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The Heart of the Heartland: Norwegian American Community in the Twin Cities


An in-depth look at the Norwegian American community of Minneapolis–St. Paul and its deep and complex role in the economic, political, and cultural life of the Twin Cities over more than 170 years.

Since the earliest days of European settlement in the region, tens of thousands of Norwegians have found their way to Minnesota. Many early arrivals settled in the cities, while others who initially chose the countryside departed for urban settings after they had become accustomed to the ways of their adopted home. The growing Twin Cities became home to Norwegian immigrants and their migrating compatriots alike.

These Norwegian Americans took up employment in a range of fields. They also assembled in churches and charitable organizations, carrying on homeland traditions even as they took on prominent roles in the larger urban community. Minnesotans of Norwegian descent in the twenty-first century may not speak their ancestral tongue, but they lovingly uphold many cultural practices of their ancestral home.

The Heart of the Heartland brings together personal interviews, demographic research, and archival exploration to inform stories of assimilation, ascendency, and collaboration among Minnesota’s Norwegian Americans and their neighbors over 170 years. 

This book is a copublication with the Norwegian American Historical Association.