Finnmark dogsled race underway

Neither snow nor sleet nor the Corona virus could stop the 40th Norwegian dogsled race known as Finnmarksløpet. It took off over the weekend from Alta, along with a week-long winter festival that involves many local municipalities. The toughest competitors run 1,200 kilometers with their dogs over a course that stretches east from Alta via […]

North Cape finally freed for visitors

Norwegians and tourists alike have received a surprise Christmas gift, after the county governor of Troms og Finnmark decided that hotel and real estate company Scandic can no longer charge admission fees to Norway’s famed North Cape plateau. The ruling overrides an earlier agreement between Scandic and the local municipal council. High admission fees to […]

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 […]