Cultural programme


Tromsø Academic Women’s Choir

We start at the top of the city mountain, where the choir performs Gjendines bådnlåt, or Gjendines lullaby. Gjendine was born in 1871 in the south-eastern part of Norway, and was a farmer and folk singer. She became well known after she had met the famous composer Edward Grieg when they were both out walking in the mountains. Grieg was so impressed by her folk tunes that he used them in several compositions. Gjendines lullaby is the most famous one. Click here to read an English translation of the lyrics.

The lyricist Helge Stangnes is born in Northern Norway and has written a lot of poetry with roots in our coastal culture. In Havsalme, he moves the northern landscape into the mind, as a metaphor for the currents and waves of thoughts, faith and doubt that are inside many of us. Having an inner power may help us navigate safely through life, but sometimes we need help to calm the storms, and guidance to arrive safely ashore. You will now hear the choir sing this psalm, in the Telegraph Bay. The conductor Bjarne Isaksen arranged the psalm for female choir only a couple of months ago, so the Creating Knowledge delegates are some of the first ones to hear it.

We end the tour in the city center of Tromsø, outside the Tromsø Cathedral, where the choir will perform the traditional men’s choir song Olaf Trygvason. The poem Olaf Trygvason was written by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1861, and it refers to the historical battle of Svolder around year 1000. What is particular with this poem, is that Bjørnson leaves out the most dramatic part of what happens, that king Olaf Trygvason dies by throwing himself overboard after his ship Ormen Lange (the long serpent) has been conquered. Instead, the poem stays with those who did not participate in the battle, the ships who in uncertainty were sailing past the enemy. The poem is about their worries while they wait for the king to come after. Already in the beginning their worries appear and develop into fear, then sorrow and then finally silence, as they realise that king Olaf Trygvason has fallen.

Well, Olaf Trygvason falls, but the Creating Knowledge conference lives on. See you all in Finland in a couple of years!


Creating Knowledge of the Far North: The earliest printed maps as icons of (mis)information

by Per Pippin Aspaas and Henning Hansen, University Library, UiT The Arctic University of Norway


Tromsø – a likely city in an unlikely place

by Per Helge Nylund, The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy of Fine Arts, UiT The Arctic University of Norway