Taking Norwegian wood to new heights

Woodlands and forests are more than just beautiful—they are life!

Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB
Bøkeskogen in Larvik, Norway, is a green paradise, full of beauty and life.

The Norwegian American

Dear readers and friends,

With each issue, we try to dive into a different topic or theme with fresh eyes, but wood? Is there really anything new to say about that?

As it turns out, there is a good deal to say about wood, especially Norwegian wood. Yes, we know, one of the first associations many will have is with the old Beatles song—we love it, too—and while I’m humming it as I write this, I’m thinking about all the ways in which Norwegian wood—and wood in general—touches our lives.

In this issue, you will read about a number of ways in which architects and builders are using wood to create not only beautiful structures that harmonize with their surroundings but also create more sustainable environmental solutions. Wood is a natural building material choice in the Nordic countries, something that makes sense, both in an aesthetic and practical sense.

Trees are not only a beautiful part of the Nordic landscape, they are also an important part of the climate solution. Trees capture large amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere. So when we are out on a hike in the woods or forest taking in the beauty of nature, know that the trees are your good friends, friends who we also must take care of. In recent years, summer forest fires have become an increased threat, both here in the United States and Scandinavia, and educated forest management practices are essential. It is important that knowledge and resources are shared across borders to ensure that our environment is protected, not only now but for future generations.

In Norway, protection of trees and sound forest management practices are always at the forefront. Trees are part of the country’s natural beauty, long linked to Norway’s economy and way of life. We think of the many wooden buildings, Norwegian design, and traditional woodcarving. These are traditions that have been brought to North America to live on here in their own way.

We are also starting to think about travel again, and our lead story highlights a unique way to spend your vacation in Norway, perched above a majestic fjord surrounded by forests outside of Stavanger—in a stunningly modern wooden structure, of course. While Norway’s borders are still closed to us as travelers, I’m putting it on my bucket list. It’s time to start planning again, and you can look forward to more travel features in our upcoming issues, which will be full of ideas on how to make the most of your summer.

Always wishing you well,

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief

This article originally appeared in the May 21, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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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.