In a ceremony at the National Nordic Museum on March 16, Executive Director/CEO Eric Nelson received his Polar Star honors from Sweden’s Prince Daniel.
His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden awarded Nelson the distinction of “Knight 1st Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star” last year in recognition of his leadership in making the dream of a National Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington, become a reality. Due to COVID, the actual medal and certificate were held by the Swedish embassy in Washington DC until they could be delivered in person. HRH Prince Daniel visited the Museum last week as part of a tour of Washington State businesses with the Prince Daniel Fellowship, which aims to inspire young people to entrepreneurship and to support young entrepreneurs.
“This is a significant honor to receive on the behalf of the National Nordic Museum in Seattle,” said Nelson. “It is a testament to the international recognition of the Museum and its programs.”
A sold-out dinner for the discussion of innovation, business, and the Fellowship was attended by numerous dignitaries. The speakers included HRH Prince Daniel, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State; Her Excellency Karin Olofsdotter, Ambassador from Sweden to the United States; Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Washington's 36th Legislative District; and Seattle’s Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell. The award was given at the conclusion of the evening.
Since its grand opening in 2018, the Museum has received numerous awards including the designation of National Nordic Museum in 2019 by an Act of Congress. In 2020, Nelson accepted the American Alliance of Museums’ Environmental Sustainability Award and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums’ prestigious Buildy Award.
In 2018, Nelson was named Knight of the White Rose by President of Finland Sauli Niinstö. In 2019, Nelson was the recipient of the Swedish-American of the Year award from the Vasa Order of America. In 2020, the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm honored Nelson with the rarely awarded Hazelius Medal in Gold, the highest award given in Sweden for the preservation and promotion of Swedish cultural heritage, which he was able to receive in person in 2021 during a visit to Stockholm.