Around the World in Houston: Discover Scandinavia

Scandinavian Folkdancers | Photo courtesy of The Swedish Club of Houston

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

From Viking school and Danish clubs to a smörgåsbord of Swedish eats, here’s how to get a taste of Scandinavian culture in Houston.

Cultural Organizations & Language Classes

  • The Swedish Club of Houston This local club brings together Swedes, Swedish descendants, and all people who are interested in the culture and heritage of Sweden in and around the Houston area. The club language is English, so all are welcome to partake in Swedish culture and food, with several annual events (from Valborgsmässoafton celebrations to Smörgåsbord feasts) and a year-round Swedish Language School teaching Swedish for beginners to advanced level. Join the Facebook group to follow along.
  • Vikingeskolen The Viking school is a Danish Saturday school that promotes the Danish language, culture, and traditions for children and adults in the Houston area.
  • The Danish Club of HoustonIn cooperation with the Danish American Chamber of Commerce SW and other local Scandinavian organizations, this club organizes various events throughout the year, including an annual Christmas party (Julefest), Christmas church service (Julegudstjeneste), Children’s Christmas Party (Juletræsfest), Fastelavn (Danish version of Mardi Gras), Midsummer party, soccer matches, and special events like Smørrebrød dinner parties. Follow along on Facebook.
  • The Norwegian Society of Texas The Snorre (Houston) chapter of this heritage society preserves and promotes Norwegian heritage via events, scholarships and more.

Scandinavian Food & Drink

  • Ikea HoustonYou’ll find a smörgåsbord of Scandinavian fare—from Swedish meatballs and herring fillets to våfflor (waffles) and lingonberry preserves—at this Scandinavian furniture and home goods chain.
  • ValhallaNamed after the great hall where “Odin receives the souls of heroes fallen bravely in battle” in Norse mythology, Valhalla is a hidden pub on Rice University. Though this hall is much smaller, you’ll find it packed with graduate students and alumni looking to throwing back ale like Norse gods.

Other Notables

  • Scandinavian Folkdancers of Houston Organized in 1972, this dance group displays Scandinavian folk dances from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, along with aspects of Scandinavian culture and heritage. The group performs at Scandinavian churches, clubs, and events, as well as festivals such as the Houston International Festival (Houston, Texas), Viking Fest (Georgetown, Texas), and the Texas Folklife Festival (San Antonio, Texas).