ARCTIC EDUCATION CAMPUS, ARCTIC HIGH SCHOOL NETWORK AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMS
TO KIRKENES – HIGH NORTH DEVELOPMENT GROUP STRENGHTENS TEAM AS KIRKENES PROJECTS
High North Development Group AS (HNDG), the Norwegian high north arctic region development
company, has invited the Finnish company Finest Bay Area Development OY (www.finestbayarea.online)
to join the development of the Kirkenes and Varanger areas with the “Triple E” -model
(Education/Entrepreneurship/Entertainment). The project is called “Nothingness” and it aims to create
gravity to the area. The “Nothingness” brand tailors an international audience, illustrating an area of
opportunities and peace. The project brings new educational programs, students, startup companies
and businesses to the region. This multi-year collaboration has already started.
The Kirkenes city old hospital building (22 000 m2) and its’ surroundings are being developed to an
education campus that will act as a platform for university and school programs. The campus will also
include facilities for companies of all sizes and dedicated programs run by different schools and
operators. Focus areas will be hospitality/tourism, logistics, energy and food.
The education campus will adopt the “Salla” -model for high school education and act as key node for
the recently announced Arctic High School Network. The plan is to offer, in collaboration with local
Kirkenes high schools, international high school studies in a similar way as the Salla high school in
Finland. Salla high school has been successfully operating this model for more than 16 years already.
Languages planned in Kirkenes include Finnish, Norwegian and Russian. “Education is the future, and we
want to be building it. Kirkenes and the Arctic environment offers a unique surrounding to education
that draws interest around the world. The talent that will come to Nothingness will innovate and create
new in this delicate environment. “, says Peter Vesterbacka, the Chairman of FEBAY.
The role of Kirkenes as the center of the arctic knowledge and activity is undisputable and will only
become stronger. The project aims to support this growth by establishing a base for the companies and
academia to center their focus in. The Nothingness facility will offer apartments and lodging combined
with office space especially in the form of multi-functional co-working spaces. Educational institutions
will be able to host study programs or full curriculum at the Nothingness campus. “We are excited about
all this activity. It will change the future outlook for the whole High North”, says Pål Lund-Roland, the
CEO of High North Development Group.
Operation has already started and will expand this year with new programs and events. The local
development company Sor-Varanger Utvikling Ltd (SVU) and the partners in the “Nothingness” project
are already offering for example “Workcation” packages for companies to establish an office in Kirkenes
for short to medium term working stays. The Workcation concept has been adopted around the world
by different types and sizes of companies. Company can take full teams to a completely new and remote
place to work from for a month or two. Kirkenes offers fantastic surroundings for this type of innovation
nurturing. The Nothingness program has set as its’ goal to score high on all the United Nations Social
Development Goals (UN SDGs). We will measure and report our progress real-time.
United Nations Social Development Goals:
The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future
for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change,
environmental degradation, peace and justice (Home | Sustainable Development (un.org)).
High North Development Group:
Is a company dedicated to project and place development to create gravity in The Arctic region in general
and in Kirkenes in particular. HNDG is involved in business-development projects related to Science and
Education, Business Development and Start Ups, Tourism and Trade/Logistics. HNDG is also
developing, owning and managing real estate and infrastructure projects.
Finest Bay Area Development:
Is a development company working on creating gravity and economic growth to the Finest Bay Area
region. FEBAY is an ecosystem development company that is designing and preparing to start
construction of the world’s longest undersea tunnel connecting Finland and Estonia. The tunnel project
includes four station areas that will be developed as individual real estate and ecosystem elements.
FEBAY is also active in developing the logistics connections from Kirkenes to central Europe.
Representatives of the initiative will be in Kirkenes during 21.-22.2.to answer further questions.
Contacts for Inquiries:
Kustaa Valtonen, Finest Bay Area Development Oy
Tel. +358 50 4155300
Pål Lund-Roland, High North Develoment Group AS
Tel. +47 95 45 65 20