The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the ultimate protection for the world’s agricultural biodiversity, and is built to stand the test of time. The vault structure itself has attracted much outside interest due to its location, its spectacular engineering and its unique purpose.
Construction of the Vault
Construction on the Seed Vault began in the spring of 2007, and was completed in 8 months. All the materials and equipment used to build the Seed Vault had to be imported by ship or plane, including the giant machinery used to tunnel into the mountain.
Please hover over the illustration for descriptions of the different parts of the Vault.
The Seed Vault was officially opened on February 26, 2008 by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Trust Vice-Chair Wangari Maathai.
Together, Prime Minister Stoltenberg and Wangari Maathai deposited the first box of seeds into the Vault. It contained rice seeds with varieties originating from 123 countries. In total, the inaugural shipment to the Vault contained 268,000 distinct samples of seeds.