Photo: Frank Andreassen/ Www.Nordnorge.Com
Fjord Tours Articles / 15 Nov 2019

Life in the Arctic

The majority of people who have not gone on a Norwegian cruise have likely never seen the Arctic in person. Therefore, when they picture locals living there, what might come to mind is the image of people wrapped in massive puffy winter jackets all year round and walking through roads that are covered in several feet of snow and ice.

Anyone who has ever spent any significant period of time within the Arctic region knows that the reality is far from this in most places. Here is a small behind-the-scenes look at what it is really like to live in the Arctic.

Mild Weather Most Months

The first myth regarding living in the Arctic that should be debunked, is the idea that it is always freezing cold. In reality, the only parts of the Arctic that get extremely cold are the inland areas and, even then, they only tend to drop below -20 degrees Celsius between the end of November and the end of February. Otherwise, the weather is actually much milder than most people would assume.

This is especially true if someone lives near a coastal city like Tromsø. With the close proximity to the ocean, these areas of the Arctic actually receive fairly moderate temperatures all year round, with the average winter weather hovering between -5 degrees Celsius and + 5 degrees Celsius. 

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Photo: Tromsø - Eva Meyer Hanssen/ Www.Nordnorge.Com

Vehicles Are a Fairly Popular Transportation Method

It can be tempting to assume that everyone who lives in the Arctic relies on snowshoes or dog sledding to travel from place to place. However, the reality is that modern vehicles are about as common there as they are anywhere else.

This is mainly due to the fact that a large portion of the areas within the Arctic are simply impossible or at least extremely hard to get to on foot or by any other mode of transportation besides a vehicle. Plus, driving in a vehicle allows people to stay much warmer during the cold winter season than if they were to whip out their sled or their snowshoes every time they need to run to the grocery store for some orange juice.

AT In Deep Snow
Photo: Lyngsfjord Adventure

They Eat More Than Reindeer and Fish

Once again, reindeer and fish are definitely some ingredients in popular Norwegian dishes. However, these proteins tend to be something that is just reserved for visitors and it is not something that many locals partake in very often. Instead, they choose to dine on things like frozen pizzas that use taco ingredients as toppings, and bread with sugar on top of it. Their diets are actually much less healthy than most people think, which is generally counteracted by their high levels of physical activity.

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Photo: Sverre F. Hjørnevik

There Are Not Only Fishermen and Hospitality Workers

There is no denying that fishermen and hospitality workers are some of the biggest categories of individuals who live in the Arctic Circle. However, it is important to realize that they are by no means the only professions of the diverse people that live there.

The Arctic is actually a thriving environment for many different types of jobs, including biologists, lawyers, and doctors. Many of the larger Arctic communities have bustling job markets filled with a wide array of careers.

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Photo: CH

There Are a Lot of Old Mining Communities

The Arctic once had a lot of mining towns. In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a massive demand for minerals being harvested in the area. What this resulted in was the establishment of many smaller communities in areas like Svalbard, which mostly consisted of women that operated small farms while the men went and worked in the mines. The mining boom eventually ended, which incited the communities to modernize and transition to tourism-based economies, rather than turning into Arctic ghost towns.

Although there is nothing quite like booking a Norway tour and experiencing the Arctic first-hand, this is a brief description that gives you an idea of what life is like when you live in the Arctic.

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Photo: Longyearbyen - Marcela Cardenas /Www.Nordnorge.Com