Trade Ministry Will Open Local Office in Svalbard

Two people from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries will be employed at the Ministry’s local office in Longyearbyen. Photo: Espen Reite/ Kystverket 

The Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has employed two staff members at its newly created Longyearbyen local office. “This is probably the first time a Ministry opens a local office outside Oslo”, Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen, NHO Director and former State Secretary says to High North News.

The Ministry of Trade, Fisheries and Industry (NFD) has employed two persons to work as estate managers at the NFD’s new local office in Svalbard, according to a NFD press release.

The state owns 98.75 of all estate on Svalbard, including estate in Longyearbyen. Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani, the local coalmining company, has previously managed the Svalbard estate for NFD.

From 1 April onwards, the NFD is to manage all state-owned estate on Svalbard, according to the press release.

Good news

Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen, Regional Director of NHO Nordland [the Norwegian Confederation of Business] and former state secretary at the NFD, says to High North News that he is very happy that the cat is out of the bag and that the office will be established.

Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen, regiondirektør i NHO Nordland. Arkivfoto, Rune Nilsen.
Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen, regiondirektør i NHO Nordland. Arkivfoto, Rune Nilsen.

“This was one of my babies when I was a state secretary. We had a need to clear up how the managing of the estate was to be done, following the changes and transition in the Svalbard society. With time, we arrived at a good solution that also leads to the establishing of new jobs in Longyearbyen.”

Bjarmann-Simonsen adds that he is also delighted that a Ministry opens a local office for the first time ever:

“Based on what we know, this is the first time ever that a Ministry opens a local office outside Oslo.”

“This is a good contribution to achieving the Svalbard policy goal of Norwegian presence and jobs in Longyearbyen, and it provides an opportunity for direct dialogue with the estate manager for those who want to develop the community in Svalbard.”

“Everyone who want to rent or use state-owned grounds in Svalbard must refer to this local office. There you can apply for leasing state ground in Svalbard pertaining to buying and selling flats and cabins in Svalbard”, NFD Minister Iselin Nybø says in the press release.

Due to the current corona situation, the estate managers from NFD will not be physically present in Longyearbyen from day 1. Once the situation is clearer and controlled, the office in Longyearbyen will be established according to schedule.


This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.