Mearrasiida Competence Centre

In the morning, on the last day of our class trip we prepared traditional Norwegian “matpakke” and we continued our journey. Next stop was Indre Billefjord in Porsanger Muncipality. We visited there Mearrasiida Competence Centre. In Sámi languages mearra means sea and siida, in this context, means home. It is a Sea Sámi organization founded in 2002, which goals are to protect, preserve and collect information about their language, culture and traditions.

Social anthropologist, Svanhild Andersen, who is the chairman of the Centre, presented the tasks undertaken in this place and explained why development of local tourism is still a big challenge for them. The diversity of culture is often a tourist’s interest. For it to be interesting, it must be characterized by something special. The culture of modern Sea Sámi is not very different from the average Norwegian life. The contrast is less visible than, for example, in Sámi reindeer herder’s lifestyles. In addition, the long period of Norwegisation process, the assimilation policy, which began after the mid-19th century and lasted for almost 100 years, also contributed to the disappearance of their culture.

Obraz może zawierać: co najmniej jedna osoba i ludzie stoją
Maja Wójtowicz © 2019 Symbol of Norwegisation time. Dark time for Sámi people. They couldn’t use their language in everyday life. The harmful ideas of Social Darwinism were that their culture was not civilized enough.

That is why the existence of this place, the center where elements of their heritage are collected and knowledge about them disseminated, is extremely important. Thanks to this, the awareness of the uniqueness of their tradition is growing, also among people who have Sea Sámi roots.

Later we could see an exhibition of their handicrafts – costumes, toys, everyday objects and decorative elements. The material culture of Sea Sámi people is characterized by colorfulness and diversity. The materials from which these works are created come from natural sources – the wood of locally growing trees, the wool of their sheep, bones, skins of aquatic mammals and fish. Their outfits are decorated with beautiful designs that are more important than just being an aesthetics aspect. Their design is a unique and special sign of their regional culture which distinguish them from other Sámi cultures.

Obraz może zawierać: w budynku
Maja Wójtowicz © 2019
Brak dostępnego opisu zdjęcia.
Maja Wójtowicz © 2019

We had the pleasure to meet a local artist – Ove Stødle – who created many of the items shown at the exhibition.  Among them was beautiful bone jewelry, wooden decorations, e.g. a wooden bow tie, wooden dishes and furniture.  But the largest project Ove currently had was building a traditional Sámi boat. In a room filled with a smell of pine wood and tree resin, he explained how working on it looks like and what challenges still awaits him. There was only one man who had such valuable knowledge about building these traditional boats and if Ove wouldn’t learn from him, knowledge could have gone forever.

Brak dostępnego opisu zdjęcia.
Weitong Meng © 2019


Obraz może zawierać: 4 osoby, niebo, na zewnątrz i woda
Weitong Meng © 2019 Traditional Sea Sámi boat made by Ove’s teacher.

This place showed me that if there are suitable people who want to take care of the valuable knowledge of their ancestors and pass it on, it gains stability and strength over time. Thanks to this, the region acquires the uniqueness and authenticity that can be lost so easily in the modern globalized world.





Cosy camping and gastronomical delights

It was the second day of our trip, and we had been on the road for a while. The hour was getting late, and people were in the mood for some rest and good food to fill us up after our trip to Trollholmsund. The original plan was that we were going to set up some lavvus for us to stay in for the night, but because of the weather forecast we ended up renting cabins instead, which ended up being a smart choice considering the fact that it started pouring down shortly after our arrival to Russenes camping in Olderfjord. Firstly, upon our arrival, we had to make the sleeping arrangements. Everyone split into groups of four, and then each group were given keys to our cabins for the night. The cabins were small and simple, yet quite charming in a way, with two rooms, one of which had a couch and a table, and the other, a four-man bedroom. We put our stuff in the cabins then it was time for us to make dinner.Bildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, mat og innendørsBildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, mat og innendørsBildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, mat og innendørsBildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, mat og innendørs

Bildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, innendørs og mat
Preparing the vegetables for the soup. Karl Andre Thomassen © 2019Bildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, folk som sitter, bord, mat og innendørs

We met up in the gathering hall/kitchen area and got to work. The kitchen was, not unlike our living quarters, small and a little cramped, so only a few people could help with the cutting and cooking at a time, meanwhile the rest had to help set the table.

