Questions and answers relating to the Kingdom of Norway


Christopher Swendson of Phoenix, Arizona told us :

In my research into my Norwegian roots I have run into a lot of people who think I'm Swedish!! I've found my name in Norwegian phone books and similar spellings in Norwegian censuses. I'm told that "svenn" means "journeyman." Would "svend", or "svent" mean the same thing? People think I'm a Swede because my name is spelled with "son" instead of "sen". Not that being a Swede is a bad thing, but after forty years of being Norwegian-American, well, it's a tough act to follow.

Cato Høyen Østerhaug of Hamar, Norway assured him:

Relax, Swendson is probably Norwegian, since the Swedish name would most likely be Svensson. "Son" instead of "sen" means only that the name has kept its original form. "Son" is the older Norwegian word for the English word "son." "Sen" is the Danish-neo-Norwegian form. Svenn today refers to a state of being educated....hence svennebrev = diploma of skills. Svenn, Sven, Svein means traveller, one who goes to Viking, which is almost any kind of travel.


Pam R. wrote:

My question pertains to the last name Nogleberg. It is my uncle's last name. His father left Norway and settled in Seattle, Washington. It seems to be an unusual name. How common is that surname in Norway and does it have any specific significance?

Jon Peder Vestad of Volda, Norway (a doctorate student/assistant professor at Volda College) responded:

The Norwegian Bureau of Statistics, Statistisk sentralbyrå, has registered all names used in Norway. The name Nogleberg is used of three or less, the same is the case with Nokleberg and Nøgleberg. Most likely these names then are not used at all. But - written as Nøkleberg, we find 59 persons having that family name. Then it can`t be said to be common, but it`s widely known due to a well known pianist called Einar Steen-Nøkleberg.

The meaning of the name is not clear to me, but 'berg' is a small mountain or a hill. It is probably the name of a farm.


Harmony Kieding said in an e-mail:

I am an American citizen, newly married to a Norwegian citizen...very happily...and I am now trying to join my husband in Norway. I have spent HOURS on the Internet doing a search for some site that can give me the requirements for moving there legally.

Do you any of you know where I can get this info? I have been unable even to get the URL addie of the Norwegian embassy in San Francisco. Any info will be absolutely appreciated. (I miss my husband!!)

One anonymous responder said: "If you're married to him, they have to let you live there. They shouldn't give you any problems if you have your marriage license with you."

Links to websites with relevant information was provided by Are-Morten Braaten of Oslo. Those links are, however, no longer valid. In the meantime, the Norwegian Directorate of Information has posted a pamphlet on Family Reunification. It includes this information:

Family reunification is one of the most important reasons for immigration to Norway today. A total of 6,773 persons were granted residence permits on family reunification grounds. Family reunification means that a family member abroad is reunited with one or more family members already living in Norway. The aim of the provisions on family reunification is to protect already established family ties. Recently the provisions for family reunification have been liberalised, which has made it easier for close family members to be granted residence in Norway.


Primarily closest family members such as spouses, co-habitants who have lived together for at least two years and children under 18 years of age are granted a residence permit to be reunited with their family.

Are-Morten Braaten suggested contacting the Norwegian consulate in San Francisco, providing this contact information:

Royal Norwegian Consulate General
20 California St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-4803
Tel: (415) 986-0766
Fax: (415) 986-3318


A person identifying himself only as "Adam" wrote:

I have been told that Norwegian citizens born aboard must live in Norway for 5 years before the age of 22, and including military service if male. Would you please confirm this information, or correct if otherwise? Please do reply as soon as possible, it is essential that I do know if a policy such as this exists.

Jan Erlend Braathen replied, from Norway:

To be a Norwegian citizen you don't have to do any military service.


Kimberly Sandquist of Tacoma, WA said:

I'm trying to find some places where I can look up information on relatives that used to live in Norway. I have a great-great grandfather named Ole Forde that came to America from Evangan, Voss, Norway in 1858 with his parents. I'm trying to locate some web sites that could help me in English. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Our advice to persons seeking such information is to visit the "look-ups" page of the Norway List website. It provides a list of persons who are kind enough to offer to do "look-ups" in Norwegian genealogical resources. Evonne Cain and a person identified as Jinger say they will do lookups pertaining to Voss.


