What is Midsummer?
Learn more about the
Nordic summer tradition
that inspires our annual
Alf & Lili
Read about their life
story and history with
“I came to Oregon in 1982 from
Denmark, where I was born, when
I was 17. I retired last year from
Intel after 20 years and my last role
was Strategy Director for Corporate
Enterprise Systems IT. Before that I
spent nine years in consulting and
systems integration. I am currently
on the Advisory Board for the
Oregon State University College of
Business Supply Chain and Logistics
Management program where I
volunteer and am leading an effort to
build a technology innovation lab. I
am a Limited Partner with the Oregon
Venture Fund and OTBC where I help
to advise Oregon based startup
companies. And, I have a consulting
company called Soren Andersen
Consulting LLC which is focused on
enterprise digital transformation.”
VESA A. VIHAVAINEN
“I’m a Finn, born in Helsinki in
1962, educated in Germany at the
Technical University in Berlin where
I graduated as MS. Econ. in 1988
and then received my MBA degree
from the University of Jyväskylä in
Finland in 1999. I’ve been married
to Heli since 1987 and have four
children, two grandchildren and a
third one is coming this July. I work as
the COO at Sheldon Manufacturing,
Inc. and we have operations also
in Irving, TX. Besides my work life
I write songs and one CD has been
published in 2018 and the next one is
coming in 2019. I was also nominated
as Honorary Consul of Finland for
Oregon in 2017 and have served on
the steering committee of Oregon
Business and Industries since 2018.”
Saturday, August 10
SALES GALLERY ANNOUNCEMENT
Throughout the years, Nordic Northwest has grown and created relationships
with many local artists and collectors in the Portland area.
This year, we are very excited to announce a new Sales Gallery at
Nordia House! Starting this summer we will begin showing and selling
collections of art and curated antiques from single artists and owners.
This may include paintings, wood carvings, textiles/weavings, jewelry,
and so much more! This gallery will help celebrate local artists and
preserve both traditional and modern techniques and styles in Nordic
art. Displays will rotate every three months.
INTERESTED IN DISPLAYING AND SELLING ART
Contact Kirstie Opel for more information!
THE ASTORIA REGATTA IS ONE
OF OREGON’S BIGGEST FESTIVALS.
For the past 4 years, Nordic Northwest has been a part of this
Oregon Heritage Tradition by having our famous Viking Ship as a
float in the parade! This year, the 125th Regatta, the float will be
put together with help from the Danish Sisterhood and Danish
Brotherhood to give the ship some Danish Viking flair. The float
is maintained by the Pacific Coast Viking Ship Foundation (Dave
Alford & Judy Gervais Perkiomaki) and each year the Official Lucia
of Oregon court rides the float. For all three years the ship has been
in the parade, the float has been awarded the Grand Land Parade
Grand Marshall’s Award! This parade will take place just as the
Astoria Yacht Club begins their races, and is the culmination of the
weekend long festival.
THE YEAR CHANGE
This year NNW will move the
Scandinavian of the Year Award
ceremony from being awarded
annually at the Portland Scandinavian
Midsummer Festival to
being awarded on the Portland
ScanFair stage in December.
HAVE A NOMINATION?
or call 503-977-0275.
Saturday, June 8
11am – 6pm
The Midnight Sun
Just above the Arctic Circle, these places can
have months with no darkness from May to
late July. Lands of the Midnight Sun have
become destinations for visitors to Scandinavia.
Instead of setting, the sun dips down towards
sea level. In some towns it lightly touches the
sea before rising again. When the sun sets just
a few degrees below the horizon this is called a
This is a time of year when many local
attractions and activities are open during the
MIDSUMMER NIGHT IS
THE LIGHTEST NIGHT OF
THE YEAR IN SWEDEN.