Bildet kan inneholde: en eller flere personer, mat og innendørs
Henriette cutting up the Pollock. Csenge Horváth © 2019

For dinner, we were going to have a traditional Pollock fish soup. The recipe was Ellen`s, and was made up of Pollock (obviously), and different vegetables like onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, parsnips, celery and veggie stock. Other ingredients that we used were coconut milk, ginger and a little bit of chili to spice things up a little bit, and give the soup some more of a bite and kick so to speak.


Fish soup is very traditional, especially along the Norwegian coastline were fishing is a big part of everyday life, as it has been for so many centuries. Fishing has always been a massive part of Norwegian culture. The coastal fish soup usually is mostly made by using white fish like cod, halibut or Pollock to mention a few. If you travel farther into the mainland then the more common thing will be to use red fish, since there are plenty of them in the lakes and rivers of Norway.

Bildet kan inneholde: mat
Pollock fish soup. Csenge Horváth © 2019

Now for the most important part of all.  How was the fish soup? Well, as the title may suggest, it was simply amazing. You could even call it a culinary masterpiece. It was really well balanced and rounded. The fish itself had a nice and pleasant consistency, and with a great taste. The chili added some flair, and gave the soup a satisfying twist. I do believe that pretty much everyone enjoyed it, and if this were a food review then there would simply be no other choice than giving it five out of five. When we were done with eating and cleaning, everyone headed back to the cabins and enjoyed the rest of the evening by socialising and playing some games before heading to bed.

Dinner at Scandic Karasjok

Our day started early with a visit to Cávzo Safari. From there we took a two-hour bus ride to the Sami capital, Karasjok where we visited Sapmi Park and The Sami Museum. For dinner we stopped at Scandic Karasjok. After a long educational day our stomachs were more than ready for some good food. 

Chi Nguyen © 2019

For our dinner we had reindeer stew (finnbiff in Norwegian) and cloudberry fromage. Earlier that day we were taught the importance of reindeer in the life of Sami. When it comes to food, almost every piece of reindeer is used. From well-known cuts like fillet to more foreign parts tongue and heart – nothing is left out. Reindeer stew was served with mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots and lingonberries. Finnbiff is made out of finely sliced pieces of reindeer meat, usually steak. Since all of us had tried reindeer meat before it came as no surprise that the meat melts in your mouth and is very delicious. It was a hearty and enjoyable dish. 

Chi Nguyen © 2019

Cloudberry fromage, on the other hand, was something less known to us. The fromage was accompanied by vanilla sauce and cloudberries. It was, yet again, melting in mouth, light and airy deliciousness. It was like ice cream – you just cannot get enough of it! Both reindeer meat and cloudberries are widely known to Sami people and Norwegians in general. While as for us, group of people from countries all over the world, it can be more of a delicacy. 


When I go to the store here in Alta I can be rather sure that I am able to find a piece of reindeer meat. But when I think back to my home country Estonia, I cannot recall if I have ever seen reindeer meat on a menu in a restaurant, let alone sold in a supermarket. Cloudberries, however, are not that new to me. Back at home the berry is just as mysterious as it is here in Norway. They are sold on farmer’s markets with the price of gold or you can go out and pick them on your own. The thing with cloudberries is that they are not as easily found as blueberries for example. Cloudberries need lots of sunlight and peat moss bogs to grow. If you have a friend who has a friend who knows a good cloudberry place, you can be fairly certain that you will never get that information. But there is nothing better than spending some quality time in nature and maybe find a bog full of cloudberries yourself!

It was a lovely evening spent with our three lecturers and all of the first year students of Arctic Adventure Tourism. I am incredibly pleased that we got to enjoy a meal made out of traditional ingredients rather than something you do not understand on your plate or in your mouth.

Sapmi Centre of Contemporary Art

Visit to Sapmi Centre of Contemporary Art, Karasjok, Finnmark

ESTD 1986

Shankar Sedai© 2019

The second day of the field trip included the memorable visit to “Sami Centre of Contemporary Art” which was established in 1986 in order to preserve the Sami’s culture.

