an exploration of all things nordic

Norwegian Civil Resistance of the Nazi Occupation: 1940-1945

By Kourtney Juhl Minnesota State University, Mankato After finally gaining independence in 1905,[1] Norway had been a nation intent on building a national identity and relishing their freedom. The Norwegian Kingdom had successfully lived in peace, maintained neutrality through World War I, and hoped to remain neutral from the great conflict that was World War II (WWII). To the Norwegians’ utter shock, those hopes came to a shattering end during the early hours of April 9, 1940, when German forces…

Subsistence Change for the Norse Vikings at Brattahlid, Greenland

By Jennifer Lien University of Wisconsin–Madison The immigration of the Viking pioneers to the North Atlantic islands was a period of expansive exploration, settlement, and colonization. Primary sources such as the King’s Mirror and Erik the Red’s Saga inform us about the lifestyles and the journeys of the Norse into the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean that led to the discovery of habitable islands such as the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. The Norse settlement at Greenland in…

At the Intersection of Religion and Divorce in History: A Comparative Analysis of Short Stories by Amalie Skram and Kate Chopin

By Ellen Robison University of Wisconsin–Madison Author and scholar Reza Aslan argues that “literature offers not just a window into the culture of diverse regions, but also the society, the politics; it’s the only place where we can keep track of ideas.”[1] Though Aslan lives and writes in the 21st century, this understanding of literature as reflective of society is by no means modern itself; it has long been understood that authors’ writing is situated by their social identities—their identifications…

Norsk Folkehjelp Norwegian People's Aid from Norway [CC BY 2.0 (]

The Humanitarian Superpower Myth: Norwegian shortcomings in response to the refugee crisis

By Siri Block St. Olaf College I. Introduction Norway has long been established as a nation of peace; they award the Nobel Peace prize, settle conflicts between feuding nations, and act as a social progressive model for Western Europe. Despite its status as a philanthropic global leader, Norway has recently received criticism for strict immigration laws and failure to offer sufficient support in response to the refugee crisis. Why is Norway, a so-called “humanitarian superpower,” falling short in their duties…

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Water Maiden, composed from color pencil, marker, and ink, by Abigail Tembreull

Water Maiden

By Abigail Tembreull Water Maiden, composed from color pencil, marker, and ink, was created in response to the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s annual Kalevala exhibit. The exhibit boasts fantastical images inspired by the National epic of Finland. The show coincides with Hancock, Michigan’s Heikinpaiva festival, where the area’s remarkably concentrated Finnish heritage and culture is celebrated. Thus, in the spirit of Heikinpaiva, the C.C.C.A.C. asks artists to illustrate a favored rune from the Kalevala. In the beginning of the…

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"Bananna Park 2012, Nørrebro, Copenhagen" by Tiws from (CC BY 2.0)

In Copenhagen: An Honor Code for Life

By Alex Moreno Bowdoin College There were twenty-four of us in the class, and as we pulled up to the first attraction on our bike tour, Norrebro’s BaNanna Park, two girls towards the end of the line decided that the best way to stop was to drag their toes along the concrete. They bumped and tottered to a halt in their pink helmets, and I watched their mouths form tiny O’s as the bicycles struck back and plummeted to the…

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Underwater Photography of Ocean by Jeremy Bishop

Hans Christian Andersen and Disney: The Tale of Two Different Mermaids

by Mirha Girt University of Wisconsin–Madison Disney’s recreation of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories, like “The Little Mermaid,” altered their meanings and changed Andersen’s portrayal of women, in particular. Disney’s versions—lighter and often with a happy ending—erase the original passion and anguish that are the backbone of Andersen’s stories. These films lead many people to believe they are watching the recreation of the real story when they actually present quite a different story from Andersen’s. Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”—produced by Walt…

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People waiting in line for food during WWII in Oslo, Norway.

Norse Mythology and Nazi Propaganda

By Aidan Neher Carleton College Introduction November 1918, World War I ended. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the German Empire was replaced with the Weimar Republic. Portions of Germany were gifted to its neighbors, heavy reparations were imposed and democracy was forced.[1] Burdened with war reparations, Germany’s economy worsened, unemployment grew and starvation became common.[2] The country’s people, searching for direction, turned to various forms of extreme nationalism, and war veteran Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party…

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Into the Silence: The Nordic World as Encapsulated in Skaldic Poetry

By Johanna Weissing University of Wisconsin–Madison Words, after speech, reach Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern, Can words or music reach The stillness, as a Chinese jar still  Moves perpetually in its stillness.1 In any attempt to study and understand a culture, one must take into account the material and artistic products of that culture, including its architecture, tools and traditions of music, and visual art. Perhaps the aspect of a culture that conveys the greatest insights…

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