We started our company Svalbard Villmarkssenter in 1993 so that we could share
the wonderful experiences with others and give them a glimpse of the spectacular
nature on Svalbard. When I, Berit, and my husband Karl came to Svalbard in the
70’s we found the place very special and decided that Svalbard was the place we
wanted to settle and raise our children. Svalbard Villmarkssenter is concerned about the future development of our planet earth. If we look back upon the enormous transitions that have taken place in our societies during the last fourty years, there is no doubt that large cultural- and attitude changes have been made during short periods of time. The ever-increasing hunger for consumption of goods and services and its shortened life cycle is a big challenge for us. Nobody is really to blame for the situation we see today, since it is largely the result of scientific and industrial development. Nevertheless, it has maximized profits in the shortest possible time during this modern development. Everything that can be converted to cash in the pocket is exploited, even natural wilderness itself. The hunt for and exploitation of the natural resources of Svalbard has gone on for almost 400 years. The human history on Svalbard clearly shows what it can lead to if one removes more from the bank than it pays in interest. The decimation of the large baleen whales, the near extinction of the walrus and the dramatic decline of the polar bear population are grim examples of our recent past. The biological resources were the easiest to gain access to and were – in a sense – `mined` first. Todays modern technology makes it possible to exploit mineral, oil and gas reserves in the same way, as can be witnessed by the current offshore activities in the North Sea. This development trend can’t be right if one really looks into the issue and is willing to open one`s eyes to the ultimate ecological consequences of industrialization and the consumer society. To solve these problems we must learn again to cooperate with nature and with each other. This can only happen by asking ourselves what contribution – however small – can I make towards to a more fair and environmentally friendly society. Svalbard Villmarkssenter hopes, and tries to provide opportunities for gaining new views, new opinions and new attitudes which can be the foundation for a more environmentally conscious behavior. Such ecological thinking is not turning the wheel of time back into a dark past. Technology is to be used to guarantee a sustainable future, but with concern for life on land, in the air, in sea, and the soil. Arctic tourism in todays` form is extremely energy-demanding. Any attempt to establish tourism as a business without seeing these realities is what a British historian once described as ‘Lack of knowledge and perspective, as well as lacking understanding of vital connections and inter-relationships. Our Philosophy stands for the creation of life, its closing circle with death and respect for nature and its resources. Simplicity and respect for the resources on which we depend on have long traditions in our country and are now supported by the Ecotourism Norway label. More information about our Eco-Tourism, you find here. Svalbard Villmarkssenter was certified as on of the first eco tourism company of Norway in 2008. In addition to that, Svalbard Villmarkssenter follows the “Ten Principles for Arctic Tourism” and the “Code of Conduct for Tour Operators in the Arctic” of WWF International Arctic Programme and was therefore priced with the WWF Award for Linking Tourism and Conservation in 2002. Svalbard Villmarkssenter strives to stand for a resource-friendly utilisation of our natural environment and tries to take all lifeforms into consideration in our work, from micro- organisms to higher plants and animals.