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Ritter hut


Gråhu­ken – Rit­ter hut – vir­tu­al tour

Gråhuken Ritter hut


Once you have ente­red the vir­tu­al tour, you can eit­her use the map in the lower left cor­ner to navi­ga­te, or the bar at the bot­tom, or click on sym­bols within the panos to enter the next one (only while the next loca­ti­on is visi­ble, not always available). Or you can just let it play and it will auto­ma­ti­cal­ly switch to the next pano after one tur­n­around. You can switch the sound off (upper right cor­ner) if you wish, same with the expl­ana­to­ry text.

On desk­top sys­tems, you can use both HTML5 or Flash.


  1. Rit­ter hut: out­side 1
  2. Rit­ter hut: out­side 2
  3. Rit­ter hut: main room
  4. Rit­ter hut: side room

Rit­ter hut: out­side 1

Ritter hut: outside 1

The name Gråhu­ken is sto­rytel­ling: a grey flat­land, stony and bar­ren, sti­cking out into the Arc­tic Oce­an bet­ween Wood­fjord and Wij­defjord on the north coast of Spits­ber­gen. The­re does not seem to be much ali­ve the­re, but nevert­hel­ess the famous Nor­we­gi­an trap­per Hil­mar Nøis built a hut here in 1928, which he cal­led Kapp Hvi­le (Point of rest or silence). A nice name, but it is only a silent place in good wea­ther. It seems stran­ge to build a hut at such a bar­ren coast, which is only acces­si­ble in good wea­ther and sea con­di­ti­ons. The reason was most likely that Hil­mar expec­ted good hun­ting con­di­ti­ons for polar bears here, on the north coast, clo­se the drift ice in spring.

Rit­ter hut: out­side 2

Ritter hut: outside 2

Access to drin­king water must also have been dif­fi­cult at least in the late sum­mer, but this was not the time which was important. If a trap­per was at all in his arc­tic hun­ting grounds at that time of the year, then he could, at least for a while, move some­whe­re more favoura­ble. A few kilo­me­t­res south of his hut at Gråhu­ken, Hil­mar Nøis had ano­ther one at Vår­flues­jøen, with direct access to a river and a big lake.

Rit­ter hut: main room

Ritter hut: main room

The hut’s cla­im for fame was a win­tering in 1934-35, when Chris­tia­ne Rit­ter from Aus­tria spent a win­ter the­re tog­e­ther with her hus­band Her­mann Rit­ter and the Nor­we­gi­an hun­ter Karl Niko­lai­sen. Her­mann had alre­a­dy a repu­ta­ti­on as an expe­ri­en­ced arc­tic hun­ter, but it was the first (and last) win­tering for Chris­tia­ne, who later published her memo­ries in a book that beca­me a clas­sic, titled “A woman in the polar night” in Eng­lish and „Kvin­ne i polar­nat­ten“ in Nor­we­gi­an.

Rit­ter hut: side room

Ritter hut: side room

This side room was used for sto­rage. Her­mann Rit­ter and Karl Niko­lai­sen built a small room (“Käm­mer­chen”) for Chris­tia­ne Rit­ter, so she could enjoy some pri­va­cy, but this must have been a sepa­ra­ti­on insi­de the main room, which was later remo­ved.


Rating: 5

3 Comments to Rit­ter hut

  1. Danielle says:

    Thank you for this gre­at visu­al tour. I am rea­ding Chris­tia­ne Ritter’s book right now and it is gre­at to see whe­re her adven­ture took place. It’s ama­zing she spent a who­le win­ter in the hut. It doesn’t look very well insu­la­ted. Is that the ori­gi­nal sto­ve?

    Hi Dani­elle, thank you for your com­ment. No, the sto­ve is not ori­gi­nal. They don’t last that long, given that it was com­mon to use drift­wood as hea­ting mate­ri­al. The salt des­troys the metal rather quick­ly. But the ori­gi­nal one was cer­tain­ly quite simi­lar.

    Rating: 5
  2. Suzy says:

    What a fabu­lous book!!!!
    Can you visit the hut?
    We will be visi­ting by crui­se­ship and would love to visit!!!
    I would love to learn more about this ama­zing lady….. does any­bo­dy know whe­re I can find more infor­ma­ti­on about her?

  3. M.L. de Boer-Nagtegaal says:

    Love to see the place whe­re the Rit­ters lived. How many years did Her­mann work in Sval­bard in the win­ters?

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last modification: 2019-05-20 · copyright: Rolf Stange