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Sauna is Life: Sauna Culture in Finland

SPRING | January 10 – April 24, 2024

From the start of life to final days, saunas are integral to culture in Finland. Saunas are an old phenomenon with its earliest versions believed to be from 7000 BC. It is marked on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This is a high honor that indicates how vital this tradition to the Finnish people is: at home and abroad. This exhibit will introduce visitors to the history and tradition of saunas while exploring the future of contemporary urban sauna as well.

“Having sauna is sacred in the sense that it connects you to the world. It’s a place where you find yourself and this peaceful joy of life. And the bareness that the sauna allows. It’s so natural that it reconnects you with nature. There’s no shame, no stress, no tensions there and truly sauna is life.” -Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We are proud to be collaborating with Finlandia Foundation National for Sauna is Life.

See the virtual exhibit here:

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Creatures of Christmas

WINTER | November 18, 2023 - January 1, 2024

This winter Nordic Northwest is being visited by some special creatures. You’ll get to meet the 13 Icelandic Jul Lads, a Swedish Jul Goat, Danish and Norwegian Nisse, and Finnish Santa, Joulupukki. This is a perfect exhibit for families to explore some well-known and secretive creatures.


See the virtual exhibit here:

Threads | Þræðir
Intertwined in Iceland: Textiles and Book Arts

FALL & WINTER | July 8,2023 - November 5, 2023

Books and textiles are the two forms of artistic expression that have the longest history and tradition in Iceland, but it is rare that books and textiles are intertwined.

This exhibition showcases artists’ books and textile pieces by Icelandic artists and visiting artists who have been inspired by the country’s landscapes, people, language and textile traditions. The works in this exhibition are connected through stitching, weaving, knotting, tying, binding, pattern and storyline. The artists have found parallel lives in each other, unintentionally approaching art and life in similar fashions across oceans and between generations.

Threads joins together visual arts, design and craft, with the works referring to textile techniques such as weaving, embroidery and natural dyeing, as well as the Icelandic landscape, language, and the history and culture of women in the Nordic country.

There is an Icelandic saying: “Glöggt er gests augað – the guest has a clear eye.” By juxtaposing the work of the Icelandic artists with that of artists visiting the country, this exhibition not only presents an Icelandic view but reflects on how an outsider's perspective can contribute to an understanding of landscape and culture.

About the Artists:

Lyla Rowen works in textiles and clay ranging from functional craft to conceptual art. She is a 2013 PSU graduate, worked as fabricator at The Portland Garment Factory, and is recipient of a 2021 Oregon Arts Commission grant.

Loo Bain is a multimedia artist investigating ideas of history, material, earth science, and self. She has shown nationally in galleries, acquired private commissions, participated in artist residencies, and received artist grants including from Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Hallie Ford Foundation.

Anne Greenwood-Rioseco is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores themes of time, spirituality and the transcendent genius of the natural world. The Oregon Arts Commission, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Hallie Ford Foundation have all financially supported her projects.


Ingiríður Óðinsdóttir works with visual art, book art and textile design. She studied at The Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts. Ingiríður has been active as a Visual Artist and designer since she graduated. Ingiríður has participated in numerous joint exhibitions in Iceland, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Belgium and USA. She seeks inspiration from nature and her surroundings.


Áslaug Jónsdóttir is an author of children’s books and a book artist. She studied visual arts in Reykjavik and Copenhagen and graduated as illustrator and graphic designer. Her children’s books have been published in many languages and she has received numerous awards for her works. In her artist books she works with poetry, photographic images and sculptural papercuts.

Sigurborg Stefánsdóttir is a visual artist working mainly with artist-books and paintings. She graduated from Copenhagen, Danmarks design school, now DAKA 1987. Since then she has focused on teaching and doing her own art. Sigurborg has held private exhibitions approximately every other year and taken part in multiple co exhibitions worldwide, both paintings and artists books.

Svanborg Matthíasdóttir works mainly with painting, book art and textiles. Her works are often based on color, form or experiments with non-traditional materials. She is educated in painting in the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts Reykjavík and Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht in the Netherlands.  Her works have been exhibited in Iceland, Europe and the United States.

Helga Pálína Brynjólfsdóttir works with various kinds of textile and book art and has been a part of numerous exhibitions in Iceland and abroad. She graduated in 1988 from the textile department of The University of Art and Design, Helsinki Finland. Prior to that she had graduated with a B. Ed degree from the Iceland University of Education.

