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: A Delightful Sankta Lucia Holiday Celebration (Friday, December 10, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

Once, long ago, an apparition appeared out of the mists of a lake — a ship with a woman dressed in white and bathed in light on the prow — to distribute food to a starving village. This is the core of the legend of Sankta Lucia that will be told by Dr. Ernst F. Tonsing as an introduction to a beautiful celebration of the saint in song in Gränna, a small community in Sweden. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. The monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics is a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Norway House: The 12 Days of Christmas – an Online Silent Auction (December 11-22)

Norway House’s Christmas auction is back on this year! Check back to learn about the fun Norwegian gifts that will be on their list this Christmas season – and bid online using the GiveSmart bidding platform.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, December 11, 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 a conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

ASI’s Virtual Lucia Sing Along (Saturday, December 11, 2:00–2:30 p.m. CT)

Start your Lucia festivities early with this virtual sing-a-long for the family hosted by American Swedish Institute. ASI’s Lucia Choir Director, Ingrid Aune, will lead everyone in your family through classic Lucia songs.

ASI’s Virtual Lucia Celebration Concert (Sunday, December 12, 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT)

Enjoy ASI’s daytime Lucia Celebration Concert live via Zoom. Celebrate light during the long winter in this special concert featuring the youthful voices of the ASI Lucia Choir! The choir is joined by Lilla Lag, a youth fiddle and cello group. If you can’t tune in live, ASI will record this concert and email it to participants the following week. Participants can enjoy the recording until December 19, 2021.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café! (Sunday, December 12, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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.

National Danish Book Club & Literary Event Series: Babette’s Feast (Tuesday, December 14, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club discussions and accompanying Literary Events. Join the online Book Club in December to discuss Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). The accompanying Literary Event will take place December 16.

Demo: Making Glögg at Home with Emily Vikre (Wednesday, December 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m. CT)

Amp up your glögg game in this fun evening workshop with Emily Vikre, co-owner of Vikre Distillery in Duluth, MN. Emily will share her go-to recipes for glögg, Scandinavia’s favorite holiday mulled wine. With a few different approaches, her recipes will have you prepared to celebrate the darkest days of the year with warmth and cheer.

Nordiska Book Club: A Very Scandinavian Christmas (Thursday, December 30, 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. For their December book club, they will be reading and discussing A Very Scandinavian Christmas: The Greatest Nordic Holiday Stories of All Time. The fourth installment of the Very Christmas series by New Vessel Press, this collection of Nordic stories features some old familiar names in Scandinavian literature like Hans Christian Anderson as well as more contemporary authors like Karl Ove Knausgård. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

Virtual Book Talk – Present Tense Machine (Tuesday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

In January, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on Present Tense Machine with award-winning Norwegian author Gunnhild Øyehaug. “With author Jennifer Offill as moderator, Øyehaug will discuss the exquisite, wistful, and slyly profound new novel, out January 11 in translation by Karl Dickson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.”

Demo: Danish Rye with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, January  27, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Hearty, healthy Danish rye bread is a Scandinavian standard, and a must-have for open-faced sandwiches. Erin will introduce an easy take on rugbrød, no sourdough starter required. She’ll cover the basics of baking with rye as she works through the steps to create a sweet, whole grain-based rye loaf, and also discuss the possibilities for tackling a sourdough starter-based loaf. Even if you might think you’re not the biggest fan of rye bread, you have to give this recipe a spin! 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.


Which December 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.

A Long-Awaited Return to Oslo: A Look at What’s New in 2021

I’m thrilled to have a trip to Oslo on my calendar for this month. It’s the first time I’m back since the summer of 2019, and it’s a rare visit back in a season other than summer. Might I get some snow or even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights? Both have made an appearance in Oslo already this fall. My highest priority will be spending time with my parents and family, but I do hope to explore some of what’s new in Oslo since my last visit also. There is plenty!

MUNCH

Photo by Einar Aslaksen / Munchmuseet

Top of my wishlist is a visit to MUNCH, the new Munch museum in the Bjørvika harbor area of Oslo dedicated to the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It opened less than a month ago, and social media and news have been abuzz with the excitement of the long awaited opening. It’s been a work-in-progress since 2008. I’m intrigued by the architecture and location and eager to see it in person. Luckily, my father was quick to become a MUNCH member and has already secured tickets for a visit while I’m there. 😱

Diechman Bjørvika

Photo credit: Deichman Bjørvika

Bjørvika is not only home to the new MUNCH museum but also the new main public library Diechman Bjørvika (opened in March 2020) with its similarly striking architecture and an award-winning interior. In addition to extensive book collections, a movie theater, media workshops, gaming zones, lounges, work areas, a cafe, and a restaurant, it is home to the manuscripts of the Future Library, which will remain unpublished until 2114. Diechman Bjørvika was just named the best library in the world. Another must-see for me.