Sami, indigenous people who are living in Northern part of the earth since thousands of years with their own cultures and heritage including Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Sami people have been living there since prehistoric age struggling and being adjusted with the extreme weather condition in comparison to other parts of the world. They developed their own way of lifestyle suitable to their motherland. The exposure of the extreme cold forced them to adopt suitable activities in order to survive.

Lara Lima © 2019

Aim of the Centre

Modern development have obviously affected the Sami people residing different places. Passing through many obstacles and rejoices throughout the centuries, now they have started to live modern life with a lot of modern facilities such as advanced houses and other facilities that wouldn’t be available before fifty years. Their life have become much mo easier in comparison to the past.

Although they have been changed into modern facilitated lifestyle now, the centuries old culture is very important for various aspects because culture is the heritage of community. It can not only be useful to aware upcoming Sami generation about their past generations but also for the rest of the world. It means the Sami culture has great scope for tourism as well and the centre is the point of attraction for tourism from all around the world and they can tourists can learn and refreshed themselves with the most probably new experience to them.


Art Center aims to organize exhibitions on different aspects of the Sapmi Culture in order to provide exposure of the contemporary art to the modern day people so that their centuries old cultural heritage will exist in future in people’s mind and hopefully modern Sapmi generations follow and preserve their valuabe culture with pride. Even though no any culture has remained untouched and unaffected by the modern development as it is natural process of modification and change, Sapmi Cultural Heritage which developed in the northernmost part of the earth before thousands of years has significant role while studying human civilization.

Click here to learn more about the exhibitions of the Center

Projects Of the Center

Projected work is effective to achieve a certain goal effectively. Sapmi Centre of Contemporatry Art is conductiong several projects in order to preserve and highlight Sapmi culture. The center is working in several projects with cooperation with different government and non government bodies as it has become international concern these days. Moreover, the centre is also colaborating with Sapmi people and organizations spreading mainly in Sweden, Finland and Russia. Some of the arts and paintings in the center are made by Sapmi artist belonging to Russia, Sweden and Finland as well.

You can learn more about the center’s projects by clicking here: Click here to learn more about the projects owned by the center

The visit to the Sapmi Centre for Contemporary Art is satisfying as it totally reflects centuries old Sapmi Culture and provides better knowledge of their contemporary lifestyle.

20 Sept. 2019 Exhibition and Projects;

Note: Unable to upload more pictures due to the lack of space.


Wednesday 11.09

Walk to the camping site by the river, Check in at Karasjok Camping cabins

When we arrived at the Karasjok Campings site, Ellen told us that 4 students lived in a cabin. So Hyunyi Um, Linh Chi, Usha and me chose each other to be roommates. Maybe because our cabin is the biggest one, Ellen and Nina also joined us.

Our cabin is quite sweet, clean, and full equipped. There are three bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen, one living room with TV and even a sauna room. But unfortunately, we didn’t experience the  sauna because we were so tired.

Living room. Weitong Meng © 2019
图片中可能有:1 位用户
Bathroom. Weitong Meng © 2019

Hyunyi and me slept in a room. There is a wood bunk bed in our bedroom. I slept on the second floor. Actually I like to sleep on the the second floor.

Wood bunk bed. Weitong Meng © 2019

When I walked to the riverside, I felt refreshed, relaxed and enjoyable with the colorful autumn vibe. The view by the river is so beautiful, which is a kind of typical Norwegian suburb scenery. So I caught the moment by my camera, edited it in my way and shared it with people.

Beautiful view. Weitong Meng © 2019

Thursday 12.09

Breakfast in cabins, make “matpakke”

The day before we bought a lot of food for the breakfast and “matpakke”, such as breads, cherry tomatoes, avocados, meat, cheese and so on.

Chi Nguyen © 2019

Nina, Ellen, Hyunyi Um, Linh Chi, Usha and me did the preparation work for the breakfast in our kitchen.

图片中可能有:Usha Shrestha、微笑、室内
Weitong Meng © 2019

And then we invited classmates to come for enjoying breakfast. We just ate, told jokes and laughed to spend a good morning time together.

