Family Ties

A step-by-step guide to starting your own genealogical journey.

family_ties.jpgWidely considered to be among the most popular and fastest-growing hobbies in the United States, genealogy was a $2.3 billion industry in 2012, and it is expected to grow another 36 percent by 2020. According to, 60 percent of Americans have researched their own genealogy and some 15 million Americans use the Internet every month in pursuit of their own family histories. It seems that more and more people are indeed fascinated by the process of discovering and learning about their ancestors.

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Norway’s Responsible Investing

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, a result of the discovery of offshore oil in the 1960’s and the good practice of responsible investing since then. As the largest holder of natural gas and oil in Europe, Norway takes its position very seriously and invests a considerable amount in its own people

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Capital Idea

Thinking globally, five Nordic capital cities act sustainably.

capital-idea.jpgClean, green and forward-thinking-citizens of Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavik and Stockholm are setting the world’s pace in adopting sustainable development. This is not a new idea. More than 20 years ago, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland said sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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St. Olaf’s Day

st-olaf.jpgJuly 29th marks Olsok, or St. Olaf’s Day in Norway and coincides with Olsokdagen, the official Flag Day in Norway, but it’s roots run much deeper. Originally celebrated to honor the King, and later Saint, Olaf, the day has more than 900 years of history behind it. Lavish feasts and pilgrimages have celebrated his name, but who was Olaf II of Norway and why are we celebrating him today?

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The Bunad

Rebecca-Larson_RThere is a something special about owning a bunad and wearing it on Syttende Mai, Norway’s National Day. Let’s take a look at some of the history behind Norway’s bunad. The traditional costume dates its roots back to the Norwegian Romantic Nationalism period in the mid-19th century when, at that time, Norway was determined to secure a solid cultural identity. The Norwegian bunad is unique in that it is recognizable as Norway’s official dress, but it is individualized based on regional characteristics of color, pattern, style, and accessories. Since the 19th century the traditional costume has developed with the modern age and Norwegians who are lucky enough to own a bunad are always proud to show it off at significant occasions like confirmations, weddings, funerals and National holidays.

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Museum Mania

Viking magazine’s guide to Norway’s must-see museums.

museum_mania.jpgLike the ancient Viking forebears of this Nordic nation, visitors to Norway may arrive from across the sea in search of a wealth of treasures—both tangible and cultural. There’s no need to feel lost at sea, however. Simply follow Viking’s guide to Norway’s must-see museums, from the preserved Viking ships themselves to the 20th-century masterpieces of a national treasure, Edvard Munch. Consider these only a few points from which to set sail on a memorable, rich Norwegian holiday.

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Antiques Roadshow

In the search for Norwegian antiques, great finds can be close to home.

antiques.jpgHere’s a distillation of 35 years of professional wisdom from Suzanne Kramer, an antique dealer who specializes in Scandinavian objects: “After I buy an object, I always, in an auction or a sale or whatever, seek out the oldest person there and try to get the stories from them, what they know about the family or the history.”

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Summertime Sandwiches

Serve up a Scandinavian twist at your next party with these traditional open-faced sandwiches, known as smørbrød.

summer_sandwiches.jpgSmørbrød, Norwegian for “butter bread,” has been a longtime staple in Scandinavian culture. When industrialization boomed in the 19th century, factory workers and farmers could no longer return home for lunch, so they packed open-faced sandwiches. They smeared rye bread with butter or animal fat and topped it with leftovers from the night before, including meat, vegetables and boiled potatoes. In the 1920s, more elaborate versions of the open-faced sandwiches started appearing at lavish dinner parties and restaurants. Today, this Scandinavian staple is being reinvented stateside as people and chefs think of modern ways to combine ingredients. Here, we feature three smørbrød recipes from award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer Lynda Balslev. “When it’s hot outside, we often eat smørbrød as a light al fresco meal,” she says. “They make great appetizers for parties.” Paired with a cold beer or Aquavit, these sandwiches are sure to be a hit at your next summer gathering.

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