Newsletter - July 2010

ASF July birthdays - Happiest birthday to all !

Past Newsletters
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010

August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
March 2010
February 201


We would like to know if we could find a few volunteers from our membership as the Board performs many tasks. We would love to have your help!

We would also like help with publishing our newsletter, This task can be broken down into several tasks to share so no one is stuck with full responsibility.

Would you like to write Birthday Cards and get well cards to members?

Would you be willing to call on other Scandinavian friends to become members?

» Denmark’s Play Set in Montecito
» New King of the Food World
» A Little Danish Mermaid Comes Up for Air in China By JOHN TAGLIABUE
» Midsummer Dance by Anders Zorn, 1897
» Annual Picnic Great Success By Heidi Poley, Program Chair


For nearly 40 years the ASFSB Scholarship Program has served as our Foundation’s primary approach to community outreach, providing both monetary support and special recognition to students in their pursuit of higher education. To date 66 students have been awarded scholarship by ASFSB, and even the recent recession with its negative impact upon the US economy did not curtail our efforts. In fact, thanks to the concerted efforts by the ASFSB’s Committees, (Outreach, Program Planning and Scholarship), the generosity by ASFSB members, as well as to a matching funds support by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara (SFSB), ASFSB was able to raise $ 5,000.00 for scholarships this year.

On May 8, 2010, three outstanding students received their respective awards at our annual Scholarship Luncheon, which was held at the Gourmet Dining Room of Santa Barbara City College. Here these recipients had the opportunity to introduce their families and to highlight their academic interest and future goals:

Emily Knuutinen: A San Marcos High School senior student graduating this spring with a 4.64 GPA. Her academic goal is to study Psychology and she plans to attend Pritzer College. Emily’s parents are from Sweden and she has been able to spend several summers with family and friends in Sweden, which has strengthen her appreciation of her Swedish heritage.

Dylan Rogers: A San Marcos High School senior student graduating this spring with a 4.22 GPA. Dylan has also a strong Swedish heritage by having immigrated from Sweden to USA at a young age. His academic interest is in the field of engineering and he plans to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering at Cornell University.

Daniel Wagstaffe: A Santa Ynez Valley High School senior student graduating this spring with a 4.25 GPA. Daniel’s family came to the US as Danish immigrants and settled in Solvang. His academic interest is also in engineering and he plans to attend Pepperdine University this fall to study Engineering.

Once again our Program Planning Committee organized a successful Annual Scholarship Luncheon where the many in attendance enjoyed excellent food & service with an opportunity to meet and listen to the enthusiastic scholarship recipients. There were also words of wisdom from our own ASFSB President Peter Haslund and the SFSB Executive Director Colette Hadley. Peter used the occasion to remind us about the full value of a scholarship award. It is not just in the financial help that it provides. Equally important is the fact that a recipient is being recognized for his or her academic potential which may stimulate unexpected academic achievements along the way. We were also pleased to hear Colette Hadley describing the extensive financial assistance that SFSB is offering thousand of students in our community, and also about the special relationship that has developed between ASFSB and SFSB over the past 13 years since the establishment of our ASFSB Scholarship Endowment Fund with SFSB became a reality.

Additional information about our ASFSB Scholarship Program can be found on our newly revised Web-site at: Our Scholarship Program is being maintained by donations which are tax deductible. Members are often encouraged to support it while making reservations and participating in the various ASFSB activities scheduled throughout the year. This spring the ASFSB BOD also approved a new Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of the late Frank Ordung, former Professor and Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at UCSB. The fund will support our ASFSB Scholarship Endowment Fund and donations can be sent to ASFSB, P.O. Box 41502, Santa Barbara, CA 93140.

At present The ASFSB Scholarship Committee consists of Brooke Van Der Kar, Art Kvaas and Einar Hovind. We invite any members who have an interest in promoting educational opportunities for our youth by serving on this committee to contact a committee member or Peter Haslund by phone or E-mail (see the latest ASFSB Directory). We hope to hear from you!

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Denmark’s Play Set in Montecito

From page 1, Santa Barbara News-Press, June 17, 2010: Special funds were used by Santa Barbara County to purchase this highly dynamic children’s playground equipment. Of Danish design, this unique play set cost $70,000 and is located at Manning Park in Montecito. With an eye to reducing the growing level of obesity among children, It is designed to give children a more active experience than traditional static equipment. It is manufactured by the Danish company KOMPAN. Erik Axelson of the Santa Barbara County Parks Department said that it has received “rave reviews.” There ‘s more energy involved in using it so consequently kids could be fitter as they use more kinetic types of playground equipment. It is extremely well made, so over time it holds up better than most other types of playground equipment, Erik Axelson said.

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New King of the Food World

The Wall Street Journal reports that a Danish restaurant in Christianshavn (Copenhagen) has been awarded “best restaurant in the world” by Restaurant magazine. Owner/ Chef Rene Redzepi opened “Noma” in 2003 by “recreating food in Copenhagen.” Chef Redzepi uses only Scandinavian ingredients – a radical departure from conventional culinary wisdom. He and his assistants forage through the Danish forests for natural ingredients.

