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Bringing Friday Night Lecture Series from the past to the present, one upload at a time.

Learn more about FNLS

Special thanks to Carl Thompson for his many years of volunteer service of recording each lecture.


The Nordic and NATO - New Strategic Choices

presented by Veikko Valli

Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The talk examines likely reasons that led to the decision through press articles from major newspapers with the aim to look back at a timeline of events and increasing geopolitical tensions that led Finland and Sweden to abandon years of military non-alignment.


Jarls and Karls and Thralls, Oh My: Society During the Viking Age

presented by Terri Barnes

Who were the people in a Viking Age society?  What did they do every day? Historian Terri Barnes discusses the structure of society in Scandinavia from roughly AD 800 - 1100.  From chieftains to farmers, women and children, the elderly and the enslaved, learn how Viking society functioned.


From Folkedrakt to Bunad: Norwegian History Through Folk Dress

presented by Kim Majors, Jane Addams, Sue Ebbers, Joanna Cain, and Sandra Miller

In this presentation, we discuss the history of Norwegian folk dress and the birth of the bunad. Learn the strong political significance of this tradition and explore several regional styles and their unique construction including pieces from 19th century Norway that pre-date the bunad tradition as well as examples of the modern folk dress that has gained traction in recent years.


Exploring Nordic Runes: Finding Contemporary Meaning From Ancient Folklore

presented by Debra Carus

Debra Carus, talented NW artist of Elentari Handverk, explores the meaning and history of runes in Nordic culture and shares her translation of them to modern jewelry.


Mt. Hood Steiner Cabins

presented by Lloyd Musser

Lloyd Musser, local historian, and curator of the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum, explores the history of Steiner cabins in the Northwest, including the features of Fogelbo that make these cabins distinctive.

Please note this is the 1st of a 2 part lecture. Please refer to YouTube for the other half of the lecture. 


Nordic Design & Architecture

presented by John Nelson

Nordic architecture has had a profound influence on the Northwest. Explore the developments and concepts that have founded Nordic architecture in its integral relationship to nature and joy of space and light. 

Please note this is the 1st of a 3 part lecture. Please refer to YouTube for the other 2 parts of the lecture. 


The Dynamic Geological History of Norway

presented by Dr. Scott Burns

Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The many fjords that were carved by glaciers are truly stunning. Dr. Burns, who has Norwegian ancestry, talks about the origin of these very old rocks, the present day glaciers, the beautiful fjords that were carved by glaciers, incredible landslides there called quick clay landslides, the rugged coastline, the oil and natural gas reserves, challenges of building roads in the rugged country, and will end talking about Spitsbergen which is the closest set of islands to the North Pole and is administered by Norway - very unique place. He gave this talk five years ago, but it has been completely revised!


The Allure of Vikings: Warriors, Women, and Politics

presented by Terri Barnes

Learn from expert Viking historian Terri Barnes about the Age of Vikings – what was the social structure and reach of the Viking culture and how much of our current beliefs are true?


Growing Up in Iceland

presented by Dr. Líney Árnadóttir

For this Friday Night Lecture Series program, listen to Dr. Líney Árnadóttir share about her lived experience growing up in Iceland.

Climate Change in the Nordic Countries

presented by Dr. Frank Granshaw and Dr. Scott Burns

Abundant data are showing that the climate is getting warmer. Climate change is a major environmental problem in the world that is affecting all phases of life around the globe. It is shown to be accelerating in the Nordic Countries. In this lecture, Dr. Granshaw will begin by discussing climate change in general before focusing on how climate change has affected the Nordic Countries.


Echoes of the Kalevala in the Novel Deep River

presented by Karl Marlantes

For this Friday Night Lecture Series program, Karl Marlantes will draw parallels between his novel Deep River and the Kalevala epic. The novel’s characters are echoes of the Kalevala characters. Just as the Kalevala is about the emergence of culture in Finland, so is Deep River about the pioneering struggles of Finnish immigrants in the early twentieth century in the logging communities of southern Washington near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Recorded on 3.5.21


Beauty Secrets of the Gods

presented by Barbara Fankhauser

Join storyteller Barbara Fankhauser for another evening of tales of Gods and Goddesses – tricksters and ice giants. Come along with her as she reveals the beauty secret that kept the entire world of Gods and Goddess at their peak of power and beauty...and the tragic consequences of what happens when that magic “elixir” is no longer available to them. Then, wind up the evening, with a cautionary tale of how not to choose a husband.


Growing Up in Norway

presented by Elisabeth Lingås and Bjorn Heglie

Join Elisabeth and Bjorn as they share what it was like growing-up in Norway during different centuries.

