Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ready, Set, Study

September is almost here, there's a hint of fall in the air, and students are returning to school. Norway's Crown Prince Sverre Magnus, age 5, started school last week as well. He was accompanied on the first day by his parents, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. His grandmother, Queen Sonja, was also with the family on her grandson's big day. The prince will attend Jansløkka school in Asker, where his sister Ingrid Alexandra is also a student.

Viking magazine is celebrating the beginning of the academic year with an issue focused on education. Our cover story, called "Ready, Set, Study," provides students everything they need to know to begin exploring study abroad options. In "The Bilingual Boost," we highlight the benefits of learning a second language, featuring a Norwegian-language preschool in Edina, Minn. We also tell the story of the Norwegian teachers' resistance in WWII, based on the letters and journals of Edvard Brakstad. A teacher at Eidsvoll Landsgymnas, Brakstad was arrested by the Nazis in March of 1942, along with 1,100 other Norwegian teachers. Finally, our Q&A interview this month is with educational psychologist Tove Dahl, the long-time dean of Skogfjorden, Concordia College's Norwegian Language Village.

The staff at Viking wishes the crown prince—and all students—an excellent start to the school year!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ten Year Anniversary for Kronprinsparet (the Crown Prince couple)

Yesterday marked the Kronprinsparets (Crown Prince Couple’s) tenth wedding anniversary. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit celebrated their decade of marriage with a church service at Oslo Cathedral and a program at Universitetsplassen.

The church service was attended by the entire royal Norwegian family, Mette-Marit’s mother and siblings, the couple’s children, the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as well as other state officials. In addition to official invitees, 200 Norwegian people received tickets to share in the occasion. The couple’s two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra (7) and Prince Sverre Magnus (5), and Mette-Marit’s son, Marius Borg Høiby (14), were all involved in the ceremony, the two eldest reading bible verses.

After the church service, the celebrations continued at Universitetsplassen (University Place). Met with cheers from the crowd, the royal couple gave a speech and enjoyed a hip hop concert. The celebration at Universitetsplassen was not just a celebration of the couple’s wedding anniversary, it was also a celebration of the Royal Couple’s Humanitarian Fund, Kronprinsparets Fond, which, according to the Royal Website, “identifies and supports projects for young people at risk.” 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August Is Ripe for the Nordic Diet

It's August—one of my favorite times of year, and hands down the best month in my culinary calendar. The tomatoes and cucumbers are finally starting to ripen in my garden. The herbs, planted from seed so many weeks ago, are the size of small bushes and the fall crop of raspberries will soon be ripe in my yard. What isn't plentiful outside my door can be found at the local farmer's market: beets, cabbage, garlic and more. It's a great time to be a locavore. And as a Minnesotan, I can't help notice the similarities between a local diet and the Nordic diet.

The Nordic diet, as outlined in the August issue of Viking magazine, includes six main elements: grains; fish and seafood; cold-weather vegetables; game, meat and poultry; herbs; and native berries. Danish chef Trina Hahnemann, author of "The Nordic Diet: Using Local and Organic Food to Promote a healthy Lifestyle," said in a recent Viking interview "the Nordic diet is about eating a lot of local vegetables in season, eating local fish, cutting back on meats and eating grains."

If you'd like to learn more about the Nordic Diet, check out Trine Hahnemann's website, including these ideas for creating delicious Danish smørrebrød. And if you haven't done it already, be sure to check out Kari Diehl's article on New Nordic Cuisine in the August issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesty of Flickruser CharlesFred

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nordic Diet and Fitness

Have you had a chance to read about the new Nordic diet in this month's issue of Viking? In it, Kari Schoening Diehl asks the question: Could the diets of Scandinavians play a major role in their health and well-being?

This is a question that I've wondered about for a couple of years, after reading an article on the topic in Women's Health magazine back in 2009. Called "Land of the Lean," the article explores why Norwegians are among the fittest, leanest people in the world. The writer credits Norwegians' lifestyle, combined with healthier food choices and smaller portion sizes, as factors that contribute to Norwegians' fitness.

However, Norway isn't immune to the health challenges the rest of us face. As highlighted in "Tipping the Scales," in Viking's February issue, Norway's obesity rate has risen from 7 percent to 11 percent since the early 1980s. Though the rise in Norwegian obesity is significant, it pales when compared to the rate in the United States, which was 32% in 2008.

You'll find Diehl's article, including a recipe for gravlax, in the August issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user plindberg.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nordic Heritage Inspires Author

In the July issue of Viking, we featured 15 favorite summer reads by three Nordic books experts. One of the books featured was Eric Dregni’s “Vikings in the Attic: In Search of Nordic America.” Dregni, a fourth generation Scandinavian-American, has authored and co-authored 16 books, many of which explore the history and culture surrounding his Swedish, Danish and Norwegian heritage. Viking writer Carly Schramm talked with Dregni recently about his latest book and how his Scandinavian heritage influenced his writing and shaped him as a person.

Viking: What inspired you to write “Vikings in the Attic”?

Dregni: After living in Trondheim for a year, I came back to the United States and saw so many subtle things that are directly related to the Scandinavian immigrants. I had taken the Midwestern culture for granted and just assumed that everyone lived this way, until I lived in Italy and Norway.

V: How would you summarize the book?

E.D.: It’s about the unknown history of things that have a Scandinavian influence in the Midwest and throughout the United States. It’s about growing up with things that I didn’t know, but that I wish that I had known.

V: What do you hope readers will gain from reading “Vikings in the Attic”?

E.D.: To understand who we are, essentially. Personally, I hope people see that the idea of being Scandinavian is not all lefse and lutefisk. There’s a lot more to it.

V: How has your Norwegian heritage shaped you as a person?

E.D.: My great-grandfather Ellef was a blacksmith, and therefore very handy. I was brought up with this idea that if you own something, you must learn how to fix it. No matter what you do for your job, working with your hands is important. Also, my dad insisted on having "Norwegian dinner" about once a month, which was always white food on a white plate. For a little kid who liked bland food, this was perfect, but as a teenager who wanted some spice, I dreaded Norwegian dinner. However, as an adult living in Norway, I found that Norwegian foods outside of the Midwest, such as rakfisk and gravlaks, gammelost, salt licorice, moose, whale and cloud berries are full of unusual flavors.

You can find Dregni’s book at your favorite Nordic bookseller, or online at For more summer reading recommendations, check out the July issue of Viking!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do You Remember: Viking magazine Q&A with Ane Brun

In the August issue of Viking magazine there’s an interesting profile and Q&A with Norwegian singer-songwriter, Ane Brun. Though I had never heard of her before reading the early drafts of the article, I’ve quickly become a big fan of her work. In fact, her latest single is so catchy that I predict it’s going to be a big hit for her.

Check out the video for that single, “Do You Remember” below. The video definitely has a Nordic feel to it, in its simplicity and sparing use of visuals, but it adds a whole new facet to the song as well.

If you’d like to learn more about this great, though somewhat lesser-known Norwegian singer, click here to visit her webpage.