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The Swenson Center offers fun learning opportunities for students of all ages! We offer Swedish language classes, craft workshops, and a Nordic Book Club. Learn more by expanding the sections on this page, or by following the events section on our Facebook page.   

Language students

Swedish Language Classes

NEW fall 2020 classes!

Want to continue learning Swedish online? This fall we will offer two classes that are designed for community members wishing to learn the Swedish language. Classes meet once a week for 60 minutes over 6 weeks. Students will learn skills in reading, writing, listening comprehension and speaking. 

Classes will be held virtually. Students will need a computer with a microphone, speakers and camera, internet access, and a Zoom account. Both classes will use the workbook Basic Swedish: A Grammar and Workbook by Ian Hinchliffe and Philip Holmes, ISBN: 978-1138779570.

Enrollment is set at a minimum of 5 students and a maximum of 20. Tell your friends! If classes don’t make enrollment they will be canceled. 

Swedish 2

This class has already started

This class is designed for those who took Swedish 1 with us already, or for those who have some basic knowledge of Swedish and want to build on their foundational skills. 
Ages: 12+
Instructor: Dr. Kimberly La Palm
Time: Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00pm Central
Dates: September 9, 16, 23, 30, October 7, 14
Cost: $115 Swenson Center member/$135 nonmember 
Register here by September 7!

Swedish 3
This class is designed for those who took Swedish 2 with us already, or those who have some more knowledge of Swedish and want to build on their skills. 
Ages: 12+
Instructor: Dr. Kimberly La Palm
Time: Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00pm Central
Dates: October 28, November 4, 11, 18, 25, December 2
Cost: $115 Swenson Center member/$135 nonmember 
Register here by October 26!

Stay tuned for the Spring where we hope to offer another round of Swedish 1 for beginners. 

Registration, Confirmation, Cancelations

Register for classes online. Registration is confirmed upon receipt of payment. Students will be notified if the class is canceled and will receive a full refund. If you need to cancel your registration you need to do so at least 7 days in advance of the beginning of class and you will receive a refund minus a $15 processing fee. If you cancel within 7 days of the start of class or after the class has begun you will not receive a refund. 

Note: These classes are different than the Swedish language classes offered for Augustana College students, but may be taught by the same faculty members. Augie students are welcome to sign up for the Swenson Center language classes, but they will not receive college credit and this class will not count toward the college language requirement. 



Book Club

Nordic Book Club is Virtual!

Read books on Nordic topics or by Nordic authors and participate in a guided discussion with other readers. 

We often try to pick titles available in both Swedish and English, with the discussion in English. This is a great option for advanced Swedish language learners to continue practicing their Swedish reading skills. Non-Swedish language learners are welcome to read the title in English!

Didn't have time to finish the book? We get it. Join us anyway to get inspired to finish the book! 

Facilitator: Lisa Huntsha, Swenson Center archivist/librarian
Date & Time: Second Tuesday of the month, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central 
Location: Virtual via Zoom
Cost: Free for Swenson Center members and Augie students/$10 nonmember

Register today!

Upcoming Titles


Anxious PeopleAnxious People: A Novel by Fredrick Backman. 

"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and “writer of astonishing depth” (The Washington Times) comes a poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined." --from Amazon

Book Club meeting: November 10, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central


Scandinavian Christmas bookA Very Scandinavian Christmas: The Greatest Nordic Holiday Stories of all Time compiled by New Vessel Press. 

"This collection brings together the best Scandinavian holiday stories including classics by Hans Christian Andersen of Denmark; Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, August Strindberg and Hjalmar Söderberg of Sweden; as well as the popular contemporary Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard. These Nordic tales—coming from the very region where so much of traditional Christmas imagery originates—convey a festive and contemplative spirit laden with lingonberries, elks, gnomes, Sami trolls, candles, church spires, gingerbread, and aquavit in abundance." --from Amazon

Book Club meeting: December 8, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central

myths coverJanuary

Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America by David M. Krueger, 2015. 

"In 1898, a Swedish immigrant farmer claimed to have discovered a large rock with writing carved into its surface in a field near Kensington, Minnesota. The writing told a North American origin story, predating Christopher Columbus’s exploration, in which Viking missionaries reached what is now Minnesota in 1362 only to be massacred by Indians. The tale’s credibility was quickly challenged and ultimately undermined by experts, but the myth took hold." --from Amazon

Book Club meeting: January 12, 2021, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central

Past Titles

Death CleaningOctober

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson.

"A charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life. In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, meaning 'death' and städning meaning 'cleaning.'" --from Amazon

Book Club meeting: October 13, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central 

book coverSeptember

The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

"A larger-than-life old man with a fondness for vodka goes on an unexpected adventure in this whimsical novel -- perfect for fans of Forrest Gump and A Man Called Ove." --from Amazon


A drop of midnight coverA Drop of Midnight by Jason Diakité -- with visit from the author! 

"World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history—from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden." --from Amazon

Book Club meeting: August 25, 2020, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Central Time (note new date & time). 


Swedish ChicagoSwedish Chicago: The Shaping of an Immigrant Community, 1880-1920 by Anita Olson Gustafson. 

"Between 1880 and 1920, emigration from Sweden to Chicago soared, and the city itself grew remarkably…Chicago influenced these Swedes' lives in profound ways, determining the types of jobs they would find, the variety of people they would encounter, and the locations of their neighborhoods…This engaging study will appeal to scholars and general readers interested in immigration and Swedish-American history." --excerpt from Goodreads


Things my son coverThings My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman, translated by Alice Menzies (Swedish title Saker min son behöver veta om världen)

"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove shares an irresistible and moving collection of heartfelt, humorous essays about fatherhood, providing his newborn son with the perspective and tools he’ll need to make his way in the world." --from Amazon


Canceled due to COVID-19. 


Canceled due to COVID-19.

Nearly Normal bookMarch 

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles (Swedish title En helt vanlig familj)

"M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller that forces the reader to consider: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life—and one another." --from Goodreads


Swede HollowSwede Hollow: A Novel by Ola Larsmo, translated by Tiina Nunnally (Swedish title Swede Hollow)

"A riveting family saga immersed in the gritty, dark side of Swedish immigrant life in America in the early twentieth century" --from Goodreads


Craft classes

Crafts Classes

Stay tuned for upcoming classes!

Family Tree

Genealogy Classes

Postponed until September 26, 2021

Sept. 26, 2021, all-day, Cost: TBD

We welcome the return of the popular SwedGenTour, a group of professional genealogists from Sweden who will give lectures on Swedish genealogy and searching records. The group will also perform one-on-one lookups for participants. Schedule will follow. Pre-registration will be required. 

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