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Sjölunden (Swedish: sjö: lake, lund: grove) is the Swedish language camp site associated with Concordia Language Villages and is located at the Concordia site at Turtle River Lake, near Bemidji, Minnesota. After 30 years without an architecturally authentic Swedish site, the first step towards a village was taken on August 11, 2006 when groundbreaking for the new site took place. Sjölunden can house approximately 85 people at a time.

Sjölunden is a village for language immersion where American villagers come to live and experience Swedish language and culture.


The Swedish language was added to Concordia Language Villages in 1975 as the sixth language, following German (1961), French (1962) Spanish, Norwegian (both 1963) and Russian (1966).[1]

Sjölunden moved to Salolampi, the Finnish site, shortly after it was built in the early 1990s.

The new site[edit]

Map of planned buildings for the Sjölunden new site

Groundbreaking for the new Sjölunden site took place on August 11, 2006. Architectural inspiration has been taken from Swedish fishing villages, of which there are a lot on the Swedish west coast. The village was designed by Saint Paul, Minnesota architect Kerrik Wessel, AIA, in 2004.[2]

The new Sjölunden is located right next to the Finnish site at Turtle River Lake. Rather than being a village on its own, it is designed to complement the Finnish site.[3] Some facilities will be missing from Sjölunden, such as a soccer field, beach, and a camp store. Additionally, the three cabins will not be sufficient to house all villagers and staff.

A list of the new site buildings and the years they were completed, in order of completion.[4]

  • Vävstugan (the weaving studio) 2007
  • Båthuset (the boathouse) 2007
  • Visby* (villager cabin) 2008
  • Birka* (villager cabin) 2010
  • Gamla Uppsala (the staff housing unit) 2009
  • Biblioteket (the library) 2014
  • Matsalen (the dining hall) anticipated 2016
  • Sigtuna* (villager cabin) anticipated 2016

Lindas Stig[edit]

Former dean Linda Wallenberg just received her 25-Year "Evergreen" Award, and is the 5th person to receive this award. The Evergreen Award is received by contributing 25 years spent at Concordia Language Villages. To commemorate this amazing achievement, the Sjölunden students, villagers, and staff members dedicated the new pathway to the Sjölunden building site to Linda, naming it "Lindas Stig" meaning "Linda's Path."


The weaving studio was the first new building, built in 2007. It was funded by the donations of the Berglund family in honor of Hilda Berglund.


In 2007, the boathouse was built and was dedicated to Henning Clementson.


Visby is a villager cabin which was built in 2008 with the donation of the Pro Suecia Foundation and is dedicated to Barbro Osher. The name was chosen after the ancient viking settlement Visby, located on the island of Gotland.


The library, or Biblioteket, was the most recent building opened in the new site. It opened for Summer 2014 in honor of Sjölunden's 40th anniversary. There was a dedication ceremony and book drive held 3 August 2014.[5]


The dining hall is funded by a $1 million pledge from the Comstock Land Company of Fargo, N.D.[4]


Sjölunden offers three different major language immersion programs, held in late summer: Family Week, Two-week program and Four-week High School Credit program, of which the 2 Week program is the most popular. There is also a range of different language courses and activities throughout the year.

Family Week[edit]

For the family week, normally held in middle of August, families with children aged 4–10 can come to Sjölunden. They may, if they like, also bring older children.

Two-week program[edit]

The two-week program is aimed at children aged 7–18. They come to camp to live and learn Swedish, and are divided into cabins with about 16-20 inhabitants. The children get language classes as well as different activities they can choose from. Recently, Sjölunden has added a sailing program for their Two and Four week sessions.

Four-week program[edit]

The four-week program offers one years worth of Swedish language training at High School level. The four-week program takes place at the same time as two two-week sessions, and even though it contains more language class they do many activities together, most notably the evening programs.

Day Camp[edit]

Adult Week[edit]

There are 2 adult weeks offered, one in fall and one in spring.[6]

Credit Abroad[edit]

CLV also offers a Swedish Credit Abroad program where students travel to Scandinavia and mostly Sweden for four weeks. Two of the weeks they are given language classes in the town of Trosa by Stensund Folk High School. There is also usually a family stay and of course time is spent in the capital, Stockholm. The program originated in 2006 with 4 participants.


These are the deans of Sjölunden, with their Sjölunden name in italics.

Bemidji camp[edit]

  • Roland Roland and Edi Edi Thorstensson 1975-1977
  • Linda Linda Wallenberg 1977-1991
  • Chad Torsten Bergman 1988, 1992–1995
  • Patricia Pia Johnson 1996-2000
  • Allison Magda Spenader 2001-2013
  • Emily Kajsa Pyenson 2014-current

Credit Abroad program[edit]

  • Patricia Pia Johnson, 2006-2012
  • Elin, 2013–present

Adult Week[edit]

  • Elise Viktoria Peters 1989-2016[7]


  1. ^ "History of Concordia Language Villages". Concordia Language Villages. Concordia Language Villages. March 28, 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "A Language All Its Own" (PDF). Architecture MN. July/August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Our Site: Sjölunden". Concordia Language Villages. Concordia Language Villages. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Sjölunden Meets the Challenge". Concordia Language Villages. Concordia Language Villages. 11 July 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Building Sjölunden". Concordia Language Villages. Concordia Language Villages. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "A week at Sjolunden". Nordstjernan. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "Twenty-five years at Sjölunden". Nordstjernan. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 

External links[edit]