This inquiry came from Donna Holseth:

I am trying to translate my great grandfather's obituary. I have 2 Norwegian/English dictionaries and a couple of online tools, but there is a phrase that although I can translate most words, I am not sure of the correct translation or meaning. It is about a medal he received from either his company or Norway for what I don't know. Can you translate it? Here is the phrase:

og er blitt hedret med Selskapet for Norges Vels medalje.

Can you tell what it was a medal for? I'd sure appreciate any help you can give me.

From Oslo came this answer by Are-Morten Braaten:

Selskapet for Norges Vel is a non-profit organization working for Norwegian local communities. Their web-site,, unfortunately is completely in Norwegian. About the medal, it says something like: "The medal for long and loyal service."

It is an honor to deserving workers who have been with the same employer for at least 30 years. It is the employer who applies for the medal, which is given by the Organization for Norway's Welfare. If you need more information you should try e-mailing:


Nancy Lederhause told us: —

My boyfriend and I are discussing the possibility of a wedding in Norway. We plan on visiting the country during the last week in September and first part of October. Our plans are to take a Norwegian Coastal voyage for the time we are there. This will be a second marriage for the two of us, but we want it to be special, as anyone would when getting married. Are there places that you would recommend for a wedding in Norway? Again, we will be taking a cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes with stops along the way. Any suggestions or recommendations?

Sheila Askeland of Houston, Texas answered:

I met my husband in South Dakota while he was attending school. His name is Svein Ove Askeland. He is from Bergen, Norway.

August 1, 1998, we wed in Voss, Norway. It was a fairy- tale type wedding. We were surrounded by mountains and besides a lake. The weather was perfect! Sun with some clouds and about 70 degrees. We had a delicious salmon dinner, fresh from the stream. I had even run into some sheep while in my wedding dress and took pictures, those are my favorite! My husband laughs because he is not even in them....

The church we wed in is 700 years old. It was the only surviving building from a bombing in WWII. Voss is loaded with history and beauty! The priest name is Ivar Molde, he did our wedding ceremony in English.

If you would like to see the pictures, they are on our homepage.

All of my husband's family reside in Bergen. If you would like any more help planning your wedding, I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Her e-mail address is


An inquirer wrote:

We plan a trip [to Norway] in July [1999] and nowhere can we find a disclosure on what we may find for facility to handle a laptop in our travels that could manage our e-mail needs back to the States. Can someone point us in the right direction as there must be some webpage existing that can enlighten us?
For a laptop, or any other electrical appliance, you'll need an adapter. A site providing tourist information at advises: "Electricity in Norway is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Any adapter made for continental European wall sockets will also work in Norway. Wall sockets in personal residences do not usually have ground conductors and thus are not recessed. All hotels and other public places have recessed sockets with ground conductors and thus a special extender is needed on the adapter to reach inside of this recess. This extender can usually be bought at the same time the wall adapter is purchased."


Karen Boone of Palm Harbor, Florida had this question:

I have just started to study the art of Rosemaling. Would you have resources were I could find more information on Rosemaling?
Linda Novak responded:
I have a 1998 Collectors calendar on Norway. On back is short biography on Karen Jenson, who does rosemaling. Her address is box 6, Milan, Minnesota 56262....Good luck.

The Norwegian government's site, ODIN, has an article on folk art. It includes this information on rosemaling:

The term rosemaling refers to a style of decorative painting characterized by vine foliage and flowers but also including live figure representations and landscapes in religious and secular scenes. It was used to decorate furnishings and equipment, drinking vessels and eating utensils, and the interiors of houses and storehouses. This colorful decorative painting flourished for a comparatively short time in the country districts of Norway. Roughly speaking, it lasted from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the last half of the nineteenth, a factor it has in common with European rosemaling in general. In certain parts of Central Europe such as Bavaria and Switzerland, a similar style of decorative painting penetrated the country districts about a hundred years earlier. Geographical conditions there made an early diffusion from urban to rural areas comparatively easy. The high point in rosemaling in Europe was reached about 1800. At that point, decorative painting activity declined or took other forms, such as imitations of the grain of costly wood.

