All aboard for art!

Hurtigruten partners with Queen Sonja Print Award to bring art to hybrid ships

Queen Sonja Print Award

Photo: Ilan Kelman
HM Queen Sonja displays a small selection of chosen art onboard Hurtigruten’s MS Fram this April.


When the world’s first hybrid-powered expedition ship, MS Roald Amundsen, embarks on its maiden voyage, every piece of art on board will be handpicked by HM Queen Sonja of Norway’s art foundation, the Queen Sonja Print Award.

“The unique partnership we are gathered here today to celebrate is the cooperation between Hurtigruten and the Queen Sonja Print Award. Hurtigruten strives to provide their guests with an unforgettable experience. Exquisite art to enjoy on the journey is part of this experience,” said the queen during an event on board Hurtigruten’s MS Fram while docked in New York on Sunday, April 15.

Almost 600 unique works of art by young Norwegian artists, as well as previous award winners and works of art by HM Queen Sonja herself will be featured throughout MS Roald Amundsen. In addition, the Hurtigruten-QSPA partnership includes the possibility for design and development of joint merchandise, resident artists on board Hurtigruten’s expedition ships, art talks, exhibitions, and more.

“We are very excited about the new partnership and the opportunities this presents to our guests. HM Queen Sonja, QSPA, and Hurtigruten found each other through a common love for the outdoors, nature, and art,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

With large battery packs and groundbreaking green technology, MS Roald Amundsen will join Hurtigruten’s growing fleet of small, custom-built expedition ships in 2019. Named after the legendary explorer, the ship will honor its namesake by exploring destinations such as Antarctica, the Arctic and the Norwegian coast.

“At Hurtigruten, we are building the next generation of expedition ships. At QSPA, they are highlighting the next generation of young artists. A partnership is a very natural fit. It is an honor to, literally, have Her Majesty and the QSPA on board,” Skjeldam adds.

The extensive art collection on MS Roald Amundsen will include multiple prints in all suites and cabins and public spaces such as restaurants, staircases, and corridors. Close to 20 different artists will adorn the ship with their work, showing a range of prints and the many possibilities this field of art has to offer.

“The Viking ships were decorated with the most beautiful wooden carvings: dragon heads and flowers, ornaments and animals adorned Leif Erikson’s ship as he fought his way through the waves towards Newfoundland, where he first set foot. Today, 1,000 years later, we continue the tradition—and decorate a proud ship—sailing on our oceans on a much more peaceful mission than back in the early Viking Age,” the queen said during her speech.

The Hurtigruten-QSPA partnership also includes a plan to expand the cooperation to include curation of the artwork on board MS Fridtjof Nansen, slated to debut summer of 2019.

The H.M. Queen Sonja Art Foundation was established in 2011 to generate interest in and promote the development of graphic art. The foundation presents the Queen Sonja Print Award every other year. The winner receives a cash prize of NOK 400,000 and a residency stay at the Atelje Larsen art studio in Helsingborg, Sweden. The QSPA focuses on the powerful link between art and culture, with printmaking as one of the most easily accessible, inherently democratic forms of art.

Hurtigruten is the world leader in exploration travel. The company, with a history of nearly 125 years, offers expedition voyages to more than 200 destinations in over 30 countries from pole to pole. In 2019, Hurtigruten introduces the world’s first hybrid battery-powered expedition ships, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, strengthening Hurtigruten’s focus on sustainability.

This article originally appeared in the May 18, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.