The Norwegian Polar Institute's photo library consists of a total of 90,000 photographs, dating 140 years back from 1872 and up to today. A range of interesting historical pictures may be found, as well as depictions of polar landscapes, wildlife and field work.

Buy photos?

Our photos can be used in publications, for research and education purposes and also for private purposes.

Terms and conditions:

  1. The photographs may only be used for the purpose agreed upon.
  2. Reselling, passing on the photographs to other parties or making copies other than agreed upon in this contract is not allowed.
  3. The photographs may not be published on the Internet unless such use is specified in the contract, in which case the maximum size of the longest side is 640 pixels
  4. Reference must be given to Norwegian Polar Institute (together with the name of the photographer) for each photograph where it is printed og otherwise displayed. If the original image has been cropped, this must also be stated.
  5. It is the buyer’s responsibility to show due care that persons portrayed will not be injured or portrayed in a negative manner, according to the paragraph 45 of the Norwegian Copyright Act.
  6. The licensed material must be deleted after use, at the latest six months after the date of the usage agreement, unless otherwise agreed upon. If an extension of the agreement is desired, the Norwegian Polar Institute must be contacted.
  7. One example of the book or other publication containing photographs from the institute’s archives must be sent to the library of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
  8. The buyer is responsible for the terms of the contract being complied with. The photograph will not be released until the buyer has accepted this terms.
  9. Charges for archive fee and services will be billed when the buyer has accepted this terms.

Visit the photo archive?

You can visit our photo Library in Tromsø. Appointment must be made in advance.

Here you can browse albums and archives of photos. The photos are organized by theme, location and expeditions. You will find an archive of trapping cabins from Svalbard and also files of trapping cabins from Greenland. We also have an vessel archive of vessels that have operated in  the Arctic and the Antarctic.


Books 800
Books, front page 1200
Journal 200-600
Journal, front page 800
Journal/magazine (commercial) 1200
Journal/magazine – front page (commercial) 1800
Newspaper – local 500
Newspaper – national 1000
Posters – whole 1000
Posters – part of 500
Postcard 1500
Calendar 800
Interior decorating 1500
Exhibitions – museums 400
Exhibitions – others 1000
Internet* – front page (commersial 2000
Internet* – underlying page (commersial) 1300
Internet* – front page 1000
Internet* – front page 600
Film: still images used in education 300
Live film pr. minute 4800
Advertisiing, local/press, journal 1000
Advertising, national media 1500
TV commersial 2500
Commercials in the cinema 2500
Film, still images used in film/TV, additial fee of 50% for reruns. 1000

About the collections

Historical photos

The collection of historical photographs numbers some 60 000 photographs from the polar regions and is unique in the sense that many different aspects of polar history are documented.

Norwegian polar explorers and scientists were quick to start using technical innovations, and the oldest photograph dates back to as early as 1872. Already in 1888, Fridtjof Nansen took a camera with him on his journey over the Greenland ice cap. The same year, Kodak had introduced a roll camera that could take 100 photographs, so the expedition avoided having to take a lot of heavy equipment with them.

The collection contains photographs from Norwegian and foreign polar expeditions to both the north and the south. Mapping was an important part of expeditions to unknown areas, and there are systematic sets of photographs from Svalbard, Greenland and Antarctica. Various kinds of research were carried out on many expeditions, and photographs in the library cover everything from geology to geophysics and oceanography. Economic activities in polar regions, like mining in Svalbard, sealing in the White Sea, whaling in the Southern Ocean, and hunting and trapping in Greenland and Svalbard are represented in the collection.

Modern photos

Nowadays, the Norwegian Polar Institute performs a great deal of fieldwork in Svalbard and the waters off Svalbard, and also in Antarctica. Personnel on cruises and doing fieldwork take photographs that are stored in the photograph library. These record modern research, mapping, scenery, animals and plants. With many active employees taking photographs in the field, our photograph library is expanding all the time.


Our photo library covers these areas among others:

  • Alaska
  • Bear Island
  • Franz Joseph Land
  • Greenland
  • Jan Mayen
  • Iceland
  • Novaya Zemlya
  • Svalbard
  • Antarctica
  • Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island)
  • Peter I Island
  • South Georgia
  • South Shetland Islands
  • South Sandwich Islands