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Knute Blodger was the editor of the Sol Byer Newsletter, "Nyheter", for the past 17 years has retired.  Consequently, there will be no more articles by him added to this page.  The following tribute appeared in the October 2017 Nyheter:

Tribute to Knute

Thank you so much for all the wonderful Nyheters you have produced for us.  Your 17 years of service is very much appreciated!  We could always count on there being a great article about Norway every month.  You have kept us up to date with what was going on in Norway as well as what our Sol Byer Lodge was doing.  We can’t thank you enough for your faithful service all these years. We hope you will be able to enjoy your retirement and we pray for good health for you and Leona”

Hilsen fra Sol Byer

 

Do you remember the speech that King Harald made? On Friday it is being released as a song. King Harald was praised for his speech. People in Norway and abroad took note of what he said. The speech was inclusive and was shared on the internet. Friday it will be published set to music. The song is simply called “The King’s Speech.”

The music project En Pose Nonstop [A Bag of NonStop] from Holmlia [an Oslo suburb] was given permission by the Palace. They were allowed to use the king’s words and voice. He had given the speech at a garden party last year.

“My biggest hope for Norway is that we are able to take care of each other. That we will continue to build this country - on trust, fellowship and generosity. That we will recognize that we - despite all our differences - are one people. That Norway is one.”

The King also spoke about immigration. “Norwegians believe in God, Allah, everything and nothing. Norwegians like Grieg and Kygo, Hellbillies and Kari Bremnes,” he said.

The King’s speech is a treasure. That’s what music producer Åge Reite thinks. “I want to elevate this speech,” he told news agency NTB.

“The King’s Speech” will become part of an album for children. The album “Reisen hjem” [The Trip Home] is about living with different cultures. It was easy to set the King’s speech to music.

“It was a musical speech, almost like a song,” Reite says.

 

Norwegian war veteran compares neo-Nazi group which marched in Kristiansand to Nazi occupation time in Norway.

Last week, a group of neo-Nazi named “Fatherland First” held a demonstration in Kristiansand despite police ban. The march attracted 60-70 neo-nazis from neighboring countries. Police in Kristiansand was criticized for not having stopped the march.

– It seems that history repeats. I think they are dangerous. Much more dangerous than Quisling and his men before the war, “said the veteran Thor Hofsbro to Dagbladet.

Hofsbro was 8 years old when Hitler Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940. Hofsbro joined in resistance and became one of those who had to flee to Sweden, writes Dagbladet. Hofsbro thinks it is terrible that the police in Kristiansand did not stop the neo-Nazi demonstration and compares it to police cooperation with the occupants during the war. The police in Kristiansand is in the process of evaluating the incident.

Right-Wing Extremists Will March in Norway Despite Ban

About Quisling

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian military officer and politician who nominally headed the government of Norway after the country was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Quisling first came to international prominence as a close collaborator of Fridtjof Nansen, organizing humanitarian relief during the Russian famine of 1921 in Povolzhye. He was posted as a Norwegian diplomat to the Soviet Union, and for some time also managed British diplomatic affairs there. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence in the governments of Peder Kolstad (1931–32) and Jens Hundseid (1932–33), representing the Farmers’ Party.

In 1933, Quisling left the Farmers’ Party and founded the fascist party Nasjonal Samling. Although he achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party failed to win any seats in the Storting and by 1940 it was still little more than peripheral. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he attempted to seize power in the world’s first radio-broadcast coup d’état, but failed after the Germans refused to support his government.

From 1942 to 1945 he served as Prime Minister of Norway, heading the Norwegian state administration jointly with the German civilian administrator Josef Terboven. His pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling. The collaborationist government participated in Germany’s genocidal Final Solution. Quisling was put on trial during the legal purge in Norway after World War II: he was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. The word “quisling” has since become a byword for “collaborator” or “traitor” in several languages, reflecting the very poor light in which Quisling’s actions were seen (both at the time and since his death).

Ever wonder what happens to the tons of stardust that hit the earth every day? Thanks to a Norwegian jazz musician, we now have our answer. Nothing.

The idea that rooftops and other cityscapes collect extraterrestrial dust in ways that can help identify them had long been discredited by scientists as little more than an urban myth.
Jon Larsen, a gifted amateur, spent eight years trying to identify them, proving those skeptics wrong. His book “In Search of Stardust: Amazing Micro-Meteorites and Their Terrestrial Imposters,” details these urban findings with 1500 photographs taken through a microscope, differentiating cosmic dust from earthly contaminants. The “dust ” , known as micrometeorites, are tiny, barely the width of a human hair. Some are interplanetary, and some from outside the solar system. They add up to over 4,000 tons annually, which is over 10 tons a day.

Scientists had been trying to establish their origins by examining their chemistry. Jon Larson instead examined their overall appearance. His findings were confirmed at the Imperial College in London using an electron microscope. Quoted from his book: “To pick out one extraterrestrial particle among billions of others requires knowledge both about what to look for and what to disregard.”

As a child Jon had been an avid rock collector, but set that hobby aside for his art and music. Then in 2009, as he tells it, at a country home outside Oslo, a tiny bright speck caught his eye. The angular metallic shape intrigued him, and he suspected it was from the cosmos. So he began looking for more, collecting dust samples from Oslo, and then cities all over the world, amounting to hundreds of pounds of dredge.

But he couldn’t find any more “stardust”. Then he took another tactic. Rather than looking for the particular flecks, he began to classify the types of urban contaminants according to their appearance. Patience paid off, and with the help of London scientist Dr. Matthew J. Genge, he discovered once he knew what to look for, he found they were all over.

In his book you can learn how to find these cosmic particles yourself. Or, you can go to thefollowing site:

http://www.iflscience.com/space/how-hunt-micrometeorites/

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Eliminating cash is one of the many steps that the Conservative Party wants to take towards becoming a digital society. Their plan is to phase out cash within the next 13 years.

The first step will be to get rid of the requirement to accept cash as a form of payment by 2020. Businesses will get to choose if they are willing to accept cash. This will be ideal for some businesses that fear robbery or want to save money by not using cash.

By January 1st, 2018, the Conservative Party wants to introduce mandatory online billing, according to VG. By 2030 they hope that Norway will be the world’s first cash-free society.

Hindering Criminal Activity:  The Norwegian Police Federation supports the idea. They are of the opinion that it could contribute to hindering black market activity and criminal activity.

“With less cash in circulation, money exchange will have to take place in a way that is more visible and therefore easier to control for both the police and the tax authorities,” Sigve Bolstad, leader of the Norwegian Police Federation tells Dagbladet.

The Director for Digitization and Money Transfers of Finance Norway, Jan Digranes doesn’t think having cash is worth the problems it creates.

“Cash represents such a small part of payment in our society that we can easily do without it.  Managing cash costs twice as much as electronic payments, and without cash, problems related to economic crime, the black market and robbery can be reduced.”

Cash Is Becoming Irrelevant:  Paying with a card is commonplace in Norway. Cards are widely accepted around the country. A new service by DNB called Vipps is another alternative to cash that gained popularity last year. The app allows users to register their bank cards and thus transfer money and make purchases instantly on their phones.

Kantar TNS recently did a survey for Nets that showed that almost everybody in Norway uses a bank card. The amount of people that say that they use a bank card has varied between 98 and 99 per cent in the last few years.

The same survey showed that bank cards are the preferred form of payment for 91 percent of people. 81 per cent said that they usually pay with a card even when they are buying something that is worth less than 50 Norwegian Crowns (5.95 USD).

YES To Cash:  In the aftermath of the discussion about whether or not Norway should continue using cash, a Facebook group started. The “JA til kontanter” (YES To Cash) Facebook group became so popular that it later became a formal organization.

The members of the organization have various reasons for defending cash’s role as legal tender. Jørund Rytman, who is one of the founders of the organization “JA til kontanter” and also a member of Parliament believes that cash is important for privacy and security.

He told NRK, “If you pay online, you’re leaving tracks. And with regards to emergency situations, you can lose power and network problems can occur.”

He also thinks that eliminating cash would be unfair to certain age groups.

“There are practical challenges. For example, older people don’t feel comfortable with new technologies.”

Rytman points out that there are disadvantages for children as well.

“Not physically seeing money can create problems for the way that children and young people understand money.”

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Andre Øvredal was first noticed by Hollywood for having directed the horror film Trollhunter, which gained immediate attention both in Norway and abroad. The popularity of Trollhunter lead to him working on another horror film, this time in Hollywood. The Autopsy of Jane Doe was produced in Hollywood and came out last year.

Øvredal is one of many Norwegian directors of horror films that later moved on to big Hollywood productions. Tommy Wirkola, Roar Uthaug and Pål Sletaune have had similar successes. The Norwegian Film Institute, which is responsible for distributing financial support from the government, has not contributed financially to Norway’s most recent popular horror films. This is partially due to the directors’’ reluctance to apply.

“We don’t feel like working on an application for weeks, knowing that we will get a no anyways,” says Severin Eskeland, director of the Norwegian horror film Lyst to NRK.

Christer Bakke Andresen, who has a PhD in Norwegian Horror Film, hypothesizes that horror films will soon cease to receive financial support from the state. He points out to NRK that “Norway isn’t Hollywood” and that Norway doesn’t have a profitable film industry. Film productions are therefore very much dependent on state funding. The Norwegian Film Institute has mostly given support to other genres and receives few applications from projects within the horror genre.

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Norway Women Handball Team won a thrilling final game against The Netherlands in Gothenburg. The victory brought Norway’s seventh European Women’s Handball Championship title.

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Did you know that Norway is a worldwide supplier of
a natural material central to crafts and interior décor projects around the world?

The botanical name of the plant is Cladonia Stellaris, but it is popularly known as Norwegian reindeer moss (technically, a lichen). One company reports selling 32,000 square meters of the moss in 2016, with 85% being exported from Rendalen to locales in South Korea, Italy, the United States and beyond.

