Sweden moves Polar Research Secretariat to Luleå

Luleå has about 75,000 inhabitants, and it's port is home to Sweden's fleet of icebreakers. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Luleå has about 75,000 inhabitants, and its port is home to Sweden’s fleet of icebreakers. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

The Swedish Government has decided to relocate the office of the nation’s Polar Research Secretariat from Stockholm to Luleå in northern Sweden.

The secretariat is in charge of , coordinating, organizing and supporting fieldwork to both the Arctic and Antarctica.

The secretariat is also supporting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in matters related to international negotiations and partnerships on polar issues.

The Polar Research Secretariat is one of seven state agencies and institutions to moved from the capital to other cities all around Sweden.

“What we present today is the most comprehensive decision on moving state entities. We must make sure to take advantage of the skills found in across the country, not only in our big cities,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said when the move was announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

The move from Stockholm to Luleå will, according to the decision, be completed by the summer 2019. The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat has 30 employees.

Luleå is the largest city in the County of Norrbotten. It holds a technical university with 19,000 students and 1,500 employees. Luleå has in recent years become a booming location for huge data-centers for companies like Facebook.

Sweden’s fleet of icebreakers are based in the harbor, keeping the Gulf of Bothnia open for cargo vessels during winter. The icebreaker Oden has sailed several times on expeditions to Antarctica as well as to the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and Svalbard. In 1991, Oden became the first non-nuclear-powered vessel to reach the North Pole.

Sweden is not the first country to move Arctic institutions out of its capital. In 1993, the Norwegian parliament decided to move the Norwegian Polar Institute from Oslo to Tromsø.

Later, in 2013, the Arctic Council Secretariat was established in Tromsø.