Tag Archives: Anne Lise Sandvik

ROAST BEAST: The Grinch tried his tyranny in Longyearbyen this year. It didn’t go well. (UPDATE: Just wow…it really was sabotage)


Skipping past his tiny heart and large theft, including sabotaging the town’s Christmas tree (FOR REAL, it turns out – see update at end)…

Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any lights at all!

A million little pieces: Svalbard again by far biggest per-person donor with 1.1M kr. raised for annual TV auction charity event


It’s as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning (actually far more so since the polar night starts Friday): Every year Svalbard residents donate by far the most per-person to a nationwide fundraiser that culminates in a TV auction to benefit a specific cause.

This year was no different despite lingering tough economic times locally, with Svalbard raising a total of 1,099,988 kroner as of early Monday morning – total of 503.31 kroner per resident, according to NRK. Utsira ranked second at 325.55 kroner and Träna third at 260.06 kroner.

Fair ye tale: Community joins sun in making light out of darkness during this year’s Solfestuka


The weather’s been too hot. The mining facilities are too cold. But for those kicking off this Solfestuka the madness of the past year is hopefully just right.

Pity party? Perhaps not, as Store Norske may have reason for hope during celebrations of its 100th birthday


Last month the company finished shutting down almost everything and laying off almost everyone. This month – and next – the company is the cause of much celebrating.

The coal company’s 100th birthday is Nov. 30 and it’s safe to say the mood isn’t quite what many in Longyearbyen would have liked or expected before a coal price crash sent the company into an economic tailspin and near bankruptcy. But young and old alike are offering a variety of tributes to the company that until the crash was the town’s economic cornerstone.

Trophy pelt: Polar bear skin helps Svalbard pass 1M kr., remain most generous donors during annual charity telethon


A traditional barrage of last-minute generosity by locals ensured Svalbard surpassed the one-million-kroner milestone and once again was the top per-person contributor to an annual fundraiser highlighted by a TV auction hosted by NRK. That and a couple of polar bear skins.

Taking refugee: Usual month of telethon-related fundraising events to benefit unusually cruel situation for displaced


Yes, it’s been a tough year here. But tell that to the residents of Aleppo.

Helping them and refugees in many other areas is the focus of this year’s NRK telethon, with Longyearbyen as usual offering a month of local events leading up to the televised auction Oct. 23. Anne Lise Sandvik, head of this year’s local effort, said she doesn’t think local large-scale layoffs and economic downturn will affect this year’s giving.

‘Not a people zoo’ – locals peeved at tourists peering and peeing at cabins near town


OK, let’s try this again: Just because locals are living the wild life doesn’t make them wildlife.

Numerous complaints about tourists – and maybe even a rogue tour guide or two – intruding on private cabins (occupied and not) have been voiced in recent weeks, with visitors doing everything from barging in uninvited to using them as wind screens while answering the call of nature. While cabin owners say the problem isn’t new, or necessarily increasing, there is concern efforts by the tourism industry to educate visitors about proper behavior don’t always seem to be taking hold.

Stinky on stage: Year in revue follows Longyearbyen’s tragicomic shift from a sooty town to a smelly one


Given all the fishy business in Longyearbyen during the past year, locals are ready to shake the coal dust from their boots and put their faith in cod.

Miners, politicians and others raised a bit of a stink about transitioning from a sooty town to a smelly one, but ultimately agreed our 100-year-old cornerstone conglomerate needs to embrace a new identity as “Store Torske.”

And with that one-letter revision to The Floundering Company Formerly Known As Store Norske, the local chums cast out on a whale of a job baiting their fellow townsfolk during the annual revue showing just how flaky the past year was Friday night at Huset.

Old-time tough: Reunion of post-WWII residents relives a rough and roguish era with lots of laughs and sorrow


To an ordinary tourist it’s a rusting mine cart with an odd driver’s “seat” at the rear. But for Terje Nūbdal, 59, it marks the spot where a colleague was killed in an accident 34 years ago.

“The driver was standing and he fell out and was killed,” Nūbdal said while exploring his former workplace inside Mine 3 on Saturday with about 40 other former and current Longyearbyen residents participating in a weekend reunion. “He was on the switching track and thought it was going to go one way, but it went the other way.”

Full of scat: Visitors inspire locals to be extra expressive – on stage and off – during this year’s Polarjazz fest


Which is worse: being a local who’s totally owned by an intruder during an on-stage jam or being an intruder who’s drowned out by the locals?

Both…neither…actually, it’s not really an answerable question given the nature of the world’s northernmost jazz festival.

The notable lack of jazz at a festival supposedly featuring the genre is hardly unique here, but over the years Polarjazz has become as much a social gathering as a musical one. Longyearbyen residents found themselves extra expressive at this year’s five-day festival that ended Sunday, although at times that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.