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In articles I have written for the Norwegian-American Weekly and for this blog I have noted some interesting Norway related facts from the 1893 Columbia Exposition in Chicago.

  • I know of only three building left from the 1893 Expo, 1) Art Institute of Chicago building, 2) Museum of Science & Industry building, 3) The Norway Building in Little Norway Wisconsin.
  • A viking ship replica sailed from Bergen Norway to Chicago to prove that a ship of this type could make it to North America and is still around for you to see.
  • Norwegian smoked sardines were introduced to the United States at the World Exhibition in Chicago. Additionally, other world markets were explored.

Ken Nordan
Contributing Editor

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I wanted to thank my friends at Th!nk for sending a Th!nk City all electric car to the Park Ridge Illinois (Chicago Area) Syttende Mai Parade, also known as the Norwegian Constitution Day (May 17) celebration.

After looking at the pictures I submitted in the prior post, it is easy to see that the Park Ridge parade brings together members (young and old) of the Chicago Norwegian Community to celebrate our common heritage. And with the Th!nk City in the parade this year, not only were all ages of people found at the parade but also all ages of cars. As you can see in the following pictures we had a few older cars and (with the all electric, Norwegian designed, and soon to be American built) Th!nk City car we had a very new car as well.

Hank Solberg driving his Model A car in the parade. (photo Kathy Larson)


That is me driving the Th!nk City. (photo Ken Larson)

Contributing Editor,
Ken Nordan

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Having written the previous post several weeks ago and not published it I realized that I am still not doing my part on this blog.  So I published the previous blog and now also submit these pictures for your enjoyment. If you missed out on the parade or some of the other activities, I hope you can get out there next year waving your Norwegian flag. We do it at the same time (around May 17) and place (Park Ridge for the parade), every year no excuses if you don’t get an invitation. 😉

Ken Nordan,
Contributing Editor

Members of NACC show off their Bunads

Members of NACC show off their Bunads

Seth

Seth Howard

Lorraine saving our heritage

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First, I want to say that I am sorry for not posting to this blog in a while.   I have many excuses, some are better than others.  The better ones are that I have been very busy and have been burning the candle at all ends (sometimes in the middle too). Many of these activities have not been related to the theme of this blog, thus nothing to write about.

My original goal for this blog was to write about some of the fun things I do and think about which relate to Norway or my Norwegian roots.  And many of those things I am still doing, including:

  1. Working with companies both here in the USA and Norway,
  2. Torske Klub
  3. Vesterheim
  4. Genealogy
  5. NACC
  6. Sons of Norway

to name a few.  As a part of that goal, I had also hoped to include input from readers and sharing of stories with many others of Norwegian background or who enjoy Norway like I do.  I had also hoped to find things that were different than the usual to talk about and discuss.

Some of these goals have been met.  I was introduced to the Norwegian-American Weekly newspaper out of Seattle Washington (Hi to Jake and Christy, see norway.com) and have enjoyed writing a few articles for them as well as doing article research for their blog (blog.norway.com).  This has been fun but has also been time consuming.  I’ve also had the great chance to talk to and meet some fabulous people including many of the people that I  have written about here, far too many to single out right now.

Some of my goals have not been met.  I had hoped to open a dialog among Norwegians, in particular those living in Chicago, but also, others living throughout the USA and in Norway.  Many of us like reading about our Norwegian roots but not too many have wanted to talk and discuss those roots.  I had also hoped to influence in some small way how we relate as Norwegians to each other, how we relate to Norway, and in some way maybe help Norway to relate better to us.

I realize that the later goal will take much time, effort and energy, for which I will try to reapply, restart and rekindle.

I’ve taken a number of pictures in the last few months and collected a few from friends and I hope to make a new entry shortly so you can enjoy them.

Ken Nordan,
Contributing Editor

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All air travel in Northern Europe has been shut down due to the eruption of the Volcano in Iceland. A large ash cloud has moved over Norway and other Northern European countries closing airports. Check out the animation on the Aftenposten website to track the cloud.

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Norwegian World War II documents (over 5,000 in total) have been declassified and placed on the National Archives web site.

The sinking of Blßcher is one of the main themes, and include documents  of the German attack plans for southern Norway, which were found on the shore of Grüøya two weeks after the sinking of the German warship.

On April 9, 1940 (70 years ago) the German warship Blßcher and several other ships tried to slip into Olso to take over the Norwegian government.  A battery of gunners at the Oscar fortress shot 280 mm shells into the ship and along with torpedoes fired from the fortress submarine torpedo battery, sank the Blßcher. Because of this short battle the Norwegian Government and Royal Family were able to escape Oslo and make their way to England and the United States.

King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav

We all remember the famous picture taken in the birch trees near Molde in April 1940 of King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav during the flight north after the German invasion of Norway.

As I read the documents I’ll report on any interesting items.

Contributing Editor
Ken Nordan

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The Norwegian company AquaFence (www.aquafence.com) has set up a demonstration flood protection system in the city of Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo with it’s large population of Norwegian decedents is under 100 year flood alert for the second year in a row.

Helge Krøgenes, chairman of the Norwegian company AquaFence, flew out to Fargo to demonstrate his companies flood protection system. “They can be more effective than sandbags”, said Helge Krøgenes. He says it takes 2000 volunteers 12 hours to build a 500 meter long wall of sandbags. Twenty five installers take one and a half hours to set up 500 meters of the Norwegian flood protection system.

