Scandinavian Cultural Center Brings Nordic Arts, Culture To New EnglandJanuary 16, 2019
Aiming to bring the best in the Nordic arts and culture to New England, the Scandinavian Cultural Center (SCC) is a great resource for those who want to explore traditional and contemporary Nordic culture and other complementary experiences.
Located in West Newton, Mass., just 10 miles outside of Boston, the center sees more than 30,000 guests a year and credits some of its success to the strong Nordic culture in the Boston area.
“While the Scandinavian and Nordic population is not as concentrated as it once was, there is still a lot of activity in this area,” said Kerry Lavin, director of the SCC. “The Swedish Women’s Education Association of Boston has been pivotal in the success of what we do at the SCC and even founded the Kaffestugan, our weekly pop-up Scandinavian café. We also work in conjunction with the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce – New England, Sons of Norway, Finlandia Foundation, Icelandic Association of Boston and the Danish School of Boston.”
The SCC operates between the months of September and June and offers visitors three unique spaces to experience all things Scandinavian.
The Scandinavian Library
Founded 1994 as a meeting place for people from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland in the greater Boston area, the Scandinavian Library has a collection of more than 6,000 books by Nordic authors and was completely run by volunteers until 2010. Most of the materials found in the library can be borrowed for up to one month; check out its full catalog here.
The Nordic Hall
The Nordic Hall is the primary performance and exhibition space for the Scandinavian Cultural Center. Inspired by the aesthetic of Swedish painter Carl Larsson, it opened in the fall of 2001 and is a beautiful, airy hall ideal for art exhibitions or installations as well as performances and lectures. The hall is equipped with a state-of-the-art audio-visual system and projection screen and accommodates an audience of 100.
The Kaffestugan, one of the only places in the region that serves traditional Swedish open-faced sandwiches and classic Swedish pastries, is a must-try for Swedish foodies. The Kaffestugan is only open on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. though, so we recommend planning your trip accordingly as the menu alone is worth a trip to the SCC. Some notable menu items include: Swedish waffles with lingonberry jam and whipped cream, open-faced shrimp sandwiches, salmon and meatball sandwiches, dammsugare (aka punsch-roll), biskvier, coffee rings, cardamom buns and Prinsesstårta.
The SCC also works hard to bring its members and guests a diverse group of events throughout the year.
“Food events are wildly popular here,” Lavin said. “Some friendly banter between our Swedish board president and our Italian executive director resulted in a Meatball Battle: Sweden vs. Italy ‘Two great countries. Two Beloved Meatballs. Which ball is best? You decide!’ It will be a lighthearted competition filled with delicious food and playful competition.”
For those interested, the Meatball Battle will be taking place on Feb. 9, 2019 at 6 p.m.
Additionally, visitors can attend other great events throughout the year, such as the Fika Sound Series (featuring Scandinavian musicians) or art exhibits featuring “all things Swedish.” Check out the full list of events here.
Whether you’re a local, or just visiting, make sure to check out the Scandinavian Cultural Center the next time you have a free afternoon in the Boston area.