Palace of the Snow Queen

Palace of the Snow Queen available at American Swedish Institute.

Palace of the Snow Queen

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After many years of travel in the Nordic countries—usually preferring to visit during the warmer months—Barbara Sjoholm found herself drawn to Lapland and Sápmi one winter just as mørketid, the dark time, set in.  What ensued was a wide-ranging journey that eventually spanned three winters, captivatingly recounted in The Palace of the Snow Queen.

From observing the annual construction of the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, to crossing the storied Finnmark Plateau in Norway, to attending a Sámi film festival in Finland, Sjoholm dives deep into the rich traditions and vibrant creative communities of the North. She writes of past travelers to Lapland and contemporary tourists in Sápmi, as well as of her encounters with Indigenous reindeer herders, activists, and change-makers. Her new afterword bears witness to the perseverance of the Sámi in the face of tourism, development, and climate change.

Written with keen insight and humor, The Palace of the Snow Queen is a vivid account of Sjoholm’s adventures and a timely investigation of how ice and snow shape our imaginations and create a vision that continues to draw visitors to the North.


Barbara Sjoholm is a writer and translator of Danish and Norwegian literature. Her translations include By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends (Minnesota, 2019), and she is author of Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer and From Lapland to Sápmi: Collecting and Returning Sámi Craft and Culture (Minnesota, 2022). She lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

Barbara Sjoholm