10 of the most Swedish places in the US

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10 of the most Swedish places in the US
The water tower in Lindström, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr Creative Commons

The US is littered with towns founded by Swedes which show plenty of signs of their origins. The Local takes a look at some of the still evident ties between the two countries in the form of 10 very Swedish places in the US.


Kingsburg (California)

One of several places in the US with the moniker 'little Sweden' (more of those to come later), Kingsburg's location in the southwest of the US means the climate couldn't be much more different to Sweden, but its Swedish roots are visible.

From the Dala horses dotted around the town, to the Swedish architecture, Swedish food for sale in local cafes and annual Swedish festival, the connection with the Nordic nation is still very much alive in the town settled by a Swede in 1886. More than anything else, the water tower shaped like a giant Swedish coffee pot gives the game away – though amazingly it's not the best one in the US.


Photo: Johan Bilian/Flickr Creative Commons

Wausa (Nebraska)

The name (a combination of 'Vasa' and 'USA') gives the game away for Wausa, Nebraska, which most notably hosts a giant smörgåsbord festival each year, dishing up meatballs, rice pudding and more to the locals.

READ ALSO: Ten Swedes who made a lasting impression on the US

There's evidence of Swedishness all over the place: a local store that stocks lutefisk, Dala horse imagery can be found on buildings, and there are also various allusions to vikings in the form of store names or novelty road signs.


Thorsby (Alabama)

Alabama and liberal Sweden may not appear to have much in common, but the small town of Thorsby owes much to the European country.

It was settled by Scandinavians in 1865, contains plenty of buildings with Swedish architecture, and hosts an annual Swedish Fest celebrating its roots.


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Lindsborg (Kansas)

This Kansas town also lays claim to the title of "little Sweden", and was settled by Swedes from Värmland in 1869.

A nature trail named "Välkommen", community playground "Viking Valley" located in "Swensson Park", Dala horse factory and an inn which replicates a traditional Swedish home are some of the highlights.

Photo: Chris Brooks/Flickr Creative Commons

Lindström (Minnesota)

With its wooden buildings and setting on the water, Lindström in Minnesota could easily pass for a Swedish town, and its own coffee-pot shaped water tower displaying the message "Välkommen till Lindström" seals the deal.

READ ALSO: Old Swedish town in US spelling row

Settled by Daniel Lindström in 1853, early resident Erik Norelius would end up having a significant influence on Swedish culture back in his homeland when his journal accounts of the experience of emigrating influenced Vilhelm Moberg's classic "The Emigrants" novels. There's even an annual festival – the Karl Oskar day – in tribute to the book’s main character.

Photo: Doug Kerr, Flickr Creative Commons

New Sweden (Maine)

The skyline of this small town in the northeast of the US is dominated by the Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church, a building that closely resembles a style of architecture common in churches back in Sweden.

The annual midsummer parties, Lucia celebrations, and a stuga museum where an early immigrant wooden home is preserved help to keep the Swedish side to the area alive.

Photo: RJ6505/Flickr Creative Commons

Mora (Minnesota)

Home to a 25-foot Dala horse and Swedish bell tower, Mora's biggest Sweden-related claim to fame is being the ending point of the Vasaloppet USA, where cross-country skiers imitate the race back in Sweden.

READ ALSO: Exploring Sweden's linguistic history in the United States

An early settler gave the village its name in the 1870s, borrowing it from his hometown in Dalarna.

Swedesboro (New Jersey)

Settled back when Sweden was still considered something of a European power in the 1600s, this long-standing New Jersey town features an ode to Swedish construction in the form of the Nothnagle Log Cabin, which is one of the oldest wooden structure in the Americas. The town also boasts the "Old Swedes' Church", which was built in 1703 and is faithfully Swedish in its design.

Photo: Mike Petrucci/Flickr Creative Commons

Scandia (Minnesota)

Once home to some of the earliest Swedish immigrants to the US, Scandia in Minnesota helps preserve its origins through the Gammelgården museum, built in the style of an old Swedish farmhouse complete with red paint job.

There are a variety of Swedish wooden buildings in the town, traditional Swedish goods and food on sale in the museum store, and an exhibition on Swedish folk culture to take in.

Sveadal (California)

Founded in the 1920s by the Swedish American Patriotic League (an organization promoting Swedish-American heritage in the Bay Area), Sveadal is a unique Swedish-American retreat near San Francisco which features Swedish-style buildings, a carving by Swedish woodcarver Emil Janel, and an annual Midsummer celebration.

The retreat has even hosted genuine Swedish royalty: Gustav VI Adolf visited in 1927 when he was still Crown Prince.


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Anonymous 2020/11/18 17:36
I'm surprised Bishop Hill, Illinois didn't make this list as its the home of the VASA Club archives and they fly the Swedish flag along with the American Flag on main street. They have a delicious Swedish bakery as well as.

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