The growth of rosemaling in Norway must be seen against a background of economic and cultural conditions. Growth and prosperity in both urban and rural society came as a result of improvements in agriculture as well as expansion of trade and communications. Farmers had more money in their pockets and this affluence, especially among freehold farmers, led to greater possibilities for the development of the arts an d crafts. Among other things, this was expressed by improvements in farmhouses. By the eighteenth century, most houses had a fireplace with flue and chimney instead of the earlier open hearth in the center of the room with a smoke vent in the ceiling. The smoke nuisance, previously very great, was reduced considerably and walls and furniture were now relatively free of soot. In many places, windows and wooden floors appeared simultaneously with the fireplace as new elements in rural building patterns. More and finer furniture was also to be found, much of it painted and decorated.

The inspiration for rosemaling in the countryside came from the professional handicrafts in the towns. Into Renaissance and baroque styles decorative painting was incorporated, with vine foliage and flowers as important elements in style expression. Urban artisans took rosemaling as well as wood carving to the country churches. In the seventeenth century more and more country churches were painted; on ceilings, walls, and furnishings vine foliage and flowers now appeared in happy combination with religious scenes deriving from European art. Gradually the more urbanized upper classes and wealthy farmers acquired articles in the new fashion for their homes.

It took several generations, however, before rural craftsmen adopted this urban style. It was well into the eighteenth century, when urban painters were already turning to a Rococo manner, that a few rural painters began to apply Renaissance and Baroque motifs to domestic painting. A contributing factor in the slow development of decorative painting may have been the absence of such a tradition in country regions. It is not without significance that, because the craft of painting was new, working methods had to be learned, tools made, and unfamiliar materials obtained. Then, too, urban painters regarded their rural counterparts as competition, and offered resistance rather than encouragement.


Pauline Hofseth queried:

Is there a place on the web I can look up phone numbers and addresses of people now living in Norway?

A similar inquiry came from Jens Jensen, who wrote:

I'm sitting in Southern California trying to locate some lost friends in the greater Oslo area. Can you lead me to the best way of finding people over there?

Only the Yellow Pages for Norway are on the web.

However, Cindy Etelman advised that tracking down people “is not hard to do.” She says she uses “icq” which she explained is a free instant messenger service, noting:

You can sign up at It is similar to aol instant messenger, but with a world wide scope. They have groups you can contact with all areas of interest. You keep going in further using Norway as your key word and you eventually come to a list of icq users both Norwegian and otherwise that want to meet with other people interested in Norway to chat. The interesting thing is that many of the people have the town listed that they are from in Norway. It may help you to go to those in that town. You would follow the directions on how to meet them. You can search by name there too, so you can try and look for a specific name and then contact them many seem willing and friendly enough to help.

She added:

Since the Country has a population of about the size of Brooklyn, (where many good Norwegian Americans come from) it shouldn't be too hard.

See the Official ICQ User List for Norway.

Ms. Hofseth also asked:

Can you tell me where Lofthus and Fetsund are?

Fetsund is located near Oslo. Fetsund, by the way, is the birthplace of U.S. football Hall-of-Famer Jan Stenerud.

With respect to Lothus, A.K. Furuseth of Norway advised:

A small area in Oslo is called Lofthus. Located north of the centre....Otherwise, there are several places called Lofthus, which is a rather common family name. Therefore, Lofthus is also the name of several farms all over Norway.

There are two photos of Lothus on a page dealing with the family name of Lothus. The page notes: "The name 'Loftus' appears in street names and there is even a village by that name located on the Hardangerfjord near Bergen."


Steve Flugum and Kurt Hjertaas complained:

Can you help us Sons of Norwegians find a lodge or at least someplace where we can eat some nice warm lutefisk? We are in the Chicago area. We found a mishmash "Scandinavian" lodge in Arlington Heights who were having a "Dane" picnic that day and they would not serve us any lutefisk, lefse or glug! Can you imagine? The nerve. Uff da.

