“It’s a great feeling to be Norwegian in the Mid-West.”- Eivind Heiberg
Heiberg describes his new role with a combination of humility and enthusiasm: “It is a great honor,” he says. “I look forward to helping build and maintain strong ties between Norway and the upper Midwest.”
He puts his work in both a regional and transatlantic context. “This job presents an opportunity to capitalize on the synergy that exists between the missions of both Sons of Norway and the Honorary Consulate General for the benefit of the entire Norwegian-American community of the upper Midwest. It is exciting, and a lot to take in. I already have consular-related activities booked until August 2016, so I will be busy,” he adds. Working out of downtown Minneapolis with two employees and one intern, the Consulate also helps with practical visa and travel issues.
Born and raised in Halden, Heiberg migrated to the US at age 17 to study and never moved back to Norway. He now lives with his family in Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, but visits his parents and siblings whenever he is in Norway. He is very proud of his hometown, and when Norwegians Worldwide meets him in Oslo he is on his way to family gatherings in Halden.
Sons of Norway
Heiberg will combine his role as consul general with his job as CEO of the Sons of Norway. The Sons of Norway was founded to protect members and their families from the financial hardships experienced during times of sickness or death in the family. Over time, the mission of Sons of Norway has expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage. The organization has grown substantially since its beginning and is now the largest Norwegian-American organization outside Norway. Heiberg’s broad network was one of the reasons he was appointed Honorary Consul General, and his experience will doubtless be an advantage in his new position.
Norway in Minnesota
Heiberg points out that the Consulate in Minnesota is very visible in the region: “Norway plays a big part in education and business here, and for such a small country Norway makes a big difference. It’s a great feeling to be Norwegian in the Mid-West. Ever since I came to the US for the first time I have felt welcome,” He says. Looking forward Heiberg also mentions coming events for Norwegian students in the Mid-West. He stresses the importance of including the younger generation. “It’s a great place to study, as I have experienced first-hand. I had a very enlightening and treasured time as a student here.”
The Consulate General in Minneapolis is a key mission for Norway in the Mid-West. Norway has had a diplomatic presence in Minnesota since 1906. The state is home to almost 900,000 people who claim Norwegian descent, the largest such block outside of Norway. The Honorary Consulate serves primarily the state of Minnesota, but assists fellow Honorary Consulates in the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.