Today, it is the time when summer
holidays have just begun and Swedes
flock to the countryside to enjoy fires
and traditional Midsummer food like
herring, potatoes, meat or fish on the
grill and strawberries or other seasonal
fruit and vegetables. Flower crowns
are also a large part of the tradition,
as plants are collected to craft them
and decorate the maypole, which people
dance around as the celebrations
late hours of the night. It is a rare opportunity
to kayak over quiet gold waters or take
a walk over a glacier at midnight. Some say
this extreme sun exposure is needed to sustain
residents through the opposing polar night,
24 hours of darkness, which can contribute
to mental health problems. Light is such an
essential part of Nordic living that many
homes and cabins are built with as much
exposure to natural light as possible. The
central Norwegian town of Rjukan, nestled in
a fjord valley, has even notably installed large
continue. Midsummer is a welcome party for the season but it started
as a celebration for the season of fertility. This is where the focus on
foliage and new growth comes from. Midsummer Eve is traditionally
the best time for love to bloom. Young women are tasked with picking
seven types of flowers to put under their pillow, then they dream of
their future lovers. Because of the magical feel in the air, it is also
a popular time for weddings and christenings. The food and drink
traditions come from the industrial industry, where factory employees
were given a feast of herring, beer and schnapps. It has been the most
celebrated Swedish festivity since the early 1900s.
Portland’s Annual Scandinavian Midsummer festival, an Oregon Heritage
Tradition Day since 2018, is now in its 91st year! Join the League
of Swedish Societies and Nordic Northwest for all of the favorite
traditional celebrations: flower crowns, dancing around the maypole,
delicious food and drink, and more!
BODØ, JOKKMOKK, AND ROVANIEMI ARE ALL
CONSIDERED CITIES THAT NEVER SLEEP.
rotating mirrors on the mountainside to reflect
sunlight back into the town! Nordia House
was also designed based on the Nordic principle
of utilizing natural light. If you look closely,
there are almost no 90 degree angles in the
entire building; the walls are angled in such a
way as to allow the most light possible. As it is
with the polar night, Nordic people continue
to be outdoors no matter the season. The extra
hours of daylight help them, and the many
tourists who flock to see this phenomenon, to
be out and enjoy nature that much more.
2 NORDIC NORTHWEST SUMMER 2019 3
91ST PORTLAND SCANDINAVIAN
June 8, 11am – 6pm
NEEDLE FELTING WORKSHOP:
VIKINGS & GNOMES
June 22, 10am – 1pm
NORDIC HERITAGE NIGHT WITH
THE PORTLAND THORNS
July 5, 8 – 10pm
CONCERT & DANCE: VARELSE
July 21, 6pm
NNW or Norske Runddansere Members: $15
September – October
September 5, 7:30pm
NNW Members: $30
Oaks Park (7805 SE Oaks Park Way)
NNW Members: $54
Arts for All: $5
(Concert at Nordia House, presented by the Alber-
Seniors & Students: $7
Join Smart Felt creator Sabrina Mauer and create
See the Portland Thorns against the Seattle Reign
Varelse (a local Portland band) is a unique
ta Rose Theater) SVER play epic Nordic folk music
your unique version of a Viking or Gnome in just a
FC! After the game we will be hosting a Q & A with
combination of various traditions, instruments, and
with relentless energy and seductive spark taking
Children 11 & Under Free
few hours! In this introductory class, you can learn
Icelandic player, Dagny Brynjarsdottir. A portion of
histories. Nyckelharpa, fiddle, six-string guitar and
you on a fantastic musical journey guaranteed to
Presented by the League of Swedish Societies and
how to make this freestanding gnome using wool
ticket sales comes back to Nordic Northwest!
various hand percussion instruments come together
excite you. SVER is one of the most acclaimed live
Nordic Northwest. Join your friends and family in
and a felting needle.
to create a groove and sound that is simultaneously
acts in the Nordic folk scene.
SE Portland to ring in the 91st year of this historic,
THE COMPLETE SONGS
old and new. Come for a concert and dance!
regional tradition that occurs each June. Enjoy
NEEDLE FELTING WORKSHOP:
OF EDVARD GRIEG:
NORDIC WINE & PAINT NIGHT
Nordic food, games, entertainment, vendors and
more! Plus, entry includes discounted ride bracelets
FOUR LEGGED FRIEND
June 22, 2 – 5pm
THE MOUNTAIN MAID
July 9, 7:30pm
September 13, 7 – 9pm
NNW Members: $25
for the park! It continues to be a fun, family friendly
NNW Members: $54
NNW Members: $20
and important day with centuries-old traditions and
WOODBLOCK TOTE BAG PRINTING
Enjoy a complimentary beverage while you learn
All events are at Nordia House
everyone is invited.
