Background and activities

Senior Adviser. Research infrastructure, research ethics, Open Science, polar research and High North issues.

Tasks and responsibilities

My main responsibilities in the Research staff are planning and strategies, research infrastructure, research ethics, Open Science, polar research and High North issues,  and general administration tasks.


I have worked at the university in Trondheim since 1991, at first as scientific staff at the Dept. of history and from 1993 as adviser in the central administration. In 2001-06 I was head of administration at the Dept. of sociology and political science. Earlier I have been research fellow at the university and have worked for four years as consultant and interpreter for the Governor of Svalbard.

I have an MA degree in Russian and history (1986) and PhD in history (1994), with a thesis on Norwegian whaling and sealing in the 17th and 18th century. I have researched and published mostly about the history of Svalbard. Since 2002 I have been associate professor of history at the University Centre in Svalbard, and since 2013 an elected fellow of the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2011) Den rette mann. Historien om Sysselmannen på Svalbard. Tapir Akademisk Forlag. 2011. ISBN 9788251928274.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2003) Svalbards historie (2. reviderte utgave). Tapir Akademisk Forlag. 2003. ISBN 82-519-1851-0.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn; Holm, Arne O.. (2001) Fra Company town til folkestyre Samfunnsbygging i Longyearbyen på 78 grader nord. 2001. ISBN 82-996168-0-8.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn; Reymert, Per Kyrre. (2001) Svalbard - en ferd i fortidens farvann. Tapir Akademisk Forlag. 2001. ISBN 82-519-1715-8.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (1996) Svalbards historie 1596-1996. Aschehoug & Co. 1996. ISBN 82-03-22171-8.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (1994) A short history of Svalbard. 1994. ISBN 82-90307-55-1. Polarhåndbok nr. 4.

Part of book/report

  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2020) I fremste linje: Sysselmannen og suvereniteten. Svalbardtraktaten 100 år - et jubileumsskrift.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2009) Nord-mannen. Å forstå livet. Institutt for biologi NTNU - 50 år. De biologiske fagenes historie i Trondheim og ved NTNU.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn; Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2008) Samfunn på randen. Det moderne gjennombruddet i Longyearbyen. Livet i Longyearbyen: Åpne landskap - lukkede rom.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn; Finstad, Bjørn-Petter; Hoel, Alf Håkon. (2006) New frontiers, new borders. Into the Ice. The History of Norway and the Polar Regions.
  • Arlov, Thor Bjørn. (2004) Den første ishavsbyen. Norsk polarhistorie, bd. 3: Rikdommene.