Arnþrúður Ösp Karlsdóttir is a visual artist. In her textiles and artist books she works with traditional textile and fiber techniques, expressing natures visual qualities, in form and image, texture and atmosphere. She has an education in textile art and design from The Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts and as a teacher in adult education from Håndarbejdet Fremmes Seminarium in Copenhagen. She has participated in exhibitions in Iceland and abroad and lives and works in Reykjavík.

Anna Snædís Sigmarsdóttir works with visual arts, design teaching, graphic and book arts. Studied at the The Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts and have M.Ed degree in art history and vocational education from University of Iceland. Has held private and joint exhibitions in Iceland and various corners of the world, such as Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, USA and Sweden.

Kristín Guðbrandsdóttir creates through exploring patterns, textures and color combinations in her everyday surroundings, addressing feelings, memory and experience. Her works can be found in numerous private and university collections in the US and Canada and at the Library of Congress. Kristín earned a MA degree in Art and the Book from Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC. She also has a B.Ed. from the Iceland University of Education.

Cornelia Theimer Gardella is a visual artist living and working in Erfurt, Germany. Her work revolves around experiencing sparse landscapes and remote places. She is interested in patterns and structures, and the line of the horizon is a recurring theme. Besides spending time in the deserts of the American Southwest, she has worked in Iceland, Sweden and Finland.

See the virtual exhibit here:

Thank you to our sponsor for this exhibit, Icelandic Air

Tattoo: Identity Through Ink

SPRING & SUMMER | April 1, 2023 - July 1, 2023

For more than 5,000 years, tattoos have been used to document the history of humanity one painful mark at a time. Spanning cultures and continents, tattooing has adorned European nobility and Native Americans, celebrities and Scandinavian sailors, punks and presidents, and seemingly everyone else in between. Today, tattoos have never been more popular. Tattoos are so much more than decoration. Tattoos are a powerful visual language of the skin, and, like texts, they permanently record memories, life stories, and personal achievements.

Tattoo: Identity Through Ink tells the story of tattoos and the people who have them. We’ll explore the ways individual and group identities are formed, reinforced, and celebrated through tattoos. Of course, there is a Scandinavian connection–with celebrated artists like Norwegian Johan Frederik Knudsen and Norwegian-American Amund Dietzel, the question of whether or not Vikings had tattoos, and the rise of a whole modern Neo-Nordic style of tattooing. But the exhibition also allows us to explore more deeply the traditions of body ornamentation in other cultures and our connections to them.

The exhibit is curated by renowned anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak. Krutak is a Research Associate at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has authored four books on the subject of indigenous body modification and produced and hosted the Discovery Channel series Tattoo Hunter. In this exhibition, Krutak shares his ongoing journey to understand how ancient and more contemporary tattoos “make” the people who wear them.

This traveling exhibit is organized by Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School and made possible by the generous support of Jon and Mary Hart.

See the virtual tour here:

New Nordic Cuisine

WINTER & SPRING | January 9, 2023 - March 27, 2023

This exhibition focuses on a Nordic value-driven food system that has captured the attention of world-famous chefs and home cooks alike over the past 15 years.

The 2004 Nordic Food Manifesto articulated a set of values for approaching food through the lenses of local production, seasonality, ethical production, and innovation. The manifesto has sparked a robust dialog about food culture, both in the Nordic countries and around the world. By examining Nordic food trends in a light-hearted, interactive format, this exhibition introduces visitors to contemporary Nordic food and its driving values today.

Accompanying the exhibition is the Nordic Cuisine YouTube channel, which brings stories to people from recipe demonstrations to restaurant tours, to interviews with influential chefs and foodies. 

This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, Iowa. 

This exhibition is sponsored by Scan | Design.

Crafts of Christmas at Nordic Northwest

WINTER | November 19, 2022 - January 1, 2023

This season, we are highlighting the crafts of the Nordic countries that mark the Christmas season. Crafts are an important part of celebrating the Christmas season in the Nordic countries. Often derived from traditions that have existed for hundreds of years, the Nordic countries are known to go all-out on their celebrations of Christmas. From the Jul Hearts of Denmark or the Gävle straw goats of Sweden, craft traditions from these countries ring in the season. Come to Nordic to see a spectacular display and a chance to learn more about each of the countries’ traditions!

