'Little Norway on the Fjord' – Poulsbo, Washington - Atlas Obscura

'Little Norway on the Fjord'

The small town of Poulsbo in Washington state is the next best thing to the Kingdom of Norway. 


This little town located on the Kitsap Peninsula is playfully known as “Little Norway on the Fjord” has been the home to a Nordic population since its very founding.

Pronounced “pauls-bow,” the town name’s strange spelling is the result of one of the town founders who, when filling out an application for township to the Postmaster general, had such bad handwriting that the postmaster misread his messy scrawl and the town has been officially “misspelled” ever since.

A nordic village similar to Leavenworth’s Bavarian Village in dedication to recreation, Poulsbo is as Norwegian as one can get without traveling to the “the northward route.” The Scandinavian settlers who decided to call the little piece of Washington theirs found it so similar to their homeland they felt right at home, and for many years it was just that—a little piece of Norway, fjords, snowy mountaintops and all, with Norwegian being the only language spoken until World War II forced English onto the vernacular.

The town is a popular boating destination, and home to Sluy’s Bakery, Poulsbo’s highly-touted provider of pastry goodies. Sluy’s sell their bread worldwide and specialize in (of course) Nordic baked goods. In the town’s main park you can also see a statue of King Olaf in front of the Sons of Norway Hall.

Know Before You Go

Poulsbo is located on the Kitsap Peninsula and accessible by the WA State Ferries from Edmonds and Seattle.

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