A fanciful unicorn or a fuzzy alpaca, these four
Arts for All: $5
August 18, 12 - 2pm
from master artist and crafter, Joel Henrique! Be
unless otherwise noted. All dates
legged beasts are as fun to make as they are to
Join Laura Loge, sporano, and Knut Erik Jensen,
NNW Members: $15
inspired by Joel’s exhibit Design Play, on display
subject to change.
WORKSHOP: RUNE RING
look at! Learn this shortcut technique for creating
piano, with Northwest Edvard Grieg Society and
from July 12 - October 31, 2019.
June 12, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Nordic Northwest, as they venture in the mountains
Craft your own printed tote using Scandinavian de-
For more information, visit
NNW Members: $90
to the sæter (summer farm).
signed blocks and acrylic paint with Joel Henriques!
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP &
NEEDLE FELTING WORKSHOP:
Families welcome. In collaboration with the Design
Using sterling silver, learn some basic jewelry
EXHIBIT OPENING: DESIGN PLAY
Play exhibit (July 12 - October 31).
September 15, 5 – 7pm
All sales are final; no refunds.
silversmithing techniques by texturing and forming
June 23, 2:30 – 5:30pm
July 12, 6:30 – 8pm
Free for NNW Members
sheet metal into a wide band ring. Stamp the Elder
NNW Members: $54
Free & Open to the Public
Non-member Guests: $15
Futhark Viking runes in a pattern and leave with a
This summer we feature the whimsical art of Joel
August 24, 7 pm
Join us for our annual community celebration at
Wool painting is a technique using wool fibers to
Henriques, focusing on his oeuvre of toys, craft, and
VIP Reception, 5pm
Nordia House! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"paint" a two dimensional design, using a felting
fine art. His paintings will be on display and for
DANISH BOOK CLUB
needle. This piece will be suitable for framing.
sale! Get a first look and enjoy light refreshments.
NNW Members: $30
FALL FILM COURSE:
June 19, August 21, October 16
12 – 2pm
CONCERT: NORDIC SINGERS
PICKLED HERRING DINNER
Seattle-based, The ABBAgraphs recreate the pop
Mondays, 7:15 – 9:15pm
NNW Members: Free
June 26, 7:30pm
July 13, 6:30pm
magic of ABBA’s chart-topping, classic pop hits
September 23 – November 18
NNW Members: $30
NNW Members: $65
of the '70s and early '80s PLUS hits of the disco
This group reads book selections & conducts discus-
era. Think Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me,
NNW Members: $100
sions in Danish! The meetings are open to the public
Visiting from Denmark as a part of their national
Join us on the lawn at Nordia House for the 4th
Mamma Mia, Fernando, Waterloo and more!
and take place in the MLC Conference room inside
tour, the Nordic Singers will perform a selection
annual Pickled Herring Dinner with Broder Söder!
See them perform at Nordia House for the first
Dr. Birnie received his Ph.D. in German Literature,
of Nordia House. Brunch available to order from
of operatic classics. Save the date to see this
The smörgåsbord will feature herring in a variety
time and enjoy the first concert on the Fogelbo
with a minor in Scandinavian Studies, from UW
the cafe to enjoy during group discussion.
incredible group! Sponsored by the ScanDesign
of sauces, new potatoes with lots of dill, cucumber
Lawn (weather permitting)!
and has since taught Norwegian, Scandinavian
salad and, of course, Swedish Meatballs!
literature and film, and German. This course will
VIKING KNIT BRACELET
provide an introduction to the origins and devel-
June 19, July 17, August 14, September 18
August 25, 3 – 7pm
opment of Scandinavian film over the past 90
5 – 7pm
June 28, 7pm
NNW Members: $90
years. The focus will be to acquaint students with
NNW Members: $15
Suggested Donation: $10
July 17, 6:00 – 8:00pm
the major directors, themes and narrative styles.