图片中可能有:5 位用户、一群人站着和室内
Weitong Meng © 2019

After that, we began to make our own “matpakkes”. “Matpakke” is a popular packed lunch in Norway for almost everyone. Actually, it is very easy to make and take away, even for children. It is also made up of vegetables, cheese, meat and so forth and wrapped by paper. “Matpakke” is a culture in Norway, and Norwegian people feel proud of it. Actually, “Matpakke” came from a government policy which devoted to provide free food with children from primary schools in the 1930s. In Norway, people only have 30 minutes for lunch break because of the shortest working hours in the world, and they need to rest efficiently during the 30 minutes. In addition, people don’t need to spend more time to make decisions about what they eat for lunch. So I think that’s why “Matpakke” is so popular in Norway.

Weitong Meng © 2019

Ellen showed us how to make cutest “matpakkes”.

图片中可能有:Ellen-Johanne Kvalsvik、微笑、站立和室内
Hyunyi Um © 2019

In China, a lot of young people choose to bring lunch to schools and workplaces for healthy diet and saving money. But the Chinese packed lunch is very different from Norwegian. Normally, we put rice and some fried dishes in a lunch box, which I think is more complicated and various. And bringing packed lunch is also a kind of social behavior in China, people enjoy their packed lunch together and share food they make to make new friends. It is because we normally are given 1.5 hours for lunch break.

Sohu © 2017

Lunch – eating the “matpakke” outdoors

After visiting the impressive Sámi Parliament, we seemed to feel hungry. Having our “matpakkes” and chatting with each other in a canteen really revived us. Thank you “matpakke”! Csenge, Harsh, Hyunyi and me just talked about travelling with nice free tea and coffee. Thank you The Sámi Parliament Canteen!

图片中可能有:6 位用户、包括 Harsh Barala、微笑的用户、一群人坐着、一群人在吃东西、表格和室内
Britt Kramvig © 2019

Reference list

Norwegian art of packed lunch

Bus Ride from Karasjok to Lakselv

As part of our curriculum of bachelor in Arctic Adventure Tourism, our department arranged 3 days of field trip to “The Golden Route of Sápmi”. This route runs through four municipalities of Finnmark county, they are Alta, Karasjok, Porsanger and Kvalsund. This trip helped me to know more about indigenous people (Sámi), their culture, beliefs, lifestyles, roles on tourism development etc.

Map of the area (Source: Google Map)

On the first day, we visited Mazi, did Cávzo Safari, river boat tour to Máze Sion, Sápmi Park, The Sámi Museum and spent the night at Karasjok Camping.

Our ride for the trip, Usha Shrestha©2019



On the second day of our field trip, we visited The Sámi Knife at Karasjok Camping, The Sámi Parliament and Sámi Centre of Contemporary Art. Our next destination was Lakselv, which is about 75 km from Karasjok. We left the Sami Capital (Karasjok) at around 15:00 and reached Lakselv (administrative center of Porsanger municipality) at around 16:00. We followed the highway route E6. On the way we passed through many lakes, mountains and rivers. The views from bus window of these lakes, mountains, rivers and colorful autumn trees were simply beautiful and mesmerizing. It was good weather and tree leaves were golden and rusty as autumn is already here.  After some time, we crossed the bridge over the Idjajavri lake at it’s narrowest part. The view from the bridge was simply breathtaking with lake on both side of the road. We continued the journey and I was enjoying the view of birds flying on the sky, herds of reindeer, hay bales wrapped in plastic film, cow and horse farm on the roadside. After travelling about 20 minutes we passed through two big lakes named Øvrevann and Vuolitjavri and other countless small lakes. Then most part of our journey was alongside the river Lakselva. The area is popular for salmon, trout, Arctic char and grayling fishing throughout the summer months. Besides great fishing, Lakselva flows through a very lush and scenic valley, to meet Barents Sea at Porsangerfjorden.

A herd of cattle grazing on the greenfield, Usha Shrestha©2019

Along the highway there were few small human settlements. Some parts of the highway were under maintenance, workers were maintaining the fences alongside of the highway. Throughout the journey I was discussing with my friend about sámi, their culture, traditions, costumes, food etc. everything that we already visited and were going to visit. I got to know that Sámi people are so much connected to the nature. The more I got to know about Sámi, the more I was curious to know about them.