Recorded 1/8/2021


Growing Up in Denmark

presented by Aase Beaulieu and Kim Bergenser

For this Friday Night Lecture Series program, listen to Kim Bergenser and Aase Beaulieu share their lived experience about growing-up in Denmark.

Recorded 12/4/2020


Growing Up in Sweden

presented by Marianne Bratt

For this Friday Night Lecture Series program, listen to Marianne Bratt share about her lived experience growing up in Sweden.

Recorded on 11/6/2020


Stubborn Norwegians! My Grandfather's Prison Camp Diary

presented by Erik Brakstad


In occupied Norway, the Germans had plans to make the Norwegian schools conform to a sweeping Nazi agenda. The Norwegian teachers resisted, and in the spring of 1942, over 1,000 were arrested. Edvard Brakstad was one of them. He kept a surreptitious journal while interned above the Article Circle at a prison camp outside of Kirkenes. This account provides a unique perspective on his daily reality of sickness, harsh conditions, hunger, and uncertainty. Erik Brakstad will discuss and read excerpts from this memoir, which brings to life a little-known but important part of Norwegian history.


Recorded on 5.1.2009


We Stopped Forgetting, Stories from Sámi Americans

presented by Ellen Marie Jensen

Ellen Marie Jensen was born in Minnesota and now lives in Tromsø, in Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle. She is a dual citizen of the US and Norway (and registered Sámi). She has a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Minnesota. She moved to Sápmi (Sámi homeland in the far north of Norway, Finland, Sweden or Russia) to continue her education and research her father's Sámi heritage. Subsequently, she earned two Master's degrees, one in Indigenous Studies and one in Culture & Literature, and is currently in a PhD program at the University of Tromsø.


Recorded on 1.11.2013


Recent Swedish Immigrants to the Pacific Northwest

presented by Dr. Lars Nordstrom


Dr. Lars Nordstrom is the author of ,"Ten New Lives: Swedes in the Pacific Northwest." In his book, Dr. Nordstrom sheds light on this rarely studied topic of Swedish immigration to the US following the Vietnam War. In this lecture he will share several stories of these immigrants and how their lives changed in a new land.


Recorded on 11.4.2011


Growing up in The Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

presented by Rakul Ketels and Torgerd Vaillancourt


The Faroe Islands, halfway between Iceland and Norway, are a group of 18 islands a bit larger than Multnomah County. A country of breath-taking beauty built upon tilted volcanic basalt it is known for its soaring cliffs, fjords, green fells and heather. Rakul Ketels and Torgerd Vaillancourt will show slides from their childhood in the Faroe Islands and explain their unique adventures of growing up in the Faroe Islands.


Recorded on 4.3.2009


Growing up in Denmark

presented by Fritse Hakkinen


Fritse Hakkinen was born in Odense, Denmark and has lived there and in several small Danish villages. Having received her education in both Denmark and the US, she has enjoyed a career in nursing with the last 23 years as a hospice nurse helping patients and their families with pain and symptom control. 


Recorded on 2.1.2008


Growing up in Iceland

presented by Edda Sigurdar


Edda Sigurdar was born and grew up in Iceland. She immigrated to Washington State at the age of 18, continued her education, married and had a family. She has lived n Oregon for over 25 years and owns her own hairdressing salon. She is well known as a volunteer in the Scandinavian community and has received the prestigious Niskanen Award for her many years of volunteer work.


Recorded on 5.2.2008


My Adventures with DNA

presented by Morgan Pope

Morgan Pope, married to a half-Swede, has spent a lot of time and effort hoping to prove he too, has some Scandinavian roots. Now says he is ~37% Scandinavian! What will the National Geographic Genographic project say? And what does it mean?


Recorded on 3.7.2014


Hiking in Norway: Oslo to Trondheim

presented by Julie Whipple and Lori Osmundsen

Julie Whipple, president of the Grieg Lodge Sons of Norway, and Lori Osmundsen, Grieg Lodge sports director, completed a nearly 400 mile walking trek across Norway from Oslo to Trondheim during the summer of 2010. With 30 to 35 pounds of gear on their backs, the two women spent 34 days on the little-know, 1,000 year old pilgrimage of St. Olav, or 'St. Olav's Way.' They raised over $2,000 for student scholarships, art grants and the historic Grieg Lodge library through lodge member pledges. They will present a narrated slide presentation of their scenic journey.

St. Olav's Way is a pilgrims' path walked in Medieval times by the faithful seeking the aid and comfort of Scandinavian patron Saint Olav Haraldsson, Norway's King Olav II. Pilgrims reaped the bounty of the beautiful Norwegian scenery, unique cultural & spiritual experiences and an opportunity for personal reflection.


Recorded on 1.7.2011


Written in Stone: Ancient Rock Carvings of Scandinavia

presented by Susan G. Carter, Ph.D.