(Rated R) Join us in viewing this 2003 drama,
NNW Members: $85
With Debra Carus of Elentari Handverk, you’ll use
Enjoy an evening on the Nordia House patio with
Saraband (Sweden) directed by Ingmar Bergman.
sterling silver wire, pliers and wooden dowels,
NORDIC NIGHTS AUCTION & GALA
light refreshments! Taste offerings from four local
Professor Tom Birnie will present the film and host a
Learn chainmaille patterns, plus wireworking skills
and create one of the most ancient and lovely
October 5, 5 pm
Nordic wineries, and bottles will also be available
brief discussion following the screening.
to create your own earrings, decorated with stone
chains that dates to Viking times. Once woven, the
for sale. More details to come.
and metal beads. You’ll even create your own ear
chain is drawn through a special drawplate that
Enjoy an elegant night at Nordia House full of
wires, using sterling silver wire. Class taught by
compresses and lengthens the weave into a dense,
delicious food and drink, exciting bidding and
Debra Carus of Elentari Handverk.
more! It is a night not to be missed!
4 NORDIC NORTHWEST SUMMER 2019 5
Program & Communications
Exhibit, Membership &
Ross Fogelquist, Emeritus
Leah Jørgensen Jean
Alf & Lili Gregerson
ALF AND LILI LEFT
THEIR HOME COUNTRY
OF DENMARK TWO
WEEKS AFTER THEIR
WEDDING IN 1959.
Despite thinking the decision to move
to America was crazy, Lili’s parents
drove them to the Copenhagen train
station and waved goodbye for what they
thought might be the last time. The couple
had no jobs lined up and no money,
just the desire to start a new life. “We
came with just our bare hands.”
Their pioneer spirit lead them to board
the Queen Elizabeth on the way to
Canada. After landing in New York they
took a Greyhound bus across the country
to Calgary where they lived for five
years before seeking a warmer climate in
the Portland/Vancouver area.
Arriving in Portland while pregnant with
their daughter presented challenges of
finding a new home and work to support
their family. Alf worked graveyard shifts
at the shipyard. After a worker’s strike
threatened time without pay, Alf decided
to seek out tools and equipment to start
his own welding business; he did so
within the month. Because ‘A’s come first
in the phone book, they named the business
‘Advance’ and rented a warehouse in
the Vancouver shipyard. Alf went door
to door to drum up business to get them started.
They were met with many kind individuals
and grew a solid reputation. Lili describes Alf
as, “never wanting to make a big splash,” but
they certainly made ends meet. Alf worked day
and night to support the business, finishing
projects in the day and putting together estimates
in their spare bedroom. Lili also helped
with office work at Advance for a few years.
They owned the business for 35 years.
In the early 1980s, the two were asked by a son
of fellow Danish immigrants to begin attending
meetings at Portland State University to help
support the Scandinavian Studies department.
It was important to Alf and Lili to become
American citizens and Lili attributes this mind
set to their spread set of interests and friend
groups in the Nordic community at large.
After following the progression of Nordic
Northwest, born out of those meetings at PSU
in the 80s, Alf & Lili were pleased to be invited
to attend a NNW board meeting. It was this
gesture that inspired a generous 1 million
dollar donation to the organization.
Nordic Northwest congratulates Alf & Lili on
their Diamond Anniversary - 60 years! Tillykke
Alf & Lili!
Annual Membership & Volunteer Celebration! September 15, 5–7 pm. Every year, since our opening,
we gather at Nordia House to celebrate the members and volunteers of our Nordic Northwest
Community! Your support helps sustain everything we do from programs and exhibits to festivals and
NEW AT NNW
The National Nordic Museum Act
This March, the Natural Resources Management Act was
signed into law, affecting almost every state, including the
maintenance of local parks and new protected land and
In Oregon, the habitat for steelhead is conserved: one hundred
thousand acres of land and 200 miles of river! This is one
of the 170 provisions in the law, which is a triumph of conservation
legislation. Attached to this law is a brief bill which
states, “This bill designates the Nordic Museum at 2655 NW
Market Street in Seattle, Washington, as the ‘National Nordic
Museum.’” This bill was sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell
of Washington and serves as a continuation of Ballard’s
strong Nordic connection. As a national representative of
Nordic culture, the museum will continue to promote local
economic opportunities as well as international relationships.
With their new building, which opened in May 2018, the
Nordic Museum has the opportunity to attract world class exhibitions,
community partnerships and expand their in-house
collections. Nordic Northwest is looking forward to watching
them grow and working with them in the future!
Tillykke, onnittelut, til hamingju, gratulerer, grattis!
