Smithsonian Magazine

Ten American Towns That Feel Like Europe

You don’t have to travel far to get a taste of European culture right here in the United States

Instead of Norway, visit Poulsbo, Washington

poulsbo washingtonA mural on a wall of a bakery in the Scandinavian-style town of Poulsbo, Washington.
(Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

 Situated on the Kitsap Peninsula on Puget Sound, Poulsbo (population: 10,927) has come to be known as “Little Norway on the Fjord.” Ever since the earliest settlers immigrated there in the 1880s thanks to the abundance of land available for farming, Poulsbo has been a haven for Norwegians, with residents even retaining their native tongue as the town’s primary language up until World War II. Over the years, Poulsbo has kept a tight relationship with its homeland, and in 1975, Norway's King Olav V even paid the village a visit. Today Poulsbo remains rich with Norwegian culture, as evidenced by its Scandinavian-style architecture, numerous beer halls and pubs, and annual calendar of events, which includes a Viking Festival in May and Midsommer Festival in June, both geared toward celebrating the town’s heritage through food, music and art.

Read about the other nine cities in this article, see: "Ten American Towns Feel Europe" article here

Jennifer Nalewicki is a Brooklyn-based journalist. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, United Hemispheres and more. You can find more of her work at her website.
Read more from this author | Follow @jnalewicki