The Rose Castle

Photo by Sandbox / Roseslottet

Also on my list of Oslo must-sees for this visit is Roseslottet, or the Rose Castle, at Frognerseteren which opened in 2020. It is a large-scale art installation that commemorates 80 years since the German attack on Norway in 1940 and the 75th anniversary of Norway’s liberation in 1945. It “aims to tell the story of the German occupation of Norway and the basic principles of democracy, rule of law, and humanism that were then put out of force.” It is on display until December 31, 2022. Since it is higher up in elevation, this might be my chance to experience some snow while home.

National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design

Photo by Borre Hostland / Nasjonalmuseet

Another recent addition to the museum scene in Oslo is the new National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet) by Rådhusplassen/Akerbrygge opening June 11, 2022. It will be the largest art museum in the Nordic countries. I may not be able to view the exhibits quite yet, but the museum’s unique architectural characteristics will be admired, in particular The Light Hall which definitely stands out in the cityscape.

Oslo is a constantly evolving city and I’m impressed with how much has changed in the last several years. The pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed it down, and I’m eagerly awaiting my return home to see what’s new.

Are you a first time visitor to Oslo? See my original page Oslo Activities and Attractions and my follow-up post The New and Less Traveled Oslo for suggestions of what to see when visiting Oslo and then add and substitute as you see fit. I’d love to hear what’s on your wishlist to see in Oslo.

Virtual Nordic Events for November 2021 + an LA Norwegian Christmas Market

A new round of virtual events is here. Many institutions are transitioning back to in-person events, but they have found that virtual events have their place, too. Read on to learn of the many opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, learn, and discuss virtually with others from around the country.

On November 10, registration opens for Vesterheim Folk Art School’s winter quarter (January-March 2022). Find online classes in the fields of Fiber Arts, Weaving, Woodworking, Youth & Family, Rosemaling & Painting, Nordic Cooking, Knifemaking & Metalwork, Heritage & Language, and Jewelry. View classes here and start making your plans. Spots fill quickly!

For my local LA readers, the annual Julebasar, or Christmas Market, hosted by the Norwegian Church in San Pedro returns Friday, November 12, through Sunday, November 21. What used to be just a weekend affaire before the pandemic is now (once again) a week-long opportunity to stock up on Norwegian Christmas food essentials, treats, and fresh baked goods, as well as Christmas decorations and gifts. Apparently, this year will see the return of the café and raffle as well!


Virtual Events

17th of May Pin Design Competition
(Until November 15)

Help the Seattle 17th of May Committee design the commemorative 17th of May 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, all of the contest rules, and how to submit your design by clicking here. Submit your design by Monday, November 15, 2021.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market
(November 12-14)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the 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.

2021 Nordic Knitting Conference — A Celebration of Nordic Fabric Arts (November 12-14)

Perfect your skills and learn new techniques at the much-awaited biennial Nordic Knitting Conference. The 2021 conference features classes on knitting, felting, and weaving taught by renowned instructors from the Nordic countries and North America. Spanning two weekends, the keynote lecture and the majority of classes offered November 5-7 will be on-site at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and classes offered November 12-14 will be virtual live-streaming events. The keynote lecture will also be available online beginning November 12.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: The Viking Impact on England and Europe (Friday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, hosts a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. In November, Nordic Spirit Classics presents “The Viking Impact on England and Europe” by Dr. Richard Hall, former Director of the Jorvik Viking Centre and of the York, England, excavations. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table
(Saturday, November 13, 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 a conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Young Children & Teachers’ Experiences During COVID: Perspectives from the U.S. and Scandinavia (Saturday, November 13, 10:00 a.m. ET)

In this program, teachers from Scandinavia and the United States will discuss their experiences teaching in very different contexts during the pandemic, ranging from a forest school to a NYC public school to a small private school. What were the challenges? What have we learned from all of this? What do we want to hold on to from this period?

Introduction to Finnish
(Sunday, November 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.

Introduction to Swedish
(Sunday, November 14, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about learning Swedish, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? This two-hour introductory workshop is the perfect way to get a feel for the language — pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Vesterheim’s FamilieTid: Scandinavian Storytelling!
(Sunday, November 14, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Gather the family together and join author, actress, and oral storyteller Rose Arrowsmith for an hour of Scandinavian stories! Rose’s imaginative style will bring traditional tales to life and delight participants of every age.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café!
(Sunday, November 14, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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? We would love for you to

Virtual Book Talk – The Book of Reykjavik
(Tuesday, November 16, 2:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on the new fiction anthology The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction out November 11 from Comma Press. Authors Kristín Eiríksdóttir and Björn Halldórsson and translator Larissa Kyzer will discuss the novel and its translation, as well as the themes explored in the book, with moderator Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir.

