Portland was recently visited by Lars Jonsson, the Swedish Consul for the states of Washington and Oregon, based in the Seattle office of the Consulate of Sweden.

More than 30 Swedes from the Portland/Vancouver area went to Seattle to renew their passports in May 2015 when the new mobile passport station was on location there. When the time came, the consul elected to deliver the passports in person to save the applicants another trip to Seattle. However, the deeper objective with his visit was to meet and learn about as many Swedes as possible for the benefit of his role as consul for the northwest region.


In the morning of May 30, Jonsson met with members of New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society and Scandinavian Heritage Foundation (SHF) for a pancake breakfast (ugnspankaka) at Fogelbo, the Swedish epicenter in Portland.

After a delightful breakfast the group proceeded to the new Scandinavian Center next door, lead by Greg Smith, the director of the center, for a preview of the facility, which opened officially in June. The center, called The Nordic Cultural Center, serves all the Nordic countries and is a 10,000-square-foot building at 8800 S.W. Oleson Road dedicated to all things Nordic. The building includes an exhibit gallery, a concert hall, a conference room, three outdoor patios and a Nordic-themed café.

Construction of the $4 million Nordic Cultural Center, which has been under discussion for twenty years, began in the fall of 2014. An open house to celebrate the opening of the center was held on June 27 and 28.

The following afternoon allowed the consul to see another of the local Scandinavian hubs when all Swedes in greater Portland were invited to the Swedish restaurant Broder. On the menu was a traditional smörgåsbord sampler, including marinated herring, meatballs and other typical specialties.

The event provided ample opportunity to meet with many Swedish locals and a happy and pleased Swedish consul for the Northwest no doubt returned to Seattle at the end of the visit.

By Leif Rosqvist, editor of the Newsletters of New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society and SRIO in Portland, Oregon.

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