May the “Spirit of 17th of May” live on!

Moving forth into the next generation

syttende mai lori ann

Photo: Bruce Johnson / 17th of May Seattle
Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall celebrated Syttende Mai as emcee of the musical program at Bergen Place Park in Seattle, newspaper in hand. Her co-host, Eric Stavney of the Nordic On Tap podcast (, drew lucky winners for a free subscription to our newspaper.

Dear readers and friends,

The 17th of May has once again come and gone, but its spirit lives on in our hearts. It is the spirit of democracy and freedom, and yes, the spirit of the free press. That is why I am so proud to be the editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, a newspaper that has served our community for over 134 years.

But if we have all learned anything during the past few years, it is that we cannot take anything for granted. We have experienced the social isolation of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine is ongoing, and we have seen social upheaval here at home. It has been a time of change for many, and at the very least, a time of reflection for all.

We have also seen many changes here at The Norwegian American. Because of rising production costs, we have gone to a monthly format, with continuous publishing online. It was not an easy transition for any of us, but I have often said that our newspaper is “the little engine that could.” With our dedicated staff, a committed set of volunteers, and the support we receive from you, we have continued to publish a newspaper worthy of the community it serves.

And now it is time to do even more, as we are ready to take The Norwegian American into a new era. This will be mean investing in our staff and contributors, a better online presence, and more marketing to reach new audiences, as we deliver quality content that is relevant to them. And, once again, we will need your help.

Next month, we will be launching our “I love The Norwegian American” campaign, and we hope you will consider making a donation. Any amount, big or small, will help us go a long way, and your donation is tax-deductible.

If you would like to help us kick-start the campaign, you can make a donation by sending us a check or making a contribution online at norwegianamerican/contribute-2

Inside this issue

As I’ve said, every issue of The Norwegian American is special, and this one is no exception. It is always such a pleasure to publish your photos from your 17th of May celebrations around the country—thank you for sending them in. Of course, we are forced to make choices based on set criteria, so if your photo has not been published, please don’t think that it was not important to us. We want to thank you all for sharing the big day with us

Beyond that, where do I start? For one thing, it’s exciting to share the news about Minnesota’s world champion skier Jessie Diggins and Norway House’s “Going Viking” award. We hope that this story will offer lots of inspiration. We also are featuring exclusive coverage from the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage, Alaska.

The latter touches on important environmental and geopolitical issues, covering many of the topics that appear on our news pages. We are also pleased to keep you up to date on current debates going on in Norway on our Opinion page. All this comes in addition to our  regular features for you to enjoy.

In this issue, we are also pleased to share an insightful article about the Danish author Tove Ditlevsen, a writer who dared to buck the literary trends of her time. We find this to be particularly interesting in light of the current cultural climate, which in its own way is leaning toward prescriptive norms that can crush creativity. It is also fun to share a literary piece from one of Norway’s neighboring countries. Influences go across borders (as you will learn in the article), and Ditlevsen’s books are offered in very fine English translations. Many thanks to Mogen “Mo” Pedersen for contributing this excellent article.

Overall, many thanks to everyone who have so generously given their time and creative talents to make this paper so great. We all—both staff and subscribers—are so fortunate to be blessed in this way.

So, now let’s take this paper to new heights. We hope you will enjoy the issue and thank you for your support.

Wishing you many hours of happy reading!

Lori Ann

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

Avatar photo

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.