The Legacy of Sigmund Aarseth

FALL | September 30 - November 13, 2022

G. Bernhard and Johanna Fedde were founding members and instrumental in the establishment of the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation in 1985, now Nordic Northwest. Throughout their lifetime they were generous with their resources, knowledge and leadership to promote Nordic heritage and culture. Johanna and Bernhard Fedde were avid art collectors. They collected many paintings by Norwegian artist Sigmund Aarseth. A letter written by Johanna was found in her estate detailing her discovery and love of his paintings.

Sigmund Aarseth was born in Hjørundfjorden on the west coast of Norway in 1936. He developed a range of decorative styles derived from Rosemaling and other traditional decorative painting techniques. He preferred to paint directly from life, so throughout spring, summer and fall he spent the majority of his time outdoors, capturing the ever-changing light and seasons on canvas. Sigmund exhibited all over Norway, as well as in Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Spain and the U.S.

See the virtual tour here:

Nordic Folktales Reimagined

SUMMER | June 11, 2022 - September 25, 2022

Folktales inspire those young and old. They harken back to childhood and stories of culture and home. This exhibit showcases tales of the past from voices of contemporary artists. Our exhibit hall will be the home to work from local artists who have reimagined classical Nordic folktales. These tales include The Witch and the Stone Boat, Three Billy Goats Gruff and Thumbelina.

See the virtual tour here:

Through the Artist's Eye: Travels from Norway and the Northwest

SPRING | March 3 - April 27, 2022

We will be displaying paintings from the travels of local artist Ellen Jerome. Viewers will see gorgeous landscapes from the ocean to the mountains with flora and fauna abound. All pieces are for sale and 50% of the proceeds made will be generously donated to Nordic Northwest.

Ellen is an impressionist artist painting in oil and acrylics. Her art education spans over 35 years. Ellen’s artistic journey began with Rosemaling (Norwegian folk art). Her Norwegian heritage was a catalyst for creating rya rugs and other Nordic handcrafts. Then she discovered the thrill of painting on canvas. This led to her studying at the Scottsdale Artists’ School, Joseph Art School, and throughout the Northwest with master art instructors. She has enjoyed years of painting on location with fellow artists, traveling through Oregon and Washington. 

She has been an invited artist to exhibit at The Mill Atelier Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, El Presidio Gallery in Tucson Arizona, and Bennington Art Center in Vermont. She was represented at Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan for 19 years. She is currently a member of the Sequoia Gallery in Hillsboro.

Coldwell Banker
Oregon Health & Science University
Andrew Rich; Attorney
Kennedy Plumbing
John Reski, Retired scientist.

Swedish Cabins: The Legacy of Henry Steiner and Fogelbo

WINTER & SPRING | January 17 – June 5, 2022

For most Americans, the log cabin represents the American frontier. The log cabin also tells the story of Swedish immigration and innovation in the United States. In the Pacific Northwest, the story of the Swedish log cabin lives on through the legacy of craftsman, Henry Steiner. In the 1920’s through the 1950’s Steiner and his family built around a hundred cabins including Fogelbo, which perfectly represents his design legacy, attention to detail, expert craftsmanship.

Fogelbo was constructed in the late 1930’s and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its unique architectural qualities and cultural significance. In Swedish, fogelbo means “bird nest” and is derived from the Fogelquist family name, which means “bird on a branch.” Charles Fogelquist purchased the house and property in 1952. In 2014 Nordic Northwest gained ownership of Fogelbo where it is a treasured part of the four-acre campus.

See the virtual tour here:


ScanFair Nordic Christmas
WINTER | November, 2021 - January, 2022
ScanFair will be hosted at Nordia House this year! Nordic Northwest is excited to showcase the many traditions of Nordic Christmas with our ScanFair exhibit.Our exhibit space will be decked-the-halls out! We will have information about Nordic Christmas, Nordic Northwest, and ScanFair through the years?
See the virtual tour here:
Sámi Dreams
SUMMER-FALL | August, 2021 - November, 2021

In just a few decades, the Sámi, Northern Europe's only indigenous people, have leapt from second-class status with schools that banned their language to becoming a semi-autonomous people with parliaments in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Now, they are grappling with new threats to their cultural survival, such as industrial and energy developments on ancestral lands. With a front-row seat to climate change, the Sámi have also watched as rapid shifts in ecosystems north of the Arctic Circle increasingly threaten their way of life.

