Tucked in a lush green forest in southwest Portland is a secluded pocket of international culture. Nordic culture, to be specific.
Not to be confused with Scandinavia — which includes Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Nordic Northwest focuses on those countries, plus Iceland and Finland. Nordic Northwest also houses Nordia House.
“It’s for anybody who wants to learn about Scandinavian and Nordic countries, Experience the food and cultural traditions but also understand contemporary society in Denmark and Norway and Sweden and Finland and Iceland,” said Nordic Northwest Board Vice-President Brady Jensen.
It’s open to the public and admission is free. The four-acre campus offers indoor and outdoor activities. And perhaps the biggest attraction these days is a newcomer to the Nordic Northwest.
“A Danish-built troll, part of an exhibit of trolls built throughout the Pacific Northwest,” Jensen said.
Mind you, it’s not just any old troll. Meet meet Ole Bolle. The giant troll is seen lifting the roof off a house to peek inside.
“Our troll specifically, Ole Bolle, has come out of the wilderness because he smells something yummy and he wants to open up the ‘cookie jar’ and see what’s inside,” Jensen said.
What he finds is unclear.you
“Is he smelling the humans? The little people inside the cookie jar? Or is it what we think it really is — the sweet buns.” Jensen said.
“He’s he’s the curious troll. That was his original name was curious troll,” he continued. “And the experience is just magic when you see him interacting with the house and and the way, if you go inside, you can look up and see his face.”
Danish recycle artist Thomas Dambo and his team constructed Ole Bolle last summer. Every piece of the troll is recycled material.
Since Olle Bolle arrived, he’s been a hit with visitors young and old.
“Everybody is just so entranced. I talked to a lot of people who who say things like, ‘Oh, it just brings joy. Makes me smile. Children love it,” Jensen said.
Nordia House has art exhibits and even a cafe. And there’s also an old log home on the campus called Fogelbo that is packed with antique Swedish heirlooms and it is open for tours.
Nordic Northwest is located in southwest Portland near Washington Square on Oleson Road.