Tag Archives: Queen Sonja

SVALBARD SOVEREIGNTY: Norway’s royal family sees polar bears, picks up beach trash, visits museums and does other “typical” stuff during weeklong vacation


They were just another family taking a weeklong holiday in Svalbard.

They got a reprieve from the mainland heat while gazing at the fjords and wildlife during sometimes chilly boat trips. They removed ocean trash from beaches where they stopped. They learned about polar science during a stop in Ny-Ålesund and whale hunting during a museum visit in Longyearbyen. They exchanged handcrafted gifts with locals, and departed with fond memories of the sights and people they met.

And all of Norway was abuzz about the details that were kept largely secret until the very end.

Norway’s entire royal family wrapped up a private vacation in a very public way on Thursday with a visit to The University Centre in Svalbard to commemorate its 25th anniversary, as well as the adjacent Svalbard Museum where – unlike commoners – they got to play with ancient whaling gear and stroke the fur of a stuffed polar bear.

Royal residency: Queen Sonja – and printing press from her foundation – part of Artica Svalbard’s artists’ residency debut



After a few years of sometimes controversial efforts to generate buzz about a local artists’ residency program, it appears the “local” and “buzz” are ready to debut with full force.

Norway’s Queen Sonja will be among those presiding over the four-day opening of Artica Svalbard, with activities that will highlight works by local artists old and young – and give those aspiring to be the latter a “magic” opportunity.

Random weirdness for the week of Feb. 2, 2016


We have seen the future of coal mining in Svalbard and, to paraphrase a certain idiot dominating politics in the U.S., there’s just going to be so much winning we’re all going to get tired of it. How can it be otherwise, now that North Korea has signed the Svalbard Treaty since, as their official news agency never ceases reminding us, they’re super productive and efficient in ways the evil warmongers in the West will never be.

Royal touched: Queen Sonja, justice minister visit avalanche zone, meet with rescuers and victims


Queen Sonja, her eyes filled with tears after touring the 11 homes destroyed by the Dec. 19 avalanche, said the scope of the tragedy and efforts by those trying to help the victims is beyond mere words.

“What makes the strongest impression is to see this with my own eyes,” she said during a brief gathering with reporters after the Thursday afternoon tour. “This chaos. One cannot fully understand it after only having seen pictures.”

“There is much to be done and there will also be painful times moving ahead. But I think that with the unity and determination here it will go very well. And I think that unity is going to be even stronger.”

AVALANCHE UPDATE: All 11 homes buried completely destroyed insurance company says; city leaders propose new ‘neighborhood’ at Elvesletta


All 11 homes buried in the Dec. 19 avalanche are a total loss and, while many furnishings and other items inside may be salvagable, building a new neighborhood in a safer area will likely be preferable to rebuilding the wrecked one, according to city and insurance officials.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Community meeting Tuesday; Queen Sonja and justice minister to visit Thursday-Friday


Queen Sonja and Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen are scheduled to visit Longyearbyen Thursday and Friday to meet with local leaders, rescue officials and volunteers, and those suffering the loss of homes and loved ones in the Dec. 19 avalanche.

Minding the art: Tiny new museum more about concept than space, backers say

Kunsthall Svalbard

As with most art, it’s about more than meets the naked eye.

Physically, it’s a nearly empty meeting room with a video screen, a TV and a few small black-and-white paintings on one of the walls. But art lovers from Queen Sonja on down are calling the new Kunsthall Svalbard a profound statement about Longyearbyen’s future place in the world.