The Sámi have much to say about climate and cultural change in northern Scandinavia. This collection of portraits and interviews, curated by accomplished journalist and photographer Randall Hyman, is intended to be a platform for the Sámi to speak frankly and directly to Americans and Scandinavians alike, sharing their concerns about a world that is swiftly changing around them. With each photo, viewers can listen as portrait subjects speak directly to them in their native language.

See the virtual tour here:

Swedish Dads
SPRING-SUMMER | April, 2021 - end July, 2021

With one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world, Sweden has made strides in gender equality among stay-at-home parents, but many fathers still don’t take full advantage of the system. Photographer Johan Bävman has turned his lens on Swedish dads in hopes of sharing and encouraging both Swedish dads and the global community to examine the father-child bond.


Swedish Dads focuses on the men who have chosen to stay home with their children for more than six months. Bävman has captured the moments—intimate, domestic, mundane, sweet, chaotic—that form the day for parents of young children. Through a selection of fifteen portraits and quotes from the father themselves, Swedish Dads shares an unusual domestic snapshot while simultaneously questioning why this scene is still surprising in the twenty-first century.


Says photographer Bävman “There are two aims to this project. The first is to describe the background to Sweden’s unique parental allowance. The second is to inspire other fathers—in Sweden, and further afield—to consider the positive benefits of such a system.”


Johan Bävman (b. 1982) combines his own long-term projects with freelance assignments from different clients worldwide. He has previously published the photo book Albino – In the shadow of the sun (2009). The project Swedish Dads has had a tremendous impact and has been published/shared widely all over the world.


Between the years 2008 and 2011, Johan Bävman worked as a staff photographer at Sydsvenskan, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden. He graduated from Nordens Fotoskola, Stockholm 2007. He was previously a member of Moment Agency (2007–2015). Johan Bävman has won several awards, including the World Press Photo, POY, Sony Award, NPPA, UNICEF Photo Award.

See the virtual tour here:

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ScanFair Holiday Exhibit 
WINTER | November through February

For so many of us, ScanFair signifies the beginning of our holiday celebrations. It’s a place to meet new and old friends, find the perfect Nordic Christmas gifts, stock up on yummy baked goods, and take in the sights, sounds and tastes of a Nordic Christmas. It’s no wonder our beloved event has grown to an attendance of almost 7,000 in recent years. Even though we can’t experience ScanFair together this year we hope you feel ScanFair through the new features we’re offering this year.

MIND THE EARTH: Climate Change - Climate Action 
SPRING-FALL | January 2019 through November 2020

MIND THE EARTH uses satellite imagery to share new vantage points about the global climate crisis. The exhibition focuses on challenges and international best practices to provoke action at all levels of society regarding the way we use our planet’s shared and finite resources.


The exhibition was created by Danish artist and architect Kasper Brejnholt Bak with the Danish Architecture Center and additional research partners. For more information, see

Bournonville: The European

FALL | September through November 2018

Experience the world of 19th-century ballet-master August Bournonville with the exhibit Bournonville: The European! A premier choreographer who shaped the world of ballet, Bournonville’s compositions highlighted the Nordic history and mythology, allegorical classical mythology, and exploration of the exotic. His choreography was notably egalitarian for the era, emphasizing male as well as female roles. This exhibit is edited by Knud Arne Jürgensen and generously sponsored by Scan|Design Foundation and Mike and Arlette Nelson.

Made by Joel

SUMMER | July through September 2018

Experience the paintings of local artist and designer Joel Henriques at Nordia House this summer! Joel has devoted himself to making arts and crafts both accessible and meaningful, and he has created original paintings and crafts to celebrate the Nordic countries and aesthetic. Featuring takeaway papercrafts to delight all those young at heart!

The Setziols
Beyond the Doors

SPRING | April through July 2018

This exhibit is generously sponsored by in part by Carol Tripp, Tommy Griffin, and Brooklyn Hardware Company. Special thanks to Monica Setziol-Phillips. Feature photos from the private collection of Melissa Mills & Doug Tunnells.

