Newsletter: The Arctic - paradise or paradox?

Reine, Lofoten. Foto: ESB Professionals
Tourism is returning to the High North. (Reine, Lofoten. Foto: ESB Professionals)
Dear High North News reader! The High North is booming. Important research is conducted, money flows in from the  central government and the economy is booming like spring flowers in the sun. However, what might appear from the outside to be a paradise, might in reality be a paradox when viewed with High North eyes.

One of the main findings of the most recent Business Index North (BIN) report is that economic growth in the High North – and its analyses covers half the countries in the Arctic – does not improve the economic situation for the local population.

“This is an Arctic paradox”, says High North News’ Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm in his Friday commentary.

Arne O. Holm
Tided of the fortunetellers in suits: Editor in Chief of High North News, Arne O. Holm
Split: Editor in Chief at High North News, Arne O. Holm.

“The Arctic paradox is the antonym to American moralism; What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, he continues.

Because what happens in the High North does not stay there at all.

Findings cause concerns

Several BIN report findings cause concerns, and Norwegian MFA State Secretary Audun Halvorsen says in very clear terms that people who work, live and raise their children in the Arctic deserve to live in a  modern society.

Norwegian MFA State Secretary Audun Halvorsen
Statssekretær Audun Halvorsen, Utenriksdepartementet, under Kirkenes-konferansen 2020. Foto: Jonas Karlsbakk, Barentssekretariatet
Norwegian MFA State Secretary Audun Halvorsen.

At the same time, central authorities grant funding that brings hope about long-term perspectives and more jobs – and through that, more northerners.

The Norwegian parliament’s Standing Committee on Business and Industry this week announced that it stands unanimously behind a recommendation to build Andøya Spaceport, while the Norwegian Minister of Culture danced his way into Arctic hearts through announcing full funding of the state’s share of the budget for Bodø as European Capital of Culture 2024.

Opening up in the High North

After a very different and somewhat dramatic winter and spring, Norwegian tourists look ahead. Tourist companies on the verge of bankruptcy work intensely to facilitate the receiving of domestic tourists after having been shut down for months.

Hurtigruten has now received a green light from mid-June and is currently working out a plan for the spring and summer season, and Svalbard gets its quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers from the Norwegian mainland lifted as of 1 June, a decision that has brought relief to everyone involved.

Administrerende direktør i Hurtigruten Daniel Skjeldam. Foto: Hurtigruten
Administrerende direktør i Hurtigruten Daniel Skjeldam. Foto: Hurtigruten
Plans ahead: CEO at Hurtigruten, Daniel Skjeldam.

While the world stood still due to Corona, the earth found a moment to draw its breath. That was a moment we should cherish and learn from. This week, the Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic submitted an international ocean report with a clear message: A clean ocean is a rich ocean. Clean and rich oceans require efficient and unified management, and the center and its partners have nothing less to offer but knowledge to save the world’s oceans.

Strong earthquake

This week proved to be dramatic to the people of Kiruna, Northern Sweden. The most powerful earthquake in Sweden in 12 years was registered on Monday, which led to the halt in all mining production.

The quake is seen in connection with cracks in the ground following mining giant LKAB’s activities in the area. Prior to the quake, LKAB was already in a difficult conflict with local authorities in Kiruna over a historic relocation of the town.

We at High North News want to thank you for all your valuable input, tips, opinions and engagement this past week. Do keep it up, and sign up to our newsletter so that you receive our news to your inbox every Friday.

With all the best wishes for the upcoming week,
Trine Jonassen
News Editor, High North News



Stay on top, click here for our weekly newsletter: