Tag Archives: Syttende Mai

PRIDE OF SVALBARD ON SYTTENDE MAI: Annika Bengtsson wins citizen-of-year Tyfus statuette, Tine Westby Thorstad wins youth award; Barentsburg kids miss first ’post-Covid’ festivities


Photo by Arild Olsen / Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A day of traditional Syttende Mai festivities celebrating Norway’s independence and honoring Svalbard’s top citizens also was a day this year where national-level conflicts with Russia disrupted the camaraderie between citizens of two countries that traditionally exists regardless of troubles outside the archipelago.

LONGYEARBYEN’S CITIZENS OF THE YEAR: Educator Tor Selnes wins Tyfus Statuette; acrobat/musician Sigri Klausen Markussen wins youth scholarship during May 17 gala


Screenshot of Nina Westby Thorstad performing with Sirkus Svalbardo from video by Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A dazzling live video postcard of music, stories and awards culminated the world’s northernmost town’s traditional celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day, as the community for a second straight year turned COVID-19 restrictions into creative opportunities for the world to share.

‘ALWAYS POSITIVE TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS ACROSS AGES AND STAGES’: Niva Stiberg-Hansen, 17, lifetime Longyearbyen student, wins this year’s youth cultural stipend


The following is the speech awarding Niva Stiberg-Hansen this year’s youth stipend award, presented by Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen during this year’s May 17 gala at Kulturhuset.

This year’s winner is 17 years old and attends the first-year secondary program at Longyearbyen sSchool. She has lived in Longyearbyen all her life.

She started at Longyearbyen Cultural School when she was only five years old, when it was a musical play for those starting school in the kindergartens.

A SECURE MAN FOR INSECURE TIMES: Fred Skancke Hansen, UNIS health and safety leader, wins 47th annual Tyfus statuette for volunteer safety, youth, political and recreation efforts


The following is the speech announcing Fred Skancke Hansen as this year’s Tyfus Statuette winner (presented to a person who has “kept the community out of typhus”) by Ottar Svensen, winner of last year’s award. Above photo of Hansen exchanging a social-distance elbow bump with Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen from live online broadcast of May 17 gala at Kulturhuset.

The Tyfus Statuette recipient came to Svalbard in the previous millennium, more specifically in 1997.

This year’s recipient of the Tyfus Statuette believes that it is natural to contribute when there are conditions for doing so. The volunteer work in Longyearbyen would not have been the same without the award winner. And with his background he has become a central person who has come into contact with many of us who live in Longyearbyen.

A (SOMEWHAT) SOCIALLY DISTANT SYTTENDE MAI IN SVALBARD: Traditional and virtual events bring people together while keeping them apart in first post-quarantine celebration


Ada Feiner-Endresen, 12, knows what it’s like to carry her class banner in Norway’s northernmost Syttende Mai parade, but this year’s experience is almost entirely without peer. As in the literal as well as historical sense, since all of her sixth-grade classmates except one carrying the other end of the banner were kept well away to ensure a proper “socially distant” celebration.

Elise Strømseng wins Tyfus Statuette for efforts in a year of high suffering ; Frida Krystad wins youth cultural award


During a year when Longyearbyen experienced far more “typhus” than usual, Elise Strømseng was among those who suffered the most. But she also at the forefront of the many who helped relieve the misery.

Strømseng, won this year’s Typus Statuette, presented to “a resident whose work has kept us out of typhus” (the illness being an old Svalbard reference to all things bad from “poorly paid piecework to a sour beer.)”


Frida Krystad, 15, right, accepts Longyearbyen’s annual youth cultural activities grant from Mayor Arild Olsen during the Syttende Mai gala Tuesday night at Kulturhuset. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

The award was presented during the annual Syttende Mai gala Tuesday night at Kulturhuset. The evening’s other major award was presented to Frida Krystad, 15, winner of this year’s annual youth cultural activities grant.

Ulrik Snibsøer wins annual youth cultural award as a master of all musical trades, knows-jack of none


For Ulrik Snibsøer, the magic word was “ukelele.”

Snibsøer, 15, who picked up a saxophone at age five and a wide assortment of other instruments since, realized he was the winner of this year’s 10,000-kroner youth cultural grant when the recitation of a lengthy list of the person’s musical credentials reached an instrument he picked up recently that some teens might shun as lacking a certain cool factor.

Nothing fishy about it: Lasse Stener Hanssen scores Tyfus Statuette with medley of music festivals and moving locals


Leave out the lutefisk and there’s no disputing Lasse Stener Hanssen has brought a great deal of harmony to Svalbard.

During his 15 years here he’s composed a societal score featuring jolts of jazz, medleys from miners, sightseeing on ships, and getting people and their stuff moved around more efficiently. While all that is what he refers to as merely just doing his job, it earned him Longyearbyen’s top citizen award as he was presented with the Tyfus Statuette during the Syttende Mai gala Sunday at Kulturhuset.

Swinging high on Syttende Mai


If the music sounds a bit louder during this year’s parade, it’s not because the kids turned the volume of their band instruments up to 11.