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Heritage Telemark

In the period from 1836 to 1930, more than 850 000 Norwegians travelled from Norway to America, and today there are possibly more "Norwegians" in the USA than there are in the "Old country".

A lot of people also from Telemark left for America during those years, times were hard in Norway and "the Promised land" tempted in the West. There are 44 303 people registered who left from Telemark to America in this period, most of them settled in the Midwest.

It is a very good connection between USA and Norway. Bridging the Atlantic and Midwest 2013-2015 is a project from Telemark County. Business development, education and cultural heritage is the themes of the project.

The Telemark delegation visiting Sondre Norheim gravesite during Norsk Høstfest in Minot 2014

The Midwest/USA 2013-2015 is a collaboration project between:
Telemark County Council, Porsgrunn High School and Søve College, Skien Municipality, Innovation
Norway/Telemark, High Schools in Telemark, Vekst I Grenland, Notodden Utvikling AS, Telemark Museum, West Telemark Museum, Telemarkreiser, Norsk Høstfest, The Norwegian Honorary Consulate in Minneapolis, Tysvar, American Chamber of Commerce in Norway and Minneapolis, Sons of Norway, Governor’s Offices of North Dakota and Minnesota, Minnesota Trade Office, University of North Dakota Innovation Centre, plus many other participants from Telemark and USA.

Focus areas for strategy and action in respect of “Midwest USA 2013–2015” will centre upon:

Business development:

Mobilise, follow up and develop potential networks vis- à-vis business environments in the SA/Midwest.
Main branches: Health/MedTech, environmental technology, ICT, and oil/gas. Arrange delegation visits with business seminars – “Telemark/Midwest/USA Week” – events.

Read the Annual Report 2014 from Minot Area Development Corporation here.


Increase student exchange visits between USA and Telemark at High School and College levels. Further develop and strengthen contact vis-à-vis current contact network in the Midwest for relevant schools. Increase participation in national/international projects. Proceed with stipendiary arrangements vis-à-vis Minot State University in North Dakota etc. Prepare the groundwork for school collaborations at college level.

Cultural heritage/Museum and attractions development:

Mobilize relevant participants in Telemark and further develop contact networks connected with relevant American museums and travel operators. Participate with a stand at Norsk Høstfest, and strengthen work on Sondre Norheim vis-à-vis the American market. Work with Telemark skiing and Olympic Games backing, plus further develop the website “Telemark Heritage”.

On Norsk Høstfest in Minot 2014, Tarjei Gjelstad from the skimuseum in Morgedal making skis.

Brochure Bridging the Atlantic

We have also a website and of course you will find us on Facebook. 

On our website you can find information on how to check to see whether you have "Telemark blood" in your veins.

Our wish for the website is that it will help you find your Norwegian roots in Telemark. As we unfortunately do not have any genealogist at hand, we will not be able to help you with your questions directly, but we can advise you on where to get help.  Through our links you can get in touch with people or web resources that can be of help in the search for your Norwegian ancestors.

Norsk Høsfest October 2008

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Vest-Telemark Museum




Museumsvegen 9, 3891 Høydalsmo


(+47) 35 06 90 90