An arctic adventure

If you want to meet yourself outside of your own everyday arena... come visit our home in the Arctic.

July, 2020: View from our "backyard", photo by Camilla & Mathias

Sensory Academy is located 300 kilometres north of Tromsø, and 300 kilometres south of North Cape, exactly at the brink of 70degrees Northern latitude. The remotest part of Scandinvia.

More than 700 kilometres north of the polar circle, our tiny homestead lies tucked in between the bottom part of a beautiful fiord , and the vast arctic, boreal forrests, right beneath a steep mountainside. Sensory Academy is right on the edge of the vast Finnmarksvidda. Heading east would eventually lead you into the mysterious Taigas, the enigmatic, coniferous boreal forrests of Eastern Norway, Finland and Sibiria...

Nature all around

Some of our most highly valued neigbour estates are the state protected natural landscape areas of Kvænangsbotn and Navitdalen. Southward bound, you'll encounter Reisa National Park.

We're practically bordering the untamed, yet so fragile wilderness on all sides. Still, we are sheltered from the mercyless Arctic Ocean, and partially protected from the continental inland climate in which winter temperature reaches extreme colds. We're max half a day's journey away from minus 30-40 degrees celcius in winter time... but even here with us by the coast, windchillfactor can become scary when outside...

Perfect for retreats - No population density

Our most exclusive luxury is the absence of crowd. Surrounded by nature has become a rare and extreme thing in our time, to some people even a bit scary. But definately exotic and exclusive. Population density in Kvænangen is about 0,6 person per square kilometre, and decreasing... We're the most unpopulated place in all of Europe... By comparison, while we can theoretically occupy nearly two square kilometres each, and still be by ourselves, Berlin residents have to share each square kilometre of the city with almost 4000 other human residents. That's a 1:8000 ratio. Not to mention citizens in Monaco, who have to share their square kilometre with 19 thousand other citizens! How is that even possible?

No population

The little over 1000 permanent residents of Kvænangen are scattered across the coastline, while inland Kvænangen is mostly inhabited half the year by nomadic Sami neighbours, who arrive at the coast every spring, following their herds of reindeer across the immense Finnmark Plateau to more fertile summer pastures. At which point general population in the municipality of Kvænangen increases by about 800 seasonal citizens... plus tourists passing through this precious gem of a region...

Extreme seasonal change

Because the seasonal changes in the Arctic are so extreme, we better make sure to tell you, that visiting here in winter is a totally different experience, from visiting in summer. You could visit us repeatedly every five to six months and hardly recognize the place. This gives us an awesome opportunity to offer you a wide spectrum of experiences, all at the same location; By november, you'll be able to watch humbback whales and hords of orcas having feeding frenzies in shoals of heering, along the arctic coastline, while protecting their newly borns.

The long polar winters, are fascinating. The night sky lasting from mid november is lit up only occasionally by the Northern Lights, while the frozen still landscapes provide the perfect sceneries...It's litterally like being on another planet in another universe...

No visual pollution

Thus, located in the "outskirts of civilisation", far from the visual pollution of urban streetlighting, this is the place to be in winter if you wish to search for the infamous Aurora Borealis... or for your infamous self... both loaded with ancient narrative and symbolism.

Have a look at Alister Chapman's beautiful little film about Aurora Borealis

Arctic winter is, in other words, where you risk "meeting yourself in the doorway", as Norwegians call it, when you are forced to look into the shadowy depths of you... seeing what merely is...

No light pollution

Around 5th of february every year, sun will beginn to cast it's beams we've so been yerning for, across the fiord and through our dirty windows. Sunshine. After having spent maybe close to a quarter of a year in deprived winter darkness, we celebrate the dawn of light and life, as the mountains seem gradually more accessible.

