Explore Norway with Rick Steves’ Classroom Europe

Photo: Rick Steves’ Travel
Travel guru Rick Steves has always maintained that he is a teacher at heart. He designed Classroom Europe specifically for use in the schoolroom of home learning—but it can be enjoyed by all.

LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American

America’s favorite travel guru and good friend of The Norwegian American Rick Steves has always called himself a travel guide and a teacher. After all, travel is all about learning and broadening your horizons. 

Over the years, Rick heard time and again how many educators used his TV shows in the classroom, and he wanted to make things easier for them. He decided to break down the episodes into shorter clips for Rick Steves’ Classroom Europe®.

To create Classroom Europe, Rick reviewed 120 of his full-length episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe and selected more than 420 of the most teachable moments to create short, simple, and intuitive video clips for the classroom or home learning—all free to anyone who wants to explore them. The entire video scripts are also available to complete your learning experience.

Not surprisingly, 11 of the Classroom Europe clips focus on Norway where Rick has his roots and still has many relatives today. “Norway is stacked with superlatives,” says Rick, and the Norwegian episodes present some of the best of the best.

Photo: Rick Steves’ Travel
No journey to Norway, virtual or otherwise, is complete with out an exploration of its high mountains and deep fjords, and a short episode provides an intriguing glimpse into these natural wonders.

RICK STEVES’ CLASSROOM EUROPE: NORWAY

Content courtesy of Rick Steves

Directions:

• Go to classroom.ricksteves.com

• In the search bar on the website type the video clip number under each listing below: Example: 608.1

Norway’s Natural Wonders: Mountains, Fjords, and Glaciers

On Norway’s west coast, we visit rugged mountains and deep fjords shaped by glaciers 10,000 years ago. We hike up the Nigardsbreen glacier, tour the narrow Nærøyfjord, and take an exhilarating boat ride with stunning views. [5:39 mins.] 608.1 

Photo: Rick Steves’ Travel
While learning about Viking history, students can explore the famous Borgund Stave Church with guide Rick Steves.

Norway’s Viking History, Stave Churches, and Remote Farmsteads

We learn about Vikings from their boats and artifacts preserved at burial sites. After the advent of Christianity, Norwegians built distinctive, wood stave churches; a few remain—the best is Borgund. The ghost village of Otternes shows us how a farmstead functioned. [4:29 mins.] 608.2 

Bergen, Norway’s Historic Capital

The port of Bergen, Norway’s first capital, was a trading partner in the medieval Hanseatic League. Its commercial heritage, based on cod, lives on in its fish markets, museums (Håkon and Hanseatic), and historic Bryggen quarter. [4:27 mins.] 608.3 

Photo: Rick Steves’ Travel
Bergen is featured in two episodes of Classroom Europe, one which focuses on the city center and another on the life and work of Norwegian national composer Edvard Grieg.

Bergen: Norway’s Great Composer, Edvard Grieg

We visit Edvard Grieg’s home at Troldhaugen, just outside Bergen. His music was a unique Norwegian mix of folk tunes and dramatic Romanticism. Concerts are performed daily at his home with its fjord-side view that inspired the nature-loving composer. [2:10 mins.] 608.4 

A Symphonic Journey:
Norway’s Suite to Nature

Edvard Grieg’s “Morning,” from the Peer Gynt Suite, calls up images of a sunrise over a majestic fjord, resonating with Norwegians who treasure their country’s natural beauty. In this exquisite piece, with a flute melody akin to birdsong, the world awakes and warms on a pristine morn. [4:49 mins.] S102.6

Oslo: Norwegian Psyche in Its Art: Romantic Art, Munch’s “Scream,” and Vigeland Sculptures

In Oslo’s National Gallery, Romantic art celebrates the country’s love of beauty, and Munch’s iconic “Scream” personifies the angst of the modern world. In Frogner Park, Vigeland’s many sculptures of people honor every stage of life. [5:46 mins.] 607.3 

Oslo: Norway’s Maritime Heritage: Viking Ships, Arctic Exploration Ship, and the Kon Tiki

Norway’s seafaring prowess is on display in Oslo at three museums: Viking ships, which shows off sleek 9th-century ships; the Fram, housing the ship explorers took to both polar caps; and the Kon Tiki, the raft Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific. [3:52 mins.] 607.2 

Oslo: Norwegian Society and Governance

Oslo, Norway’s progressive capital, is a showcase for livability, with pedestrian-friendly streets, waterfront parks, and appealing neighborhoods created from industrial zones. Norwegians pay high taxes in return for good government and lifelong security. [7:32 mins.] 607.1 

Oslo: City Hall and Resistance Museum

Huge murals in Oslo’s City Hall illustrate Norway’s history, from its rural beginnings and traditional industries (seafaring, farming, and mining) to Nazi occupation and the country’s heroic underground resistance—which is the focus of the Norwegian Resistance Museum in Akershus Fortress. [4:25 mins.] 607.CRF.1

Oslo: Vigeland’s Many Statues

Within Oslo’s huge Frogner Park is the beloved Vigeland Park, showcasing the work of Norway’s greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. He spent 20 years designing 600 nude statues that reflect the human life cycle, from birth to death. The highlight is his Monolith of Life, a pillar of tangled human figures. [2:53 mins.] 607.CRF 

Christmas in Norway

Norwegians celebrate St. Lucia Day on Dec. 13, when candle-bearing girls bring light to church concerts, and candles flicker in cemeteries to remember loved ones. Seasonal treats are saffron buns, rice porridge, and marzipan cake. Children set out food for gift-bearing elves. [6:00 mins.] S106.3 

To read more of our features with Rick Steves, check out these interviews with Lori Ann Reinhall:

“Keep on travelin’ with Rick Steves” and “Keep on dreamin'”.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.

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