Sons of Norway lodges nationwide (as well as in Norway) are listed on the organization's website. Twelve are listed for Illinois. There's also a listing for the Chicago Metro Area and Southeast Wisconsin.


Barbara Warner of Tokyo said:

I may not be using the correct method; but, I can't find the info anywhere else. I recently tasted lefse and fell in love with it. I wish to learn to make my own. I've tried to print recipes from lefse pages. They are blocked. Also, I will need a lefse pan. How and where can I get these things?

Ann Tolo offered these comments:

I have made lefse both with my mother, as a child, and on my own. I've never heard of a "lefse pan!" For "baking" the rolled out lefse round, use an electric pancake-type griddle or any flat heated surface.

Nonetheless, "specialty" utensils for just about any purpose are available. A Texas outfit sells lefse grills, made of textured aluminum, for $69.95; orders can be placed over the Internet. A Poulsbo, WA website has a photo of a lefse grill it sells. We're not going to direct anyone to these sources, this being a strictly non-commercial site. However, if Ms. Warner will go to TERRY'S LEFSE LINKS -- a site mentioned on our "Miscellaneous Page" -- she'll find links to a number of commercial sites she'll find of interest.


Adam Bartini ( who says “the Norwegian is on my mom's side”) wrote:

    I am a second generation Norwegian who just graduated from college with a finance degree. I am interested in finding employment in Norway, but I have been unsuccessful thus far. Even the embassies have no idea what I should do. If you have any tips or know of any resources where I may look I would greatly appreciate.

Advice came from Nina Slupphaug of Norway, who said:

I think the best way for you to find a job in Norway is to either make contact with firms in Norway, or use the Internet often. If you go to: I think you'll find the employment ads for firms in need of workers. I hope this can help you.

Caveat: that site is in Norwegian.

Cato Høyen Østerhaug offered "additional info on the job hunt." He pointed out this link, though noting the site is in Norwegian:


Annie Green asked:

    Where can I find information about Vardo, Norway?

The "Green Arctic" website has information on the County of Finnmark, in which Vardø is located. On a page of statistics, etc. it lists Vardø as among three cities in the county. Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway, is also the least populated. We know of no website in English centering on Vardø; however, click here for a photo of the city.

The city, founded in 1789, has 3,200 inhabitants.



From Canada came this inquiry by Glen Widing:


I´m born in Canada by Norwegian parents and I grew up in Norway. Now I´m
looking for a similar website for Norwegian/Canadians. Do you by any
chance know if there is one (or more)?

Tor Kvien helps out again! He points out that the "Norway Roots" site (listed on our Genealogy Page) is based in Canada.


Laura Anderson inquired:

I was wondering if someone could translate this Norwegian table prayer for me. Here it goes:

"I Jesu navn gar vi til bords Spice og drikke pa ditt ord Deg Gud til ere oss til gavn Sa far vi mat I Jesu navn."

From Ålesund, came this translation by Dag Petter Eide:

In Jesus' name we sit by the table to eat and drink at your word. By humbly honoring you God, we get food in Jesus' name.



This correspondence came from Kristin Wenche Keith:

I am a proud Norwegian American. Most of my family lives in Norway. I have been to Norway many times and I am always improving my Norwegian. My question is do you know of any scholarships for college of Norwegian-Americans? If it's any help I am going into the foreign language field and I am a straight A student and honor society member. I don't expect you to know but considering this is a site for Norwegian-Americans I thought perhaps you would know of somewhere that I could obtain the information.

Tom Soder in Savannah, GA responded:

Two sources, members preferred (2 yrs min. membership):

1) Sons of Norway; and

2) Scandinavian-American Foundation (Wash., DC).

Also, you may want to check out stateside St.Olaf; Concordia; Augustana; and Pacific Lutheran colleges/universities for cooperative studies programs.

Click here for a link to St. Olaf's College Norwegian Department.


Trina Anderson of Alaska wrote:

    I am looking for URL's to any pages with definitions of "uff DA" I would like to add an URL to my e-mail signature box for the
    non-Norwegians who don't know "uff DA." Thank you very much.
Inspired by this query, the Norwegian American Homepage has added an Uff Da page, with links to sites discussing "uff DA" Links include one to an uff DA page maintained by a Japanese medical doctor in Tokyo.