Already protecting the city hall

“But already now, the water is up by the walls we have erected”, said Krøgenes. “A wall is protecting the town hall in the city, and another is set up at the riverbank.”

Source: NRK

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Don Hoganson receives his diploma and insignia of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit: Officer gentlemen, from His Majesty King Harald V of Norway via Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen in a ceremony in Chicago on March 16, 2010. Mr. Hoganson is a good friend to the Norwegian community not only in Chicago but throughout the United States and in Norway. He has worked tirelessly to foster relationships between the US and Norway.

Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen pins the insignia of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit: Officer gentlemen on Don Hoganson

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Decorah, IOWA— The Chicago Area Friends of Vesterheim are pleased to host a Nordic Marketplace and Luncheon to benefit Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, in Decorah, Iowa. The event will be held on Saturday, March 20, at the Park Ridge Country Club, Park Ridge, Illinois.

The marketplace opens at 9:30 a.m., and there will plenty of Norsk merchandise, including Dale sweaters, rosemaling, acanthus woodcarving, and genealogy materials. Accomplished artisans working in the Scandinavian tradition will demonstrate rosemaling and woodworking. The luncheon, which begins at 12:30 p.m., will feature a delectable menu. There will also be a silent auction and raffle drawing.

Everyone is cordially invited to meet the Honorary Consul General in Chicago Paul S. Anderson, who will give a special greeting. Vesterheim’s Executive Director Steven Johnson will also be on hand.

Tickets are $50 per person. Seating is limited. Advanced reservations are necessary and should be made by March 15. For further information, please contact Vesterheim at 563-382-9681, eMail: info@vesterheim.org, or check the museum’s website at www.vesterheim.org.

Proceeds of the event will benefit future editions of Vesterheim’s outstanding magazine “Vesterheim.” The museum uses the story of Norwegian Americans to explore aspects of identity and culture common to everyone. Vesterheim cares for over 24,000 artifacts, among which are some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country. Founded in 1877, Vesterheim is one of the oldest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city. “Vesterheim” magazine helps make the museum collections and Norwegian-American heritage accessible to larger groups of people.

From May 1 – Oct. 31, Vesterheim is open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. From Nov. 1 – April 30, Vesterheim is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed Monday. For more information on the museum’s exhibits, activities, and membership opportunities, consult Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

Previous participants of the Luncheon.

The Illinois Rosemalers booth.

Many other craft companies including jewlery, carving, clothes and painted items as well as book sellers were in attendance.

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Are you a “Norway Enthusiast”? Do your ears perk up or your eyes shoot to articles that mention Norway? Are you rooting for Norwegian athletes in the Olympics and proud of any new accomplishments or advances that Norwegian companies or individuals make? You are not alone. I root very hard for the USA to do well in everything, but as a Norwegian-American I save some energy and pride for Norway too.

Brendan Prebo shows us the TH!NK City

I get the most enthusiastic when something real good happens in the USA that is somehow connected to Norway. So you can imagine how I felt when TH!NK EV announced that they were coming to Elkhart, Indiana to build small electric cars for the US market. TH!NK EV is a Norwegian company that is currently building electric vehicles for the European market and was once a partner of Ford Motors. I believe that the EV (Electric Vehicles) revolution is just around the corner and it is great to see that so many companies (including Ford and GM) are starting to build these vehicles here in the USA.

Inside the TH!NK City, it looks and feels just like any other car.

TH!NK EV invited me to the “South Shore Clean Cities” Annual Meeting in Merrillville, Indiana, to see and drive the TH!NK City this past week. My first impression of the car is very favorable. When many people think of small electric cars they think of the electric cart that we drive at the golf course, the TH!NK City is not an oversize golf cart. This car can handle highway speeds with a top speed of 70 mph and while it is not a race car I was able to punch the accelerator and get it going from a stop, into traffic rather quickly. I sat much higher up in the car than when I sit in my wife’s car, which gave me a good view of the road and I had plenty of leg and head room. The car is almost 8 inches narrower than my SUV, which means that my mothers husband would feel a little cramped, but my passenger and I were comfortable sitting in the front seats. And it meets all US car safety standards.

The TH!NK City has a driving range of around 100 miles, which means that it is only a commuter and short distance vehicle. When I was working in downtown Chicago I drove 7 miles each way to the train station. This car would be perfect for this type of commuting. If Chicago could build a few charging stations in parking garages in Millennium Park I could drive into the city recharge while I was at work, then drive home all on about $2 worth of electricity (based on TH!NK’s cost estimate of 2 cents per mile), my small SUV gets 18 mpg in the city and this trip would cost $14 in gas.

Brendan Prebo, marketing director for TH!NK North America indicated to me that for the first couple of years TH!NK will concentrate on selling vehicles to fleet operators in the Chicago, New York and West Coast areas. Fleet car users like government agencies (city & state) or utility, repair or other companies where cars average 30 to 80 miles per day would be great candidates for these vehicles and because the car has a large (29 cubic foot) rear storage area I could see small downtown package delivery companies enjoying this economical car. And think (no pun intended), of the reduction of pollution in our city core area, because this car has no tailpipe emissions! My mail carrier told me that she only drives 19 miles a day to make her deliveries, this would mean that our US mail systems could be called “Electric Mail”.

As a Norway enthusiast I am excited about TH!NK coming to the USA. They will be employing a number of worker in the Elkhart, Indian area and doing some good things to provide economical alternative transportation for the USA roads.

Driving the TH!NK City.

Ken Nordan – Contributing Editor

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