Official visit to the United States: Opening of new Norway House Minnesota
Distinguished guests and dear friends,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here at the exciting new Norway House this morning, in a place with such deep Norwegian roots.
Starting in the nineteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Norwegians emigrated to the United States, with a hope for a better future. Many of them ended up right here in Minneapolis.
Several generations later, Norwegian culture is still very much alive in this part of the world. Today, more than 800,000, maybe 900 000, Minnesotans claim Norwegian ancestry.
Being here feels like a home away from home. It really is.
It’s truly an inspiration to see the way the descendants of the emigrants have thrived, contributing a great deal to American society. At the same time, they have not forgotten their history. They look to organizations like Norway House to strengthen their connections both to the Norway of their ancestors, and the Norway of today. This kind of interaction between Norway and the U.S. is an excellent example of the enduring, historic bond that we have shared since the time of the Second World War.
As nations, our histories are remarkably similar in many ways. We both fought hard for our independence, and we both have some of the oldest constitutions in the world. We share hopes, fears, values, and dreams for the future.
On a fundamental level, we understand each other, and that is a big part of what makes our bilateral relationship so strong.
Our two countries are co-founders and allies in NATO, passionate promoters of democracy, close collaborators on climate change issues, and so much more. In times of international unrest, this is a great strength and consolation.
This morning we are here to celebrate the opening of Norway House’s beautiful new Innovation and Cultural Center, after a year of construction. This building will provide visitors with dedicated space for offices and events, as well as a gallery and a library where guests can research their genealogy.
In the end the new center will serve as a place for anyone interested in Norway and Norwegian culture.
Congratulations to all of you on your new Center, especially the Norway House team.
With these words, I declare Norway House Minnesota officially open!