Vennelag and its members are committed to promote and preserve the heritage and culture of Norway and other Nordic countries. Providing traditional meals, teaching cultural skills (such as rosemal, genealogy, hardanger) and Norsk language.
Jan and Miriam Hansen are from Altoona, in western Wisconsin, where they’ve lived for the past twenty-nine years. Jan emigrated from Norway, from the west coast city of Aalesund, to Chicago when he was a teenager. Miriam, a Minnesota native, grew up in Roseville, north of St. Paul. They met as students at St. Olaf College; they have two daughters, both of whom are teachers. Jan is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Miriam is a former librarian and teacher. Together they’ve been involved with international education, and have taught in several foreign countries. The Hansens have been active in the Ager Historical Association in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It’s from working in the library there that they became inspired to dig further into Scandinavian culture, economics and history. Their power-point program, “Alt for Norge: Norwegian Resistance in WWII” tells stories of the many unsung heroes who quietly defied the uninvited occupiers, as well as some personal recollections from Jan’s boyhood during the occupation of Norway. The program starts with the German attack on Norway in 1940. Two months later the first battle for Norway ended. The Norwegian forces disbanded, and the British forces, the Norwegian government and the Royal Family fled to England. With a government-in-exile established in London, the civil battle for freedom began. The military victory was won by the Allied Forces, but the civil resistance, the ideological victory that sustained the Norwegian population during the long five year occupation, was won by the will of the people.