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Artica Svalbard

Her Majesty The Queen and Minister of Culture Linda Hofstad Helleland undertook the official opening of the Artica Svalbard Foundation in Longyearbyen today. The foundation will promote artistic and cultural activity on Svalbard.


The Artica Svalbard Foundation was established by Norway’s Ministry of Culture, the Fritt Ord Foundation and Sparebank1 Nord-Norge’s Cultural Business Development Foundation on 8 November 2016. One of its objectives is to strengthen cultural and creative industries on Svalbard, and generally to increase interest in Svalbard as a destination.

A triple pleasure

Queen Sonja had the pleasure of undertaking the official opening of the Artica Svalbard Foundation today. She pointed to three reasons why she was particularly pleased with her task.

The Queen has a deep fascination with and love for Svalbard, which she has visited numerous times during the past 37 years.

The archipelago was a direct inspiration for her decision to pursue art more seriously. The Queen described how her photographs of formations in the melt water cave under the Scott Turner glacier became the point of departure for several of her first graphic prints.

This in turn led to the establishment of the Foundation behind the Queen Sonja Print Award (QSPA), realising the Queen’s long-held dream of creating an award for graphic artists. The proceeds from the sale of a collection of graphic works by the Queen, Kjell Nupen and Ørnulf Opdahl were used to establish the QSPA foundation.

What is it that is so special about Svalbard? The light, the ice, the landscape, the tranquillity, the unlimited space...

“There is something about this archipelago that is both grander and gentler than words can express,” said the Queen. “More powerful. It can only be described through art. That is precisely why the Artica Svalbard Foundation has established an Artist-in-Residence programme .”


The Artist-in-Residence programme is an important part of Artica Svalbard. The programme funds three-to-nine-month stays on Svalbard for Norwegian and international artists, writers and musicians, who are invited to create – and disseminate – art.

Dissemination is vital. Seminars, conferences and discussions will explore the relationship between art and development in the Arctic, placing it in a political and historical context. Dissemination activities are also intended to expand the cultural offerings available to Svalbard’s permanent residents, as well as to tourists.

Queen Sonja Print Award is participating

The Foundation behind the Queen Sonja Print Award (QSPA) has signed a collaboration agreement with the Artica Svalbard Foundation. Along with the other collaborating partners – Norwegian PEN, the Northern Norway Art Museum and the Office for Contemporary Art Norway – the Queen Sonja Print Award will propose candidates for the Artist-in-Residence programme.


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