OSLO, NORWAY - Like lutefisk cooked in a microwave, old Norway is colliding with modern Norway, often where least expected.

At its most benign, that's visible in rooftop picnickers at the sleek new opera house sloping like a glacier straight into the fjord. Or in fat-tired strollers bobbing over cobblestones, a sign of a baby boom.

But it's also behind racial tensions that arrived with a surge of immigration rooted partly in the tradition of fjell hospitalitat: "Come in, let us keep you warm." This confluence of new and old was there July 22 when an anti-immigrant, right-wing extremist massacred teenagers at summer camp -- and the prime minister suggested that grieving citizens might "bake a cake, invite someone in."

Norway is regaining its balance after being affected "more profoundly than any day since 1945," said Jonas Gahr Store, Norway's foreign minister.

But as King Harald and Queen Sonja arrive in Minnesota Tuesday on their first visit since 1995, so will concerns about the challenges facing modern Norway.

The romantic Sons of Norway notion of a peaceful, reserved nation remains real, "in that it exists in enough people's hearts to make it real," said Paul Kirby, the American-born artistic coordinator at the Oslo Opera House.

Anders Behring Breivik, whose attack killed almost 80 people and wounded many more, is in custody. Routines are returning, along with resolve not to relinquish Norway's historically gentle soul in the wake of the summer's horrific event.

"What will remain deeply printed on us is the chord struck in the Norwegian people. We don't want to close our streets or lock up our kids when they go to summer camp," Store said.

Though the oil-rich nation is now among the world's wealthiest, it was a humble nation of too little land and too many sons when legions of Norwegians emigrated to Minnesota more than a century ago. Store said it's important not to lose sight of those origins as Norway moves forward.

"We need to better explain what happened to Norway during the century after you left," he said.

Norway leveraged untapped natural resources, developing oil and gas industries and fish farming in the fjords. Such technical knowledge is what is "going to determine Norway in the 21st century," Store said.

On Oslo's streets today, a high quality of life is evident in the casual stylishness of its residents, all skinny jeans and leather boots. Bicyclists zip everywhere, cars are few and public transportation runs like clockwork past walls splashed with brilliantly hued graffiti. The harbor once lined with container ships now is given over to restaurants serving truffled salmon.

Grief in every fjord

Norway's success has made it a magnet for economic refugees from around the world.

Today in Oslo, one in four residents is either an immigrant or born to immigrant parents. This is where Breivik grew up, steeped in an increasingly desperate belief that Norway and Europe are being taken over by Muslims.

On July 22, he took what he would call an "atrocious but necessary" action, detonating a bomb in Oslo that killed eight, then ferrying to the island of Utoya, where he killed 69 more. Most were teenagers at a summer camp of the Labour Party's Workers Youth League (AUF). Dozens more were gravely wounded.

With teenagers at the camp drawn proportionately from villages across all of Norway, grief flooded every fjord.

Munir Jaber, 21, the AUF's regional director for Oslo, survived that day on Utoya. He prefers not to speak about it, but because the question always comes, he is prepared.

"I have thought much about what words to use," he said in measured tones, "and it was beautiful to see, when we were taken from Utoya, how quickly we turned our backs on the man who did this and started caring for each other. And that was, literally, immediately."

Now "it is our task to keep some hold on that togetherness we have seen since 22 July," he said. He noted King Harald's remarks at a memorial service, how he spoke "as a father, grandfather and a husband."

"It was very touching," said Jaber, born in Oslo to parents who emigrated years ago from Eritrea and Morocco. Still, he wondered, "how can we make this last?"

Turnout for September's elections was lower than expected (although still a Norwegianly civic 62 percent). With both Labour and Conservative parties registering victories, analysts called it a mark of the democracy's stability.

Jaber is quietly optimistic. His activism was founded in regular family discussions about issues. "At home, at dinner, we never discussed party, only topics," he said. "Topics and solutions." He now is even more convinced that "the result of good debate is good solutions," and goes to work each day to champion Norway's long-held contention that "every man has the right to have the options possible to make it."

Such values always were strong, Jaber said, "but now they couldn't be clearer."

Small, but growing

Almost 80 place names in Minnesota come from Norway. The state tree, the Norway Pine, is what settlers renamed the native Red Pine, its botany overcome by yearning.

Norwegians today are quick to remind a visitor how small their country of fewer than 5 million is, less populated than Minnesota. But it is growing, with one of Europe's highest fertility rates.

Elin Pettersen, 31, sitting on a bench in Olav Ryes Plass, gently rocked her baby's stroller under a canopy of chestnut trees. Even she sounded taken aback by all the babies these days. "Of course, it's also that they're just more visible here, because everyone walks," she said, noting that Oslo's narrow streets are "not car-friendly."

Norway's family policies of guaranteed child care and generous parental leaves bolster the population surge. But growth also comes from a steady flow of immigrants and foreign workers heading for the oil fields, according to Statistics Norway, an independent data-gathering agency.

While the greatest number are from Poland and Sweden, the more noticeable immigrants are from Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia.

The impact is clear each summer Saturday, as Pettersen's Grünerlokka neighborhood becomes an ethnic bazaar, booths redolent with the scents of Asian and Turkish foods. "The wealthy people from west Oslo come here to drink coffee on Saturdays because it's in," she said with a wry look as her baby awoke.

Life for this youngest Norwegian will unfold in a country momentarily shaken, but already recapturing the deep stability of old Norway, even as it moves into a future of global potential.

Kim Ode • 612-673-7185