King Olav of Norway To Rekindle Bonds With Minnesotans
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ The 84-year-old king of Norway will have Thanksgiving Day dinner with a suburban family this week as part of his sixth visit to a state with deep ties to his country.
″The king has a great affinity for his countrymen and really loves this area,″ said Liv Lyons, spokeswoman for the Sons of Norway, a cultural group in Minneapolis.
″He asked to come,″ said Ulf Christiansen, a Norwegian foreign affairs officer helping to coordinating the event.
One Minnesotan in six, about 712,000 people, claimed some Norwegian ancestry in the 1980 census. Wisconsin had the next largest Norse population, with 391,000. The number is smaller but the proportion higher in North Dakota, where 184,000 people, or 30 percent, claimed some Norwegian ancestry.
King Olav visited Minnesota twice while he was crown prince - in 1939 and 1942. Since becoming king 30 years ago he has visited Minnesota in 1968, 1975 and 1982. His visit this year is unofficial, an extension of a state visit to Canada.
King Olav is scheduled to arrive in Minnesota Tuesday. On Wednesday he’ll visit St. Olaf College in Northfield and return to the Twin Cities Thursday for a private reception at Augsburg College and Thanksgiving dinner in the affluent suburb of Edina at the home of Lawrence O. Hauge.
The only public event planned for the king’s stay is a dinner Friday at a Minneapolis Hotel.
Olav became king in 1957 when his father, King Haakon VII, died. Haakon was named king of Norway in 1905, when the country dissolved its union with Sweden.
On Saturday, Olav will fly to Decorah, Iowa, to visit the Vesterheim Nowegian-American Museum and return to Minneapolis. On Sunday, he will fly to Washington, where he will meet President Reagan Monday before leaving for Norway.