Skål! Scandinavian Spirits presented by Aalborg and Linie Aquavits

August 12, 2016 – December 31, 2016

Photos—Randi Berg. Model—Matt Spencer.


For centuries, alcoholic beverages have played a role in spirited Scandinavian celebrations, inspiring amazing folk art and raising the ire of Temperance and religious leaders. Vesterheim invites you to raise your glass in a skål to these traditions by visiting this exciting exhibition.

Curated by the Museum of Danish America and presented by Aalborg and Linie Aquavits, this traveling exhibition shares the history and traditions of drinking culture in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and how those traditions carried into the U.S. with immigrants. The exhibition focuses on beer and aquavit—the traditional flavored spirit of Scandinavia that means “the water of life.”

Drinking traditions offer one way for Scandinavian Americans to connect to their heritage. Scandinavians have brewed beer for over 1,500 years. In pre-Christian times, the Norse god Odin was credited with teaching humans how to brew beer, and drinking beer was often involved in worship and as offering to the deities. Beer was part of battle victory celebrations and sometimes drinking challenges. In the 1500s, distilled liquor became known through Scandinavia as a medical cure-all. Early distilling efforts often produced awful flavors, so herbs and other plants were used to improve the taste—creating what is now known as aquavit.


We had a great time on Sept. 9 and 10 at the opening events! Claus Toftkjær, Brand Ambassador for Aalborg and Linie Aquavits, showed us what aquavit was all about and Tova Brandt from the Museum of Danish America gave us a tour of the exhibition. Find pictures from the events here and photo booth pictures here.

More special events in connection with the exhibition are in the works for this fall. Check back!


Lexi from the Old Ballard Liquor Company in Seattle, Washington, will teach two workshops about aquavit in October. Find information here

Vesterheim’s presentation of this exhibition is sponsored by Dennis Johnson, The Edward Jones Investment Offices of Dick Cuvelier and Troy Whitehill, A&J Petersburg Agency, and Dennis Larson.