My awesome classmates, Usha Shrestha©2019

After about an hour of bus ride we reached to Lakselv Centrum. We stopped there and went to Circle K store. I was hungry so I bought some cookies. The weather was good. The temperature was 17°c. It was not very cold as we expected it to be. There were many shops and stores as it was the administrative center of Porsanger municipality. While enjoying my cookies I quickly google searched about Porsanger and got to know that Porsanger municipality borders northwest to Kvalsund and Måsøy, north to North Cape, east to Lebesby, south to Karasjok, and west to Alta and is Norway’s third largest municipality. After short stop at Lakselv Sentrum we drove to our next destination for the day, Indre Billefjord. It was a comfortable bus ride.

The world’s northernmost pine tree national park, Stabbursnes!

Entrance of the National Park of Stabbursnes – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Norwegian National Park Signage – Hyunyi Um © 2019

What’s the meaning of National Park?

When we think of a national park, the first thing that comes to mind is probably that is an organization for preserved nature. But by experiencing Stabbursnes national park, the northern most pine tree national park among 47 (7 in Svalbard) in Norway, we could have better understanding of nowadays National Park’s meaning that there’s more complicate and cooperative management responsibilities between maintaining nature and expanding tourism development.


Where is the Stabbursnes National Park, and what can we experience?

Stabbursnes established in 1970 with 747km squared size (expanded in 2002), located in Porsanger near Alta. Among 5 national park in Finnmark, Stabbursnes is considered as it has valuable vegetations and territories because of the concrete pine trees, wetlands, migrating birds and numerous historic sites of Sami culture and ice-age. National park also manage own museum and a visitor center. Our group walked across the park for an hour to see and feel the nature, and after that thanks to the national park manager Karoline Salmia, we could talk about the importance of the national park and how to manage visitors and nature.

Wetland and river in the Stabbursnes National Park – Hyunyi Um © 2019

The round trail was approximately 6.6km and during the walk we could met autumn leaves, northern vegetations, small round rocks, sedimentary layers, and river with wetlands.

Stabbursnes Plateau and Sedimentary Layers – Hyunyi Um © 2019

Along the trail there are many board explaining about nature and culture in the area with 3 languages(English, Norwegian, Sami language). And it helps to understand why this ares is so important to be preserved. At the end of the trail there’s a bird watching cabin where you can observe birds activities with river view. Stabbursnes is famous for bird migration, so you could find out different specious in every season. National park manager Karolina stressed the importance of wetlands, because it effects to all of ecosystem connections like flora, fauna, soil, river, even to the local people.

Stabbursnes National Park Walking route – Hyunyi Um © 2019

Historical and cultural meaning in Stabbursnes National Park

Also there are important evidences of ice-ages and Sami culture. For example small round pebbles on the ground, local names in the Sami language that have been around for a long time, stacked sedimentary layers with river valley. They are all historical remains.

Signage about remained regional names in Sami Language – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Signage about Migration birds specious in Wetland district – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Signage about Sedimentary Layers as a Ice-age remains -Hyunyi Um © 2019
Signage about Flora – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Small pebbles on the ground as an evidence of Ice-age – Hyunyi Um © 2019

How does the Stabbursnes National Park being managed?

Souvenir Shop in the Museum – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Souvenir Shop in the Museum – Hyunyi Um © 2019
Stabbursnes Museum – Hyunyi Um © 2019

After the walk through the park, we had a chance to hear about National Park management system in Norway from the manager Karolina. She mentioned that collaboration between national organizations and private sectors is important in managing national park. Largely 5 institutions are linked to the management of this national park,

and main decisions are controlled by subsidiary department of nature management in ministry of climate and environment.

Overall visitor management is carried out with the government, and the other side actual national park management is carried out in collaboration with various organizations. For example, Finnmark council, Local Sami people, Fisheries and Hunting societies. More realistic decisions are possible because they are related to real life livings.

What’s the future?

As time change, managing national parks becomes more complex and difficult due to the increased environmental pollution, the changed ecological structures, and the many stakeholders involved in nature. That’s why scientific and numerical analysis and more dialogue and cooperations are needed nowadays. This is the reason that Norway’s future national park management role, where nature is more important than any other country, is noted.


