The Polar Bear Society
The Polar Bear Society
4.5
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
About
The Polar Bear Society is located on the coastal steamer pier, together with Hammerfest’s Tourist Information. Join the world famous and exclusive society, and receive the Polar Bear Pin as proof that you visited the World’s Northernmost Town – Hammerfest! Our museum showcases our proud traditions with fishing and hunting in arctic conditions. There is also a gift shop. You can only become a member in the Polar Bear Society when you visit Hammerfest in person. A membership costs NOK 349,00 as a one time fee. The money supports the exhibition and pays the components of the membership: the Polar Bear pin in silver and enamel, a sticker with our logo on, a diploma with your name on signed by the mayor of Hammerfest, a membership card with your own membership number.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles270 reviews
Excellent
130
Very good
106
Average
31
Poor
1
Terrible
2

John A D
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021 • Couples
Absolutely fantastic.!!!
The layout, the historical photowork and short films, the exhibitions of tools, lances, harpoons, the amazing display of arctic birds ,seals, and wildlife .The precise texts accompanying the photos give one a good insight into the workday and dangers of sailing up into the Arctic ice. The seal hunters , the whalers , their skippers and crew who entered the icy areas way north of the mainland earned and deserved great respect for their endurance and ingenuity. Hammerfest was and is the last ice free harbour before one sails up into the void ,the silence,the howling Siberian winds, the ever shifting ice fields which rose to become mountains and crushed many a strong boat
Enjoy !!
Written October 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TaH_10
Edinburgh, UK3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2018 • Couples
I was looking forward to visiting The Polar Bear Society 2 weeks ago when travelling in Norway. We'd heard about the place and wanted to join the society, thinking that our membership money would go to helping polar bears or the arctic in some way or other.
On entering the place, I was keen to find out what they did. After looking at the stuffed polar bears and other historical pieces from the whaling past of Hammerfest, I found several boards titled with headings like 'what we can do to help', detailing research into the arctic, greenhouse gases etc. Interestingly these boards are sitting right next to where you can sign up to be a member and commit to pay them the membership fee. But no where did it actually say what they did.
Puzzled by this I asked the lady who was working behind the till what the money that comes from the membership goes to. She replied that all the money goes to the upkeep of the shop and it's small exhibition, and preserving the history of Hammerfests whaling operations.
I was taken aback at this, and asked her just to be clear, "So none of the money goes in any way to helping polar bears or the arctic?" She replied "No, the money doesn't go to helping the bears or the arctic".
I found this misleading, and so disappointing. I'm sure there must be other people who pay their membership fee thinking that it's going to a good cause, and it's not.
I think it's fair enough if you want to have a museum to curate the towns history of whaling, maybe then call it the Hammerfest Museum, but the name The Polar Bear Society is misleading, as it sounds like it's set up to care for or protect polar bears.
I think The Polar Bear Society should consider donating a big proportion of their membership fee towards Polar Bear or Arctic research and protection, it's a much needed cause.
Written March 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear TaH_10, Thank you for your review. We appreciate your comments about your experience at the Polar Bear Society. Let me use this opportunity to talk about our exhibition and why it is called the Polar Bear Society. The polar bear is part of the town crest of Hammerfest. It is a symbol for the old traditions of fishing, hunting and exploration and also for the will power and endurance of the people that live on 70 degrees North. Our exhibition was founded to preserve and display this part of Hammerfest's history and this is why it is called "Polar Bear Society". We understand that the part of the exhibition that deals with environmental protection can cause a misunderstanding of what the Polar Bear Society is really about. We are currently working on making changes to the environmental part of the exhibition you mentioned in order to avoid such misunderstandings. Our exhibition is about so much more than only the history of arctic hunting and fishing. It is also about the Pomor Trade, polar exploration, our local hero Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm and the Struve Geodetic Arc. When you become a member in the Polar Bear Society, you help keeping our free exhibition open and you receive a nice keepsake for yourself, as a memory of your visit in the northernmost town in the world, with a certificate, a membership card and a pin, handmade of silver and enamel. We regret that this is a different cause than you expected. But it is a worthwhile cause nevertheless. We aim to educate visitors about the development of Hammerfest as a regional hub under challenging arctic conditions and to display the identity of our town. We hope you enjoyed your trip to the North of Norway and maybe we can welcome you back to Hammerfest one day. Kind regards, Christian Dederichs Web Marketing
Written April 4, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KCL60
London, UK40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2011
Visited here in February as part of a Hurtigruten cruise trip to see the Northern Lights. It is an excellent exhibition/ information centre and historical/cultural display focusing on polar bears, wildlife and life in general in the arctic. It is situated right on the quay within the tourist information centre and entry is free. It also incorporates a gift shop. You need about an hour to really see round and the displays and information boards/sheets are very interesting. There are a couple of great video displays and the whole place is really child-friendly.The staff were a delight and even though it was quite busy had time for everyone and were polite and helpful.
The Society has links with the World Wildlife Foundation which it supports in preserving polar bear habitats. A really lovely place to visit.
Written February 26, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

yorkiejohn
Knaresborough, UK680 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
To be fair this is probably only rated so highly as there is little else in Hammerfest and as it's right next to The Hurtigruten mooring it's very easy to visit.

But it's still interesting and worth a visit, not least because it's one of the few attractions we found on our Hurtigruten cruise that had free admission!

Lots of Polar Bear exhibits and many other stuffed local animals as well. It's not very big so allow half hour maximum to look around and you will find lots of interesting things to see. Although there haven't been Polar Bears living in this part of Norway for many years, it was the primary shipping point to zoos worldwide for bears caught elsewhere.

There is also an interesting though expensive shop attached.

For approx £20 you can become a lifelong member of the society which gives no real benefit other than its novelty value. But where else could you go and experience being 'blessed' by what looks like a stick but is claimed to be a bone from a Walrus penis?

All part of the Arctic Experience!
Written February 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vee S.
Kristiansand, Vest-Agder, Norway35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Solo
I love unusual and uncommon so I made the trip just for this museum (although the trip and sights itself was entirely worth it). The museum is on the small-ish side but very interesting. Free admission and good for anyone interesting in Arctic or hunting history. If you happen to be in the area check it out.
Written November 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Conrad N
Whitstable, UK748 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Couples
Can't miss this as it is pretty much the first thing you pass on leaving the ship. Here is the place for your map of the town, free WiFi an toilets. The small museum is interesting and definitely worth going round. The gift shop has the a range of North Norway gifts. A must do if visiting the town.
Written August 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hey Con53 Thank you for your kind review. We are happy to hear to enjoyed you visit with us Kind regards, Anna B Web Marketing
Written August 22, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Frank R
San Francisco, CA21 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
Agreed. It’s quite gimmicky and small. But without traveling out of town, it’s the best place to learn about bears and life in this area. Fun to sign up to become a member.
Written August 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Frank R, Thank you for your review, we are happy to hear you enjoyed your visit to the Polar Bear Society. Welcome as a member and see you in January for the annual meeting. Kind regards, Anna B Web Marketing
Written August 8, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

GeirA
Hammerfest, Norway5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Friends
Nice museum situated in the hart of Hammerfest. Close to carpark and the harbour.
Membership in the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society that give You the oportunity to wear the Polar Bear Pin is a must when You have visited the "Northernmost Town in the World"
Written October 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JJ Whippet
Nantwich261 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
We only spent a short time in Hammerfest when our Hurtigruten boat docked for a couple of hours.
In spite of it being late June, it was bitterly cold with a biting wind, so having strolled quickly around the (small) town, where to be honest there is very little to see, this little museum is definitely worth visiting!
All the exhibits are well documented in English, with plenty of interest to see, and not just about polar bears! It gives a good overview of what life must have been like in this northerly outpost over the years.
It is free to enter, and there is a very nice tourist information and gift shop at the front of the building.
Written September 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The_Don_UK
Chepstow, UK226 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
We were a little rushed. We were on a Hurtigruten cruise and had already self-guided a walk along the Gamleveien so only had a few minutes to spend here.

The exhibits were interesting (wish we had allowed more time), the shop was charming and of course I had to join the club.

There's even fast and free wi-fi
Written November 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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The Polar Bear Society - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about The Polar Bear Society

The Polar Bear Society is open:
  • Mon - Wed 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thu - Thu 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Fri - Fri 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM


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