Nordic Northwest’s annual Auction and Gala has a new name,
Nordic Nights! October 5, 2019 will be a night of celebration
for the Portland Nordic community. Gathering at Nordia House,
CALL FOR COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS:
Are you a member with us and looking for a unique way to be involved?
NNW is looking for members to volunteer for several committees:
Annual Auction & Gala
Help plan NNW’s strategic direction Plan a night of philanthropic engagement,
fun and fundraising all with a
that identifies philanthropy’s role in
accomplishing NNW’s strategic plan Nordic theme
ScanFair Christmas Market
Help with preparation and evaluation
Help plan the maintenance, capital of our annual Christmas market at the
projects and volunteer work projects Memorial Coliseum
to keep NNW’s facilities in top condition
to accomplish its mission
Help plan and execute our annual
outdoor summer celebration
Enhance the Board’s capacity for
Cook & Eat
Have a hand in one of our most popular
offerings; Friday Night Lecture
Grow and help assure the programs Series - ensure quality lecturers at
and exhibits meet NNW mission Portland State University through this
20+ year old program
Want to be a member of Nordic Northwest?
FINN WARE STAFF
Nordic resources. Join us to gather with friends old and new. We want to show our appreciation and
host an opportunity for staff, volunteers and members to get together. The President’s Award will be
presented alongside remarks from the President of the Board and the Annual Report will be handed
out. Families are welcome; there will be a craft area and lawn games (weather permitting)! We hope
to see you on the 15th.
Nordic organizations, businesses and individuals have a chance
to socialize over great food and drink while supporting NNW’s
cultural mission. Bid on exciting items and packages! Sponsorship
opportunities are available now and donations are being accepted.
Plan to spend a fall night with us!
See mebership levels and benefits at
6 NORDIC NORTHWEST SUMMER 2019 7
EXHIBIT & EVENT NEWS
From Sweden to
FROM SWEDEN TO OREGON: THE
IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE 1850 – 1950
Between 1850 and 1949, only Canada and Germany
surpassed Sweden in Oregon’s foreign born population:
by 1930, one in ten immigrants in Oregon was a Swede.
Who were these immigrants and why did they choose
to leave Sweden? What did they do when they got
here? And why was Oregon the place to go? This is an
exhibition which follows the Swedish immigrants to
Oregon and reveals what became of their lives, hopes,
and dreams. This exhibit is funded in part by grants
from the Swedish Council of America and the Cultural
Coalition of Washington County, as well as generous
donations from Swedish Society Linnea, Harmoni Lodge
#472, and the New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society.
This exhibit has been created and curated over the past
year by Swedish Roots in Oregon, an immigration focused
nonprofit. A special thank you to Exhibit Curator
Rhonda Erlandson and Artifact Curator Ross Fogelquist.
(April 12 - July 8, 2019)
This summer (July 12 – October 31, 2019) Nordia House will feature
the whimsical art of Joel Henriques, focusing on his oeuvre of toys,
craft, and fine art. His work explores the connection between visual
and emotional responses to playful, positive, functional design and
how it helps us live more joyfully artful lives.
Joel Henriques is the artist and writer behind the blog, Made by Joel,
and book, Made to Play! As a child, Joel learned how to create crafts
and toys from his Norwegian grandmother by using simple materials
such as walnut shells for bathtub boats, wooden spools for tractors,
and yarn cuttings for latch-hooking. Documenting the crafts he began
to make for his own kids on his Made by Joel blog, Joel found a sweet
spot in the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement by making it excitingly
easy for parents to fashion toys with and for their own kids. Thanks to
the popularity of Joel's blog, Martha Stewart invited him to her show
in celebration of his Made to Play! book release. Side by side, Joel and
Martha made his Scandinavian-inspired dollhouse, catapulting his
reach to design blogs all over the world. Joel currently spends his time
creating illustrations and art projects for kids by working with a wide
array of collaborators including his local public schools, Disney, and
the Portland Art Museum. Joel lives with his wife and three children
in Portland, Oregon.
Nordic Northwest is a nonprofit
organization focused on the five Nordic
nations: Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway and Sweden.
8800 SW Oleson Rd.
Portland OR 97223
The mission of Nordic Northwest is to
preserve, communicate and celebrate
Nordic culture, heritage and innovation.
@nordicnorthwest / #nordicnorthwest / #nordiahouse