Reference list

1. Stabbursnes national park. stabbursdalen_np_en.php

2. The right of the photo belongs to Hyunyi Um

The Sámi Knife trip at Karasjok Camping

by Chi Nguyen

One of the most interesting parts in this excursion is that we can gain some real experiences about Sámi daily activities. So, in the second day, we had a Sámi Knife trip at Karasjok Camping.

Gathering up & start

After checking out and giving room keys back, we all gathered in front of the cabin and were ready for the trip. We were all so curious about what will happen in this trip and had a lot of questions such as what is the main attractions of Sámi Knife? How can we use Sámi Knife? What is the main activities of the camp?, etc… Fortunately, we met Silje Halonen – owner of Karasjok Camping – she was also a guide for our trip that day. Silje is a Sámi as well and she inherited the camping from her father. Her family has established the camping since 1963 and Silje took over it from 2011.

We really enjoyed an autumn-vibes in Karasjok with cool weather and fascinating yellow-leave trees started when going along the path to the river.

Weitong © 2019 – Path to the river

Silje let us all participate in preparation tasks for the camping such as collecting and carrying reindeer skins, finding stone for making fire burner and using Sámi Knife to clear brushes.

Chi Nguyen © 2019 – Prepare reindeer skin

Sámi Knife & Prepare for fire

One most necessary thing for camping is a Sámi Knife. A knife was an essential tool for the Sámi people, who survived on fishing, fur trapping and reindeer herding. Those knives are hand-made by Sámi and were sharpened one day before the trip. That’s why those are so sharp.

Karl Andre Thomassen © 2019 – Sámi Knife

Silje guided us to use Sámi knife in the correct way and showed example for us. The Sámi knife is absolutely sharp and we need to hold it tightly in our hands so that we can erase leaves from the bush easily. I am total surprised when even the smallest girl of our group can do this by herself.

Chi Nguyen © 2019 –  Guide to use knife


Chi Nguyen © 2019 – Make grill sticks

We stopped near by the river and started fire camping there. We used all materials brought along including reindeer skins, stone and grill sticks to set up fire and started grilled smoked reindeer meats.

Fire camp & Hear stories

Chi Nguyen © 2019 – Make fire & grill reindeer meat

All of us sat around the fire and talked to each other. We heard stories from Silje about Karasjok Camping and asked her many questions about her concerns. Silje was inspired by sharing Sámi experiences to tourists more, not only bring accommodation for them but also offer them many activities so that they can feel what exactly Sámi lifestyle is. In winter, there is a snowmobile trail right up to the cabins, so the basis for snowmobile safari is excellent! Skiing enthusiasts can use the same track to get down the river ice, and on to the many ski slopes in the area! Besides that tourists can visit at reindeer herds, horse riding, snowshoeing, northern lights chasing and many other activities,…

In summer, in Karasjok camping, they organize some other activities such as hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, cultural trail, hunting and fishing, etc… for tourists.

What will be next?

Now, Silje concerns one matter that how can she decide the target customers and do marketing better for the camping in the future. She are taking part in many tourism projects and learns the way to improve marketing channels through social media and tourism agencies. In long-term plan, Silje wants to build more cabins for more accommodation to tourists and in short-term, she will add more beds in the next Easter.

We were all really enjoyed this activity and highly recommended Silje to develop some more experienced activities like this for tourists in the future.

For more information about Karasjok Camping, check it at:

The Sámi Parliament

Csenge Horváth © 2019
Csenge Horváth © 2019

Walking through the close growing trees in Karasjok you will find a beautiful building inspired by the nature around it. This hidden treasure has a massive value to the whole nation of Sámi people. The treasure you have  found is The Sámi Parliament, and has a lot to offer to those who enter its open doors.

The History of the Parliament

The story of the Sámi parliament starts way before the first parliament, the building or even the first election. It all began with the split of the union between Norway and Sweden. The Sámi people had difficulties with the split, now the borders had change, and could not follow the reindeer as they had always done. This led to the first international congress on the 7th of February 1917 and is now the national day of the Sámi people. After this the Sámi people work together to find solutions for comment problems across the borders. There came more factors that contribute the need to have a political voice for the people. The dam that the Norwegian government wanted to build in Máze had a big impact on the Sámi people, and a few year later, the first Sámi Parliament was sent on the 8th of October 1989 in Karasjok by H,R,H King Olav V.
Today, as the youngest Parliament ever, the 39 representatives meet op four times a year to discuss the issues that has impact on the Sámi people.

