The time when we arrived at the harbour of Honningsvåg we were informed that because of snow falls and expected snow avalanches the street to the Nordkap was closed. So we missed it – that time. But instead we had a good time in the small city of Honningsvåg.
Honningsvåg is the „Gateway to the North Cape“ – the cape is 34 km away – and with 3,200 inhabitants the most important fishing settlement in western Finnmark. The architecture of the town is – like most places in the region – influenced by the post-war period. During the German withdrawal from the Murmansk Front in 1944, the people here were forcibly evacuated by the Wehrmacht and all buildings were completely destroyed. Only the church remained.
It was the policy of the „scorched earth“. In the North Cape Museum the devastation of the city by the German Wehrmacht is impressively shown and in a flim a contemporary witness reports how he fled with his mother and hundreds of others into the mountains to escape the evacuation.
We also learnt a little bit about the indigenous people of the Sámi and their very peaceful culture. The area they are settling is called Sápmi, which today encompasses large northern parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
The official Flag
The Sámi have been recognized as an indigenous group in Norway since 1987 and therefore, according to international law, the Sami people in Norway are entitled special protection and rights. They also have their own parliament. In the whole of Europe today they are the only people recognized as an indigenous group.
„We the Sámi people walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors. If you destroy the footprints then our future is wiped out.“
(Stefan Mikaelsson, 1996-2009 President of Sámi Parliament, Sametiinget)
The Sámi like very bright and a wide range of colors. It’s a kind of compensation for the long time of darkness in winter.
Eva Schmutterer, Gallery in Honningsvåg
The German artist Eva Schmutterer (www.evart.no) is inspired by the colors of the Sámi people and of the extreme seasons of the Norwegian Arctic. Since many years she is now living in this place. We could visit her Gallery in Honningsvåg and enjoyed her wonderful art of paper collages.