A Visit To Norway In Decorah, Iowa

Decorah, Iowa is home to the Vesterheim: The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center. Are you Norwegian? If so, this is a must visit. If you are not Norwegian? You need to visit, as you will appreciate a Norwegian, unlike you ever have before.

museum entrance

If you live in the midwest like I do, chances are you know several Norwegians. I have a lot of Norwegian in me, and people can often tell by my accent. If you have heard me speak, do you think I have that Norwegian accent? I personally don’t think I do, but you all know how that goes.

Ship at Vesterheim

Looking down and standing next to a wooden ship was quite breath taking. I had a hard time fathoming how someone would sail miles and miles for days on end, in a wooden boat. Many folks that came to the United States, arrived in ships like this. A visit to this museum made me appreciate my great grandparents and all they had to go through to arrive in this country.

Early Norwegians are known to have loved their butter and sugar, because it’s cheap. And I of course, love lefse that is swimming in butter and sugar. I am a true Norwegian when it comes to a love of butter and sugar. In the museum there are several authentic Norwegian cooking utensils, furniture accompanied with a lot of amazing history.

Norwegians love their fabrics. Looms were and continue to be a part of the Norwegian way of life.



Rosemaling and decorative painting are another piece of the Norwegian heritage. These pieces really caught my eye, as the detail is unbelievable. I will confess, I do not have the patience to paint like this.


There is something for everyone at the Vesterheim Norwegian Gallery in Decorah, Iowa. This is a glimpse of this stunning museum you will find in Decorah. The outdoor buildings are open during the warmer months and offer more insight into the Norwegian way of life. With educational classes and traveling displays, the museum always has something going on.

Want to learn more about the Norwegian culture? Nordic Fest is slated for July 28-30, 2016. This is a family friendly event which draws people in from all across the globe. Hotel rooms fill up fast, as do camping sites, so reserve your spot as soon as possible.

After a day of exploring the Norwegian Heritage, I’d like to suggest that you experience a taste of Italian at Mabe’s Pizza. One of the best places to find a slice of pizza in the midwest.

So, tell me! Are you interested in learning more about the Norwegian Culture? If so, I’d love to hear when you plan to visit Decorah.

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20 comments on “A Visit To Norway In Decorah, Iowa

  1. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

  2. I love all this history and information! I had no idea about this in Iowa but it’s definitely something to check out now! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Who knew you could find a little it of Norway in Iowa! I love Norwegian textiles & decorative painting so this post really caught my eye. I’ll definitely keep this in mind if I’m ever in the region, thanks!

  4. The huge wooden ship, the decorative paintings are simply awesome, This museum is definitely one place we should not miss when we visit Norway. It is beautiful and will be added to our list when we visit Norway.

  5. Just the kind of place I love. I am definitely gonna visit here when I am in Norway!

  6. I love the colour of the weavings and the pottery! So much character

  7. Ardith Nierling on said:

    I’m so lucky as I get to call Decorah, IA home.

  8. SaraB on said:

    I know. Can you imagine crossing a large body of water in that boat?

  9. The museum is indeed fascinating, and the boat on display set me thinking of the brave men and women who have crossed the seven seas, literally weathering many a storm.

  10. So much fun! I’m starting to learn about more and more of these small towns throughout the US that emulate their home country in Europe. Like Solvang in California – it’s a little slice of Denmark. Thanks for introducing me to Decorah!

  11. SaraB on said:

    That sounds like a fun gig, being a tour guide in Ireland. Yes, there’s a lot of good food that also plays into the Norwegian heritage.

  12. SaraB on said:

    Norway is on my travel to list~ I need to get there!

  13. SaraB on said:

    This was an interesting museum, one that kept me interested. Although, I have a lot of Norwegian blood in me, so that may have made the difference.

  14. SaraB on said:

    Fun fact: My family settled in Iowa… My Mom and family are 100% Norwegian. Yes, I did say pizza and it’s good!

  15. I’ve been fascinated by Norwegian culture since training to be a tour guide with Dublinia in Ireland. They’re a heritage centre specialising in Viking and Medieval Dublin history. Of course there’s more to Norway than the Vikings but it’s a big part of its history.

  16. I knew that Nordic settlers ended up in Minnesota and other northern states but not Iowa. Very interesting! And did someone say pizza? Mmmmmm.

  17. Carol Colborn on said:

    Sounds great! We have been to Norway and this should elicit fond memories.

  18. I’m not a big museum person but this sounds interesting. I have yet to visit Norway but it’s high on my list- it looks so beautiful!

  19. SaraB on said:

    I have A LOT of Norwegian in me, so it made this museum extra fun! So glad you married someone with that great Norwegian ancestry!

  20. My husband has a Norwegian ancestor!

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