Svalbard flag

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are a group of islands in the Arctic that belong to Norway. Svalbard is located just over 100 km from the North Pole, and has the largest colony of polar bears in the world. There are more polar bears here than humans.

Capital: Longyearbyen
Biggest city: Longyearbyen
State: Norwegian territory
Language: Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk)
Religion: Protestantism
Surface: 61 022 km²
Population: 2 600 (2012)
Population density: 0.04 residents per km²
Life expectancy: 80 years
Illiteracy: 0%
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
1 krone = 1.03 kr
Time difference: +0 hours
Electricity: 220 V AC, 50Hz
National Day: May 17
Country area code: 79
2-Letter country abbreviation: SJ
Business: predominantly coal mining, any tourism
Climate: polar climate; tempered by the Gulf Stream; cold winters and cool summers

Svalbard flag

Svalbard and Jan Mayen have a common country code, but are administered as two independent areas. Svalbard is regulated by the Spitsberg Treaty, while Jan Mayen is directly under the Norwegian state.

The Svalbard archipelago consists of the largest and most important island, Spitsbergen, as well as Northeast Norway, Edgeön and Barentsön. Further afield are Vitön, Kong Karls Land, Hopen and the southernmost Björnön. Svalbard also has several smaller islands.

Jan Mayen is an island located 540 km northeast of Iceland, on the border between the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea. It is of volcanic origin and is covered by lava and ash. The northern part of the island is occupied by the volcano Beerenberg, which is also the world’s northernmost active volcano. The island got a meteorological station and radio station in 1921, and became Norwegian territory in 1929. Since 1980, Jan Mayen has been surrounded by a 200 nautical mile fishing zone. Apart from the staff of the various stations, the island is uninhabited.

The population of Svalbard lives mainly in the capital Longyearbyen, on the main island of Spitsbergen. Longyearbyen is the northernmost city in the world, and despite its small size, has a well-developed social system.

According to the Spetsberg Treaty, the Norwegian state may not collect any tax revenue from Svalbard, which means that the taxes paid on Svalbard must stay here. As a result, Svalbard has significantly lower taxes than the rest of Norway.

The newspaper Svalbardposten, which is published weekly from Longyearbyen, is the world’s northernmost newspaper. Svalbard is not part of the Schengen cooperation, which means that a passport or proof of citizenship is required when entering Norway. There is no unemployment insurance or social assistance in Svalbard.

Some of the natural scenes in the James Bond film “Die Another Day” are filmed on Svalbard, while films such as Belgian “When the Light Comes” and Norwegian “Orion’s Belt” take place more or less entirely on Svalbard.


Electricity and electrical outlets in Svalbard

Voltage: 220 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Type of plug: C, F

Need an adapter: No, you do not need an adapter.


Weather in Longyearbyen

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Christmas Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature °C -14 -15 -13 -11 -3 2 6 5 0 -5 -9 -13
Day °C -12 -12 -11 -8 -1 3 7 6 2 -3 -7 -11
Night °C -18 -18 -17 -14 -5 1 4 3 -1 -7 -12 -16
Rainy days 1 2 2 2 4 12 18 19 12 3 3 2

Svalbard 2


Longyearbyen is the city of residence and capital of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. With its approximately 2,000 residents, it is the northernmost city in the world. Longyearbyen is the seat of the governor, who is Svalbard’s highest administrator.

Longyearbyen was founded in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear, an American businessman from Boston. The idea was that his company Arctic Coal Company would mine coal on the spot; however, in 1916 the company sold the operations and buildings to the norwegian company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani A / S. In 1943, the city was completely destroyed by the Germans, to be rebuilt after the end of World War II.

Today, most of the coal mining operations are located in Svea, 60 km south of Longyearbyen. Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani A / S or Store Norske, is the largest employer in Svalbard. In recent decades, however, the mining industry has become less dominant, while the tourism industry, together with research and education, is playing an increasing role.

Despite its small size, Longyearbyen has good infrastructure. Svalbard Airport, Longyear has daily departures to Tromsø, Oslo and Murmansk. It is the world’s northernmost regular airport. As there are few roads on Svalbard, domestic flights are flown several times a week to Svea, Barentsburg and the world’s northernmost settlement, Ny-Ålesund. There is also boat traffic in the summer. These are the northernmost places you can travel to regularly in the world.

The daily newspaper Svalbardposten is published in Longyearbyen every week. It is the world’s northernmost newspaper.