Harvested largely from Norway’s vast Eastern valleys, the moss can be used in a variety of applications for crafts and home décor. From model train displays and terrariums, to framed wall art and vertical gardens, the moss is used to bring the outdoors inside and to evoke a fresh, natural and calming feel. The moss is sometimes tinted to blend with a home or businesses’ interior, with colors such as pacific green, sienna and burgundy comprising the palette of available colors. The processed moss is widely available from online and retail outlets.

Reindeer moss grows in lush mats over large areas of the ground. It is slow-growing and sustainably harvested by hand to minimize impact on the local environment and forest animals. The moss is specially treated to maintain softness, and manufacturers keep inventory in cool, climate controlled storage.

The moss is often treated with preservatives to ensure fire resistance.

More than just a pretty plant

Long before reindeer moss was used for decorative purposes, it sustained the reindeer population, which is how the lichen’s name originated. It is also reported that during World War II, Norwegian resistance forces survived by eating reindeer moss when enduring long periods of time in the snow-covered wilderness. Although containing a good bit of vitamin C, the lichen was barely palatable. It was either dug up and cooked with fire ash or retrieved from the bellies of dead reindeer to be cooked and re-consumed by the resistance fighters.

Whether to feed reindeer, beautify homes or sustain outdoor survivalists, Norwegian reindeer moss has proven to be a unique and useful national asset!

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US Department of Transportation grants Norwegian Air license to conduct “transportation of persons, property and mail from any place within any Member State of the European Union to any place in the USA.” The news makes Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos very happy.

- We are very pleased that the American authorities have finally given our EU-company permission to fly to the US, says CEO Bjorn Kjos said in a statement.

The permit has been effective from 2 December.

Norwegian has waited three years for this license, as trade unions, and politicians and airlines have tried to stop the process, according to news agency AP.

They have accused Norwegian to have skirted labor and safety laws with its Irish subsidiary, according to USA Today.

U.S. critics, including Delta and United airlines, and the Air Line Pilots Association, argued that the Norwegian company has been headquartered in Ireland for hiring Asian crews for below-market wages.

On the other hand, the Norwegian company is happy about the possible positive impact. This approval finally makes it possible for us to plan the Cork to the U.S. routes we, and many others, have been looking forward to, writes a press release.

- Above all, it is a victory for millions of passengers who will benefit from more choice and lower fares. We now look forward to working on our plans for Norwegian’s continued expansion in the US, delivering the flights, jobs and economic boost we always promised we would, says the Norwegian spokesperson.

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The International Organisation for Migration says that 10% of Syrians would rather not come to Norway. Many Syrians Would Rather Be In Syria Than In Norway. 1 in 10 Syrians that are in the process of coming to Norway decline offers to come according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), NRK reports.

“Those that choose not to come to Norway may have other ways of seeing the world. Norway doesn’t fit their world view. Others fear that they may not be allowed to come back to Syria to see their families,” Nora Hidoussi, IOM information professional tells NRK.

Different Worldviews
Hidoussi also holds a course about Norwegian culture for quota refugees that are granted residence in Norway.

“Many of them think it’s a bit scary that boys and girls have swimming lessons together at school. It might have something to do with them having different religious values or a different worldview than Norwegians,” she tells NRK.  

Some of the topics that are brought up in the course are what parenting techniques are appropriate in Norway and women’s role in society. Hidoussi explains that some find it strange that women are expected to work. “You have those that think it’s scary because they have never been outside of their homes and perhaps haven’t been in contact with men outside of their immediate family. But you also have those that are excited about coming to Norway and being active, contributing in the workplace, or completing studies,” she tells NRK.

1,500 Traveled Back From Norway
NRK reported last week that IOM help almost 1,500 people travel back from Norway voluntarily. They helped a total of 82,000 migrants in the European Union/European Economic Area travel back last year.

Steve Hamilton, leader of IOM is not surprised.

“They expect to be able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the societies they come to. But there aren’t a lot of jobs here and the qualifications are often not recognized,” He tells NRK.

Difficulties Adjusting
Many families have reported difficulties adjusting to the climate in Norway, which is very different from that of Syria.

“The sun doesn’t rise. We haven’t seen the sun in months,” One Syrian family living in northern Norway tells NRK. They go on to explain that they are very happy with the house that they have received but can’t stand the dark and the cold. They came so that their children could go to school. However, the children haven’t been able to learn the language and are therefore not able to learn anything in school.

“We thought we were coming to paradise when we were coming to Norway, and that everything would be good. But since we came, we haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep. The kids cry every day.”

ED Note: People from different cultures ARE DIFFERENT and assimilation often never works.

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Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans in Arizona Per calculations by the US Census Bureau in 2009, there were 124,618 residents in Arizona with Norwegian heritage. This makes Arizona the 14th largest Norwegian heritage state.   We have more than Texas or Colorado. I wonder how do they know that?

A better question might be: Why aren’t our lodges bigger?  Why does Desert Fjord only have .1 % of those in AZ. The Norwegian Genealogy group met  Saturday, Feb 4th and told how they got here and how  other ancestors got to America.  We will meet at the Egg I Am Restaurant in Mercado Center on NE corner of Via Linda and Mountain View in Scottsdale-- 10:30 AM for brunch and camaraderie.

Arizona Norwegians and Norwegian Americans U.S. = 1.5 % (4,642,526 People)
Absolute numbers:
1980, 44,011
1990, 70,940
2000, 106,671
2009, 124,618

 

Source, U.S. Census

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The right-wing extremist groups in central Norway, Trøndelag grow, says Police intelligence unit, PST.   Leader of Police Intelligence Service (PST) in Trøndelag, Per Einar Hollum said to Adresseavisen they register an increase among the extremist groups in Trøndelag, but also in the rest of the country.

The right-wing extremist groups in Norway are on the rise. Also the number of sympathizers who are not part of organized right extremist groups is increasing, says Hollum.

Head of the Volunteer Center in Stjørdal, Hanne Myrvang says she gets threatening or offensive messages on social media because she is working on the integration of refugees.

She found a swastika sticker on her car and says that one of their volunteers was exposed to violence.

Trøndelag is a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag.

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The Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailed 1,556 nautical miles in 124 hours. No one has ever sailed a greater distance in less time, and 80 Norwegian cadets celebrate a world record.
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is Norway’s largest and oldest square rigged sailing ship, and every fall the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy hires the sailing ship for cadet leadership training.

This year was no exception, and in early November, 80 cadets and 20 crew members sailed from Bergen, Norway, via the west coast of Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean, to Norfolk, Va. They spent one week at Naval Station Norfolk, the world`s largest naval station, before spending Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.

“Everything was good with weather and wind, and the cadets really did a great job. I think this record is so good that the only one able to beat it is Statsraad Lehmkul itself,” Navy Attaché Erik Bøe at the Norwegian Embassy said. He met with the crew on Veterans Day.

“It’s incredible that we have managed to sail that long in such short time, especially at this time of the year,” Captain Marcus Seidl on Statsraad Lehmkuhl told Norwegian Broadcasting Corperation (NRK). He praised the high motivation and enthusiasm of his crew, and the effort they put in during the trip. The usual crew of 20 people were joined by 80 cadets from the Norwegian Naval Academy.

“I am very proud of the crew and the cadets. Without the young cadets we wouldn`t have been able to set the world record,” Captain Seidl said on NRK.

The ship sailed from Bergen in September, and the crew is now on their way home. The ship is expected to be back in Bergen December. 10.

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“Fisheries crime poses a threat to the world’s fisheries resources and to economic development in developing countries. International cooperation is essential in the fight against this type of crime,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. Norway will provide NOK 39.7 million in support of UN efforts to combat fisheries crime.

The Government is entering into a four-year agreement (from 2017 to 2020) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with a view to combating transnational organised fisheries crime in developing countries. The agreement is part of the Fish for Development Programme, which was launched by Mr Brende last year, and which covers a number of different projects to combat fisheries crime. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is the Norwegian party to the agreement.

‘Supporting this work is important in order to address global security threats and promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Fisheries crime is a cross-border problem that requires an international response. By supporting the UN’s efforts in this area, Norway is playing a leading role in promoting sustainable fisheries management,’ said Mr Brende.

Fisheries-related crimes include gross violations of the human rights of those working on fishing vessels, tax evasion, money laundering, forgery of documents and environmental crime. UNODC will support developing countries in updating legislation and building the competence and capacity of the police, customs authorities and legal system.  

‘The oceans are a priority area for the Government, and international fisheries crime poses a serious threat to both sustainability and biological diversity. The fisheries sector is international and knows no borders. Norwegian seafood has to compete in a global market, and we have a strong interest in combating crimes in all waters, not just Norwegian ones,’ said Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg.

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MoveHub compiled a list of the most liberal countries in the world using data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, the 2016 Social Progress Index report and Yale’s Environmental Performance Index 2016. According to the results of the study, Norway is the fourth most  liberal country in the world.

Using data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, the 2016 Social Progress Index report and Yale’s Environmental Performance Index 2016, MoveHub has created a list of the most liberal countries on the planet. To create the rankings MoveHub selected data from three reports that look at factors such as gender equality, the rights of minorities, personal safety and environmental factors such as soil, air and water quality.

Iceland most liberal country in the world

Iceland has made it to the top of the list of most liberal countries in the world by achieving gender equality with the smallest gender pay gap in the world. In addition to this, approximately 85% of its energy comes from renewable sources.

Norway took the 4th place on the list after two other neighbouring countries, Finland and Sweden.

Content Manager at Movehub, Harriet Cann said to The Nordic Page that she was surprised with Germany’s performance in the ranking.

I was most surprised at Germany’s ranking for the Environmental Progress Index at number 30, as I’d seen reports that almost 100% of Germany’s power had come from renewable energy! , said she.

  1. Iceland
  2. Finland
  3. Sweden
  4. Norway
  5. New Zealand
  6. Slovenia
  7. Switzerland
  8. Denmark
  9. Ireland
  10. United Kingdom

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Norway’s new American Embassy, currently under construction in Huseby, a western suburb of Oslo, will be completed by the end of the year. Designed by New York’s EYP Architecture & Engineering, the five-building campus features a chancery, underground annex, Marine security guard quarters and three entry pavilions. Workspaces in the building will support a staff of 200 employees. Planned outdoor spaces take cues from Norwegian design principles by utilizing the area’s mature trees and stream to meld the new building with the natural landscape.
Serving an important and unique function, the new embassy site and building plans had to meet a number of key requirements. The previous building’s location near Oslo’s city center is dense and highly trafficked and posed security challenges. In addition, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations issued a new list of guiding principles in 2011 which required that consulates and embassies be both “safe and functional and inspiring places for the conduct of diplomacy and … a facility that represents the best of American architecture, design, engineering and construction.” In essence, buildings must be aesthetically beautiful and meet high security and safety requirements.

In respect of these principles, architects sought inspiration from local materials, utilizing white Norwegian granite on the building’s façade and a copper roof, inspired by the Norwegian copper utilized in the Statue of Liberty. In addition to design and safety considerations, sustainability and energy efficiency were also at the forefront of plans for the project. The new embassy will qualify for a Silver Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and energy needs for the building will be met almost entirely by renewable energy sources.

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Norway is renowned for its woolen knitwear with intricate multi-color patterns. One of the country’s national symbols is the Selbuvott or Selbu mitten named for a small town near Trondheim. This type of mitten has the unusual distinction of having traceable origins to its original designer.

The story goes that in 1857, milkmaid Marit Emstad (born Guldset in 1841) was asked to knit some black and white socks for the farmer on the property where she worked. She did, and also stitched some two-color mittens for herself and her sister, using an åttebladsrose,or eight-point star rose. On a whim, the girls wore their eye-catching mittens to church, causing quite a stir. Soon everyone wanted to learn how to make them. This style caught on from farm to farm, spreading around Norway and to other countries in Europe.

The mittens were originally black and white, though other colors eventually came into fashion. Each knitter personalized the design to suit the recipient, often naming the new patterns after the farmstead or items in their daily lives: Kallarstrø-rose, the Heggsetrose, the Coffee-Pot-rose, the Tree-rose. While there are over a thousand mitten and glove patterns from Selbu, the eight point star-rose pattern known as the “Selbu rose” prevails as the favorite. This pattern is often erroneously referred to as a snowflake design in English.

Although the two-strand technique had previously been used in Telemark, it was the Selbu rose and the mitten in particular that was eventually considered “typically Norwegian.” Prior to the 20th Century, mittens were only given as personal gifts and could not be purchased, but the town of Selbu harnessed the popularity of the mittens to pull themselves out of economic hardship. The mittens have been a major export since 1900 with help from the trend of downhill skiing between wars. The majority of Selbu mittens still bear the original starrose motif that Marit Emstad designed 150 years ago.

In 2010, the Selbu Husflidlag (craft group) knitted the world’s largest Selbu mitten and later discovered that you need to make a pair to qualify for a world record. It took three years and 45 people to knit the first 8 foot (2.4 m) long mitten. A second mitten was added by 2014 when the knitters claimed their record.

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Earlier this month the Norwegian expedition operator and cruise line, Hurtigruten, announced the construction of two hybrid expedition ships. Designed by Rolls Royce and constructed by Kleven Yards in Norway, the vessels represent the biggest single investment made by Hurtigruten in the company’s history. “It is beyond doubt that the future of shipping is both silent and emission-free. We will use our new expedition ships as ‘icebreakers’ for this technology and show the world that hybrid operations on large ships are already possible now,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Set to debut in 2018 and 2019, the hybrid ships will be released in two phases. The first phase will see the completion of a single 530-passenger ship outfitted with an auxiliary electric engine, capable of sailing via electric propulsion for 15-30 minutes. A first of its kind in the world, the vessel’s combination of hybrid technology, hull design and onboard electricity efficiencies are projected to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent.

The objective of the second phase is to expand upon electric capabilities with a fully-fledged hybrid engine that will sustain the second passenger ship for greater lengths of time and distances. The battery propulsion will also offer a silent and emission-free solution for navigating into fjords and vulnerable port locations.

Bellona, a Norwegian environmental NGO with close ties to the project, is optimistic. Founder and President Fredric Hauge says, “This is an historic day for Norwegian shipping and for Norwegian maritime technology. Battery powered propulsion in ships this size shows that batteries are on board to stay.

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Award jury asks the Norwegian government to give him protection so that he may receive his award in Molde, Norway.
Edward Snowden receives The Bjørnson prize for his revelations about massive surveillance of telecommunications and data traffic by The U.S.A. Bjørnson Academy hopes to hand the award to Edward Snowden during the Bjørnson Seminar in Molde on 5th of September.

The jury believes there has been little attention on the issue in Norway for last two years since Snowden have made disclosure.

In a letter to Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) and Justice and Emergency Minister Anders Anundsen (FRP) the academy asks Norway to give him the protection he needs to come to Norway to accept the award, without risking being extradited to the United States.

Bjørnson Academy has been also in contact with several lawyers to consider whether Snowden may come to Norway without being extradited to the United States.

This is an issue that must be treated like any other individual cases, and it’s immigrant directorate’s technical authority, Anundsen said to Vårtland.

Snowden received political asylum in Russia after he uncovered massive surveillance by the USA of international telecommunications and data traffic.

The US has charged him with espionage and requires him to be extradited immediately.   

The Nordic Page

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December 21, 2016 As Norway’s royal family posed for annual, traditional Christmas photos this week, another tradition of shielding the royals from financial scrutiny was falling by the wayside. A majority in Parliament is now demanding more accountability and openness.

The royal finances have been under pressure for the past year, since newspaper Dagbladet launched a series of articles showing how the royals cost Norwegian taxpayers far more than state budget accounts might suggest. In addition to the direct costs of their individual allotments (called apanasje), many royal expenses were listed under other parts of the budget, while the costs of operating and maintaining private real estate, for example, were often covered under the budget for the palace.

Norway’s conservative minority government coalition appeared willing to continue to allow the royal costs to be widely dispersed, and that state funding allocations to the hoff (royal household) could also be used to cover the costs of royal family members’ private homes and holiday properties.

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The Norwegian value of friluftsliv or outdoor living is not a recent trend, but a treasured tradition. Attributed to Henrik Ibsen, who first penned the word in 1859 in the poem “På Viddene” [On the Mountain Plateau], the term was popularized by explorer Fridtjof Nansen in a 1921 speech given to Den Norske Turistforening (DNT) – the Norwegian Trekking Association.

Has the spirit of friluftsliv waned since 1921? Consider that North American children have less unscheduled time than they used to, spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. They stare at TV, tablets, phones, video games or computers for an average of six hours per day. Many adults spend more time sedentary and indoors, contributing to stress and poor physical condition. We are missing out on the physical and mental benefits of friluftsliv. Breathing fresh air and hiking in nature can help recharge your batteries while having a calming effect. Outdoor recreation not only has positive effects on our fitness and can burn 400-700 calories per hour, it actually changes our brains for the better.

A 2015 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that people who went for a nature hike versus an urban hike showed lower levels of worry and experienced better moods. The blood flow was reduced to the part of the brain that is tied to sadness, self-criticism and depression. Time spent in green space also improves problem-solving skills. Our brains are constantly bombarded with digital messages and artificial lighting, lowering our ability to sort information and think creatively. One study showed participants scoring 50 percent higher on a creativity test after their TV and gadgets were swapped for time outdoors.

The outdoors can also increase your ability to focus. People with ADHD who have difficulty concentrating on work or school were shown to have drastically reduced symptoms after being prescribed a daily hike, whether or not they were on medication. Nature walks have also been proven to combat dementia by staving memory loss and making space for new memories.

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For centuries, alcoholic beverages have played a role in spirited Scandinavian celebrations and have inspired amazing folk art. Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, invites you to raise your glass in a skål to these traditions by visiting the exciting exhibition, “Skål! Scandinavian Sprits.”
 

Curated by the Museum of Danish America, the traveling exhibition shares the history and traditions of drinking culture in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and how those traditions carried into the U.S. with immigrants. The exhibit focuses on beer and aquavit, the traditional flavored spirit of Scandinavia that means “the water of life.”
      
Drinking traditions offer one way for Scandinavian Americans to connect to their heritage. Scandinavians have brewed beer for over 1,500 years. In pre-Christian times, the Norse god Odin was credited with teaching humans how to make it. In the 1500s, distilled liquor became known through Scandinavia as a medical cure-all. Early distilling efforts often produced awful flavors, so herbs and other plants were used to improve the taste—creating what is now known as aquavit.

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Norwegian renewables companies Statkraft and TrønderEnergi have teamed up with European investor consortium Nordic Wind Power to build Europe’s largest onshore wind project in Central Norway, at an estimated cost of €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion). The companies said Tuesday the new joint venture.

Fosen Vind, will start construction of the six-windfarm project in the second quarter. The first turbine delivery is expected in 2018, with commissioning planned for 2020, Kallanish Energy learns.“This is an important day. Together with our partners Statkraft, we’ve developed the largest renewable energy project in Norway in this millennium,” said Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen.

The project, located on the islands of Hitra and Snillfjord in the Fosen peninsula, will have an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW) — more than Norway’s current total installed wind power capacity.

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Emigration from Norway drew to an end in the period between world wars, but people from the Agder counties continued to seek their fortune all the way into the 1960s. Almost half of the emigrants were young, unmarried women.

