Svalbard’s mysterious ‘doomsday’ seed vault offers first glimpse inside with virtual tour
Visitors viewing the recently released virtual tour of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
3 March 2023
Buried in Arctic permafrost, the collection safeguards the world’s crop species – and is a magnet for conspiracy theories. Now the public can take a look around.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian Arctic, which opened in 2008, is closed to the public and shrouded in mystery. Now, to celebrate the Seed Vault’s 15th anniversary, everyone is invited on a virtual tour to see inside the vast collection of tubers, rice, grains and other seeds buried deep in the mountain behind five sets of metal doors.
“The virtual tour gives everybody the opportunity to look inside. We think that is a general question of transparency and accountability to the broader public,” says Stefan Schmitz, executive director of the Crop Trust. “What is secured inside the vault is one of the most important global public goods we have on Earth. But we need to protect them, secure them and to make sure that they are conserved in perpetuity.”