Would you be voted off the fjord?
A Norwegian reality television show called “Alt for Norge” is casting Norwegian-Americans to travel to Norway and appear on the show, which exposes competitors to Scandinavian foods and culture. The catch is that contestants cannot have previously visited the motherland, a stipulation that precludes much of Bay Ridge’s Norwegian-descended population, which retains strong ties to its homeland, according to a prominent neighborhood Nord.
“A lot of people have contact with Norway,” said Victoria Hofmo, president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. “Some go back almost every year. Sometimes one generation is born in Brooklyn and the next is born in Norway.”
The show bills itself as a cross between travel contest “The Amazing Race” and the genealogy heart-string-tugger “Who Do You Think You Are,” said Joan O’Connor, who is casting the show. Producers pick 12 Norwegian Americans to compete in elimination-style contests for viewers’ amusement.
“Norwegians love to see Americans react to typical Norwegian things,” said producer Thor Oreld. “We can laugh about their poor adaptation to Norwegian culture and laugh at ourselves as they point out weird customs that we take for granted.”
Producers pick up the tab for travel and lodging and pay contestants a $100 per diem, and the grand prize is $50,000, O’Connor said.
Applicants should provide as much family history as possible to prove their Nordic blood, and producers will fill in the gaps with a genealogist, she said.
Many proud Norwegian Ridgites may have retained too strong a link to their roots to get on the show, but there is hope, O’Connor said.
“They don’t have to be 100 percent Norwegian — one percent is just fine,” she said.
So people who may not know their Nordic ancestry have a shot, and Hofmo said there are plenty of folks who fit the bill in Brooklyn and Bay Ridge.
“There are more people that are part Scandinavian than we realize,” Hofmo said.