Siv Ringdal from the Institute for Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo has tracked down and interviewed 21 of them as part of her doctoral thesis. “For many it was an act of liberation. Many of them describe this as the best time of their life, even if it was a difficult transition. There was actually nobody who said that they did not enjoy it, Ringdal said to forskning.no.

Two thirds live in the US- Most of those who Ringdal interviewed were from 17 up to their early 20s when they left farms and towns of southern Norway for the worldly metropolis of New York. Today the women are between 70 and 90 years old. Ringdal has done fieldwork both in Norway and on the east coast of the USA where most of those who stayed, settled down.

Seven of the women returned home upon marrying, while 14 remained in the States, Norwegian colony in Brooklyn- Most of the young women who came over visited the Norwegian enclave in Brooklyn before finding a job as a maid there or in Manhattan. Many encountered a steep learning curve. They were thrown into work life and couldn’t speak English in the beginning. But through their jobs they became acquainted with American culture. The women experienced this as liberating in many ways. They were used to food rationing in post-war Norway and came to New York with hand-sewn and mended clothing. Now they had gained independence and earned money to spend on what they wanted.

Treasure chest of memories- Although no one Ringdal interviewed had a bad time in the States, some of them moved back to the Old Country, anyway. It was an era of their lives that they view with nostalgia. They came home with huge loads of furniture and all of the comforts they could take with them. They had kept dresses, jewelry, and pictures of that time that they store in boxes and trunks. They also brought home recipes for American dishes that they had served while there. But for those who stayed in the U.S., their memories of Norway serve as mementos. “They have a more nostalgic view of the Norway that they left. They have the need to show that they still remember Norwegian recipes and served me meatballs and cream cake when I came to interview them,” says Ringdal.

Thanks to Peer Gynt NL for this story.

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Growing up with a secondary language in the home was a common occurrence for European immigrant families in the US in the early to mid 20th century. Most second generation Norwegian-Americans who grew up with immigrant parents speaking Norwegian in the home are now in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. English is their primary language today but when the occasion arises they can switch to Norwegian at the drop of a hat. “Their language was the dialect they grew up with and they had no ties to our modern Oslo vernacular,” says Janne Bondi Johannasen, Professor at the University of Oslo. She and her collegues from the Multilling (The Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan) have traveled the states recording the Norwegian learned by those Norwegian-Americans who grew up speaking in the home. Interviews have taken place in largely Norwegian immigrant regions such as Wisconsin, North Dakota and Washington.

Norwegian-Americans interviewees speak fondly of childhood memories and days gone by. However, this is not the first time Norwegian researchers have come to America for this reason. Johannesen and her staff recently came across an old storage chest in their Oslo building containing dusty recordings from a 1931 trip to America with the same purposes. They were documenting Norwegian dialects back in the 30’s and today, nearly 100 years later Johannesen is asking the same questions, “First of all we can find out more about how language is altered when it encounters a more dominant language. What changes and what doesn’t?”

These researchers are trying to figure out how the Norwegian language evolved in America. As Norwegian in Norway adapted with the times and adopted new dialects and words, the Norwegian language that was brought to the US with the rush of immigrants did not evolve in the same way. These video and audio recordings can reveal a lot about the development of the language in a society surrounded by English.

These Norwegian researchers are making it a point to preserve the language. It was not uncommon for 3rd generation Norwegian-Americans to not learn Norwegian at home. “The elderly who grew up with Norwegian as a solitary language often felt it tough when starting at an American school. This weighed in on their decision to only teach their children English,” says Johannesen. But there is a new spark of cultural interest today. 4th generation NorwegianAmericans are taking advantage of travel and study abroad. Learning a second or third language is becoming more prevalent and worthwhile. But for those 2nd and 3rd generation Norwegian-Americans who can still speak the language, work is fervently being done to record and preserve that distinctive Norwegian immigrant language.

If you are interested in learning Norwegian, you can visit the Sons of Norway Members website, click on Norwegian Language and explore by reading and listening to the Norwegian Language Resources.

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The discovery of a skeleton found in an abandoned well has confirmed a dramatic tale from a Norse saga. Composed around 1170 by an Icelander named Eiríkr Oddsson, Sverre’s Saga is a chronicle of the voyages, battles, speeches and life of King Sverre Sigurdsson and is one of few manuscripts that vividly depicts life in the Viking age and medieval era.

According to the saga, in the year 1197, during a period of civil war, Bagler forces defeated King Sverre Sigurdsson (who ruled Norway from 1177 to 1202) and his Birkebeiner soldiers. The Baglers ransacked his castle, Sverresborg, burning down the King’s buildings and long ships, and poisoning the well by throwing a dead soldier into the water and covering his body with rocks. The Saga mentions the placement of the well and its contents, but the veracity of the details has always been questioned by scholars.

In a 1938 excavation of the castle ruins near Trondheim, a German archaeologist discovered human remains within the well, but the bones were not removed or analyzed. The next dig did not happen until 2014 when scientists removed a partial skeleton and confirmed by radiocarbon dating that the person had been a 30-40 year old man who had lived at the end of the 12th Century. The research team believe that this may be the earliest discovery of an individual who can be associated with a documented act of war. “The fact that this actually corroborates an event described in Sverre’s Saga is simply amazing,” says the lead archaeologist at the site, Anna Petersén.

In 2016, The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research launched a full excavation with the assistance of a forensic expert from the Trondheim police force and successfully extracted the rest of the skeleton. Funding for this excavation was secured by the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, who plan to study the site as much as possible to learn whether the legend is based on fact.

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Norwegian researchers have finally gotten to open the tomb of Viking leader Rollo’s descendants. They want to find out whether Rollo was the same as Gange-Rolv from Møre. If so, the British royal family originated in Norway. A Norwegian-led delegation was in Normandy and opened the sarcophagus of two of Rollo’s descendants.

The aim is to put an end to a centuries-long debate: Was Rollo Danish or Norwegian? “We have been working to get this researched for about seven years, so to finally get collected material to test the DNA—it was big,” said to NTB.  

Rollo was the founder of Normandy, Count of Rouen and the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, who is an ancestor of the English royal house. While Norwegian-Icelandic history via Snorre’s sagas argues that Rollo and Gange-Rolv are one and the same person, Danish historians believe that he came from Denmark. Gange-Rolv, son of Ragnvald Mørejarl was exiled from Norway and supposedly settled in France.  

Pulling Teeth:  In January French authorities and the French church granted the Norwegian application to open the tomb of Rollo’s grandson and great-grandson, Duke Richard the Fearless and son Duke Richard the Good. When they opened the grave, researchers found among other things a lower jaw with eight teeth in the tomb of Richard the Good.
A result of the analysis will probably be available this fall and will be presented in cooperation with the French authorities. So it remains to be seen whether the answerindicates Denmark or Norway.  

A Rare Event:  Fausa describes the atmosphere at the tomb as an unbelievable experience: “As far as we know this is only the second time since the war that a king’s tomb has been opened in France. Just to be part of it, and find the skeletons in there, it was exciting, solemn and unreal at the same time. If Rollo and Gange-Rolv prove to be the same person, hereis the historical significance: “If the British royal family originates from the coast of Møre, it changes for example the notion that the Norwegian royal family is young, with origins from the British and Danish [royal families],” say Fausa.

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“We have heard a lot about how exotic spices, silk and other fabrics were imported to Scandinavia during the Viking Era. But we know little about the genetic background of the plants and animals that the Vikings used and how they altered them both consciously and unconsciously,” adds Boessenkool. When she chose specifically to research horses from Viking times, there were several reasons. The horse was of great importance for people both in practical matters, transportation and travel - and in religious ceremonies. A total of 26 horses were buried in the ship burials at Oseberg and Gokstad. Vikings from Norway had brought horses along to places such as Iceland and the Orkney Islands.

What similarities and connections we can find between horses from this era that have been found in various places? How did they change genetically and what percentage of Viking Era genes is found in modern horses? These are some of the questions the two biologists want to answer.

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Think you know everything there is to know about Norway? Test your knowledge with these unique facts.

1. Norway introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese in the 80s. It may seem hard to believe that what is now a staple ingredient in sushi, was actually the result of a successful seafood export initiative called “Project Japan” from the Norwegian seafood delegation in the late 80s.

2. Norway knighted a penguin. The result of a unique and long relationship between Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (His Majesty The King’s Guard) and Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo, Sir Nils Egelien, a king penguin, was knighted by British Maj. Gen. Eu-an Loudon with the king’s sword on behalf of H.M. King Harald V in 2008. A citation from the king read aloud at the ceremony described Nils as “in every way qualified to receive the honor and dignity of knighthood.”

3. 8.2% of people in Norway eat tacos every Friday. Forget about “taco Tuesday,” according to a study conducted by VG in 2012 400,000 Norwegians take part in the cultural phenomenon of “fredagstaco,” enjoying tacos as their Friday dinner of choice.

4. Norway experienced a butter crisis in 2011. A combination of low milk production and high demand led to a butter shortage and price inflation, causing a single 8.8 oz. pack of butter to cost $50.

5. The red sky in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is likely attributed to the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia. Using Munch’s own journals to pinpoint the site that inspired the artist as well as known astronomical phenomena in the period, researchers connected the 1893 eruption to the blood-red sky described by Munch and depicted in his painting.

6. The Norwegian government purchases 1,000 copies of all qualifying books and 1,550 children’s books pub-lished in Norway to distribute them to libraries. Arts Council Norway funds the endeavor to lend support to small publish-ers and writers.

7. King Olav V of Norway often drove himself and used public transportation. Known as the “People’s King,” the late King Olav V enjoyed driving his own car in public lanes without escort. In a show of support for his countrymen who were encouraged to use public transportation during the oil crisis in 1973, he famously boarded a public train by himself, carrying his own set of skis and paying for his own ticket.