Over thousands of years ancient peoples in Scandinavia left a wide variety of carvings in rocks. This presentation explores the various symbols which appear in Scandinavian rock art of the Tanumshede area in Sweden and the possible ways they may have been created and used. Can the rock art be considered ancient futurist visions, or a vestige of ancient cultural or spiritual practices from the past?

Susan G. Carter, Ph.D., teaches in the interdisciplinary graduate programs of Marylhurst University (Portland, OR), and the California Institute of Intergral Studies (San Francisco, CA). She has volunteered with the Scandinavian Prehistoric Art Society in Tanumshede.

Recorded on 10.1.2010


Nordic Crime Fiction

presented by Dr. Marlene Broemer

The current spate of Nordic crime fiction comes on the heels of generations of crime novels in the UK and the United States. What makes this genre suddenly so popular in the Nordic states in the 21st century? Do these texts represent an escape from reality, or do they present a new way of analyzing contemporary society through literature? The presentation will explore sample books from the Nordic countries. Marlene Broemer is a Comparative Literature scholar. She teaches Writing at Portland Community College and Clackamas Community College.

Recorded on 4.3.2015


Under the Swastika: A Student's Experience in Occupied Norway during World War II

presented by Erik Brakstad

Olav Brakstad was 18 when the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940. He was among 1,500 University of Oslo students arrested in 1943, and spent 13 months interned in Grini, Norway's largest concentration camp. After his release he joined the underground resistance. Erik Brakstad will tell his father's story augmented by photographs Olav took during the occupation years. Raised in Bremerton, Washington, by a Norwegian father and American mother, Erik attended Follo Folkehøyskole in Vestby, Norway, before moving to Portland to attend Reed College. Erik, a general contractor, has taught at and directed youth language camps in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Norway and Switzerland.

Recorded on 4.3.2015


Nordic Myths: Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

presented by Barbara Fankhauser

Join us for an evening of stories from the rich pantheon of gods and goddesses that lie at the heart of the Norse myths - from Odin's quest to gain wisdom, to the antics of Loki and Thor. Barbara Fankhauser will lead us over Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard and the tribe of our ancient gods, to Midgard, the world of humans - a world we still occupy today. And perhaps in looking at the triumphs, failures and fables of these ancient gods and goddesses, there are life lessons, still to be learned...

Recorded on 3.6.2015


Finland in the Cold War

presented by James Ford Cooper


In this presentation, Finlandia Foundation National Lecturer of the Year, James Ford Cooper discusses the different perspectives and geopolitical and historical factors that informed the manners in which Finland and the U.S. related to the 45-year period from the end of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union. 


Recorded on 3.1.2019


Saab & Volvo: Examples of Superb Swedish Engineering

presented by Carl Thompson

Carl Thompson has experience in the automotive industry for over 45 years with a special interest and background in Swedish autos. Carl will give a history of both the Saab and Volvo automobiles, discuss the many Swedish innovations adopted by the world auto industry and explain the mysteries of just how does your Swedish automobile work?

Recorded on 1.6.2012


Gods and Giants and Trolls, Oh My!

presented by Barbara Fankhauser and Ken Iverson


Join storytellers Barbara Fankhauser and Ken Iverson for an evening of Nordic myths and tales of wit and wisdom from some of our favorite tricksters, Gods, Giants and other creatures from the nine worlds. From Thor disguised as a blushing bride to Loki pitting his skills against one of the most powerful elements on earth, this will be evening to entertain, enlighten and connect you to the powerful myths that lie at the heart of Norse culture.

Recorded on 4.1.2016


The Wonderful World of Cheese

presented by Dr. Lisbeth Goddik

There are thousands of different cheeses - all of them looking, tasting, and smelling differently. Yet they all contain the same four basic ingredients: milk, bacteria, enzyme, and salt. So why are there so many. cheeses, how did the holes get into Swiss cheese, are Danish cheeses special, and what is going on with all the new artisan cheeses in Oregon? Allow Dr. Lisbeth Goddik to guide you through the wonderful world of cheese. 

Recorded on 2.5.2010


Visiting Viking Sites in Scandinavia

presented by William L. Sullivan

William L. Sullivan is the author of The Ship in the Hill, a historical novel based on the true story of a Viking ship excavated from a Norwegian farm in 1904. He will take you to Norway's North Cape, a medieval village in Sweden and a reconstructed Danish fortress. 

Recorded on 4.1.2011


The Dynamic Geology of Norway

presented by Dr. Scott Burns

Learn about the unique and dynamic geology of Norway with Dr. Scott Burns, a PSU Professor Emeritus who has been teaching for the last 38 years.

Recorded on 2.1.2019

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