Svalbard in the 17th and 18th centuries

Permanent exhibition

An exhibition on the earliest trapping period on Svalbard, where Willem Barentsz' famoust expedition in 1596 made known the rich populations of whale and walrus in the oceans around Svalbard.

We have to assume that most of the whale trappers in the 17th century hunted as many Svalbard reindeer as the could. Their meat was probably a welcome supplement to the otherwise monotonous ships’ fare. During a single winter, a couple of hunters could easily shoot more than 100 reindeer. This hunted continued until the reindeer were protected in 1925. 


Although forbidden by law, many reindeer were hunted by miners, whalers and tourists also after 1925. But as time drew on, the District Governor of Svalbard began to gain better control. Since 1983, the residents and some scientists have been allowed to shoot a strict quota each year.

Last changed: 23.09.2021 15.04