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As European countries deal with the current refugee crisis, each is taking a slightly different approach in response to the escalating situation. In Norway, which has been shocked by the unfolding events in neighboring Sweden which has seen a mass revulsion at the ongoing refugee onslaught (and which recently announced it won’t accept any more refugees from the EU) the answer appears to be the simplest possible one: offer asylum seekers money to leave.

Currently, refugees who decide to return to their home country instead of seeking asylum in Norway are given 20,000 kroner (USD $2,400) for travel expenses by the Norwegian government (up to 80,000 kroner for a family with two children). Now, as RT reports, Norway will sweeten the deal, and provide an additional 10,000 kroner (USD $1,200) to the first 500 asylum seekers who apply for voluntary return to their home countries.

Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug had the following to say about the bonus program: “We need to entice more [people] to voluntarily travel back by giving them a bit more money on their way out. This will save us a lot of money because it is expensive to have people in the asylum centers. There are also many who are not entitled to protection and, by all means, are going to be rejected. It’s better for us to stimulate their travel back.”

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Biologists Sanne Boessenkool and Anneleen Kool at the University of Oslo are researching how the Vikings’ travels contributed to the spread of genetic material and development of biodiversity. For this purpose, they are using the DNA material of flax, barley and horses from the Viking era.

“The questions we are investigating have not been researched using ancient DNA material,” explains Boessenkool. She specializes in evolutionary genetics and has been researching ancient DNA for the pastnine years.

Past secrets revealed:  “The fascination of old DNA material is that it reveals the secrets of earlier times. We gain insight into areas of life that we otherwise could not become aware of. It’s almost like being detectives,” says Boessenkool. Anneleen Kool works as a botanist and curator at the University of Oslo Botanical Gardens. She is particularly interested in the interaction between plants and people. Kool has been heavily involved in the planning of the University Botanical Garden’s Viking Garden, which was dedicated in August 2014. The facility shows 70 crops that were used in Scandinavia during the Viking era. “It was natural to team up to seek new knowledge, not just about horses, flax and grain, but also about how the Vikings may have helped spread the genetic material to the areas where they settled, thus affecting the genetic composition of plants and animals,” explains Kool.

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UPDATE: August 04, 2016-Minneapolis- The Draken team has made the decision to end its Great Lakes voyage. However, Sons of Norway is pleased that through its fundraising efforts the Draken was able to continue its route to Bay City, Michigan, then on to Chicago and lastly to Green Bay, enabling thousands of people to increase their knowledge and appreciation of the history and culture of Norway.

Throughout Sons of Norway’s involvement as fundraiser to cover pilot fees for the Draken’s Great Lakes voyage, our mission to promote and preserve the heritage and culture of Norway has guided our actions. While during the course of the voyage issues arose outside of the scope of Sons of Norway’s involvement, such as international law and pilotage fees, we remained solely focused on helping to bring the ship to as many people as possible.
All funds contributed to date will go the Draken as it proceeds to Green Bay. Because the Draken team has decided to end its Tall Ships journey in Green Bay, Sons of Norway will end its online fundraising campaign effective immediately. Sons of Norway deeply appreciates the strong outpouring of support and contributions that put wind in the Draken’s sails for several ports and would like to thank all donors who invested in the Draken’s journey.

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Snowshoe Thompson (April 30, 1827 – May 15, 1876) was a nickname for the Norwegian-American John Albert Thompson, an early resident of the Sierra Nevada of Nevada and California. He is considered the father of California skiing.

 

 

Background:  Jon Torsteinson Rue was born on the Rue farm (Rue i Luraas-grenda) in Tinn, Telemark county, Norway. He was the son of Torsten Olsen Rue (ca. 1760-1829) and Gro Jonsdatter Håkaland (1781-ca. 1846). His father died when Thompson was 2 years old.

In 1837, at the age of 10, Thompson came to America with his mother, settling first on a farm in the Fox River settlement in LaSalle County, Illinois. The family subsequently moved on the Norwegian immigrant settlement in Shelby County, Missouri which was under the leadership of Cleng Peerson. In 1839, they were joined by Thompson's brother Tostein (1819-1880) and sister Kari (born 1822). In 1840, they followed Hans Barlien and moved to the Sugar Creek Settlement in Lee County, Iowa. 

In 1846, Thompson and his brother Tostein came to Dane County, Wisconsin. In 1851, Thompson drove a herd of milk cows to California and settled in Placerville. For a short while he mined in Kelsey Diggins, Coon Hollow and Georgetown. With the small amount he saved, he bought a small ranch at Putah Creek, in the Sacramento Valley. In 1860, Thompson homesteaded a 160-acre ranch in Diamond Valley, south of Genoa in California's Alpine County.

Mail delivery:  Between 1856 and 1876, he delivered mail between Placerville, California and Genoa, Nevada and later Virginia City, Nevada. Despite his nickname, he did not make use of the snowshoes that are native to North America, but rather would travel with what the local people applied that term to: ten-foot (over 3-meter) skis, and a single sturdy pole generally held in both hands at once. He knew this version of cross-country skiing from his native Norway, and employed it during the winter as one of the earlier pioneers of the skill in the United States. Thompson delivered the first silver ore to be mined from the Comstock Lode. Later he taught others how to make skis, as well as the basics of their use. Despite his twenty years of service, he was never paid for delivering the mail.

Thompson typically made the eastward trip in three days, and the return trip in two days. Thompson carried no blanket and no gun; he claimed he was never lost even in blizzards. A rescue attributed to him was that of a man trapped in his cabin by unusually deep snow. Thompson reached him, realized the damage to the man's legs from frostbite was sufficient to kill him, skied out to get chloroform, skied back in with it, and delivered the chloroform in time to save him.

Thompson usually traveled the route known as "Johnson's Cutoff", a pathway first marked by John Calhoun Johnson, an early explorer and first man to deliver mail over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Today this approximates the route of U.S. Route 50 as it winds its way from Placerville, California to South Lake Tahoe.

Personal life:  In 1866, Thompson married Agnes Singleton (1831-1915) who had come to America from England. The Thompson’s only child, Arthur Thomas, was born on February 11, 1867. From 1868 to 1872 Thompson served on the Board of Supervisors of Alpine County, and was a delegate to the Republican State Convention in Sacramento in 1871. In spite of a resolution sent to Washington, D.C. by the Nevada Legislature, the many political contacts he had gathered, and a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1872, Snowshoe Thompson was never paid for his services delivering the United States Mail.

Snowshoe Thompson died of appendicitis which developed into pneumonia on May 15, 1876. His grave can be seen in Genoa, Nevada, in Carson Valley, east of Lake Tahoe. His son, Arthur, died two years later of diphtheria, and was buried next to his father at the cemetery in Genoa.

From Wikipedia

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Sons of Norway provides a new member benefit, a Virtual Pilgrimage on Norway’s historic Kongsveien or Old Kings’ Way. The Sons of Norway Virtual Pilgrimage is a window into the experience of the pilgrims in Norway who walk a network of routes called St. Olav’s Ways. This network is named after King Olav Harraldson (995-1030) who trekked these trails converting pagan Norway to Christianity. The Gulbrandsdalen route, upon the Sons of Norway Virtual Pilgrimage is based. is the most popular section for pilgrims along the King’s Way. Members will keep track of their mileage and track their journey at home while following along with the journey in Norway. Geraldine Jurisson is the recipient of Virtual Pilgrimage.  This award was presented by Janet Erdahl on February 19, 2016.  It was an impressive feat at the age of 91. 

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The ancient Norwegian tradition survived until the mid-1800’s before it became illegal. Herleik Baklid has investigated sagas, kings’ letters, wills, court records, legal documents and old laws to find traces of a certain Norwegian wedding tradition, namely bridal gifts. Baklid has found evidence that this practice dates back to the 1100’s. Folk traditions survived the church’s marriage traditions and were kept alive until the mid-1800’s, when a new Norwegian law abolished the rights the bride had to these gifts.

Widow’s Insurance: When we think of wedding gifts today, we tend to think of kitchenware, silverware and gorgeous designer items that the happy couple receives from friends and family on the big day. But in the Middle Ages the gifts had an entirely different purpose. To understand the idea behind these gifts, it is important to understand why people got married in the past. Economic reasons stood behind the couple’s union, for the most part. Throughout history, it turns out that the groom often gave one or more traditional gifts to the bride. “The bride could take out these gifts if she became a widow. The basic principle behind these gifts was that she would be secure if her husband died,” Baklid tells forskning.no. “This was a society without government aid. Therefore, the groom and his future in-laws were responsible for providing the bride with economic security,” he continued. Throughout history, there have been three different categories of gifts that the bride got from her husband-to-be. Probably only a few people have heard of festegaven (the engagement gift) and benkegaven (the bunk gift), while morgengaven (the morning gift) lives on.  Baklid has found all three of these gift categories extending far back into Norwegian history.

 

Strengthening the Agreement: Marriage during the Norwegian medieval period until the end of the 17-and 1800s was primarily an economic affair. The marriage was generally agreed upon between the bride and groom’s family. When this agreement or betrothal was settled, the future married couple was referred to as betrothed, better known today as engaged. Immediately the flow of gifts started from the future groom. “The betrothal gift was given at the engagement. This was a gift that would strengthen the marriage arrangement,” explains Baklid. The gift could be anything from silver spoons, silver jugs and jewelry, to land. The bride was entitled to cash in all of this should she become a widow.

One last gift at dawn: The morning after her wedding night, the bride received a final gift from the groom. This is what we know today as morgengaven, the morning gift, which is the oldest of the three gift practices. “The morning gift can be traced through the Germans all the way back to the Roman Empire,” says Baklid. This gift could consist of so many things. For example Knud Nielsen from Tinn in Telemark gave Helge Torgrimsdatter among other things a horse, a saddle, three animal pelts and 120 thalers as a bunk gift and morning gift. In higher classes, such as among the royals, the morning gift could be property.

