Sunday, October 16, 2011
Here in Minnesota it's been a big week for Norwegian Americans. And it's not over yet!
Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja arrived in the Twin Cities last Tuesday. Since then, the royal couple has wasted no time hitting many Norwegian hot-spots in the area, leaving goodwill and a bit of royal fever in their wake. The king and queen have visited three Norwegian-American colleges—Luther, St. Olaf and Augsburg—and Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa. They've even squeezed in a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. And on Sunday night they were the guests of honor at a banquet for 1,100 at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel.
On Monday the king and queen will travel to Duluth for the rededication of Enger Tower, originally dedicated in 1939 by King Harald's father, who was then Crown Prince Olav V.
On Tuesday, before departing for New York, the king and queen will open an exhibit honoring Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen at the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. The exhibit, on loan from Oslo's Fram Museum, is called "Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer," and will be on display for a month in the Concourse C gallery.
In a Minneapolis Star Tribune interview, Kim Ode asked King Harald if there was a particular Norwegian tradition he hoped was kept alive in Minnesota, and whether it had anything to do with lutefisk. "It's much broader than that, thank goodness," the king answered. "There are all the things with the sciences—we visited the Mayo Clinic and met several Norwegian doctors studying there. There are lots of exchange students, so much is about education."
The king added: "It's very important to get to know each other better, because more people here are calling themselves Norwegian-Americans than we have Norwegians in Norway," referring to the almost 20 percent of Minnesotans that identify themselves as Norwegian.
From here, it's on to New York, where the king and queen will visit Ground Zero and the Norwegian Seaman's Church. They'll also attend a luncheon hosted by the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and a centennial gala for the American-Scandinavian Foundation, along with representatives from the other four Nordic nations.
To read more details about the royal visit to the Midwest and New York, check out the current issue of Viking magazine.
Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.