It is interesting to assess the contribution made by the Svalbard Islands to the public imagination and to national-popular culture. A clear indication of this is when a brand is inspired by certain lands and their glorious history, as is the case with Svalbard Islands, which produces the iconic Nobile N1 jacket, an adventure jacket with low environmental impact. But Norwegian culture also expresses its charm in other ways, beyond fashion, untamed nature and bird-watching. Even the worlds of international music, literature and fiction have been influenced by Norwegian culture, as we will see below. For a start, did you know that we regularly use a Norwegian word in every-day English? “Ski” in Norwegian comes from the Norse word skið, which means “long, thin piece of split wood”.
Clean Bandit and the album dedicated to the Svalbard Islands
Norwegian culture concerning its fjords and glaciers has inspired various contemporary musicians. One example of this is the English band Clean Bandit, and one album in particular by the group. In June 2014, Clean Bandit filmed a video of the song Come Over (ft. Stylo G) near the old coal mines of Longyearbyen. In September 2014, the Swedish singer Tove Styrke filmed the video for her single Borderline in the ghost town of Pyramiden in Norway. Pyramiden also provided the inspiration for the 2012 album Pyramida by the Danish band Efterklang.
The Svalbard Islands, Philip Pullman and his books
Culture in Norway plays a dominant role. In fact, it would appear to be the country with the highest level of literacy in the world. After all, the Norwegian government encourages the publication of books, purchasing the first one thousand copies to distribute them free of charge to libraries throughout the country. State Universities are completely free of charge, even for foreigners. This is one of the reasons why authors are so fond of Norway, apart from its natural and uncontaminated beauty. For example, the Svalbard islands are cited by Philip Pullman in the His Dark Materials trilogy. But beyond Philip Pullman, there is no shortage of books about Norway, such as The Headhunters by Jo Nesbø and Hunger by the Nobel prize-winner Knut Hamsun.
Fortitude, the TV series set on the Svalbard Islands.
In modern Norwegian culture, television plays its part. Compared to other Western countries, such as the USA, in Norway, TV with a slow and distended rhythm is much appreciated. Examples of famous slow programmes broadcast in the past are the 10-hour live programme showing a train trip from Oslo to Bergen, and 18 hours of salmon laying eggs. But Norway is also loved by those who film series in natural settings. This is well understood by the spectators of Fortitude, a TV series inspired by the Svalbard Islands, in particular by the cities of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg (even if filming actually took place in Iceland).