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Hovedstad (Austin)

Welcome to the Norwegian Society of Texas, Hovedstad Chapter in Austin, Texas! 

We enjoy, preserve, and promote the Norwegian heritage through social events, arts, recreation and more...

You do not need to be Norwegian or of Norwegian descent to participate.

Our established annual events are as follows (2023 dates)...

Leif Erikson Day (October 21, 2023)
Juletrefest (December 9, 2023)

(Dates are subject to change. )

In addition, we get together more frequently for 
-Happy hours
-Music and film
-and More....

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Join us for an afternoon cruise on Town Lake on Saturday October 21! All members of the Norwegian Society of Texas and guests are welcome. We can't wait to kick off the fall with a cruise on Town Lake. We will leave the dock at 2:30PM and return by 4:30PM. Please arrive at the dock no later than 2:15PM. We will provide non-alcoholic refreshments.

Free admission for members.
$15 admission for non-members upon boarding.

The boat dock is located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Hyatt address is 208 Barton Springs Road at the intersection of Congress and Barton Springs on the south side of Town Lake. Please RSVP by October 10.

The Hyatt Regency Hotel is the easiest and closest place to find parking. Parking in the garage is a short walk to the dock lakeside of the hotel and hotel staff can easily direct you to the dock. Passenger drop off can be done at the front door of the hotel if needed. Rates start at ~$10/hour at the hotel and vary depending on the length of stay. In addition, there are multiple pay parking spots in the area. Parking areas shown are run independent of Capital Cruises and rates vary greatly depending on location. Busier weekends and special events may increase parking rates. Follow this link for the parking map. 

Happy Syttende Mai!
With the current climate, it's unfortunately not going to be the same this year celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17th. We won't be able to have a parade or party, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate your Norwegian heritage from home.

Click here for ideas!

An afternoon making lefse....

It was a lovely, multi-generational event for the group today! All enjoyed getting their hands dirty rolling out and cooking the lefse, visiting, snacking, and eating tons of lefse with all the toppings😆

A very special thanks to Randi, Maren, and Anna Marie for the recipe, teaching us how it's done, and transporting all of the cooking equipment across town. We couldn't have done it without you. 🇳🇴🇺🇸

Takk to all who attended Juletrefest 2019!
It was full of good food, especially all the desserts, wonderful music, and most importantly, great company!
We "sold out" in record time, so apologies to those who wanted to attend but were unable. Next year we'll find a bigger place to accommodate.

Special thanks to Deborah Holbrook and Pam Rabon for all their hard work with organizing and making this a huge success.
To Christina Moore for coordinating the silent auction, as well as everyone who donated. A thanks to everyone who brought the wonderful desserts (we'll always enjoy the Sunde Family's kransekake),  to Marne Olson for the beautiful Norwegian sweater used in the raffle, the Turgoose Trio for the  fun, festive music, and Nathan Holbrook as the Nisse! 


Image result for leif erikson

The federal holiday, Columbus Day is coming up soon, but what about Leif Erikson Day on October 9th? It's argued that Erikson was the first European to set foot on North American soil.

11 Leif Erikson Facts for Leif Erikson Day


While most people associate Italian explorer Christopher Columbus with the discovery of the giant landmass that we know today as North America, it’s believed that it was actually Vikings who first landed on the continent. Specifically, 11th-century Norse explorer Leif Erikson has been credited with sailing to Newfoundland and Labrador, along with establishing the first settlements in an area referred to as Vinland, a full 500 years before Columbus even set foot on a ship. 

While not nearly as widely popular as Columbus, Erikson does still get his own holiday to mark his contributions to exploration and, on October 9, the United States officially celebrates Leif Erikson Day by way of observance (it’s not a federal holiday, unlike Columbus Day). The day is celebrated without too much fanfare—no, you won’t be getting off work or school for Leif Erikson Day, and there probably won’t be a parade near you—though it’s been traditionally recognized by the current U.S. President with a proclamation about the holiday that extends praise not just to Erikson, but to the Nordic people and to the very spirit and appreciation of exploration. Erikson might not get the full Columbus treatment, but he was unquestionably an interesting guy (his dad was named “Erik the Red,” just for a start), and we’re happy to celebrate Leif Erikson Day with a ship full of fun facts about the Norse explorer.


