Saturday, June 20, 2015

Midsummer at the American Swedish Institute

We won't be in Sweden for the midsummer celebrations today. Instead, Sooz and I are in Minneapolis, visiting my family.

Minnesota has a huge Scandinavian population. Even today, the roots of the Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians who settled there are still visible in daily life.

One of the organizations most responsible for maintaining these Scandinavian links is the American Swedish Institute. They're holding a traditional midsummer celebration today. I'd like to attend, but I'm not sure our schedule will allow it.

Sooz and I have fond memories of the ASI. When we found out in December 1988 that we were moving to Sweden, we visited to find out what we could about our new country. This was way before the internet, so one of the big draws to the institute were the Swedish newspapers they made available. I remember lots of elderly Swedes reading their Svenska Dagbladets and Dagens Nyheters in their reading room. Everyone we met that day were so pleased for us, and so accommodating and helpful about our upcoming move. It's not a stretch to say that I began to fall in love with Sweden right then and there.

I've always been proud of how well Minneapolis (and St. Paul) maintain a community feeling; it is easily the American city most like Stockholm in my experience. The ASI has a big part in that.

Glad Midsommar, everyone!

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