The Heart of the Parliament

Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019
Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019

When you enter the plenary hall, you walk right in to the heart of the parliament. It is here all the magic happens. In this hall, the 39 representatives discuss the in favour for the Sámi people with local, national and international issues.
The first thing that catches you attention is the massive painting by Hilde Schanke Pedersen in the back of the rostrum. The deep blue colour in the background with golden spots forming a circle gives us the impression of the Sámi culture.

Inspired by Nature

Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019
Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019
Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019
Kristina Sundstein Petersen © 2019

Throughout the whole parliament we can see the inspiration of nature, even in the smallest details. It is no secret that the architects Stein Halvorsen and Christian Sundby wanted the Sami culture to shin in this building. They have used the northern lights as a red thread throughout the building to connect the main hall with the plenary hall.
The main hall of the parliament serves both as the foyer and a library. When entering the hall you are taken by the brightness and the great view of the forest. The celling is covered with light balls and shine like a bright night sky.  The hall is build up around you as a fence for the reindeer, and as the reindeer you feel safe in the warmth of the building.
When you got the first glance of the plenary hall from outside, you are in no doubt that the inspiration comes from the Lavu. The big cone shaped building has even more similarities with the Lavu on the inside, where the representatives all form a circle around the big opening in the hall, as a fire in the Lavu.

Alta Museum

On August 26th we went on an excursion to Alta Museum. As part of the field trip museum’s marketing and sales manager Anita Topia gave us a presentation. She explained how the museum operates and its roles of conserving one of the eight UNESCO heritage sites in Norway. However, museum work is not limited to protecting heritage. It plays a role in introducing the heritage and its importance to a wide range of people, from individuals to groups, locals and foreigners. The rock art is one of the two cultural heritage sites in Finnmark. There are five places in Alta that the rock art can be found. Only one of them, Hjemmeluft, is open to public. Other four, Kåfjord, Storsteinen, Amtmannsnes and Transfarelv are not made available for tourists, but are the Museum’s responsibility.

The Alta Museum consists of a director and three departments – protection, research, renewal. Their tasks are explained in 4F’s which are dissemination (Formidling), management (Forvaltning), research (Forskning), renewal (Fornybar).

The Museum gets about 60,000 visitors a year. The analysis shows the main season is from June to August, 80% of all the guests visit then. More than 99% of them are from Europe, with about 30% Norwegians. The largest proportion of tourists are from Germany, Italy and France. Alta museum would like to attract more visitors from Asia, since they see a big potential there. Another big opportunity to expand is to persuade the tourists visiting the North Cape, by new deals and marketing strategies. The museum is missing out on a big number of guests during the winter season, since the main attraction is unavailable during this time. Hence it is important to come up with new activities, different exhibition to bring in more visitors.

The guides are very valuable part of the Museum. They are the faces of a museum when greeting visitors and taking them on guided tours that are personalised by every guide. Which in turn has a significant impact on the museum’s image and their feedback. A good guide is someone who has plenty of knowledge on what they are presenting. The tour that is given should be educational and entertaining. It is important that the museum guide is enthusiastic, has a loud and clear voice, and knows how to adapt to the group that (s)he is presenting to.

Anita had made a SWOT analysis going into detail about the museums Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Some of it we discussed earlier – high vs low season, well trained employees, UNESCO status, increasing the number of visitors. The struggle is with lack of resources to finance the Museum, and their biggest threat is an overall decline in tourism, a financial crisis and vandalism. The museum has a responsibility in conserving the world heritage while displaying it for the public. Their future mission is to create more activities to reach out to more people, to meet the new demands of its customers. Overall we feel like Alta Museum has a lot to offer, and plenty of opportunities to grow.

Reference list

  1. Topia, A. (2019). Verdensarvsenter for bergkunst – Alta Museum. Museum verdensarvsenter & reiselivsattraksjon. Presentation, Alta

Photographs taken by Hyunyi Um