Norway is one of the richest countries in the world. And if you discount the tiny city states that preceed it in the rankings, it is the richest country in the world. But in Norway this wealth is hardly visible on the street. It is hidden in all kinds of benefits to society, like pension funds, road maintenance, airports, hospitals and schools. Most of this wealth is created by oil, which is almost entirely sold to other countries, as the country itself runs completely on clean and abundant hydroelectric power. Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, but that has nothing to do with its financial wealth… Continue reading
There are many ways to experience the Arctic. A few weeks ago I wrote about the Expedition way. A great experience, but not for everyone. There are definitely more accessible and comfortable ways to enjoy this majestic part of the world. Still adventurous, still not for everyone, but totally realistic if this destination is on your bucket list. And it should be! Continue reading
The North Cape is one of those places that is on most traveller’s bucket lists. Known as the northernmost point of Europe, situated at 71°10´21˝N, some even claim it is closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo. It may certainly feel that way and it is good tourism marketing, but it is not true. First of all, it is not the northernmost of Europe. The northernmost point of Europe is Cape Fligely, on Russian Rudolf Island (81°48′24″N), or if you don’t consider that Europe, it is the island of Rossøya on Svalbard, both over 1,000 kilometers north of the North Cape. Those places are definitely closer to the North Pole than to any sizeable city like Oslo. Those places are also virtually impossible to visit, so no travelers ever make it there. Unfortunately for the North Cape it is also not the northermost point of continental Europe, as it lies on a small island. That title goes to nearby Cape Nordkinn (71°08′02″N), a difficult place to visit, but a few hikers make it there every year. Continue reading
I blame this shipmodel on board the DFDS ‘Princess Seaways’. I saw it at the deck 6 lounge of this modern ferry a few weeks ago. It is a scale model of the “Prince of Scandinavia”, a 1975-built ferry that sailed for DFDS Seaways from 1981 to 2003. One of my oldest childhood holiday memories is of this ship, which was originally registered as MS ‘Tor Britannia’, sailing for Tor Line in 1979. I still have a postcard that I got on board that ship, as an eight year old kid.
Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz explored the seas around the Northern tip of Norway three times, looking for the infamous northern passage to Asia. On his third journey, in 1596, he stranded in heavy sea ice on the barren island of Nova Zembla, where he ultimately perished after spending the winter in the famous ‘Behouden Huys’, made of the wreckage of his ship in 1597. In an urge to relive some of the crew’s endurance, a small Dutch expedition ventured out to Kirkenes in Northern Norway, to see the part of the Arctic Ocean named after our national 16th century hero, in the middle of the Arctic winter. Continue reading
Intense Arctic Expedition III
This was the third Intense Arctic Expedition that we organized since 2011. The ‘intense’ concept means that participants have a very short, but intense arctic experience. Three nights of hiking and camping in the snow of a challenging wilderness is enough to have a lifelong impact. It is also intense because it brings you from inside your comfort zone to ‘outside your comfort zone’ – there where the magic happens – in just a few hours. Our favorite location is the rugged Skarvan and Roltdalen National Park in Central Norway. It is close to the Trondheim-Vaernes Airport, which offers several daily direct flights from Amsterdam, by KLM. It is also the northernmost destination you can fly directly from Amsterdam. Perfect for this short experience!