Sun and warmth is not only for the Caribean

Enjoying the peaks of Kvænangstindan - Our signature mountain range

Summer sulstice hits us in all it's splendor mid june. Midnight sun is in reality "round the clock-sun" and you may find yourself fishing and sunbathing from a small boat on still waters at 3AM in the morning. Or munching on your fried trout and half a baked potato next to a campfire by the mountain lake...

Sea n' Summer

In july, you can experience heatwave of up to 32 degrees celcius and seemingly never ending sunshine, while reindeer graze along the higways, and occationally seek shelter from the mercyless sun inside the highway tunnels. You'll only see herds of reindeer wandering around here from may to september, as they migrate back to the Finnmark plateau come autumn. But by then you won't have time to look for reindeer, as harvesting and eating delicious berries while roaming the alpine mountain sceneries might be at the top of your bucket list.

Get in touch with your own origin - Harvesting from nature

As summer passes, the mountains greet us with hospitality, making us offerings of berries and mushrooms. And while we harvest, autumn sneaks up on us with a wisper, bathing our world in tantalizing colours of the last sunlight... These are the days we come home from sleepovers in the mountains, surrounded by an odour of happines and smoke from the campfire.


The resident cat is of local origin, questionable temper and ongoing scrutiny...

Their predatorial presence is constantly threatened by that of larger cats, namely our two roaming wild cats Eurasian Lynx, or as Norwegians call them: gaupe.

Gaupe - Eurasian Lynx - in fight with wolverine

Wildlife is an intrinsic part of living in the remote, rural part of Northern Norway...And here in the vecinity of Sensory Academy, we're lucky to be in the territory of "The Big Five"...

By the way... Guests residing in the Wood Shack who feel unsafe using the outside facilities, are free to use the facilities in the Green House as well.

Although Sensory Academy is partially based on the idea of "sharing and co-creation", we don't mean to seem intrusive on your personal privacy sphere. So we will take this opportunity to inform you in advance, that accommodation here will always require a certain amount of flexibility and sociability on your part, since we have very limited space for single rooms, and cannot offer the priviledge of private toilet and bath. We are, however, particularly keen on securing neat and clean, hygienic ambience and luckily we also have an appropriate floor plan for people to preserve privacy to an extent.



History

A story of war, peace and resilience

The main house and the barn at Solli estate, were built around 1952 with materials supplied from the European Recovery Programme, better known as the Marshall Plan. Most of Norway north of Tromsø had experienced almost total devastation as it dawned on the German army they were about to lose the war to the allies and they torched and bombed everything by strategy of "scortched earth", after having removed the population by force.Upon return in 1945, the people began rebuilding the depleted communities, while living with their families beneath old boats on the beach or in the scraps and remainders of old burnt-down barn foundations on what was now an almost worthless peace of land. The livestock had been seized and slaughtered by german troops, and nothing was left, so the population literally had to start fresh.

Culture clashes and co-existence

To this day, Kvænangen municipality is the story of co-living under special circumstances. Even though the region is thought of primarily as the melting point of three main cultures, it is in fact a vibrant multicultural site with a strong connection to the global scene.

The majority of the permanent population is still made up by the Kven (hence the name given to the municipality), the Sapmi and the Norwegian. But in order to live up to the expectations and treaties of a Scandinavian wellfare society, the scarcely populated rural Northern Norway continues to invite skilled health professionals and craftsmen from many other parts of the world to work and co-exist here in Northern Norway. So a minority of the permanent population in this region is also made up of German, British, Polish, Swedish, Danish, American, Italian and other "ex-pats", whom share the love of Arctic nature and people, and have chosen to settle here. Historically, the state of Norway acknowledges the fact that Kven and Sapmi cultures have been subjected to a form of colonization, deprived of rights and cultural affiliation... All in all, these circumstances make for a generally very hospitable, generous and culturally diversified neighbourhood, though also for deeply rooted, occationally heated political and historical discussions about land claims, ethnic privileges, cultural appropriation and heritage. Thus, this location has plenty of historical and cultural treasures to experience and learn from, besides the natural. This is, in every sense of the word, land of extremes.