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Focus: Climate and the environment

Crown Prince Haakon is concerned about the environment, particularly issues relating to climate change and its impacts. He follows conditions in the Arctic and the Antarctic especially closely.

The Crown Prince was the Royal Patron of the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) for Norway. The fourth of its kind, the IPY involved researchers from over 60 countries in an intensive, internationally-coordinated research effort to increase world knowledge about the Arctic and the Antarctic environments. In connection with the IPY, Crown Prince Haakon travelled to Svalbard and Greenland with the other heirs to the Scandinavian thrones – Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Research expedition to Svalbard

The heirs to the three Scandinavian thrones were each serving as the patrons for the International Polar Year for their respective countries. In 2008, in this capacity, they boarded the ice-breaker Oden for a five-day research expedition in the waters around Spitzbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago. On board the Swedish research vessel, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Victoria attended lectures on the environment and climate. They made a stop in New Ålesund to visit the Sverdrup and Zeppelin research stations run by the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Their journey concluded in Longyearbyen. Crown Prince Haakon visited the University Centre in Svalbard, where he attended a presentation on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and the effort to achieve a CO2-free Svalbard.

Climate change on Greenland

In 2009, a year after their trip to Svalbard, the heirs to the Scandinavian thrones travelled to Greenland. The purpose of their trip was to focus attention on the impact of climate change on Greenland and the people living there.

On board the Danish offshore patrol vessel Ejnar Mikkelsen, Their Royal Highnesses were able to observe changes in the natural environment and attend lectures on climate change in the Arctic. There were stops at a number of locations, including the Ilulissat glacier, which has receded by 15 kilometres in just a few years due to warmer water temperatures in the fjord at the foot of the glacier. The journey also included visits to research stations and a centre for alternative energy.

Book project

Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Victoria and Crown Prince Frederik each wrote a chapter of the book Kongelig polartokt (“Royal Polar Expedition”), published in autumn 2009, in which they share their impressions and experiences from their journeys to Svalbard and Greenland. The book also features contributions by researchers Minik T. Rosing, Anders Karlqvist and Pål Prestrud on polar research and climate issues and their views about what can be done. All profits from the book go to charity.


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Dansk TV 2 fulgte de tre skandinaviske tronfølgerne, Kronprins Frederik, Kronprinsesse Victoria og Kronprins Haakon, på en kongelig ekspedisjon for å skape økt oppmerksomhet om klimaforandringene. Foto: Dansk TV 2
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