Removed by law: But after the 1800s, the traditions began to eventually die out. There were several reasons for this. What may surprise most is that Baklid has not found evidence that the church opposed these traditions. “These were gifts that had a clear practical-economic function that didn’t actually come into conflict with church teachings about marriage,” he explains. But the Norwegian laws that gave the widow legal claim to the gifts were removed in 1854. Part of the reason may have been because they could cause problems in litigation. Extended inheritance would instead compensate for the valuables she lost. Something else that might explain the tradition’s demise is the notion that you married one another out of love, and not for economic considerations. But before they disappeared completely, the gifts took a slightly different turn. “The bunk gift continued as a form of entertainment for a few decades, before going away. Betrothal gifts changed style, into more personal gifts, such as a hymnal or a watch,” says Baklid. Finally the face of marriage had changed so much that there was no longer room for the old customs. “Marriage was seen as an economic matter until the end of the 1700s, but after that, the romantic ideal came into play,” said Baklid.

Traces in today’s society:   Old Norwegian traditions still have a tendency to creep into our modern society. It does not take much to see that we still partially practice our ancestors’ ancient customs. “The bunk gift disappeared, but the morning gift on the other hand, has sprouted up again. Although betrothal gifts disappeared around 1870, engagement rings came into practice,” says Baklid. “The symbolism is perhaps a little different now; the gifts are supposed to express love and aren’t supposed to provide financial security in the event of widowhood,” he added.

 

Science Nordic

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The dragons that came gliding out of the mists more than 1000 years ago, were not imaginary. These dragons were real and their bodies were thedreaded Viking long boats that for three centuries made their mark in most  of the known world. Guided by their wits, and in good weather, by the North Star, they left their land of the Midnight Sun to travel and explore. Sons of Norway has captured some of this history in its emblem. The shape is that of the VIKING SHIELD and emblazoned at the top is the NORTH STAR, surrounded by the big S/N. Below we find the HEAVENS and the MIDNIGHT SUN, the rolling SEA and the VIKING SHIP.                                     

Viking News

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They came from the North to explore along the coasts of the North Atlantic. They sailed in longships crafted to withstand the ocean waves and versatile enough to navigate narrow river ways; eager to raid, trade and establish new settlements. Ireland was just one of the many lands the Vikings encountered and settled.

 


There were two significant eras of Viking expansion that reached Ireland; the first lasted from c. AD 795-850 and the second from AD 914-980. Upon first contact with these visitors from the north, the Irish called them Gaill, ‘Foreigners’, or Locklannaigh, ‘Northerners’ and their presence in Ireland had a lasting effect. Even though the Vikings stole from and committed acts of violence on the Irish, they eventually built permanent settlements and brought about positive change for coastal ports through trade and urbanization. This era was well documented in Irish Annals, which were texts written by monks that mark the Norse visitors’ yearly feast days, obituaries and attacks on the church. The annals reveal that while the Norse were responsible for 140 plunderings, the Irish were the plunderers on 139 occasions, and maybe even more surprising, on 19 occasions the Irish and the Norse carried out the plundering together. It should be noted that the motive for these attacks was not due to religious reasons, but because the monasteries were the location where fine metal works and jewels were typically stored. In the Middle Ages, churches served as sanctuaries, not only for persons, but also for goods, and the priests were often safe-keepers of people’s valuables. This tempted looters of all kinds, not just Vikings, and it explains why the cooperation between the two ethnic clans developed.

The two peoples were alike in more ways than one. Both the Irish and the Norse had an extraordinary fine poetry tradition and we know that they admired and enjoyed one another’s works. Another quality common to both groups was a fierce demand for independence.

Towards the end of the first era, the Vikings began to create port settlements and longports or protective ship harbors for themselves in Dublin and other areas along the coast. The Irish responded by
strengthening their defenses against the Vikings. Within the next 10 years the Vikings were pushed out of Ireland and the Irish regained their land. But all was not over in Ireland, the second Viking Era in Ireland arrived about 64 years later in A.D. 914 and this time their settlements would endure and become known as Ireland’s Viking towns, which were located primarily on the coast. They served as vital links to the Scandinavian homelands and Western Europe. The Irish political system at that time was based on small areas, ruled by kings of local clans. The Irish leaders might have been slain, but their domains could not be consolidated. Every man, woman, and child of the inland clans formed a quiet, but invincible resistance force. The Norse had to be content with sitting on the Irish coast, where they found comfort in crossing the Irish Sea to raid the English, who were less difficult to deal with.

Early historical sources note that political, military, economic and personal alliances formed between the Irish and Scandinavians during this time. The Viking longports gradually integrated with Irish ways and trade began to develop. Archeologists have found caches of Viking style silver pieces in early Irish settlements near the coast substantiating that trade did in fact occur. The most significant settlement for the Vikings was Dublin, which later served as a key player in the politics surrounding the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man. In fact, a Viking ruler of Dublin provoked rivalries that eventually led to the politics of early medieval Ireland.

Over time a gradual shift towards urbanization and trade was introduced that was unmatched at that time by any other Viking settlement in the North Atlantic region. The presence of the Scandinavians in Ireland from AD 915 and on was significant in the growth and development of Ireland’s port cities. When celebrating all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, don’t forget the role that Vikings played in Ireland’s history as fearless explorers, ground-breakers, and catalysts for growth.

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

 

 

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Each year, the United Nations ranks countries on their HDI (Human Development Index), which measures countries in education, life expectancy and income/standard of living - and it seems that Norway is knocking it out of the park, year-on-year.  Norway tops the rankings, and all countries near the top of the list also happen to be countries which perform well on equality rankings. In 2007, Iceland
was in first place.  Norway has a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $64,992, the third highest in the world.  All the Nordic countries performed well compared to the global average.

Next on the index after Australia were Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and the US. According to this year’s Human Development Record report, Iceland is now ranked 16th in the Human Development Index.

Some of the greatest disparity between neighbors was South Korea, ranked 17th and North Korea, which didn’t even get a ranking, and the United States (8th) and Mexico, ranked 74th.

 

 

The world of work is changing more rapidly than ever before. Countries at the bottom of the pile are the African nations of Burundi, Chad, Eritrea, Central African Republic and Niger. The question is:  what are the best policy responses to ensure that human development benefits from that change?

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This is a tribute to all of our ancestors who braved the Atlantic to give us the life we have today.  This is the personal story of Elayne Berven Reith and her family, but it speaks for all of us.  It was compiled by Julia Moe Hevly Severson, a cousin to Elayne’s mother, Selma Arne who married Hjalmer Berven.

 

 

 

 

 

They sailed from Norway on the Valkyrian, the last sailing vessel to carry emigrants from Norway to America.  Crossing the North Sea the Valkyrian had a collision with a freight steamer carrying coal.  The steamer sank with all aboard, which was only officers and crew.  The Valkyrian managed to reach Dover, England, where it stayed two weeks for repairs.  The residents of Dover greeted the passengers warmly and gave a banquet for them in a large hall. They presented the head of each family with a souvenir  of Dover, which is the blue and white cup with a scene of Dover.

The collision happened at midnight on a very dark night.  The Valkyrian was struck so hard it stood on end for a minute, then settled back. They heard people on the other ship call for help. The captain of the Valkyrian was sent to prison for seven years because he did not put out a life boat for the people on the other ship, which was the law.  All the people on the Valkyrian felt sorry because he was a fine man and had all he could do to save his own passengers, and ship.

The entire trip to the United States took nine weeks.  Each family had to bring their own provisions.  Such food as cured meat, salted fish, flat bread, cheeses, butter, kavring and coffee. They packed this in a large copper kettle, fifty gallon size, and a large flour box.  They also brought many bed clothes, kitchen utensils, clothing, some dishes and big chests. The Valkyrian was a Norwegian ship but the steamer which sank was English.  The collision was the fault of the steamer which did not do its duty in giving the right of way to a sailing vessel and did not change course in time.  They thought the crew must have been asleep.

The Monsons landed in Canada and went straight to Iowa and became pioneer farmers, sixty miles from Algona, Iowa.  First they bought eighty acres of prairie land and later one hundred and twenty acres more, which they made into a farm and farmed there for many years.

When they came from Norway they had one thousand dollars in gold.  This was worth fifteen hundred as there was a premium on gold.  This was considered quite a wealth at that time.  

Elayne’s family went to Iowa and ultimately western Minnesota where Elaynes’s mother, Selma Arne married Hjalmer Berven and they continued farming on land that his father homesteaded in 1884. Elayne, born in 1920, was the oldest of the four girls They lived on the Chippewa river near the little town of Big Bend . Elayne went to school in a one-room schoolhouse and rode the bus to Appleton for high school and college.

At age nineteen Elayne married her highschool boyfriend, Milton Johnson, ultimately had three children and moved to Minneapolis after farming for a short while. Milton worked twenty-nine years for the farm equipment manufacturer, Minneapolis Moline, until he was killed in a home explosion. This left Elayne on her own as the children were grown. She became a Realtor and also worked as a waitress.

Elayne ultimately worked as a cocktail waitress in the most fashionable “watering hole” in town. Her personality caught the eye of the Bob Reith who was the Minikahda Golf Club pro. They were married in 1991.

Bob Reith was invited to tournaments all over the country and Elayne loved it as she fit right in. She introduced Bob to the golf scene in Scottsdale and when they came to Sun City, Bob was tickled by having parking spaces for golf carts. He died in 1997.  

Elayne’s real estate background made her a natural for president of her condominium in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 2004 she became a director of the Sun City Condominium Owners Association.

