Hopes and tension at liberation jubilee

On the eve of Friday’s ceremonies marking the Soviet liberation of Finnmark in 1944 came word that a Russian commission was recommending a pardon for convicted Norwegian spy Frode Berg. As hopes rose for Berg’s release, however, Russia uleashed harsh criticism of Norwegian defense policy, marring the Norwegian delegation’s long-planned meetings with Russian Foreign Minister […]

White whale’s fate subject to debate

The tame white whale known as Hvaldimir disappeared from his refuge in Hammerfest late last week, only to resurface Sunday near Alta, more than 50 kilometers away. Debate flew during the weekend over whether he should be escorted back to Hammerfest and cared for by researchers and minders, or allowed to chart his own course. […]

North Cape battle polarizes community

A major hotel chain backed by the slimmest possible majority of local politicians won last week’s battle over control of the North Cape. The war is far from over, however, after heated debate over land rights has polarized the local community. “The people are split,” declared Kjell Walter Sivertsen of the Labour Party after the […]

Battle flares over popular North Cape

Norway’s North Cape is one of the country’s foremost tourist attractions where visitors have long had to controversially pay for access to the Arctic plateau. Now coastal voyage line Hurtigruten is challenging the Scandic hotel chain’s operating monopoly on the North Cape, through a complaint to the European Free Trade Association’s surveillance authority ESA. Conflicts […]

White whale ailing in Hammerfest

The friendly white whale named Hvaldimir, who sought human contact off the coast of Northern Norway after apparently escaping from captivity, fell ill over the weekend. Researchers and the founder of the Norwegian Orca Survey feared the worst, but were breathing a bit easier on Monday. “It was a tough weekend,” Eve Jourdain, a marine […]

White whale now named ‘Hvaldimir’

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) declared on Friday that “the public has spoken,” and named a cute white whale that was freed of mysterious harnesses off Finnmark last week Hvaldimir. “Hval” (pronounced “vall”) is the Norwegian word for whale, and the name is also a play on the name of Russian president Vladimir Putin. NRK, which had […]

Finnmark mining protests underway

Government ministers arriving for the weekly Council of State at the Royal Palace on Friday were met by noisy and angry demonstrators, protesting their decision last week to allow a controversial mining and dumping operation in Finnmark. More protests were held through the weekend, in Alta, Tromsø, Hamar, Flekkefjord, Sunndal, Trondheim and Oslo. The decision […]

Sparks fly over Finnmark mining

While local elected officials were celebrating with cake, protests poured in over the Conservative state government’s decision on Thursday to finally allow mining operations on a mountain plateau in Finnmark. It’s expected to generate 300 new jobs in the area, but can also disrupt Samis’ reindeer grazing while dumping debris and tailings into the fjord […]

Lavrov likely to re-visit Finnmark next year

Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t expected to take part in next year’s 75th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Finnmark from Nazi German forces in 1944. His foreign minister Sergej Lavrov, however, is likely to attend, just like he did on the 70th anniversary in 2014. Northern Norway remains grateful to the Soviet Army for […]

Calls rise to invite Putin to Finnmark

Next fall marks the 75th anniversary of how Soviet forces liberated Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark from the clutches of Nazi German occupiers in 1944. Local officials are steadily being joined by other voices around the country in calling upon the Norwegian government to invite Russian President Vladimr Putin to join the solemn anniversary celebrations. […]