How the Americans Taught Us Norwegians to Love Our Viking Heritage

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

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It may come as a surprise to many, but most Norwegians were never particularly proud of their Norse ancestry. The little knowledge they had of the Viking Age and our common ethnic and cultural heritage was usually horribly outdated. Until recently, in popular culture the Vikings were almost always portrayed as dumb, brutal rapists and villains. Also, Norse mythology was a subject of parody and not to be taken as anything more than naive stories told by our stupid ancestors. Those of us who thought differently, those of us who had already connected with our Norse ancestry, were ridiculed.

When I grew up, most people knew about Thor (not the Marvel version). But that was all. And it’s not so strange that most people kept away from anything Norse or Viking. You see, if you showed any interest in our Norse heritage, you were easily labelled as a nazi or…

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