The Danish restaurant outdistanced the Spanish winner of last year, El Bulli, for the top honor of being the very best in the world.

So Redzepi doesn’t sound very Danish? His dad immigrated from Albania and his mom is Danish. Isn’t Globalization grand?

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A Little Danish Mermaid Comes Up for Air in China
By JOHN TAGLIABUE (NY Times, April 27, 2010)

COPENHAGEN — Some call it mermaid diplomacy; others, tongue in cheek, speak darkly of illicit trafficking in young women.

The event in question was last month’s transport of Denmark’s best-known national emblem, the four-foot-tall bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, from the rocky, quayside location it has occupied since 1913 to a site in Shanghai.

In Shanghai, the mermaid, perched on her rock in a pond of salt water direct from Copenhagen harbor, will be the centerpiece of the Danish pavilion in Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo, which opens this Saturday.

A crane hoisted the 385-pound statue — her perfectly formed body, her fishy tail — from its site and onto a truck. The exact route of her trip to Shanghai was kept secret, out of concern over possible attacks. Who would attack a mermaid?

Lots of people, apparently. The little mermaid has been decapitated twice, the last time in 1998; an arm has been broken off, though later recovered; she has been spattered with paint and dressed in Muslim garb, including a burqa. In 2003, she was blasted off her rock with explosives.

“It’s a national disaster in women trafficking,” said Ase Lunkvist, with a laugh. A diminutive woman in her 50s, Ms. Lunkvist has hawked sugared almonds from April to September for six years from a stand in front of the mermaid’s now empty site. It was her first day out in 2010, so she could not predict what the impact on business would be.

“It’s a kind of prostitution,” she added, waving at the empty rocks. “O.K., we make fun of it — but Copenhageners are sad, too.”

The idea to send the mermaid to China was hatched by Bjarke Ingels, 35, the Danish architect who won a competition to design Denmark’s pavilion at the fair. By placing her and her rock seat in clean seawater from Copenhagen harbor, he hoped to demonstrate the kind of advanced environmental technology that the Danes seek to sell the Chinese, whose environment badly needs help.

The project got off to a slow start when it was discovered that no one really knew just who owned the statue. The fairy tale mermaid, who was willing to give up her life in the sea to gain the love of a prince, is the work of Edvard Eriksen, who sculpted the face of a well known ballerina, but the body of his own wife, after the dancer refused to pose in the nude.

Since then, she has been a draw to millions who make the pilgrimage to a blustery, rocky shoreline to gaze in awe, and perhaps puzzled amusement, at her bronze figure, take photographs, and then move on.

“There was a long discussion about who owns her,” said Soren Espersen, 56, a member of the conservative People’s Party and vice president of the Danish Parliament. The owner was found to be the city of Copenhagen, and the city council voted with a large majority to allow the statue to go, with opposition only from Mr. Espersen’s People’s Party.

“A broad majority thought it was a wonderful opportunity for Danish business to be seen,” Mr. Espersen said. “But she is also a national treasure. If you were to send the Lincoln Memorial to China, there would be an uproar. Why do we want to do so much for Danish business?”

For Jorgen Delman the answer is simple. In recent years, said Mr. Delman, professor of China studies at Copenhagen University, China has emerged as the second most important trade partner for Denmark, after the United States, importing Danish telecommunications equipment and green energy technology while exporting to Denmark all sorts of manufactured goods.

“Our ties are driven by trade and now investments, and it’s increasing,” said Mr. Delman, whose business cards are in English and Chinese.

At Copenhagen’s central tourism office, called “Wonderful Copenhagen,” perhaps with thanks to Danny Kaye’s rendering of the song “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen,” from the movie musical “Hans Christian Andersen,” the senior director of business development, Peter Romer Hansen, called the decision to send the mermaid “a brilliant idea.”

“What could we have sent?” he went on, in the kind of lyricism Danes fall into when discussing the mermaid. “Could it have been a Danish hot dog? A Lego block? The crown jewels?”
“And finally, she is great in her smallness,” he said. “She is tiny, but her longing to go out to see the world is wonderful.”

To fill the seaside gap left by the mermaid’s departure, the Danes have invited Ai Weiwei, the artist and political activist based in Beijing, to produce a video installation on the site that will broadcast scenes from the Danish pavilion in far-off Shanghai. The artist has vexed the Chinese government with his own investigation of casualties among school pupils during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, whose results he posted regularly on his blog until it was recently shut down by Beijing.

For the time being, the mermaid’s spot in the harbor is vacant. “For three weeks now it’s been empty,” said Ms. Lunkvist. No sign has been posted to indicate the statue’s whereabouts. “Tourists say to me, ‘Where’s the mermaid?”‘

A municipal inspector, Eva Gjolbo, rides her bike along the shore, checking the licenses of harborside merchants, like Ms. Lunkvist, who hawk souvenirs or snacks to visitors. But now Ms. Lunkvist is alone.