Nordic Northwest, then known as the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, approached Leroy Setziol in 2004 to design the front doors of their future cultural center Nordia House. At 88 years old and in failing health, Setziol did not feel as though he would be able to take on such a large project. His daughter Monica Setziol-Phillips suggested a collaboration, with Setziol designing the doors and Setziol-Phillips carving them. Setziol laid out the basic structure of the panels’ unifying design: diagonal lines ending in birch branches. Setziol-Phillips identified suitable Nordic designs and determined with Setziol where to place them on the doors. The results were magnificent Alaska yellow cedar doors that are the artistic focal point of the building.


In honor of these two renowned Northwest artists, will feature works by both Leroy Setziol and Monica Setziol-Phillips. Drawn from private collections across Oregon, these works of art represent decades of two of the Northwest's finest woodcarvers honing their craft.

Raoul Wallenberg
To Me There's No Other Choice

WINTER | January through March 2018

Learn the story behind the Swedish diplomat who single-handedly saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II with our new exhibit, Raoul Wallenberg: To Me, There’s No Other Choice. By issuing protective passports and buying buildings to establish as sovereign Swedish territory in Budapest, Wallenberg was able to shelter Jews during 1944 and save an estimated 15,000 lives in just six months. His life and legacy stand as a testament to moral courage and fortitude, especially in the tragedy of his ending: arrested by the Soviets during the Red Siege of Budapest, he disappeared and was never seen again. The exhibit, which comes to us from the Swedish Institute in Stockholm, will be free and open to the public.


This exhibit is generously sponsored by Barry Peterson & Darlene Peterson and ePrint Services, with additional support from the Swedish Institute.

Image by Marten Bjork

GOD JUL: Celebrating Nordic Winter Traditions
WINTER | December 2019 through January 2020

God Jul! is our Christmas invitation to you. Join us and get to know a handful of unique Nordic winter holiday traditions from Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Local members of the Nordic Northwest community selected each tradition and their lived experience provides a deeper context for how the tradition plays out in contemporary society.

By Joel Henriques

SUMMER-FALL | July through October 2019

Joel Henriques is the artist, father, and writer behind the blog Made by Joel and book Made to Play! After receiving a B.A. in Fine Art in 1997, he has since had many shows in Portland and California, and is often featured on art and design blogs from all over the world. his painting style evokes his family's Nordic background. With a strong focus on design, he uses whimsical line work and bold color to create images that are captivating and playful. Joel has also created illustrations and art projects for kids by collaborating with many companies, including Disney, and the Portland Art Museum. This summer we 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. 

From Sweden to Oregon
The immigrant experience (1850-1950)

SPRING | April through July 2019

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 intrepid émigrés who not only crossed the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in America but also traversed the North American continent to settle in Oregon? “From Sweden to Oregon: the immigrant experience 1850-1950” is an exhibition that follows the Swedish immigrants to Oregon and reveals what became of their lives, hopes, and dreams. Complemented by a series of public events and programs, 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.


WINTER | January through March 2019

This display is a traveling exhibit from The Museum of Danish America coming to Nordic Northwest! The exhibit is all about the Danish concept of “Hygge.” What is Hygge? It’s a word that means cozy, comfortable, happy, content, and warm. Hygge is a true value in Danish culture and you’ll find it all over in homes, design concepts, clothing, and so much more. While hygge is a year-round concept, it truly shines in the winter with warm fires, cozy socks, and comfy blankets. That’s why we’re highlighting it this winter season. Stop by Nordic Northwest to see the pop-up posters from The Museum of Danish America and come sit in our hygge corner! We’ll set up a comfy space where you can sip Water Avenue’s Broder Blend coffee, get cozy with some comfy couch pillows, and add your personal touch to our Nordic Northwest knitting/crochet hygge project!

Winter Comes
Oregon's Nordic Ski History

FALL | September through December 2017

Learn about the history of Nordic skiing, from its roots in Scandinavia to its prominence in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest! Includes reproductions of both historical and contemporary ski equipment.​


Sponsored by: Hans and Nancy Sohlstrom

Norway & The United States
Partners in the Polar Regions

SUMMER | June through September 2017

This exhibit focuses on joint expeditions to both the Arctic and the Antarctic from the late-1800s to the mid-1900s. Featuring large-scale informational panels and photographs, Partners in the Polar Regions bridges historical exploration efforts with contemporary scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic.