While Americans officially celebrate “Leif Erikson Day,” the explorer’s name is spelled differently depending on who is chatting about him and where they are doing it. In Old Norse he’s Leifr Eiríksson, in Icelandic he’s Leifur Eiríksson, in Norwegian he’s Leiv Eiriksson, and Wikipedia calls him Leif Ericson, just to mix things up. Since we’re celebrating Leif Erikson Day, we’ll just stick with “Erikson,” though since the name Erikson is a patronymic and not a family name (he’s literally “Erik’s son”), we really should be referring to him just as Leif.


Sure, Leif is often referred to as being from Norwegian blood, but he was actually born in Iceland (around 970 CE), and both his father and his grandfather spent some serious time in Norway and eventually Greenland. Leif is also considered a Viking, but perhaps we’ll just call him Norse and be done with it. 


While the actual date of Leif Erikson Day doesn’t have anything personally to do with Leif, it was picked for the holiday because it’s the anniversary of the day that the ship Restauration arrived in New York from Stavanger, Norway, back in 1825. The arrival of the Restauration marked the beginning of organized immigration from Scandinavia to the USA. The holiday was first recognized by Wisconsin in 1930, eventually becoming a nationally observed holiday in 1964.


Leif’s family was totally cool and totally wild. He was the son of Erik the Red, a Viking explorer traditionally credited with founding the first settlements in Greenland, but only after he was banished from Iceland for three years (for helping to start a landslide and killing some guys because he was convinced their father had stolen some magical beans that belonged to him, which sounds like the most terrifying fairy tale ever). Erik’s dad (and Leif’s grandfather) was Thorvald Asvaldsson, who was actually banished from Norway for manslaughter, which is what sent young Erik there in the first place. Leif was, thankfully, never banished from anywhere. Way to break from tradition.


The history surrounding Leif’s discovery of Vinland (and North America) is predictably hazy, with a number of people believing that Bjarni Herjólfsson was the first European to see the continent, even if he never actually landed there.


One of the many stories about Leif holds that, obviously intrigued by Bjarni’s tales, he bought Bjarni’s ship off of him and set out in the direction of the mysterious new land. He is believed to have first landed on a rocky island he called “Helluland” (which many believe is Baffin Island), before going on to a second stop that he called “Markland” (presumed to be Labrador), and then venturing to his “Vinland” (whose location has been the subject of much debate).


Erik the Red was set to join Leif on his first North American expedition, but he left the crew after falling off his horse on the way to board the ship. Erik wasn’t injured, but he took the fall as a bad omen—even if it wasn’t one bad enough to get his son to stop his plan.


Erik’s bad omens aside, Leif and his crew stayed on in Vinland for a winter, and when they made their return to Greenland in the spring, they picked up yet another group of castaways on the way home. Thus, the punchy nickname “Leif the Lucky” was born. Sorry, papa Erik. (Some stories hold that Leif made his rescue on his way back from a second voyage to North America, but that nickname sticks.) 


Good luck with this debate. Some people believe that Vinland is around the Cape Cod area, while others swear it’s in the north of Newfoundland. Still others believe that “Vinland” as a name applies to a wide region, not just one spot. What we do know, however, is that there is a Norse settlement at the northern tip of Newfoundland and signs of similar settlements around Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence. While Cape Cod doesn’t have the same evidence to back up strangely persistent beliefs that it was actually the site of Vinland, there is a stone wall in Provincetown that has been attributed to Leif’s younger brother, Thorvald. Nice work, kiddo.


Leif got hip to Christianity after a trip to Norway that resulted in his becoming a bit of a consultant to King Olaf Tryggvason, and he quickly tried to convert his family and friends once he landed back in Greenland. His mother, Thjóðhildr, was so into Leif’s religious awakening that she too became a Christian and even built her own church, called Thjóðhild's Church. Erik wasn’t so keen on the idea, and steadfastly stayed with his Norse paganism. 


