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Nordmanns-Forbundet: Making Norwegians Worldwide Feel at Home for Hundred Years

«I am
a recipient of the characteristics of my Norwegian ancestors even though I was
born and lived my life in a land far away. 
So I will say this only once and I expect to be heard: I am proud to be
a Norwegian.  We are good people.  We love the world, our place in it, and we
will do what we can to make it a better place for all peoples everywhere
».

The words of the Norwegian-American blog
writer R. Z. Halleson are one of the best reflections of the special connection
which Norwegians create with their own cultural roots and country. But, why is
it so special and important to be a Norwegian on abroad and what makes people
of Norway come together on the common ground in a way that they proudly keep
their identity?

We seek to find the answer of these
questions with the editor of «Norwegians Worldwide», Anne C . Wangberg at
Nordmanns Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide – the pioneering foundation
cultivating Norwegians' bonds with Norway for more than a century.

As the door of the foundation's office
opens, we are welcomed by Wangberg's warm smile. She leads us to the spacious
room with breathtaking scenery of Akerbrygge, which tells the source of
inspirational works done in this organization. While enjoying the hospitality
and the view, we get to know that Anne C . Wangberg has taken over her current
post in 2010 after many years of experience as a journalist in various media,
including Aftenposten and VG. With an inexhaustible energy to innovate, she,
then sets on to inform us about their new projects, activities and the recent
transformation and success story of their publication, Norwegians Worldwide:   

What is your primary mission?

Nordmanns-Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide seeks
to strengthen cultural and personal ties between Norway and Norwegians abroad,
as well as their descendants and friends of Norway throughout the world.
Generally speaking, our organization's goal is to take care of the needs of the
Norwegians (on) abroad.

How do you take care of them?

We provide information to our members about
their rights, heritage and also give out our magazine and membershipdiscount
benefits. Moreover, we operate diverse activities with an emphasis on
educational programs through 
Norgesskolen – here we  promote
understanding and unity between young Norwegians (age 9 to 18) at home and
abroad  in our 3 weeks summerschool every
July in Råde in Østfold. 

Who is your primary target group,
then?

One of the greatest groups we would like to
reach out is Norwegian expats. Historically speaking, emigrating Norwegians all
over the world. But I would like to note that emigration for Norwegians is a
dynamic concept. Today, we emigrate in different way. As in 100 years ago, we
do not pack everything and leave the country forever. For example, we move to
Brazil for several years and move out to another country like so many expats
do. So, every Norwegian from different generations with different emigration experience
is in our range. Even though our challenge is to recruit new younger members,
we continuously get more members. They are from all over the world but the
majority comes from the USA.

It should not be very difficult
to reach them, because Norwegian-origins have a unique pride to stress on their
“Norwegieness”. What do you ascribe to this attractive nature of being
Norwegian?

I ask myself the same question. In the next
issue of Norwegains Worldwide I
interwied Professor Emiritus Odd S. Lovoll about this. One of the things he
empathized is that  Norway is not very contradictory
as a country to identify yourself with. It is good to be associated with a
country with such a clear image. Also the hard working nature with moral
discipline the Norwegian brought when they emigrated are also values which are
appreciated today.

How does your magazine serve to
keep this pride and your organization's objectives?

Among more traditional values, which
Norwegians are known for, we try to show the contemporary Norway. So, we are
not just taking away the glory and nostalgic image of Norway, but we try to
present a realistic and living image of Norway.

How did 22 July Tragedy affect
the interest in your organization?

People were more interested how it affected
our community and contacted us by email of phone. For instance, we launched our
magazine in Minneapolis in October 2011. In this process, we contacted
different universities in the area inquiring if they were interested in having
our President Hallgrim Berg (former Norwegian politician and folk musician) to
speak about the impact of the terrorist attack on Norwegians society and the
important part the Norwegian royal family had in terms of holding people
together.

Facts: The History of Nordmanns-Forbundet and
Norwegians Worldwide

Nordmanns-Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide is
a worldwide organization under the patronage of HM King Harald. It is a
membership organization for Norwegians in all countries, their descendants,
Norwegians temporarily residing abroad (expats) and Norway are interested. The
organization's goal is to be an important contributor in the promotion of
Norway, Norwegian culture and Norwegian interests internationally. The
organization was founded in 1907 and currently has members in 33 countries and
21 independent units, of which 17 are in the United States.

The organization's magazine Norwegian's Worldwide deals with
Norwegian culture and history, as well as food, art, design, literature, travel
and film. It also includes interviews with current profiles in the Norwegian
society, as politicians, artists, filmmakers and designers. The magazine is
published four times a year and replaced the Norseman . The Norse Federation
released the latest issue earlier in December and the next issue will be
available in late January.

Nordmanns-Forbundet also organizes Norgesskolen
every summer, which is a three-week summer school in the Norwegian language and
culture of expatriate Norwegian children and other interested parties.

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