She has been a member of Sons of Norway since 1976 and lived within blocks of the SoN headquarters in Minnesota. She says “they really know how to celebrate the Norwegian heritage.” She is also a member of The American Legion; honorary member of the Elks Lodge since 1960; Moose Lodge (fried catfish every Friday night); Big Bend Lutheran Church; Honorary member of Minikahda and Life Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

 

She serves lutefisk every holiday season and is always on the go with all of her friends in Sun City. She makes things happen and obviously loves where she is and who she is.

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Music and song are traditionally an important part of the Christmas Holidays. However, for Norwegians especially they are important throughout the year. “The Norwegians are distinctly a musical people,” wrote Arne Kildahl, in an essay published in the early 1920s. Their music -- from folk songs and melodies to Edvard Grieg’s great works and the virtuoso performances of Ole Bull -- is part of the great heritage which Norwegian immigrants brought to this country in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Nowhere is this heritage more evident than in the voice choirs and singing groups which sprang up almost immediately. As they created new homes and communities throughout the United States, newly arrived Norwegians formed choirs and choruses similar to those they had experienced and enjoyed in their homeland. To be sure, these singing groups, other than church choirs, were almost exclusively composed of men’s voices, as they had been in Norway, and with some exceptions they remained so for many generations.

The first of these singing societies was formed in March1868 in Decorah, Iowa. Initially formed by “four homesick Norwegians,” the Luren Singing Society now numbers more than sixty voices and schedules as many as thirty concerts a year, not only in Iowa but in adjoining states and beyond.  Chicago’s Normenenes Singing Society was established a year later, and soon there were similar groups in cities and towns throughout the upper Midwest. Choirs and music departments from as many as twenty Lutheran colleges in the area also contributed to making Norwegian music from folk tunes to hymns widely popular throughout the area.  Although the largest number of Norwegian immigrants initially settled in the Midwestern states, singing groups were also formed in other parts of the country. Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia had active singing societies by the end of the nineteenth century, and as early as 1897 at least ten such groups participated in what became known as a Sangerfest, in Philadelphia. A similar invitational program was held in Boston in 1903.  While Norwegian groups predominated, there were a few composed entirely of Swedish members and some with members from both countries.  

Incidentally, these singing groups also engaged in other competitions. At the annual outing of the Scandinavian Singers in Boston in June 1905, a team from the Norwegian Singing Society faced a group representing the Scandinavian Singers in a furiously contested tug-of-war. As the headline in a Boston Globe story reporting on the event declared, “NORWAY WON: Their Victory in Tug-of-War with Swedes Was Received in Silence at the Picnic.”

Also during the early years of the twentieth century, “Norwegian Night” was celebrated in Boston’s Symphony Hall with a full evening’s program devoted to Norwegian music and also featuring the Norwegian Singing Society of Boston.

By no means, however, was the celebration of Norwegian music limited to the east or Midwest.  Norwegian immigrants settling on the west coast also had their own singing societies. The first of them was established in Portland, Oregon, in 1878.  In the few years following, Norwegians in California and Washington as well as Oregon organized similar societies, and in 1902 they all joined together to form the Pacific Coast Norwegian Singers Association. In so doing they were following the lead of singing societies in the Midwest. There, few years earlier in 1897, a similar “umbrella” organization had been formed. Although its membership was drawn solely from five Midwestern states, its name, “The Norwegian Singers Association of America,” was expansive and ambitious.”

Both separately and jointly, the national and regional organizations of singing societies have arranged tours of Norway and Scandinavia for their members. More importantly, they have sponsored two or three-day festivals of music and song, with concerts, exhibitions and a full round of social events. Close to home, the Pacific Coast Norwegian Singers Association presented its Sangerfest in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in August 1956. Historians suggest that the first Sangerfest was held in Asker, Norway, in 1851. In this country the most recent Sangerfest, arranged by the Norwegian Singers Association of America, was celebrating the 60th Biennial Sangerfest 2014 in Minneapolis.

Sangerfest 2016 will be held in Sioux Falls, SD, on June 9-11, 2016. Thus, a great Norwegian tradition endures!

 

 

This story was compiled by Richard C. Gilman

 

 

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‘For five years now, the chess world has pretty much been dominated by Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Unfortunately for foes, any downs he does experience are rare and so slight as to appear insignificant. So the gap continues. As of this writing, for instance, his present-time rating is 72 points above that of his nearest rival. Carlsen aimed to continue his domination recently in the super GM Gshimov Memorial event in Azerbaijan.’

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“Twas the night before Christmas with things all abustle as mama got set for the Christmas Eve tussle.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins would soon be arriving With stomachs all ready For Christmas Eve dining, While I sat alone, With a feeling of dread, As visions of lutefisk danced in my head.

The thought of the smell made my eyeballs start burning. The thought of the taste set my stomach to churning... For I’m one of those who Good Norskis (???) rebuff: A Scandanavian boy who can’t stand the stuff, each year however, I played at the game to spare Mama and Papa the undying shame. I must bear up bravely; I can’t take the risk of relatives knowing I hate lutefisk!  I know they would spurn me, my presents withhold, if the unthinkable, unspeakable truth they were told.  Then out in the yard I heard such a clatter I jumped up to see just what was the matter.

There in the snow, all in a jumble, Three of my uncles had taken a tumble. My aunts, as usual, gave them what for, and they soon were up and through the front door.

Then with talk and more cheer an hour was passed as Mama finished the Christmas repast.

From out in the kitchen an odor came stealing that fairly set my senses to reeling. The smell of the lutefisk crept down the hall and wilted a plant in a pot on the wall. The others reacted as though they were smitten while the aroma laid low my small helpless kitten. Uncles Oscar and Lars said “Oh, that smells yummy,” and Kermit’s eyes glittered while he patted his tummy. The scent skipped off the ceiling And bounced off the floor and the bird in the cuckoo clock fell on the floor.

 

 

Mama announced dinner by ringing a bell. They pushed to the table with a yump and a yell. It was then that I learned a great wonderful truth: That Swedes and Norwegians from old men to youth must pay their dues to have the great joy of being known as a good Scandinavian boy.

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Norwegians are so comfortably at home that it is almost impossible to get them to take positions abroad, the head of Google in Norway has complained. “We are constantly looking for Norwegian graduates who want to work in Dublin, London, the US or Australia. But it is almost impossible because Norwegians are the only people we struggle to get to move to offices abroad. Norwegians exhibit a “total lack of adventurousness and ambition” because they quite simply have it so incredibly good at home. They are not keen on going overseas and it’s a perpetual challenge. Even though most Norwegians recognize that working abroad would look good on their CVs and help boost their career progression, this does not seem to be enough to motivate them.

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A hoard of Viking coins unearthed with the use of a metal detector in Llandwrog, Wales, have been officially declared as treasure by north-west Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones during a recent inquest.

Consisting of silver coins and ingots dating back nearly 1,000 years, the haul included penny fragments bearing the image of King Canute (Cnut) the Great. King of England, Norway and Sweden until 1035, Canute also ruled over Denmark, Norway and part of Sweden during portions of his rule in England. Also among the recovered treasure were 14 silver pennies minted under the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sigtrygg (Sihtric) Olafsson (989-1036)—a rare discovery as such coins are seldom found on the British mainland.

Researchers believe the collection of coins may have been intentionally interred as part of a burial ritual or lost sometime between 1020 and 1030.  Historians hope that the find will shed light on the 11th century economy of Gwynedd, the welsh kingdom in which the coins were buried.

 

 

While the National Museum of Wales has expressed interest in purchasing the collection with grant funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, acquisition of the coins cannot take place until London’s Treasure Valuation Committee conducts an independent appraisal of the items to determine their current market or collector value. Walter Hanks, the treasure hunter who located the stash of coins, will likely receive 50% of the purchase price with the second half being allocated to the landowner.

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As Dorothy Gale so aptly stated in The Wizard of Oz, “When you are searching for your heart’s desire, perhaps you don’t have to look further than your own back yard.” I was lucky enough to witness the bautastein unveiling at the Tulocay Cemetery in Napa, California in May of 2004.

 

 

Earlier that year I had attended a presentation done by Keith Wheeler of Fram Lodge 6-13 about a project he’d been working on involving bringing a stone from the farm where his great-grandfather had been born in Norway. It was Keith’s plan to bring the stone to America to replace his great-grandparents’ current head stone with a traditional Viking bautastein used during pagan days. His great-grandparents (Jacob Anderson Slogvig and Serena Tormodsdatter Madland) had left Norway and had sailed on a small 54’ sloop Restauration that had become known as the Norwegian Mayflower. It was the first organized group of immigrants to leave Norway for America. They had sailed the Atlantic with a group of 52 people who left Stavanger, Norway in 1825. The group on board became known as the sloopers. They landed in New York where the captain and cargo were promptly taken under arrest for breaking a law he was unaware of but eventually received a presidential pardon. The law had to do with the limitations of how many passengers one could carry on board. This proved to be just a bump in the road and the majority of the group had already moved on and settled in Orleans County New York, which was the first Norwegian settlement since Leif Eriksson 1,000 years before.Jacob and Serena were married in upstate New York and and took the Americanized surname of Anderson. They kept moving west, having settled for a time in Illinois and then Iowa but eventually went even farther west to settle in Soscol in Northern California. Soscol was then a small community south of Napa and today what remains is only Soscol Boulevard. Jacob had developed a farm there and died ten years later. Serena turned the home into a boarding house. The building still exists and now is occupied by Villa Romano, an Italian restaurant. Jacob and Serena Anderson came farther west than any of the other passengers on the sloop they crossed the Atlantic Ocean with.

