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Smart Fjord

Our most important task is to take care of the World Heritage area and to protect the vulnerable natural and cultural values. At the same time, we want to work for viable local communities where it is good to live, and where visitors feel welcome and taken care of. How can we manage to combine these ambitions?

Through the Smart Fjord initiative, we will put into use new technology, innovative methods, cooperation and co-creation. This is how we want our rural communities to become more sustainable and attractive. Over 90 individuals, companies and agencies are currently partners in Smart Fjord.

If you would like to influence the Smart Fjord developments, sign up as our partner!


From Green Fjord to Smart Fjord

Ever since 2011, we have worked together with our partners in the “Green Fjord” collaborative movement to reach our targets. We set the vision ”Leave no trace”, and for the first ten years we have mainly focused on real environmental challenges in the World Heritage area. The goal was a better and more wholesome management, thus securing the unique World Heritage values, ​​that Norway as a nation has the duty to protect and preserve.

At the same time, we see that our rural communities are small and vulnerable. If we are to manage taking care of the important natural and cultural values, we must also contribute to good, attractive and adaptable local communities. Our new Smart Fjord initiative is broader and more wholesome. With the World Heritage as a basis, we focus on the Geirangerfjord area being a good place both to live in as well as to visit.

Smart Fjord culture

Art and cultural experiences inspire us. They are an impetus for personal growth as well as for social development. The spectacular scenery makes people come here, and culture    makes people stay here. Cultural cooperation and cultural business that create value is a new, exciting venture for the World Heritage Foundation, primarily in the winter months. Through cultural tourism, we want to add something new and exciting to the well-known brand Geirangerfjord.

We will connect actors from the arts and culture business with local tourism companies. By attracting exciting resources from regional, national and international fields, we create fertile ground for new ideas, innovation and creative business. This can provide new, year-round jobs and strengthen local communities.

These projects/initiatives and ideas are part of the new cultural initiative:

– Artist in residence Geiranger (AiR)
– Geiranger Lyskunstfestival (Light Art Festival) – http://www.geirangerlys.no
– Festspela in Geiranger (classical music festival) – http://www.festspel.no

Photo: Hyke studio

Smart Communities

We contribute to the local communities being inspiring places to live and work. We trust and believe in good arenas for cooperation and development, and a clear identity. We will take the initiative and participate in rural development projects and innovative housing projects, and the goal is pleasant living and increasing the population. We want smart, inclusive and sustainable local communities, and are proud to take the lead in adopting new, green technology and eco-friendly solutions.

The value creating program “Light in the tunnel” / Fjord Lights is one example of new initiatives. Through the strategic use of natural light and lighting design, we will give the World Heritage village of Geiranger new qualities. Light can create magical experiences, but at the same time we want to put value on both the natural winter light as well as the darkness. New and already launched light experiences will help us to highlight our protected values internationally.

Fjord Cowork

This is a pilot project where we wish to offer attractive and relevant working communities  close to the World Heritage nature around the Geirangerfjord. Living and working close to the rough, magnificent nature provides powerful experiences. We want to give more people the opportunity to experience living in the world heritage. By this, more people can see the value of living at small places.

The target group is founders, companies, researchers, students, administration, producers and creative entrepreneurs.

In collaboration with the local communities, we connect providers of accommodation, workplaces, working communities and experiences in the villages of Geiranger, Eidsdal and Norddal. These were presented in text, images and film on the home page http://www.fjordcowork.com

Smart travel destination and business

We contribute to the World Heritage area maintaining and strengthening its status as an international tourism icon. We want to be known for unique experiences, all year round, in a spectacular fjord landscape. The World Heritage Foundation will also contribute to ensuring that the area maintains its status as a sustainable destination, and we offer advice on certification as an eco-friendly lighthouse for our partners.

It is important to increase the breadth of business and strengthen the base of business in the winter season. As well as to create an attractive working environment for small businesses.

Smart research – Air Quality Monitoring Programme

The World Heritage West Norwegian Fjords functions as a laboratory for sustainable development. We take the initiative for projects that can lead to research, learning and testing of new, sustainable solutions. One of our first research projects is linked to the monitoring of air quality in Geiranger.

The work is carried out by the University of Bonn. They measure, among other things, particulate matter of different sizes, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone, and this is done at three permanent measuring stations located at different heights in Geiranger.

Data from the project was used as basic material for the Norwegian Maritime Directorate in connection with the introduction of stricter regulation of shipping on the World Heritage fjords. Various research projects have also used data from the measurements.

Smart research – Twin fjord

Planning of communities and areas is demanding work involving many considerations. At the same time, it is important to have a good participation from residents and different public authorities. Most of us want healthy and sustainable planning.

Twin fjord wants to develop an interactive, visual tool that will make it easier to understand the effects of what is planned. In this way, people can more easily see the consequences of different alternatives. Although there are digital tools today, we have the expectation that Twin fjord will offer a more complete model for many different variables.

Public administration, research institutions and private actors collaborate in the project. You can read more at http://www.twinfjord.no

Smart research – TourRisk

Climate change and loss of natural diversity are linked and they are the two biggest environmental threats of our time. The road to a low-emission society requires major adjustments in all sectors, including tourism. At the same time, tourism is pointed out as a growth industry when the oil investment must be scaled back.

TourRisk looks at politics: What kind of politics can give us the tourism Norway really needs in the future, given the climate situation the world is facing. The Norwegian tourism business of the future must be resistant and robust, so that crises and events in the world outside do not disrupt operations.

The Western Norway Research Institute has the main responsibility for the project and collaborates with many different partners. We are one of these.

International collaboration – PROWAD-LINK

In this project, we collaborate with partners from World Heritage sites in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. Together, we work to find out how we can use nature as a brand and a driver for new jobs and sustainable development. The project involves small and medium-sized companies and will develop and test innovative tools to get more nature-friendly, salable products and increase efforts for sustainability. In this way, we can create advantages for both the environment as well as the companies. For more information about the programme: Prowad report

In this collaboration, we have shared our experiences from Fjord Cowork, Fjord Lights, Geiranger Light Art Festival and the work with Fjord Rangers.


International cooperation with Glacier Bay

The marine network in Unesco is an arena for international cooperation between World Heritage sites. Here we came into contact with Glacier Bay, Alaska, and discovered that we have a lot in common. Both areas are powerful fjord landscapes. Both areas have a lot of cruise ship visits, and both have small rural communities close to or in the World Heritage area.

During the last few years, we have been visiting each other. We have taken the inspiration for our Fjord Ranger program from Glacier Bay, and we have acquired the knowledge of how they manage their World Heritage fjords and dissemination in general. International cooperation inspires and strengthens the World Heritage work.