This is a Fram Museum exhibition, Courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. ​


Sponsored by: Fjällräven

The Photographic Works of Jari Jetsonen & Inka Juslin

SPRING | March through June 2017

MY PARADISE: A Hundred Years of Finnish Architects' Summer Homes is a Nordic architectural and video exhibit by photographer Jari Jetsonen & architect Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen. The work focuses on the summer villas of famous Finnish architects throughout the 20th century. It will be paired with the exhibit Saari / Island, which features the mixed media and photographic works of Finnish artist Inka Juslin. Her paintings and photography focus on climate change, Nordic mythology and art-historical symbolism. ​


MY PARADISE: A Hundred Years of Finnish Architects’ Summer Homes was organized in collaboration with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Alvar Aalto Museum and The National Council for Architecture.


MY PARADISE was generously sponsored by Andersen Construction (builders of Nordia House) and ePrint Services with additional support from Di Loreto Architecture (designers of Nordia House). Additional thanks for Portland Design Week; this exhibit was included in Nordia House's first ever Design Week collaboration.

Gert Mathiesen
The Painted Works

WINTER | February through March 2017

This exhibit celebrates the art of Gert Mathiesen (1951-2013), who spent half his life in Denmark and half in the U.S. He was a prolific artist in a variety of different media and left an extensive body of work of over one thousand paintings. The exhibitions includes a small selection of his art: 25 representatives pieces. Mathiesen’s work has been exhibited and sold worldwide including in the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia. ​Using linoleum, woodcut, paint and monoprinting, Mathiesen created expressive works of art. Mathiesen’s art reflects his life: always maintaining references to his Viking roots and Danish heritage. His expressionistic vocabulary expanded and grew to embrace many different cultures and his appeal is universal.


This exhibit comes to us from the Museum of Danish America and is made possible by the generous support of the Scan|Design Foundation.

The Troll with No Heart:
The Woodblock Prints of Betsy Bowen

Winter | December 2016 through January 2017

As tall as trees and as ancient and rugged as the Nordic landscape from which they come, trolls are some of lore's most fascinating and varied creatures. Featuring original woodblock prints from Betsy Bowen, troll dolls and figures on loan from some of our members and stories by author and folklorist Lise Lunge-Larsen.

Journey of the Reindeer
Sami Artifacts & The Photography of Erika Larsen

FALL | September through November 2016

Learn about the Sami (the native peoples of Northern Scandinavia) with Journey of the Reindeer, a multi-month program series consisting of two simultaneous exhibits and ancillary programming.


The first exhibit, The Sami Reindeer People Of Alaska, comes to us from the Sami Cultural Center of North America and is curated by Marlene Wisuri, Nathan Muus, Ruthanne Cecil and Faith Fjeld. It describes the journey of Sami reindeer herders in the 1890s from Sápmi (the Sami homeland) to Alaska to teach the Alaska Natives reindeer herding skills.


The second exhibit, Sami: Walking with Reindeer, also comes to us from the Sami Cultural Center of North America and features the work of award-winning photographer Erika Larsen, who spent a significant time in Sápmi documenting the contemporary Sami existence. Ancillary programming will include film screenings, panel discussions about indigenous rights in Scandinavia and America, lectures on the Sami experience and more. ​


Special thanks to the Sami Cultural Center of North America. Sponsored in part by the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Workers of the World, Awaken!
The Life & Legacy of Joe Hill

SUMMER | August through September 2016


Just in time for Labor Day, NNW presents an exhibit and associated programs celebrating the contributions of Joel Emmanuel Hägglund. His early 20th century arrival in the U.S. coincided with one of the most turbulent times in the American labor movement and through his activism, songwriting and cartoons, he became a legend for those who followed.


Though he arrived in the U.S. in 1905 and only lived here for ten years, his impact continues to be felt today. He was executed in 1915 by the State of Utah for a double murder in Salt Lake City (though most today believe he was framed for the crime) and he quickly became a martyr for the cause of organized labor. His songs, cartoons and letters, as well as tributes to him, galvanized striking workers throughout the 20th century. Now, 100 years after his death, Hill’s life and work still inspire, both in this country and Scandinavia where he is also honored for his commitment to workers’ rights.

Sponsored in part by the Swedish Council of America.

Notions of Norway
The Art of Leif Karsten Dahlen

SUMMER | June through July 2016

This collection of 20 paintings by artist Leif Karsten Dahlen has been exhibited around Norway and comes to Nordia House from Dalen’s local Pacific Northwest relative. His work has also been shown in California and Nebraska in recent years. The paintings depict Norwegian landscapes and are done in oil and acrylic.

