What the royal couple will do at St. Olaf College

Arriving in St. Paul

“It has so many vowels in it and my students always struggle with that one. So we’ve been really working on it.”

St. Olaf College professor Kari Lie, whose class of Norwegian-language students are practicing saying Hyggelig Ka mHote Deres Majesteter (“Nice to meet your majesties”) along with other basic Norwegian expressions in advance of Norwegian King Harald V and Queen Sonja.

The royal couple will visit Lie’s class when they hit the college tomorrow as part of an 8-day Minnesota-Iowa tour. (You can read more from the Associated Press report on MPR’s Web site here.)

The king and queen will be at the college “from 10:51 to 2:40,” St. Olaf spokesman David Gonnerman told me. “The visit is timed to the minute.”

On the visit, a group students will also play for the royal couple the Hardanger fiddle, a traditional instrument of Norway, the Pioneer Press reports.

The king and queen will eat a lunch at the college and attend a Sammenkomst ceremony, but tickets are sold out. Those on campus can watch the proceedings on a monitor in the Viking Theater in Buntrock Commons and Tomson Hall 280, and the event will be streamed live and archived online.

More information can be found here.

It’s the third time King Harald has visited, and the second as king.

“We’re all excited but a bit nervous,” Gonnerman said.

St. Olaf College was founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1874, and the college has maintainted close ties with Norway ever since. In addition to the language and Hardanger programs, St. Olaf also teaches Skandinavian history.

Gonnerman told me:

“There are a lot of Norwegian students who study here, and St. Olaf students who spend time in Norway, including on Fulbright Scholarships. So we’re on Norway’s radar screen. I’m told many Norwegians are aware of St. Olaf College.”