After three decades of dicsussions, a Sámi house will finally be established in Tromsø, the biggest city in Northern Norway.
The protection and development of Sami culture in the north of Norway takes a major step forward with the announcement of a new community centre in Tromsø. Tromsø city, Troms og Finnmark county and the Sámi Parliament have joined forces to deliver the project.
The Sámi house will be a Sámi community centre and meeting place. It will contribute to “creating and operating a public art and culture arena with a clear Sámi profile,” according to the project team.
Enhancing Sami culture in Tromsø
The news means that Northern Norway's two biggest cities will have major Sámi-related projects in the years to come. Tromsø's Sami House project follows on from Bodø's decision to place Sami culture throughout their plans for their year in the spotlight as a European Capital of Culture in 2024.
Amongst other goals, the Sámi House will help ensure that Sami culture and languages can be experienced, developed, and passed on to future generations.
Tromsø is the municipality in Norway with the most inhabitants registered in the Sàmi Parliament's electoral roll. Yet a Sàmi house was established in Oslo, Norway's capital city, in 2003.
Each winter, Tromsø plays host to Sámi Week. During the week-long annual festival held in connection with the Sámi National Day, Sámi culture is very visible in Tromsø. A lively mix of cultural events including art exhibitions, lectures and concerts takes place.
“This is a historical milestone for Tromsø municipality. A Sámi house is very important for the municipality's Sámi as well as Norwegian inhabitants and domestic and foreign visitors. This will be a meeting place, a hub of competence, and an energy field for the Sámi culture, competence, and power,” said Gunnar Wilhelmsen, mayor of Tromsø.
“And as the Arctic capital, Tromsø must of course have a Sámi house,” he continued, highlighting the project's significance beyond the municipality.
Important for all of Northern Norway
“Troms and Finnmark county wish to be part of facilitating Sàmi meeting places and this is a need in Northern Norway's largest city. It is important that we protect and pass on the Sàmi language, culture, and ways of living,” said Kristina Tobergsen, chair of Troms og Finnmark county government.
“The establishment of a Sàmi house in Tromsø is a concrete measure in the cooperation agreement with the Sàmi parliament which we now bring life to together and I want to say thank you to the Sàmi Parliament Council and the mayor for the good cooperation. This makes me very happy and I look forward to the continuation,” she continued.
Silje Karine Muotka, president of the Sámi Parliament, has also been a strong supporter of the plans. Since 1989, the Sami people of Norway have been able to elect representatives to a Parliament solely focused on Sami issues, no matter where they live.
“We look forward to the day the Sámi inhabitants of Tromsø can enter the Sámi house, which they have waited for for a long, long time,” said Muotka.
The proposal—expected to be approved by the municipal council, the county council, and the Samì Parliament—is to form a company called Romssa Sámi Viessu/Sámi House Tromsø AS to be jointly owned by the three parties.