Mary Bare sent this e-mail:

I would like to know if there is any type of penpal organization connecting Americans with Norwegians that are from the area that their ancestors came from.
We queried where her ancestors came from and she advised:
    I have three names with a vague idea of the type of place they might be. The first is Flekkefjord which I have visited. The others are Lavold and Lustre. As I understand it Lavold was an area or a farm. Lustre may be a county I'm not sure.
This response came from Anne-Berit Lavold:
I live in Sweden, but my family on my father's side comes from Norway. My father is born in a little place just 20 kilometers from Flekkefjord. His great great grandfather was born in an even smaller place with the name Lavoll (they changed the name to Lavold during the time of the Danish occupation — I think). You are looking for your ancestors. When I saw that you were looking for names like Flekkefjord and Lavold I just had to answer. I myself have been searching into my family's history, and I know that some of them moved to America.

We forwarded Anne-Berit Lavold's e-mail address to Mary Bare. We also contacted the Norwegian-American Bygdelagenes Fellesraad, an organization comprised of "lags," each of which is devoted to a particular area in Norway from which its members' ancestors came. (See its website.) Does that group have "pen pal" services?

Ruth M. Sylte of Palo Alto, CA responded:

    The lags are not really penpal organizations, but most of the people involved regularly have contact with Norwegians from their areas of origin. The best suggestion I can recommend is to have this person get involved with his/her genealogy and the lag(s) that are appropriate. This will certainly lead to the kind of "penpal" this person seeks.

Luster is a municipality in the County (Fylke) of Sogn og Fjordane. Lavoll is a farm in Luster. It's listed among Farm Names in Luster, contained on the Fjordinfo site. Most of that site is in Norwegian, but there is a discussion of Luster in English, including tourist information.

Flekkefjord is the westernmost municipality in the County of Vest-Agder at the southern tip of Norway. For information on the relevant lag, see the Bygdelagenes Fellesraad website.


Marty Sinick inquired:
Do u know a place called marienlyst stadium and if so where is it located i. e. what city is it in? Hey thanks.
Correcting information we provided that "[t]he stadium is in Strømsgodset," Ingve Høyland wrote from Norway:
Marienlyst is the homeground of Strømsgodset IF, which is a soccer team not a city. The stadium is located in Drammen near Oslo.


Ilise Benun of  Hoboken, New Jersey wrote:  
I have a friend who'll be attending a wedding next month in Norway.  What kind of gift is appropriate to give?  Any special wedding customs we should know about?
Brent M. Howell responded:
My mother was married in Forde, Norway. A couple of things to know...the ceremony lasts over several days (a traditional ceremony) so be prepared for a lot of celebrating. The traditional wedding possibly could include a parade too. Traditional gifts (American type) will do fine — stay clear of anything electric if you purchase in the US prior to travel — different televisions, VCRs and electrical systems in Norway. While you're there have a Pilsner for me. My grandfather immigrated to the US from Norway. I last visited the country in 1986 to see brother and sisters in Naustdal, Forde, Oslo and Bergen. Have a great time!
From Norway came this advice from Arne Løken:
    There are not any typical wedding gifts in Norway. You can give them anything, but I`ll advise you to give them anything they can use every day, or so." (Not something they hide away in a cabinet.) 
Lynette Pukallus Goombungee, Australia added:
My son married a Norwegian in Forde, Norway in 1994. They still live in Forde. We attended the wedding. We had a fantastic time. Silver tableware and glass and chinaware for serving foods to the table are a good wedding gift. Table linen would also make a good gift.


Gerd of Los Angeles asked if someone could translate this hand-painted inscription on a vintage wooden box:

Egil Øyangen advised:

Norwegian original:

Naar kjisten af gode sager ER fuld
Og pigen sin ven ER trofast og huld
Der ER to ting som ER bedre end guld.

When the chest of good things is full
And the girl is faithful and loving to her friend
There are two things that are better than gold.

Many thanks to Egil Øyangen, as well as to Arne Løken and to Cato of Los Angeles who also provided translations.



(c) 1998-2000, Roger M. Grace