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10 movies and books

10 movies and books

- That will make you want to visit Svalbard

10 movies and books that will make you want to visit Svalbard

The beautiful Svalbard nature and the remote Longyearbyen community have been inspiration to a number of books. And not surprisingly, thousands of films of various kinds are shot in Svalbard. Documentaries, nature programs, TV shows and feature films.

We hope that the movies and books mentioned below can inspire you to travel to Svalbard! Note that this is just a small selection of all the exciting books and movies out there.

Sit back on the couch, pull out the candy bowl and soak up some learning and inspiration.


In the movies:

  • Orion's Belt is a 1985 Norwegian dual-language, political action thriller film, directed by Ola Solum and Tristan DeVere Cole. It is based on Jon Michelet's 1977 novel by the same name. The film follows three Svalbard-based shabby seamen who discover a Soviet bearing station. They are subsequently targets of Soviet liquidation and American interrogation in an attempt to quiet them and retain the political status quo. The Cold War topics were a critique of the Norwegian policy of allowing a Soviet presence on Svalbard. (Wikipedia).

  • When the Light Comes from 1990 is a German-Dutch/Belgian romantic adventure film drama directed by Stijn Coninx. The film is based on an autobiography of the then 19-year-old student in Amsterdam who spent the winter in Svalbard living with a fur trapper. Essentially a love story the film has "themes of isolation, forced cohabitation and relationship building between two totally different people in extremely harsh living conditions”. (Wikipedia)

  • The Sky Atlantic thriller Fortitude (2015) is a murder mystery set in a fictional version of Svalbard. It consists of 21 episodes over 2 seasons. The series was actually filmed in Reyðarfjörður, Eastern Iceland and the UK. (Wikipedia)

  • Operation Arctic directed by Grethe Bøe-Waal is a story about three sibling children accidentally being left alone in a winter storm on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. No-one on the mainland, an ocean apart, knows where they are. It's a dramatic fight for survival. (Imdb)

  • The Hunt is a 2015 British nature documentary series made for BBC Television. The series is narrated by David Attenborough. It takes a detailed, audio-visual study of predator-prey relations – as well as the importance of respective ecosystems within a world facing greater environmental challenges brought about by the impact of the human race. Rather than simply concentrating on 'the blood and guts' of predatory behaviors typical of past documentary series, The Hunt focuses more upon the diverse strategies predators use to catch their food, and also the various evasive techniques prospective prey use to escape death by predator. Episode number 2 is about Svalbard and the king of the Arctic, the polar bear. (Wikipedia)

Svalbard in books:

  • A hunter in the wilds of Svalbard is a book by Sverre Jaril and Julie Knarvik about the Norwegian trapper Tommy Sandal. It illustrates and describes the extraordinary life of a modern trapper in Svalbard.

  • A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter a female painter from Austria, who travelled to Svalbard in the 30’s to spend a year in High Arctic with her husband. The book is a passionate Arctic novel which offers thoughtful reflections and wry humor on isolation and the place the natural world holds in the human psyche.

  • Seeds from the world by Pål Hermansen published in February 2013. This is the total story about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and it simultaneously comments the perspectives of food production on a global basis.

  • Amazing Arctic by Eirik Grønningsæter is a richly illustrated book about wildlife in the Arctic. The book is a useful reference tool for traveling in Arctic regions or as a memory from a visit to a very special place on Earth.

  • Svalbard from above by Norsk Polarinstitutt is a photographic journey. You’ll be able to see wonderful pictures showing Bjørnøya, Spitsbergen and the other islands in the archipelago in a bird’s view. Newer photographs are supplemented with historical views and through text and images you will experience themes such as geology, glaciers, cultural heritage and wildlife.

Most of these books can be bought at the Svalbard Museum when visiting Longyearbyen.

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