Updated: Mar 2
On the 19th January 2020 – as every third Sunday in January – we celebrated our annual member’s meeting in Hammerfest. Most of our far-travelled participants arrived early and started the day with a sightseeing tour of Hammerfest together with our guests from Hurtigruten (MS Nordlys), making the most of the period where the light is strongest on a typical day during the late polar night (- 4° C).
Few hours after the dark set in, The Polar Bear Society finally opened the doors at 18:00 to welcome its members. The official part started with a detailed tour our exhibition by our guiding veteran Trygve, before Christian took over for the main act of the evening. In his presentation he provided overview of the achievements and developments of last year.
Hvaldimir, the “Russian spy whale”, visited our town out of the blue from May to July and caused a media sensation throughout the world. The Polar Bear Society supported experts who took care of his well-being from early on. Great crowds were fascinated by his good-humored and intelligent nature. Our efforts resulted in collecting 45.350 NOK through money donations and sale of products for the Hvaldimir Foundation.
As for the membership developments, we were happy to welcome over 5.700 new members to our society in 2019, just finishing the year short of 275.000 total members mark. The peaks were naturally linked to cruise ships calling in Hammerfest, with a top of 428 new members in a day! Our free exhibition attracted over 107.000 visitors in 2019, which makes it the year with second-most visitors in history (after 2018). A brief outlook into the future with a glimpse into potential new developments in Hammerfest such as a port redevelopment concluded the presentation.
In the final act, the ennoblements of our new members Joanna, Leo and Lothar took place according to the traditional ritual. Furthermore, the southernmost participant of this year’s meeting was determined and awarded: Rainer from Küssaberg (Ger) making it from 47° 35’ N up to the northernmost town in the world at 70° 39’ N. Friedhelm and Lothar received a special mention coming all the way from Gütersloh (Ger) by car over ice and snow.
The participants were then wished a safe trip home and a “see you again!”. The next annual meeting will take place on January 17th, 2021, at 18:00 in Hammerfest.