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Minnesota Norwegians resent Norway's decision to close career consulate

Norway recently announced it is shutting its Upper Midwest career consulate, upsetting many of the Norwegian-Americans that populate the Minneapolis area, reported the New York Times Tuesday.

The consulate opened in 1906, and is a "point of pride" for the Upper Midwest, particularly Minnesota, which claims 850,000 people of Norwegian descent.

"We're very proud of our roots, and we've tried really hard to preserve them," Shirley Hansen, one of the knitting club members at Minneapolis's Ingebretsen's Norwegian market, said. "Norway is near and dear to us, but now we feel like maybe they haven't considered us quite so important."

Norwegian officials say the decision to close the consulate was based on money issues. An official at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, Jannicke Jaeger, said it cost approximately $2 million per year to operate the consulate.

“In part, this is an image problem about how Norway views us,? Jeff Mueller, president of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce for the Upper Midwest, said. “Norway looks at us as ‘that’s where our ancestors went.’ ?

New consulates will be opening in China, whose economy is "booming," as well in Spain, where many Nowegians retire, The New York Times said.

“It’s silly to think that this place is somehow going to break the budget for Norway,? said Anne Kanten, a resident of Milan, Minn., which calls itself Norwegian Capital U.S.A. “What’s more Norwegian than Minnesota, anyway??