“It’s a fun idea, certainly,” Ms. Gjolbo said. “As long as she gets back in one piece.”

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Midsummer Dance
by Anders Zorn, 1897

In modern Sweden, Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day (Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen) were formerly celebrated on 23 June and 24 June, but since 1953 the celebration has been moved to the Friday and Saturday between 19 June and 26 June. It is one of the most important holidays of the year in Sweden, and probably the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated. The main celebrations take place on the Friday, and the traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge maypole. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole.

Raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång) is an activity that attracts families and many others. People dancing around the pole listen to traditional music and some even wear traditional folk costumes. In addition, many wear crowns made of wild springs and wildflowers on their heads. The year's first potatoes, pickled herring, Chives, sour cream, and possibly the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Drinking songs are also important at this feast, and many drink heavily.

Because Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strongest, it was considered a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick bouquets of seven or nine different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. In the past it was believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were highly potent, and water from springs could bring good health. Greenery placed over houses and barns were supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock; this old tradition of decorating with greens continues, even though most don't take it seriously. To decorate with greens was called att maja (to may) and may be the origin of the word majstång, maja coming originally from the month May. Other researchers say the term came from German merchants who raised the maypole in June because the Swedish climate made it impossible to find the necessary greens and flowers in May, and continued to call it a maypole. Today, however, it is most commonly called a "midsommarstång" (literally midsummer's pole).

In earlier times, small spires wrapped in greens were erected; this probably predates the maypole tradition, which is believed by many to have come from the continent in the Middle Ages. Others argue that some form of Midsummer pole occurred in Sweden during the pre-Christian times, and was a phallic fertility symbol, meant to impregnate the earth, but as there were no records from those times it cannot be proven, and this idea might just be a modern interpretation of the poles form. The earliest historical mention of the maypole in Sweden is from the Middle Ages. Midsummer was, however, linked to an ancient fertility festival which was adapted into St. John's Day by the church, even though it retained many pagan traditions, as the Swedes were slow to give up the old heathen customs. The connection to fertility is naturally linked to the time of year. Many young people became passionate at Midsummer, and this was accepted, probably because it resulted in more childbirths in March which was a good time for children to be born.

In Denmark and Norway midsummer is referred to as the eve of Skt. Hans but it's only in Sweden that it has kept its original name.

In Sweden and parts of Finland the tradition of bonfires are not part of midsummer but of the "Valborg's" evening festivities when winter leaves are burned for summer.

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Annual Picnic Great Success
By Heidi Poley, Program Chair

What a lovely day for a lovely picnic on Sunday, June 27th at Tucker's Grove. A potluck made the event full of wonderful delectable foods. No one went away hungry! The table was full of chicken, meatballs, smoked salmon, herring, cheese, crackers, fruit, salads, four desserts and then some! YUM!

It was a nice afternoon to catch up with friends, tell stories and just relax under the big oak trees.

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by Einar Hovind

In response to questions by Peter Haslund about Sons of Norway (S/N) and The Scandinavian American Cultural Heritage Foundation (SACHF) these items may be of interest:

President Ron Oftebro, Ivar Aasen lodge # 6-045 was a delegate to the Sons of Norway 6th District Convention which was held in Modesto, CA during June 23-26. Over 100 delegates from dozens of lodges throughout the 6th District (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah) attended this event which is held every other year to elect new District Officers and conduct the business at hand.

The next big S/N event will be the Southern/Central California S/N “Kretsstevne” at Flying Flags RV Camp in Buellton,CA October1-3. Lodges from the Los Angeles area, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield and Fresno will have their annual weekend get-together with a variety of activities and programs.

The S/N July publication from Minneapolis: “VIKING”, has an informative listing of over 30 centers located throughout the U.S. and Canada, which features a variety of programs and collections on Nordic culture and heritage. The purpose of this listing is: “Hit the Road”; to show that Scandinavian culture and heritage centers are often found within reasonable driving distances where Nordic hospitality and culture (arts, language classes, food, fellowship, etc.) can be experienced without extensive traveling. Among those listed within easy driving distance for our local residents are the Scandinavian Center by California Lutheran University (CLU) in Thousand Oaks and the Norwegian Seaman Church in San Pedro. The Scan. Center by the CLU campus on 60 W. Olsen Rd , is operated by the SACHF. It is open every Wednesday (10:30A-5 PM) and features a Nordic library/museum, genealogy facilities and much more, including free coffee and cookies. (Admission is free). For more info call me at 682-9292.

Finally, the Royal Norwegian Consulate Office in San Francisco recently announced the appointment of Attorney Michael Soroy as Norway’s new Honorary Consul in Los Angeles. Soroy holds a degree in Political Science from University of Oslo, Juris Doctor and an MBA from Northrop University in Los Angeles.

The new Consul may be reached at: H. Michael Soroy, Royal Norwegian Consulate (Soroy’s law office)
11766 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 460
Los Angeles, CA 90026-6537
Phone: (310) 444-7750; E-mail: Web:

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