After nearly two decades of planning, the Nordic Museum opened their new, architecturally smashing location last weekend, becoming an instant landmark and anchor on the western end of Market. An avalanche of amazing activities made this a hard-to-forget event. Here are just some of the highlights:
On Friday, May 4, Icelandic President Guðni Jóhannesson addressed the World Affairs Council, discussing Iceland’s leadership role in gender equality, steps Iceland is taking to become carbon neutral, and Iceland’s oceanic stewardship efforts. As he warmed to the crowd, Mr. Jóhannesson cracked jokes and amiably answered challenging questions from the crowd.
Following the public event, the SRSCA Board presented Mr. Jóhannesson with a welcome gift containing books about Seattle, an enviable collection of Fran’s Chocolates, and a scarf supporting the Seattle Sounders. The President joked that he hoped we would support the Iceland football team as they take on the world in the upcoming World Cup; we couldn’t resist the Viking Clap chant: “Hú!”
On Saturday, May 5, the Nordic Museum opened their doors to the public with a fanfare-filled ribbon cutting. President Jóhannesson opened the ceremony (read his opening remarks HERE). Her Royal Highness Mary the Crown Princess of Denmark, representatives from all the Nordic countries, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, the Secretary General from the Nordic Council of Ministers, and others joined the opening remarks.
We were on hand Saturday and Sunday to share information about traveling to Iceland. We talked to many people curious about traveling to the stunning country; thanks to IcelandAir and Iceland Naturally for the bountiful swag and our friends at the Iceland Club of Greater Seattle who co-hosted the table. Thank you too to the volunteers who helped share their love of Iceland.
On Saturday evening, the Great Fjord Hall shook with the rocking sounds of the opening night concert. Spry Baby in Vain (DK), thoughtful Mikko Joensuu (FI), hard-driving Mammút (IS), and dark-rock powerhouse Chelsea Wolf (US) broke in the pin-drop-tested-acoustical-delight Osberg Great Hall with a riotous thunderclap of gorgeous noise. What a way to open a Museum!
On Sunday, the operatic quartet Raddir Reykjavíkur (Voices of Reykjavik), filled Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in north Ballard with their exquisite voices. Icelandic Men’s Chorus (Karlakórinn Fóstbræður), who traveled to Seattle for the opening at the special request of President Jóhannesson, performed their “This Shining Light” concert. The audience was treated to traditional songs in Icelandic, Old Norse, Swedish, Finish and Norwegian. Their reputation as one of Europe’s finest choruses is well deserved. Both groups performed at the Museum on Saturday.