The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Georgia has been profiling members, companies and local Swedish and Scandinavian organizations on its website.

Editor’s note: The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Georgia, or SACC-Georgia, often spotlights both its members and the various Scandinavian and Swedish organizations that make up the community beyond the broader economic-development organizations that continue to make Atlanta a solid destination for Swedish investors. 

In that vein, the Nov. 1 edition of SACC-Georgia’s email newsletter showcased the Vasa Order of America’s Atlanta outpost, the Nordic Lodge No. 708, which is one of more than 150 such local lodges around North America.  

Vasa began as a Swedish fraternal society, helping recent immigrant arrivals adapt to the “new country” and even providing a small financial benefit to members suffering from illness or a death in the family. Previously limited to men, the organization is now open to all Scandinavians and their spouses 14 or older and serves as a network devoted to exploring traditional heritage and culture, sharing it with Americans where possible. 

While the order is named for Gustav Vasa, the liberator of Sweden from the 16th century, it now welcomes members of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish or Icelandic origins. The organization observes holidays old and new, including Midsummer, Leif Ericsson Day and Lucia in the winter. The Atlanta lodge’s meetings are customarily held on the fourth Sunday of every month. 

SACC-Georgia caught up with Ralph Howard, chairman of Vasa in Atlanta, for the below interview, which is reprinted with permmissikno from the chamber. Find out more information and how to become a member at

SACC-Georgia: What is your connection to Sweden?

Mr. Howard: My connection to Sweden is my wife. We have been married for 37 years. We met on a blind date in West Germany in November 1983. After I completed my military service and graduate school in Alabama, we moved to Atlanta and have lived here since. 

SACC-Georgia: Tell us a little bit about your organization, what does Vasa do? 

Mr. Howard: The Vasa lodge in Atlanta is one out of 18 districts of the Vasa Order. Vasa is about sharing, enjoying and propagating Scandinavian culture and heritage. As a group of 30-55 members in Atlanta we celebrate all the classic Swedish holidays, have members’ meetings and we try to celebrate other nationalities beside Sweden, with representatives from other countries, where they get to show us their culture. 

SACC-Georgia: Who are your members? If you are not a member, how do you become a member? 

Mr. Howard: Our members were born in Nordic countries, are of Nordic ancestry or the spouse of an active Vasa member, are a non-Nordic widow or widower of a Vasa member, or are committed to the promotion and advancement of Swedish and Nordic heritage and culture. 

SACC-Georgia: Do you have anything planned for the coming months? 

Mr. Howard: Usually, we celebrate the classic Swedish holidays and other Nordic holidays. Unfortunately, we do not have anything planned right now because of the COVID situation. We are hoping to plan something soon for our members. 

For more information about Vasa in Atlanta, please visit the website. 

Read more profiles of Swedish organizations and companies here.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...