A University where guns are essential

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Students in Svalbard, Norway, are taught how to use a shotgun and ammunition to fend off polar bears at the beginning of every school year.

Since polar bears can outrun a human in a matter of seconds, every student at the University Center undergoes weapons and arctic survival training, Aftenposten reported Monday.

“It’s absolutely necessary,” said UNIS director Gunnar Sand.

(From UPI)

The Svalbard University is a very remote college:

The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world’s northernmost higher education institution, located in Longyear at 78º N. UNIS offers high quality courses at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level in Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Geophysics and Arctic Technology.

The student wiki offers some humorous advice to prospecitive students:

It is also illegal to carry weapons in shops and cafés.

Students can borrow rifles and other safety equipment at Fred’s office.

So PLEASE!!!!! – give your rifles back as soon as you are finished using them

The top photo shows a student of the university. I cannot make out what rifle he is carrying. A Mauser? Any ideas? Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Hat Tip to Bitter

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Wiking Wiking on Nov 29, 2007

    There's alot of what is know as the "Home Guard Mauser" in circulation on svalbard. These are German K98k Mausers captured after the war, and were in use by the armed forces of Norway into the 50's, and with the Norwegian Home Guard for some time after that (and which gave them their "official" name among Norwegian shooters.)

    Most have been rebuilt to .30-06 at the Kongsberg Arms Factory back in the early 50's to make ammunition supply easier when the Army adopted the M1 Garand rifle.

    When they became surplus they were mostly sold of to civilians (the good old days when guns weren't politically incorrect at best) and are usually in good condition, often having been rebarelled at Kongsberg prior to sale.

    They make for fun and cheap rifles, either for hunting or as Polar Bear defence on svalbard, as they run at about 750-1000 NOK or even less (135-185 USD) in the unaltered style with a nasty-looking laminated stock. They also make for good basis for build projects.

    You can also carry a handgun on svalbard, which is not allowed in mainland Norway. I REALLY want to move there, the last free outpost of my dear Norway. (and once that goes, i'm relocating to Switzerland.)

  • Steve Steve on Nov 29, 2007

    Hi wiking, thanks for that interesting information. I always though Norway was quite pro-guns!

    Handguns or not svalbard does not look like a great place to live!!!