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Heads up America, I’m coming!

Minnesota St. Paul

I'm thrilled to announce that this October I'll be visiting the heartland of the Norwegian-American community… Minnesota.

Gerry is in town for a conference so I'm taking the opportunity to join him and visit somewhere I'd otherwise be unlikely to ever travel to.

I've found the Norwegian-American story truly fascinating since moving to Norway, but it's a topic I've never really discussed on the blog. Ever heard the myth that there's more people with Norwegian heritage in America than in Norway? Well, it turns out it's not a myth…

There are more than 4.5 million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and most live in the Upper Midwest. Norwegian Americans currently comprise the 10th largest American ancestry group (Wikipedia)

The population of Norway is 5 million, but 700,000 of these are immigrants – including yours truly. You do the math!

Position of Minnesota in the United StatesMinnesota is the capital of Norwegian-American community, with 1-in-6 state residents claiming Norwegian ancestry. But the similarities to Scandinavia don't stop there. Minnesota is the most northerly US state other than Alaska, and as a result experiences warm summers and cold winters. The state is nicknamed “the land of 10,000 lakes” and its this water along with vast forests and wilderness that contribute to Minnesotans having a love of the great outdoors.

Sound familiar? 😉

It'll be my fourth visit to the USA but my first since 2007, and I can't wait to see somewhere that isn't California or Florida!

I'll be staying in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area for a week with very few plans. I'd like to explore the area, meet some interesting people, and make some connections for my freelance writing & publishing career.

So, to all my Norwegian-American readers out there (and I know there's a lot of you!): What should I do? Where should I stay? What should I see? Where should I eat?

Let me know 🙂


Photo credits: Dougtone / Wikipedia

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

10 Comments

  1. I suggest dinner at the Bachelor Farmer, a “New Nordic” restaurant in Minneapolis; a visit to Mindekirken, one of only two remaining Norwegian churches in the country (the other one is in Chicago) and where yours truly learns Norwegian; shopping at Ingebretsen’s, a well-known Nordic shop in Minneapolis; and a visit to the American Swedish Institute, if you have any interest in the Swedish American community as well (they are soon breaking ground on a similar Norwegian center here). For non-Scandinavian-specific interests…a stop at the Minnesota History Center, which always has great exhibits about the state (sometimes Scandinavian, but not at the moment) and you can’t come to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) without a stop at the Mall of America. This is just a small sampling of all the Twin Cities has to offer. We look forward to your visit!

  2. I wish I could give you some advice but I’ve never been to Minnesota! Can you believe that? And I’m Norwegian American living in Arizona by way of New York. 🙂 But I’ll see what others recommend so when I finally make a visit I’ll know where to go. I hope you’ll blog through your trip.

  3. Hi,
    I think you got some great suggestions from Lynette on the Norwegian American theme. If you and Gerry (I’m assuming that’s the new guy?) are interested in checking out a club or two I can make some suggestions. I also get the impression you like the outdoors, or maybe your just trying to fit in with outdoorsy Norwegians lol, but there is certainly plenty of that in the land of 10,000 lakes. There are lakes right in the city (Calhoun, Harriet, lake of the Isles) you can bike, rollerblade or walk around, and many parks. You could also check out the St Croix river town of Stillwater or the Mississippi river town of Red Wing for charming little towns that are not too far from the Minneapolis/St Paul at all. If you have time and opportunity I would suggest going North though, check out lake Superior and the North Shore region.

  4. couple other things. The Walker Art Institute and the Minneapolis Institute of Art are well worth a visit. The Walker has an outdoor sculpture garden.

  5. So cool, I understand you are excited!

    I went to Washington State 2 years ago, and got to visit Poulsbo (originally Pålsbo), a town founded by Norwegian immigrants near Seattle! It was so much fun, seeing signs and street names from Norway so far away from home, and everyone there (all though no one spoke Norwegian) were so proud of their heritage!

    I wrote a post about it on my blog, you can find it here: http://lisaldn.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/poulsbo/

    Enjoy! 😀

  6. To piggy-back on the previous suggestions, the University of MN has a beautiful Landscape Arboretum just past Chanhassen in the western part of the Twin Cities. If you like theater, Chanhassen also has a great Dinner Theater. 50th & France has fabulous shops, as does Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Mpls has nice hotels and there are bed and breakfasts on the outskirts of the metro area. Lots of ways to spend your time and $$$ 🙂

  7. I’d be very surprised if there weren’t more people of Norwegian ancestry in the UK or France than there are in Norway, given the Viking raids. There are probably more people descended from Harald Hardrada than there are people of Norwegian ancestry in Norway, given the way generational numbers grow exponentially. The more I think about that statistic the more unremarkable I think it is, because it’s comparing apples with oranges.

    Anyway, enjoy your trip!

  8. Just subscribed…today…can’t believe I find this post on coming to Minnesota? Brit living in Trondheim coming this way? Welcome, welcome, please come. Most of the posts above give good places to visit especially in twin cities and surrounding area. Don’t have any idea of your itinerary or intent as you say it’s pretty much open, and perhaps your ability to move around in such circumstances affords you the ability to meet people you may never have thought of meeting, but…

    Was looking for language learning for Norske and came across your blog. Found it most inviting and interesting. Am twice your age, but live up north, Duluth, largest inland port in the world, I believe. Again, can’t believe I’m doing this so quickly, but if you want help in getting around outside of the twin cities, I’d be glad to help…coming to Duluth of course and see the big fresh water lake; could take you up the north shore a bit, even to the border with Canada if so desired, a day hike on the superior hiking trail, lots of overlooks. I could make inquiries for you if you have an interest to visit one thing or another. …could even take you on over to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, though once there it’s just a matter of saying you were there.

    I’ve had several,exchange students with my family and have held a fondness for those who travel. And traveling myself in different lands wished I knew someone or access to someone to give me insights into their world that I otherwise would be unfamiliar with. My GGrandmother was born in Trondheim, but much of my heritage is early American or under the influence of British royalty so your travels from Britain and now in Norway perked up my interest that you were actually come here and although it would be fun to learn from you, I perhaps could help you learn a bit of here to take with you?

    Not to be presumptuous or assume you have enough time within a week to see all that can be seen (time goes too fast or maybe not fast enough?), if I can help facilitate any of your stay here, please feel free to contact me.

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