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November 23, 2007 | 3 Comments

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In today's NY Times there is an article on how Norway is closing down the consulate general office in Minneapolis (but keeping open the offices in Houston, NY, and San Francisco).

I am sure the Norwegian bachelor farmers are going to be PRETTY UPSET over this turn of events.

Cheryl R.

What the Wobegonians conclude after travelling to Norway, Cheryl, is that Norwegians aren't as Norwegian as they used to be, and that the true keepers of the culture mostly live in the Midwest and a few near Seattle and a few in Brooklyn. We go over to Norway and speak Norwegian and they just stand and stare at us. They can't even understand their own language. And it's easier to find linguini in Oslo than to find boiled cod. So the removal of the consul from Minneapolis is fine by us. If His Majesty's fancy-pants foreign service prefers to hang out in San Francisco, New York, and Texas, so be it. The job of consul general was mostly ceremonial anyway — e.g., the bestowing of medals and awards which, in our case, we don't want anyway. Let them leave town and see if we care. One summer in Houston and they will be begging to return, which is fine, but we will not get down on our knees and beg them to come back. Oh no. It will be a sober day in Oslo before that happens.


There is a pretty substantial Norwegian community in and around Clifton Texas. My people were Nelsons and came in their own ship.

I have always been proud of my Norwegian heritage and have identified myself as such. Mom only taught me to say I love you in Norwegian... I can say it but I won't try to spell it out. Funny, but fish is the one food I cannot stand.


Hello, I am a Norwegian living in Switzerland and a great GK fan. I love the quiet weeks in LW and have only one minor unimportant correction to make. Yes we do celebrate the 17 May, and yes it is the Constitution that was created as Norway split with Denmark, but it was not in the year 1804 - rather 10 years later 1814. But keep on telling about the Norwegians and other minorities - great fun. The important thing is that the story is good, not that it is true.


The comment about the Lake Wobegonians feeling that Norway is just not the same anymore reminds me of the observations of a friend and colleague of mine, a Norwegian linguist at the University of Oslo. For her dissertation research she traveled around Minnesota, looking for the ways in which the Norwegian language was kept alive in schools in the 19th century and how Norwegian-Americans parents and teachers taught their American-born children.

She told me that to her the Norwegian Americans were almost unrecognizable -- a foreign culture, very different in their attitudes and way of living from herself and her family and from most of the Norwegians she grew up with and lived around -- and not just at the University of Oslo. I think she was most surprised about Norwegian American's commitment to religion, their attitude toward marriage (absolutely required -- especially to have a child) and what she saw as their conservativism in general -- at least in relation to most Norwegians in Norway.

As I have no Norwegian (or indeed) Scandavian background, so my limited knowledge comes from three sources Prairie Home Companion, my brother-in-law in Minneapolis (who is not at all conservative or religious) and my Norwegian friend in Oslo.

Beth Genne

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