The Arctic – While the Ice is Melting

On display: 
6 Sep 20196 Sep 2019

In the bright light of the North Star, where meridians come together and time zones come to an end. This is where the Arctic begins, home to four million people. For thousands of years, people here have lived with the ice.

Experience an Exhibition About Life in a Changing World

Nordiska museet’s Great Hall has been given over to the life and changing conditions of the Arctic region. In The Arctic – While the Ice Is Melting, you encounter the history and the future of the ice, and above all the people who live in the Arctic today – through objects, photos, design, artwork, films and projections. On display throughout 2023.

An Immersive Experience In the Museum’s Great Hall

Exhibits, ceiling projections, interactive stations and Arctic taste sensations in the restaurant combine to create a complete Arctic experience for adults and children alike.

A Walk Through an Iceberg

The central element of the exhibition is a mock-up of a giant iceberg with a deep rift between past and present, created in cooperation with the design-duo MUSEEA.
As a visitor, you can walk into the iceberg and through the rift, where you will encounter narratives and objects linking the present to the past, connecting science to mythology, and presenting a multi-faceted, poetic story about the past and future of the ice and the daily lives of people in the Arctic.

Discover Contemporary Films From the Arctic

The exhibition includes ten documentary films in which you meet people from various places in the Arctic: Qaanaaq in Greenland, Vatnajökull in Iceland, Näätämö (Neidenelva in norwegian) in Finland, Svalbard in Norway, and Abisko, Arjeplog, Laevas and Nautanen in Sweden. The exhibition also covers Arctic locations to the east and west: Clyde River in Canada and Yamal in Russia. Most of the films were produced by Nordiska museet together with documentary filmmaker Camilla Andersen, with support from the Nordic Culture Fund.

Gaze Upon an Arctic Sky On the Ceiling Vaults

A complex system of projections opens up the Great Hall’s 20 metre-high vaulted ceiling to an Arctic world and Arctic skies. The projections are created by Jesper Wachtmeister, building primarily on Nordiska museet’s collection of contemporary photos and films. Take a look and experience a changing world.

An Exhibition Based Upon Three Years of Research

The exhibition is based upon three years of preparatory work under the leadership of Lotten Gustafsson Reinius, dividing her time as a Hallwyl visiting professor between Stockholm University and Nordiska museet.

Besides the exhibition, the project has resulted in a multidisciplinary anthology entitled Arctic Traces: Nature and Culture in Motion, published by Nordiska museet in the spring of 2020.

Journal of Northern studies theme issue Tracing the Arctic; Arctic Traces 2:2021 contains parts of the anthology in English. Guest editor: Lotten Gustafsson Reinius.

Read Tracing the Arctic; Arctic Traces (pdf)


Reindeer herding in Laevas herding cooperative. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet


Visiting the Exhibition

The exhibition space is arranged by theme. In different themed sections, you can learn more about what the Arctic is, how climate change is affecting the region, the resources the Arctic has to offer, and how people have lived, travelled and dressed in the Arctic through the years.

You can also learn about the relationship between human and ice. What has it been like through the ages, and what is it like today – while the ice is melting? At an interactive station in the Great Hall, you can make a climate pledge to your future self.

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler/ Nordiska museet


Adults: 150 SEK
Children/Youth 18 years and under: Free when accompanied by an adult.
Seniors: 123 SEK

The ticket price includes admission to the museum’s other exhibitions.

Are you visiting the exhibition as a group and want to book a guided tour? Email

The exhibition will be available throughout 2023. 


Read more about the accessibility in the museum here.

Audio Guide

Audio guides can be borrowed at the reception desk (no extra charge). You can also download the audio guide to your smartphone (iOS).

The audio guide includes 24 stops in the exhibition. 
Languages: English or Swedish
Voices: Stina Rautelin and Ingela Lundh.

Produced in cooperation with Bob Grillman Productions AB.




  • Åse driving her truck in Arjeplog. Photo: Camilla Andersen/Nordiska museet
    Åse driving her truck in Arjeplog. Photo: Camilla Andersen/Nordiska museet
  • Two skiers racing against eachother with the help of reindeers.
    Kautokeino. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
  • Reindeers and a man in a blue jacket.
    Laevas. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
  • Iceberg in Clyde River, Canada. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
    Iceberg in Clyde River, Canada. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
  • Laevas. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
    Laevas. Photo: Camilla Andersen/ Nordiska museet
  • Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. Photo: Nordiska museet
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. Photo: Nordiska museet
  • Demonstration in Stockholm. Photo: Nordiska museet
    Demonstration in Stockholm. Photo: Nordiska museet

Exhibition highlights


Parka With Protective Amulets

This parka of reindeer skin belonged to a boy named Norquat from Netsilingmiut, Canada, in the early 20th century. Affixed to the jacket are amulets for good hunting and protection against accidents.

Collected 1924, Knud Rasmussen’s 5th Thule expedition. On loan from the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. P29.499.

Anorak från grönland av sälhud. Foto: Etnografiska museet

Amaat From Greenland

Amaat of sealskin, parkas for woman with hood with leather embroidery, edges decorated with marten fur and glass beads. An important functional feature of a woman’s amaat is the specially designed hood. In it, the woman can carry a baby or even a small child.

Greenland. Aquired by NM 1879. On loan from the Swedish National Museums of World Culture 1933.25.0032.

Samisk silverkrage med tenntrådsbroderier. Hängen av delvis förgyllt silver.

Sami Silver Collar

Standing collar with pewter thread embroidery. Pendants of parcel-gilt silver. The silver collar was worn by Sami women at weddings and on other ceremonial occasions.

Sweden, Lapland. Acquired by NM 1903. NM.0096618