National Danish Book Club: Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen
(Tuesday, November 16, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: a Book Club discussion and an accompanying Literary Event. Join the online Book Club in November to discuss Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Victim 2117. The accompanying Literary Event will take place November 23. Register here.

Writing as a Vehicle for Change: Swedish Women Authors
(First Class: Tuesday, November 16, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Texts in translation by Swedish women writers, from Fredrika Bremer to Lena Andersson, will be discussed in their historical and social contexts, reflecting on emancipation, social rights, class and gender over four weeks. Discussion will take place in English. Materials will be provided by the instructor.

Virtual Travel Seminar: Skiing Norway
(Wednesday, November 17, 6:30 p.m. CT)

During a time when international travel is limited for all but necessary travel, this travel seminar will bring a little piece of Norway to you. Magne Hatlevik, a Møre og Romsdal native, will provide you with a taste of the sights and culture surrounding Norwegian downhill ski culture. In this two-hour seminar, he will share tips about what you need to bring and explore destinations such as Lillehammer, Holmenkollen and a few side excursions to Iceland and Denmark as well.

Vesterheim “TVprat” (TV Club): Occupied
(Wednesday, November 17, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

With a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat (book club) discussions of Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life, join Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, for a “TVprat” discussion of the acclaimed Norwegian TV series Okkupert (Occupied). Set in a future where Europe is in an energy crisis after Norway has opted out of oil and gas production because of their environmental impact, Russia and the rest of the European community respond to Norway’s dramatic decision. Enrollment Deadline: November 10.

Repatriation & Restitution in the Nordic Countries
(Thursday, November 18, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for this conversation in which panelists Martin Appelt (Senior Researcher and Curator, National Museum of Denmark), Eero Ehanti (Head of the Conservation Department, National Museum of Finland), Eeva-Kristiina Harlin (Archeologist & Osteoarchaeologist), and Daniel Thorleifsen (Director, Greenland National Museum and Archives) will discuss topics including the restitution of Greenlandic and Sámi collections from the National Museum of Denmark and National Museum of Finland, respectively, as well as the longer-term impacts of restitution and repatriation of museum collections.

Nordiska Book Club: The Northern Lights
(Thursday, November 18, 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. For their November book club, they will be reading The Northern Lights by Lucy Jago about Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland who dedicated his career to understanding the aurora borealis as a natural phenomenon. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

Demo: Savory Standards for the Holiday Pantry
(Friday, November 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

It’s time to fill up that holiday pantry with some make ahead recipes using favorite holiday flavors! Erin Swenson-Klatt will draw on up-to-date Scandinavian standards to demo a handful of goodies to tuck away in your fridge or pantry as we start the holiday season. Throughout the class she’ll offer lots of inspiration for how to use these recipes for snacks, apps and as part of the dinner table. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. 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.

Skål to Aquavit
(Friday, November 19, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Each of the Scandinavian countries has their own preferred style(s) of aquavit, and people also often make their own homemade versions. In this class we will learn about aquavit and a handful of Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish aquavit traditions (including drinking songs!). Participants will choose herbs and spices to start their own aquavit steeping and will learn two aquavit cocktail recipes. Enrollment Deadline: November 12.

National Danish Literary Event: Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen
(Tuesday, November 23, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

The Literary Event for Victim 2117 is on November 23 and will be an interview with Jussi Adler-Olsen. Moderator Desiree Ohrbeck will select some questions from readers to ask the author. Submit your questions here by November 8. To receive a reminder for the literary event, register here.

Workshop: Needle Felted Reindeer
(Friday, November 26, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the American Swedish Institute to create a felted reindeer ready to take off for the North Pole. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted reindeer complete with antlers and bell! This class builds on basic needle felting skills and is appropriate for students who have previous needle felting experience. Ages 13 and up are welcome to register alongside an adult. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. Kits ($25 value) are included in the class fee. Each kit includes everything you need for needle felting a reindeer. Registration for this kit-based class closes November 15.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): We, the Drowned
(Registration Deadline: December 1)

Join Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, on Wednesday, December 15, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, for a discussion of We, the Drowned by Danish author Carsten Jensen, translated from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund with Emma Ryder. An enlightening tale of family and sailors, it examines the hardships and adventure that come with the work out on the sea, the town of Marstal, and its inhabitants – the waiting mothers and wives, the adventure-seeking young men, and the old who are bound to the sea but trapped on land. Enrollment Deadline: December 1.

The Scandinavian School’s Nordic Book Club: The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen (Sunday, December 5, 4:00-5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Jjoin The Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a discussion about The Nordic Theory of Everything by Finnish author Anu Partanen.

Scandinavia House’s Online Nordic Book Club: The Pastor by Hanne Ørstavik (Tuesday, December 7, 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 December 7, they’ll be discussing The Pastor by award-winning Norwegian novelist Hanne Ørstavik, who recently joined Scandinavia House for a virtual panel now streaming here.


Which November 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.