Duluth’s Nordic Center Keeps Culture Alive
Northland Uncovered: Nordic Center
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The entire state of Minnesota, especially the Northland, is known for having lots of Nordic culture.
“Culture is something that we carry inside of ourselves,” says Kris Eide, President of the Nordic Center.
Eide came to America from Norway when she was seven years old.
She grew up in Oregon and regularly travels to her home country to visit family.
“I spend about a month, month and half in Norway almost every year, different times of the year, to really just get a sense of living there and being close to my family, who I really have a lot of family still there,” said Eide.
Now Duluth and Norway Hall have become her new homes.
“The smells, the sounds of the ships coming in, and the whole landscape is very Scandinavian here,” explained Eide.
Norway hall on Lake Avenue in downtown Duluth has been a meeting place for the Sons of Norway since the 1940s.
In recent years the building was completely upgraded and now it’s bringing together all Nordic Organizations.
“Because some people are now part Swedish, part Finnish, part Danish, and you know they identify with more than just one Nordic country,” said Eide.
The Cultural Center offers language classes, a popular children’s program, a lecture series and even a Nordic food club, all to promote Nordic culture in the community.
“Our particular pocket that we live in is very, very Nordic in terms of its heritage,” said Eide.
In fact, more Norwegians live in Minnesota than in any other state.
“Very, very exciting to support all these, I think, needs and desires that people have in the area of celebrating their culture,” said Eide.
The community based center is open to everyone, but the Sun Fun Day program is one Eide is especially proud of.
“This is a time to learn to play, to learn to celebrate culture with your children as a family activity,” said Eide.
Eide believes having a sense of where you come from fulfills you as a person.
“I think it just gives a sense of stability and wholeness to an individual,” said Eide.
To her, living in Duluth and America doesn’t mean traditions, family and culture have to end.
“It feels very, very good to be able to continue to sort of honor that and celebrate it and not forget it,” said Eide.