The World of Jean Sibelius:
The Sibelius Jubilee

SPRING | April through May 2016


Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Jean Sibelius, this exhibit, created and produced by a Finnish writer, editor and member of the Finnish Government’s Sibelius Jubilee Working Committee, Pekka Hako, consists of 13 elegant color banners.


The banners show historic photos of Sibelius, his family and colleagues. All the texts exhibited in the US are in English. Accompanying is an approximately 6-minute documentary compilation from 1927 and 1945 on Sibelius and his family. This exhibit has been commissioned all around the world. In Berlin, Germany, where all 7 Symphonies were performed earlier this year, the exhibit was on display for the entire month before, during and after the performances

Ingrid Bergman In Sweden:
The 100th Anniversary of Ingrid Bergman's Birth

SPRING | March through April 2016

August 29, 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of Ingrid Bergman’s birth, an occasion the Embassy of Sweden will observe by celebrating her life and legacy throughout the fall with exhibitions and events. Through amazing photographs, this exhibition covers the first years in the life of Sweden’s greatest actress and shows how she transformed from a shy orphan girl into a skilled and confident actress. The exhibit also tells of her return to Sweden to finish her magnificent movie career with a Swedish masterpiece.


Curated and produced by the Swedish Film Institute and coming to us from the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., the exhibit details the actress' early Swedish roots leading up to her Hollywood stardom.

Lutheran Education of the Frontier:
Pacific Lutheran University at 125

WINTER | January through February 2016

Scandinavian immigrants to North America brought with them the core values of their home countries, including a deep appreciation for education. The Lutherans founded many centers of learning, including Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. In celebration of PLU’s 125th anniversary, the university’s Scandinavian Cultural Center has created a special exhibition titled PLU at 125: Lutheran Education on the Frontier. The exhibition includes maps, interactive media and selected historic items from PLU’s archives and chronicles how Lutheran educational ideals have been pushed to encompass a greater and greater segment of society, both at PLU and in Scandinavia.

Scandinavian Spirits

WINTER | November through December 2015

Arcus, the company that makes Aalborg and Linie aquavit, is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this travelling exhibition! The first mention of aquavit ever recorded is from the year 1531, when Archbishop of Nidaros (modern day Trondheim) Olav Engelbrektsson received a noble gift called “Aqua vit,” meaning “water of life,” as a form of medicine that was then believed to cure “all illness any man could carry inside.” Denmark, Norway and Sweden share a “spirited” tradition of enjoying beer and aquavit – sometimes together, sometimes separately. This exhibition explores the cultural history of these beverages, follows those drinking traditions to Scandinavian-American communities and answers questions like “What IS aquavit, anyway?” and “How do you ‘skål’ correctly?” Fun, informative and engaging, this exhibition will travel to Scandinavian museums across the United States between 2015 and 2018.

Denmark, October 1943:
Stories of the Danish Resistance

FALL | September through October 2015

In the autumn of 1943, the efforts of Danish citizens successfully rescued more than 7,000 Danish Jews from imminent arrest and deportation to concentration camps. Using fishing boats, private vessels and other small crafts, Danes ferried their Jewish neighbors to safety in neutral Sweden. Evading the boat patrols of the occupying Nazi forces, most of Denmark’s Jewish community remained in Sweden through the rest of the war. This story of the daring Danish Boatlift is told in a series of posters with narrative and historic photos.


Denmark October 1943 was produced by the Museum of the Danish Resistance (Frihedsmuseet) in Copenhagen. It is made available to American venues through the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa

Nordic By Nature:
Nordic Northwest's Grand Opening Exhibition

SUMMER | June through August 2015

This exhibit was designed for the opening celebration of Nordic Northwest’s new cultural center, Nordia House, and provides a fun, engaging and educational glimpse into the exciting world of the Nordic countries.


Seventy-five subjects were to be presented in groups of five (one for each country: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) under 15 different categories: Art, Science, Literature, Music, Design, Sports, Film, Politics, Fashion, Bright Minds, Beautiful People, Outdoor Adventure, Comedy, Cuisine and Exploration. Each group of subjects within each category was carefully chosen to provide a balanced and educational view of the Nordic cultures across generations, disciplines and gender.

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