Just like the migratory Chaffinches of Scandinavia, the daughters of Brooklyn’s Norse diaspora return to the borough each year for an age-old contest of Viking womanhood.
Six young Scandinavian princesses — travelling from as far away as Manhattan, Staten Island, New Jersey, and Long Island — came to the Norwegian Christian Home on 67th Street in Dyker Heights to compete in the Norwegian Immigration Association’s 58th Annual Miss Norway competition on March 23.
Organizer Arlene Rutuelo — owner of Third Avenue staple Nordic Delicacies, and chairwoman of the Norwegian Independence Day Parade — had five judges appraise each girl’s appearance, eloquence, accomplisments, and poise in front of an audience of 200 before selecting Garden State native Amy Lindland as the winner.
Though none of the young ladies were from Brooklyn — continuing a trend of the past few years — Rutuelo said the contest was a hopeful sign for the community, since it helped promote the idea of once heavily Scandinavian Southern Brooklyn as a place for people of Norwegian descent to visit.
“We used to find not having many contestants from Brooklyn discouraging, but we think of it now as getting people to come back here as a destination,” said Rutuelo.
To that end, the Norwegian Immigration Association also held its Miss Norway Junior Cadet event on Saturday, where 18 girls as young as seven dressed in traditional garb and answered judges’ questions on stage. Rutuelo said the pageants are a way of both preserving Nordic history and Brooklyn’s own rich cultural roots.
“These events are important because they preserve the Scandinavian traditions that started here in Brooklyn, and cast them on to future generations, and get young people to learn their heritage, and hopefully like it.”Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma