Thor Heyerdahl centenary commemoration

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo; copyright: Luis Marrero
Photo: Tenerife Cabildo; copyright: Luis Marrero

Update 7 October: An emotional homage was held in the in Güímar ethnographic park yesterday, the Tenerife Cabildo says, to mark the centenary of Thor Heyerdahl’s birth. The proceedings included a reading from his book about the Kon Tiki expedition, and were attended by the authorities and representatives from the cultural world of Tenerife, including Cristóbal de la Rosa, the Cabildo’s Consejero de Cultura y Patrimonio Histórico; Carmen Luisa Castro, mayoress of Güímar; Emeritus Profesor Wolfredo Wildpret; tourism authorities; as well as students, and friends and colleagues of Heyerdahl. After the ceremony the park unveiled a new acquisition, a piece of the original rope from the Kon Tiki raft, given by the Kon Tiki museum in Oslo in recognition of the year-long celebrations which have been held in Tenerife.

Update 7 April: The second event in the Thor Heyerdahl centenary commemoration will be a talk, The Sixth Mass Extinction on Planet Earth, given by Professor Dr Richard Pott in the auditorium of the Güimar Pyramids on Monday 14 April. The lecture will consider the past five mass extinctions and foreshadow the sixth, that of our own species, and perhaps also that of our own contribution to it. Richard Pott is Professor of Geobotany at Hanover University, as well as Director General of the Geobotany Institute, also in Hanover. The event starts at 8pm, and entrance is free.

Original post 2 April: The Tenerife Cabildo has announced that Los Cristianos will be home this month to a conference organized by Guimar Pyramids as part of the celebration of the centenary of the birth of the famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, founder of Pirámides de Güímar. The Parque Etnográfico has designed a programme of activities in commemoration  of the anniversary, in collaboration with the Norwegian embassy in Spain.

The first event, on Friday 11 April, will take place at 12 noon in the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre, and will be a conference where Thor Heyerdahl’s friends , family and relatives will share anecdotes, stories and memories about the Nordic researcher. Although Heyerdahl is widely known for his extraordinary trans-oceanic expeditions, his scientific research on human migration throughout history, or his Oscar-winning documentary film about the Kon Tiki  expedition, the conference is intent on showing a new and different side to the scientist, particularly to give previously-unknown human and personal insights into a man named the Norwegian of the twentieth century by the media in his home country.

Among those taking part will be Thor Heyerdahl’s widow Jacqueline Beer Heyerdahl, and close friends such as Norwegian shipping magnate Fred Olsen, and photographer Roberto de Armas. The respect that Thor Heyerdahl is held in Tenerife will be demonstrated by the prescence, too, of Carlos Alonso, President of the island Cabildo. The conference is organized in conjunction with the Culture Department of Arona Ayuntamiento. Admission is free but places are limited, so reservations are recommended: just call 922 514 510 or email

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