Despite some claims that Leif returned to Vinland, it’s generally believed he didn’t—but that he sent out younger brother Thorvald instead (perhaps that’s where that stone wall came from). Two years after Leif’s discovery of North America, Thorvald borrowed his ship and set out to see it for himself. For a couple of years, Thorvald and his men explored the coastal areas, until a “skirmish” with Native Americans reportedly ended in Thorvald’s death. He is believed to be the first European to die and be buried in North America, which is a sad distinction, but a distinction nonetheless.

reprinted from Mental Floss - October 9th, 2013



 Better late than never!
Here are photos from our Midsummer's / Sankthansaften gathering with the Snorre Chapter last month.
In addition to the bonfire, we had great weather, good food, and amazing company (30+ people!). It was a good time had by all.
Thank you to Halvor Rusdal and Tom Berglie for the photos.
For those that didn't make it, we hope to see you next year! 🇺🇸🇳🇴

NST Membership: - $25 per person / $30 per family

You can sign up or renew your membership on the NST web page. 
NST memberships are good for 12 months from registration date.

Norwegian Society of Texas Web page

Tusen Takk
to all of you who attended our 2018 Juletrefest.  It was a great success with savory food and fine fellowship.  It was YOU who made the gathering so much fun!! Thanks to Brent Sjoseth for accepting and being elected President and Erik Fossum accepting and being elected Treasurer. Special Thanks to Mari-Anne Moore for her 4 years as Hovedstad Chapter Treasurer (2014-2018) and Erik Fossum for 4 years as Hovedstad Chapter President (2014-2018).

Turgoose Jazz Trio ( was outstanding!  Thank you Erik Fossum and Lisa Westerbeck for making it happen!
It was wonderful to hear Randi Parker, Carol Stimson, Erik Fossum, Lydia Fitzmaurice, & Maren Bridges sing Christmas Carols along with the band!

Special thanks go to:
Pam Rabon for her hours of enthusiastic help with so many of the event details.  She also printed name tags / programs and provided all the beverages.
Celeste Holbrook for her energetic support.  She picked up all the food,  helped me unload and reload my car. Rolled 75 napkins with red ribbon. Basically, anything I needed help with.
Randy and Sherry Lee for collecting dinner admission, membership dues, raffle money and silent auction money. Randy also shared some interesting info on St Lucia’s Day.
Sherry Lee for setting up the silent auction table.
Don Gaskin for once again coming as our Nisse !
Randi Parker and Kay Knutsen for providing children’s treats for Nisse.
Kay Knutsen for putting up the flags and providing Norge tourist guides.
Randi Parker, Anna Marie & Mike Leystra, Maren Bridges for the handmade table decorations.
Leila Tackett for the LED candles.
Yvonne Connell for reciting the lovely prayer.
Lydia Fitzmaurice for wearing her exquisite Bunad and explaining the specific details.
Everyone who brought silent auction items!
Marne Olson for donating the beautiful Norwegian sweater to the Raffle.
Janet Merideth for donating the special dog collar/leash and embroidered pillow cases to the Raffle.
Ella and Zoe Holbrook for helping Randy Lee with the Raffle drawing!  It was a huge success!!
Everyone who brought the delicious desserts, mashed potatoes and rutabaga !!
Marne Olson for the mountains of delicate Krumkake & Rosettes.
The Sunde Family for the exceptional Kranskake !  Again !!
Pam Rabon, Celeste Holbrook, Randi Parker, Kay Knutsen, Anna Marie & Mike Leystra, Maren Bridges, Randy & Sherry Lee for the amazing “set up in an hour” and amazing “clean up in an hour”
You guys are a MACHINE !!

Hovedstad - Syttende Mai 2014

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events

2024 Chapter Officers

    President – Caroline Merideth
    Vice-President – Deborah Holbrook
    Treasurer – Erik Fossum
    Financial Secretary – Randy Lee
    Secretary – Christina Moore
    Membership/communications – Position open, please inquire

Contact Information

Hovedstad Chapter Norwegian Society of Texas
Austin, TX 78704

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