King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway visited Luther College in Decorah, Iowa on October 13, 2011. While in Iowa, the King commented on how Norwegian immigrants to the state took a part of Norway with them to the new world and “nowhere is that more obvious than in Decorah.” This is the eight visit by Norwegian royalty to Luther College, which was founded by Norwegian immgrants. The King and Queen were last here in 1995. King Harald, who lived in the United States from the age of 3 until 8, when the royal family fled Norway, during World War II, also commented on how he has come to view the United States as a second home.
After a whirlwind visit to Iowa, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway’s next stop was the state of Minnesota. On October 14, 2011 the royal couple visited St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. The private liberal arts college is named after the patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II. The college is renowned for its music program and the St. Olaf Choir is famous for its a cappella choir, the premier choir of its kind in the U.S. The yearly tuition along with room and board at St. Olaf College is $47,000 U.S. and the total student body consists of a little over 3,000 students. In his remarks made at St. Olaf, King Harald said: “It has been said that God created the land while people created the cities. If that is true, Northfield and St. Olaf have been lucky both with God’s and men’s work.” King Harald went on to add: “Such a beautiful place must also harbor good people. There could not be a starker contrast to the tragedy that struck Norway and our young people in particular so hard on the 22nd of July this year. ”
On the afternoon of Friday, October 14, King Harald and Queen Sonja visited the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which is well known for its excellent medical research and practice. The royal couple was greeted by crowds waving Norwegian flags. King Harald’s father, King Olav, while still crown prince, visited the Mayo Clinic in 1939. Many Norwegian doctors have trained at the Mayo and the King and Queen met with a number of Norwegian doctors studying there.