News story | Date: 18/09/2023 | Office of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has been on a two-day visit to Minnesota, one of the US states with the closest historical and cultural ties to Norway. Some 850 000 of the state’s inhabitants are of Norwegian heritage. The Prime Minster had the chance to meet with soldiers and students who have close ties to Norway.
Mr Støre had a meeting in Minneapolis with US Senator Amy Klobuchar. The meeting took place at Norway House, a hub for Norwegian arts, business and culture in the Midwest.
‘We discussed the deep historical ties between Minnesota and Norway and our close, ongoing collaboration. Cooperation across the Atlantic is essential to address the challenges that we and the world at large are facing. Our joint support to Ukraine and our shared ambitions for the green transition highlight the importance of this,’ said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The Prime Minister also paid a visit to Camp Ripley, the training area for the Minnesota National Guard which has cooperated closely with the Norwegian Home Guard for over 50 years. Approximately 100 soldiers from the Home Guard travel to Camp Ripley every year to train with the National Guard under the Norwegian/United States Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX). A corresponding number of US soldiers travel to Værnes in Trøndelag in Norway for training under Norwegian climatic conditions. The exchange increases understanding and military insight, and provides us with better soldiers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Approximately 850 000 people – or one-sixth of all Minnesotans – have Norwegian roots, and a number of institutions continue to maintain close ties to Norway. This was evident when the Prime Minister met students at St. Olaf College, located just outside the state capital. The college was founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1874 and its curriculum includes programmes for the study of Norwegian culture, history and language.
‘I have really enjoyed coming to Minnesota and spending time with the Norwegian-American community here. The close historical and cultural ties between our two countries form one of the pillars of our relationship with the US, Norway’s most important ally. It is inspiring to see the deep mark that Norwegian immigrants have made here in the Midwest and to see so many young Americans who still take a keen interest in their Norwegian heritage,’ said Mr Støre.