Notebook

In the Same Boat

When you’re in Minnesota, Norway doesn’t seem too far away, somehow. The landscape is sometimes similar, but that is not all. Tens of thousands of Norwegians came to Minnesota between 1851 and 1920, making the Twin Cities the unofficial capital of Norwegian America. Many here speak fondly of a Great Grandpa Åsmund or a Great Aunt Bergljot. A local luminary like Garrison Keillor can make a statement like, ‘To Norwegians, the polka is a form of martial art’, and expect to draw a self-ironical grin from hearers. My favourite example of the Minnesotan-Norwegian connection is this commercial for Lutheran Airlines. It catches fundamental aspects of a mindset that is instantly recognisable.

‘You’re all in the same boat on Lutheran Air’.