Nordic countries also part of the Arctic

Lars Kullerud

Nordic countries also part of the Arctic

What does it take to conduct good Arctic research? The short answer is cooperation – and that is achieved through interdisciplinarity, mobility and joint funding. Geologist Lars Kullerud believes that the Nordic countries should take advantage of the competencies we have, because in a sense we live in the Arctic.

A common definition of the Arctic is the area roughly consisting of the Arctic Circle and designated areas south of it, including all of Greenland. Some 4 million people live in this area.

Another definition is all areas with partial permafrost, which includes only parts of the Nordic countries, all of Siberia and south of it to Mongolia, and much of Canada.

Lars Kullerud defines the Arctic in a somewhat broader way:

- I consider the entire Nordic region to be part of the Arctic, if we extend our perspective a little and do not insist on finding polar bears. So someone living in Southern Jutland in Denmark could be said to reside in the southernmost Arctic. The region is called ‘NORdic’ for good reason – it’s the northernmost part of the world.

- I think the biggest advantage we in the Nordic countries have is that we live here. Almost everyone who lives in the world’s northernmost reaches lives in the Nordic countries. If you draw a line at the southernmost point of Denmark, there are very few people, from a global perspective, living north of that line.

Lars Kullerud

- While a person who lives just north of Stockholm may not feel that he or she lives in the Arctic, he or she does live much farther north than almost everyone else on Earth. And those of us who live here find it natural to live with snow and ice, so we have experience that is parallel to that of northern Canada or Siberia, where almost no people live. That knowledge is the biggest advantage we have in the Nordic countries. I think it is much greater than we realise. Almost everyone living in the North lives in the Nordic countries or western Russia.


Lars Kullerud is the President of The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the North

Read more in the NordForsk Magazine