Stoughtonites visit Stoughton’s sister city Gjøvik in August!
Monday, September 12, 2016
Earlier this summer, Mayor Donna Olson received a formal invitation from Bjorn Iddberg, Mayor of Gjøvik, Norway, Stoughton’s sister city to travel to Gjøvik from August 16-23. The reasons were threefold: to celebrate 30 years since Stoughton and Gjovik began its relationship as sister cities, to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the first immigration to America from Gjøvik, and to celebrate the 30th year since inception of the Kjell Nordviks Fund, which gives local students scholarships for study in the USA.
In addition to the mayor and her husband, Randy, several others from Stoughton were invited as a payback for the group that came to assist in the opening of the Stoughton Norwegian Heritage Center Livsreise in May 2015. Torvild Sveen, former assistant vice mayor of Gjøvik, who was in the 2015 delegation acted as host and guide for the visiting Stoughtonites. It was a busy week for the Stoughton visitors.
One of the first activities was a full day visiting NTNU (formerly Gjøvik University), which merged with the Norwegian Science and Technology University in Trondheim in January 2016. Affiliated with but not part of the University engineering school is a company named Mustad. Their claim to fame is that they are the world’s largest manufacturer of fish hooks. They have developed a business park adjacent to the University. They provide facility space for start up companies who have developed new products at the engineering school. The relationship developed when the University’s engineering department provided assistance using technology to improve Mustag’s manufacturing processes. The business park has become a significant part of keeping new businesses and jobs in Gjøvik. They also toured local businesses such as Overaasen, maker of the huge snow cleaning equipment used by major airports around the globe. The group visited Eketun, their outdoor history museum, as well as many old farms and churches in the rural area around Gjøvik. The purpose of these visits was to instill in the group the importance of history, culture and heritage in Norway. They also had a dinner cruise on the world’s oldest paddle wheeler boat, Skibladner on Lake Mjøsa. They were fortunate to be in Gjøvik on the first day of the new school year and visited both the elementary and high school as well as the new international school. At the formal dinner held at the historic Brusveen farm dating back to 1635, the two mayors agreed to continue the close relationship into the future and encouraged future exchanges of ideas and personal relationships between the two cities and its citizens.