Celebrating 25 years in the Arctic

We’re celebrating 25 years of journeying through Svalbard, driven by our mission to share its rich culture, history, and awe-inspiring nature. According to Svein Wilhelmsen, founder of Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen, our commitment to showcasing the Arctic’s beauty and vulnerability enhances visitors’ respect for this remarkable region at 78 degrees north.

Founder of Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen, Svein Wilhelmsen, together with Brita Knutsen Dahl, who has managed the innovation and development for over 20 years.

Over the past quarter-century, innovation and uniqueness have defined our approach to guiding Norwegian and international guests on unforgettable adventures in Svalbard. Today, on February 20, 2024, we mark a milestone anniversary. With our flagship properties, Isfjord Radio Adventure Hotel and Nordenskiöld Lodge, we proudly stand as the sole Norwegian company offering accommodations far from civilization in the Arctic.

In 1998, Svein Wilhelmsen established Basecamp Explorer in Kenya, driven by a triple bottom line philosophy encompassing economics, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. The following year, Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen was born in Svalbard.

“From the equator in the south to the Arctic in the north, we’ve shared two destinations facing environmental pressures due to human impact,” says Svein Wilhelmsen. “Our operations have sparked numerous projects promoting a harmonious balance between people and the environment.”

“Svalbard has captivated explorers, trappers, and researchers for centuries, and its allure endures,” he continues. “Our journeys aim to inspire, with guests experiencing a blend of mastery, wonder, and joy in encountering the Arctic.”

For many years our guests explored the “Ship in the ice”.

Alternative accommodation options have evolved over the years. While we once transported travelers to the ‘Ship in the Ice,’ now deemed unsafe due to unstable fjord ice and increased regulation, we’ve adapted. In 2008, we assumed management of Isfjord Radio, transforming the former radio station into a cozy wilderness hotel accessible by snowmobile, ski, or dog sled from Longyearbyen. During summer, guests journey by boat to the hotel at Kapp Linné.

Nestled amidst the moraines before the imposing Nordenskiöld Glacier lies Nordenskiöld Lodge. Norway’s northernmost commercial cabin offers an intimate retreat from modern life, accommodating just eight guests amid rugged yet breathtaking wilderness.

Man sitting on stone rock overlooking Basecamp Explorer Nordenskiöld Lodge in winter.

A unique accommodation in front of the Nordenskiöld glacier.

“Our 25 years of distinctive tourism production in Svalbard reflect our commitment to delivering extraordinary Arctic experiences,” asserts Renate Pedersen, General Manager of Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen. “We infuse each adventure with a touch of madness, ensuring safety and compliance with authorities’ regulations.”

“In 2023, we were honored as Norway’s best experience provider, a testament to our dedication to delivering exceptional experiences,” adds Pedersen. “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, I extend heartfelt gratitude to all who have contributed to sharing Svalbard’s remarkable history and nature.”

Woman in bathrobe and rifle, man in bathrobe with boots and woman in bathrobe and winter coat after swimming in arctic seas at Basecamp Explorer Isfjord Radio.

Adventures with a touch of madness.

Looking ahead, Flakk Gruppen became the primary shareholder of Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen in 2023, signaling a commitment to shaping future experience-based tourism in the Arctic. As the third-largest Norwegian tourism operator in Svalbard, we continue to expand our portfolio, which includes Basecamp Hotel in Longyearbyen and the Catching Station in Bolterdalen, along with a dog kennel housing up to one hundred Alaskan huskies.

“Our operations prioritize environmental stewardship, and our Arctic expeditions promote awareness of the world’s environmental challenges,” concludes Renate Pedersen. “We hope our guests depart with a newfound sense of mastery and affection for the Arctic, inspiring collective action for a sustainable future.”


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