Huge majority votes against Finnmark-Troms merger

A referendum held during the past week in Norway’s northern-most county of Finnmark has resulted in fully 87 percent saying “no” to a pending merger with neighbouring Troms County. Even though the Parliament has decreed the merger, opposition parties are now calling on the government to halt the merger process. The referendum result came as […]

Finnmark fights forced merger

Residents of Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark are so angry over the terms of a looming and likely forced merger with neighbouring Troms that they’ve threatened everything from civil disobedience to secession in recent months. Now they’re in the process of voting on the merger in a referendum, with the state government unlikely to respect […]

Air ambulances fly but problems persist

Norway’s air ambulances were cleared for take-off again this weekend, but conflicts involving their pilots remained unresolved. Neither the pilots’ union nor their employers’ representative could report any progress. The ambulance service has been in crisis since the company that’s run it for many years was outbid by a foreign-owned newcomer last year. The new […]

Air ambulance crisis grips the north

Norway is in the grips of an air ambulance crisis that has disrupted emergency medical service, especially in the northern counties of Finnmark and Troms. Members of Parliament are demanding immediate cancellation of the results of an ambulance service bidding process last year that generated all the turbulence. Air ambulances are a critical part of […]

Avalanche danger raised to ‘extreme’

For the first time ever, state authorities raised the danger for avalanches to “extreme” in wide areas of Nordland County. Warnings were up all over northern Norway for people to stay away from all steep areas through the weekend. “Stay home” was the message being sent out by police on Friday after Norway’s state agency […]

Supreme court won’t hear appeal against Arctic oil drilling

Norway’s highest court (Høyesterett) has refused to hear a direct appeal filed by environmental organizations that lost their attempt to halt oil exploration in the Barents Sea. The organizations aren’t giving up, though, and will now file their complaint according to normal procedure at the appeals court level. Greenpeace, Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth) […]

Hurtigruten gets new coastal rival

Norway’s famed coastal shipping route will be shared by two operators from 2021, as part of a move by the state transport ministry to stimulate competition. The venerable shipping line Hurtigruten will be joined by newcomer Havila Kystruten AS, with each operating seven and four ships respectively on the subsidized 11-day round-trip routes with daily […]

Kirkenes welcomes new train line from Finland

“This is a big day,” the mayor in Norway’s northern city of Kirkenes, Rune Rafaelsen, proclaimed after transport authorities in Finland said they want to move forward with plans for cargo train service between Rovaniemi and Kirkenes. They view Kirkenes as the best potential port for ongoing shipping routes through the Northeast Passage between Europe […]

Russian ‘attack’ prompts complaint

Norway’s foreign ministry has confirmed that it complained to Russian authorities following three of their air force training missions last year that simulated attacks on Norwegian military stations. Norwegian officials claimed that “this type of behaviour” was not in line with good relations between neighbours. Newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday that Russian bomber jets, for example, […]

Northern Norway’s ‘biggest move ever’

The northern Norwegian city of Bodø has approved ambitious plans to literally move its airport just 900 meters, thereby opening up valuable new waterfront land for redevelopment. If also approved by Parliament, it will be the biggest land-based construction project ever undertaken in Northern Norway, and further boost a city that’s already blossoming. Bodø’s City […]