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87-year-old Norwegian to keep visiting North Dakota as long as he can. So far, he's been here 44 times

Norwegian tour group
From left to right: Karl Nyland, Nils Slatto Odden, Liv Hoyland and Carrol Juven at the Sons of Norway club in Fargo. Nyland has been to North Dakota 44 times, with his first visit coming in 1975. Raju Chaduvula / The Forum

FARGO — The first time Karl Nyland visited Fargo was in 1975. He was a farmer who came here with a group who wanted to see Midwest American farming techniques.

In the decades since Nyland's inaugural trip, he's returned to North Dakota again and again for a total of 44 visits to see friends he’s made here as well as to attend Norsk Høstfest, an annual Scandinavian festival held in Minot.

For visit No. 44, the 87-year-old retiree is part of a tour group arranged by 83-year-old Carrol Juven of Fargo, through Juven Tours and Travel. Several of Nyland's fellow travelers have also been to North Dakota numerous times.

Nils Slatto Odden, 61, and Liv Hoyland, 60, both from Norway, said they’ve visited the area 10 or 12 times through Juven’s travel agency, with Odden serving as a bus driver for the tour group.

All three said they keep coming back to Fargo and North Dakota because of the people they meet and because of how open people are about learning and keeping up Norwegian culture and tradition. People “are more Norwegian here than they are at home,” Hoyland said.


Nyland, who was translated by Hoyland and Juven, said he finds it very nice that North Dakotans keep up Norwegian traditions. He said he liked the landscape, “loved the people ... liked everything here” since his first visit in 1975.

The tour group leaves Tuesday morning, Sept. 24, for Norsk Høstfest. Hoyland said festival-goers, including herself and Odden, will be dressed up in traditional attire that symbolizes where they are from in Norway and their family heritages.

Juven, who's emceed the festival for nearly 42 years, said it lasts for four days and draws about 70,000 people each year.

Nyland said he will continue visiting North Dakota as long as he can. Juven added that Nyland likes to come whenever he can but travels specifically for the festival because he “enjoys it and the people know him there.”

Juven said he’s been arranging trips for about 51 years and that he's sent nearly 49,000 people to visit Norway, many of whom have family there. Hoyland said she sometimes helps the travelers connect with distant relatives.

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