 

 

The stone was shipped from Norway and carved by Ira Kessey in Turlock, California. He carved a likeness of the Restauration on the stone. It now stands over the burial site of Jacob and Serena Anderson. Several Sons of Norway Lodges from the San Francisco Bay Area and a delegation of slooper relatives from Norway attended this event. We met in Fairview Park across the street from Tulocay Cemetery. We had a beautiful procession lead by a contingent of color guard, dancers, musicians, and guests from the park through the cemetery for the unveiling. The story of the ship and the stone were told and at last the bautastein was unveiled to honor the Andersons and their incredible contribution to Norwegian immigration to America.

 


Thanks to Pamela Stutrud Groth
Counselor Freya Lodge
Cultural Director District Lodge Number 6 

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Leif Erikson Day is upon us and in honor of the occasion we’ve put together some facts about the man, the legend and the celebration.

The Name: The spelling of his name varies from culture to culture. Iceland-ers call him Leifur Eiríksson, Norwegians use Leiv Eiriksson and, in Old Norse, he was called Leifr Eiríksson. But the American observance uses the more familiar spelling of Leif Erikson.

The Explorer: Leif was born around 960-970 A.D. in Iceland to Norwegian parents, and spent time in Norway and Greenland, so he is claimed by many, while also being referred to as Viking and Norse. He earned the nick-name Leif the Lucky after rescuing a crew of 15 shipwrecked Icelanders.

Icelandic sagas tell us that Erikson established a settlement called Vinland (believed to be in northern New-foundland at L’Anse aux Meadows) around the year 1001 A.D., four centuries before the birth of Columbus. Erikson was only 24 when he captained this voyage. He bought a boat and set out on commission by Nor-way’s King Olav I to bring Christianity to other lands. Erikson was trying to find a place that his friend Bjarni Herjólfsson had told him about— Herjólfsson had sighted the coast in 986, without going ashore. Erikson and his group settled and stayed at Vinland for a winter, before returning to Greenland.

The Holiday: While Leif Erikson was first acknowledged on a national stage by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925, the official observance of Leif Erikson Day in the United States wouldn’t begin until 1964. It was then that Congress approved a resolution proposed by Hubert H. Humphrey, and then Lyndon B. Johnson de-clared Leif Erikson Day to be October 9th. Almost 40 years prior, Calvin Coolidge had acknowledged the idea that Leif had landed on North American shores nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Leif Erikson Day had already been observed in Minnesota and Wisconsin since the 1930s and took hold in South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington and California by 1956.

The Date October 9th has no special connection to Leif Erikson—there is no record of the actual date that he set foot on North America—but the date plays a role in later Norwegian immigration. On October 9, 1825, the sloop “Restaurationen” landed in New York, carrying the first group of Norwegian Quakers, led by renowned pioneer Cleng Peerson. That passage began a wave of Norwegian immigration that lasted for over 70 years and brought hundreds of thousands of Norwegians to North American shores.

 

 

Thanks to Peer Gynt NL for this story.

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Norway is preparing for a major change to its mandatory Armed Forces conscription policy. For the first time ever Norway is now requiring military service for women, which will see its first female recruits entering into ser-vice in 2016. This stems from an historic bill that was passed by the Storting in late 2014 that extended mandatory military service to women. The bill, which passed with a majority of 96 votes, is part of a nationwide plan to promote gender equality. This means Commander Per-Thomas Bøe of the Norwegian Armed Services will now be sending out conscription letters to all 17-year-old women in Norway and then navigating all the logistical chal-lenges of welcoming this new population into mandatory service.

In other cases, it would probably be helpful if Norway could look to other countries and learn from their experi-ences, but this will be a first—not just for Norway, but for Europe and NATO as well. “The Scandinavian coun-tries are very good at leading in gender equality, so it’s no surprise that Norway should pioneer female con-scription,” says Joanne Machowski, a researcher at the London military think tank RUSI, who specializes in gender issues.

This move effectively doubles the pool of military conscripts from 32,000 to 63,000 and Norway looks at this as an opportunity to increase the overall competence of its military. But don’t expect to see these new recruits fighting on the front lines anytime soon, Machowski notes, “we’ll be waiting a while to see firstly how women and society respond to the changed policy, and secondly how many women make it from training out into com-bat,” she adds. Even if Norway participated in an international military mission, new

 

conscripts would not be deployed.

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In 2014, Norway fared well in the rankings for the Global Gender Gap Report as determined by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, taking third place out of 142 countries. Scoring is based on five categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. In the category of educational attainment, Norwegian females were rated as having total equality at primary, secondary and tertiary education levels. Earned income, literacy and life expectancy rates were also equal to that of men or better.

Norway’s high ranking is a result of grassroots campaigns, government initiatives and quota systems. In 1978, Eva Kolstad was appointed the world’s first Gender Equality Ombud in Norway, whose responsibility was to work toward equality between women and men, specifically in regard to hiring.

 

 

Another tactic was to increase the presence of women in positions of power by making it a requirement as of 2006 for all publicly-held companies to have a minimum of 40% women on their board of directors, or face closure. State-owned firms were already required to have at least 45% female board representation. Norwegian equality minister at the time, Karita Bekkemellem, said that “More than half of the people who have a business education today are women. It is wrong for companies not to use them. They should be represented.” She added that she didn’t want to wait 20 or 30 years for society to catch up. Currently state panels, committees and boards have only 38 percent female rep-resentation. Norway’s largest company, Statoil, meets the 40% requirement. Six European countries have followed Norway’s example and the European Union’s parliament plans to require a 40% quota by 2020.

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Norway is named the most prosperous country in an annual ranking by Legatum Institute. 142 countries were evaluated based on their economic performance, as well as other important areas such as education, health, personal freedom, security and safety. Norway takes third place for economy, fifth for health and education, seventh in government and second in personal freedom. The overall score places Norway first in the ranking, whereas Switzerland takes second place.

Norway scores high because of the country’s economy as well as strong social values and progress within education and health. It is well known that Norway is among the best countries in the world when looking at GDP per capita. Many countries are rich, but what characterizes Norway and a few other countries is that they distribute their wealth in a good way. It is important to maintain the view that their wealth should be beneficial to everybody and that the small difference between wages is another reason why Norway ranks as number one.

 

 

The difference between the highest-paid individuals and the lowest-paid individuals is not as high as in many other countries.  There is also a high rate of labor participation among men and women. When there are more people working, more people are contributing to the wealth.

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Norwegian is a Germanic language along with Swedish, Danish, Islandic and Faroese. Except for small communities of migrants, the language is not spoken outside of Norway.  Norwegian has two written forms: Bokmaal (literally book language) and Nynorsk (New Norwegian). Spoken Norwegian consists of a variety of different dialects. The dialects are generally broken into 4 groups based on location – Eastern, Western, Trondsk, and Northern. There are many variants within each group. 

During the Middle Ages, Norway was an independent kingdom. The spoken language was Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. In 1349 the Black Death wiped out almost half of the Norwegian population. Only a few literate people survived, so there was no one to preserve the written Norwegian language.  In 1397 Norway entered a union with Denmark that lasted until 1814.

Denmark dominated the union, and Danish became the primary language for the Norwegian elite. The churches used the Danish bible, the law was written in Danish, and all literature, prose, and poetry in Nor-way was written in Danish. This had a crucial effect on the written language. 

Early in the 19th century, educated Norwegians wrote Danish and spoke Danish with a Norwegian accent. The remaining 95% of the population spoke Norwegian dialects. The dialects had developed during the 400 years under Danish rule. Large portions of Norway consist of valleys and glens separated by mountains and fjords. The population in these areas had limited contact with the outside world. As a result, cultural differences and distinct local dialects emerged. 

When Norway was reestablished as an independent nation in 1814, as part of creating a national identity, a decision was made to follow two paths: to develop a new written language based on Norwegian dialects, and to Norwegianize the Danish. 

Ivar Aasen (1813-1896) developed Landsmaal based on extensive research on rural dialects in western and central parts of southern Norway. In 1929 it was labeled Nynorsk. 

Knud Knudsen (1812-1895) had the goal of altering Danish until it reflected the informal speech of the educated classes in Norway. Riksmaal was established as norm by spelling reform in 1907. In 1929 this variant was labeled Bokmaal.

It became a political goal to fuse Nynorsk and Bokmaal into one form called Samnorsk. This was abandoned in 1960s.

Today Bokmaal is dominant in all sections of the Norwegian society and used by 85-90% of the population. Nynorsk expanded until World War II when it was used by 1/3 of all Norwegians. Today only 10-15% of the population is using Nynorsk. Most users live in the central and western parts of southern Norway where the spoken dialect closely resembles the written form. 

In primary education the students are taught either Bokmaal or Nynorsk. In secondary education they study both. In high school I wrote my essay in Bokmaal one week, and in Nynorsk the next. Other schools did half a year of Bokmaal and half a year of Nynorsk. 

There is no standard spoken Norwegian. The Edu-cation Act states that the teacher “should pay due attention to the vernacular used by pupils, and that he or she should not attempt to make them abandon their home dialect” (Jahr 2007).

Today about 20,000 individuals in Norway have the Sami language as their mother tongue. Sami is a member of the Finno-Ugric branch of languages, and its roots in Norway may extend as far back as Norwegian.

Source: Norwegian University of Science and Technology – Trondheim

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The Viking Age became a phenomenon in Western Europe because the Vikings learned to use maritime mobility to their advantage. They learn to mastersailing to such an extent that they got to the coast of England where the locals didn’t expect anything.  They came quickly, plundering the unprepared victims, and left again -- a sort of hit and run, the newfound proof of the commercial journeys to Ribe changes the popular narrative of Vikings as violent aggressors.

The peaceful exchanges -- trading -- would take up more of the story, and the military voyages, which were also important, must now share the space. Now it proves that shipping between Norway and the market town of Ribe was established prior to the Viking era, and trade network helped to create the incentives and the knowledge of the sea, which made the Viking raids possible. It is the first time that a clearly link between two very important phenomena, the lock and key if you like, of the Viking Age. 

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