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Svalbard Archipelago

Updated on February 8, 2015

Svalbard - an icy beauty

Svalbard archipelago is the northernmost tip of Europe and its settlements are the northernmost permanently inhabited spots on the planet. Svalbard is located between Norway and Greenland.

The islands cover a total of 62,050km², the largest of which are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. The combined permanent population is less than 3000, nearly all of which is concentrated in the main settlements of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg on Spitsbergen.

Buy at

Topographic map

Topographic map
Topographic map

Svalbard videos

The last video is about how the ice at Greenland is disapearing. Greenland and Svalbard have the same situation.

Frozen planet DVD serie - Some movies from Svalbard

I have never seen such wonderful photos and films before. These movies from BBC is probably one of the best series they have ever done!

Killer Whales and ice art. People living on the ice and from the ice. Polar bears and their struggle. Please give these films a chance. Amazon also offers to buy one episode at the time!

The most northern city in the world is on Svalbard!

Frozen Planet: The Complete Series (David Attenborough-Narrated Version)
Frozen Planet: The Complete Series (David Attenborough-Narrated Version)

From the Emmy-winning team behind Planet Earth and The Blue Planet comes Frozen Planet, the epic tale of two disappearing wildernesses. The Arctic and Antarctic remain the greatest wildernesses on Earth. The scale and beauty of the scenery and the sheer power of the elements are unmatched anywhere else on our planet. And against all odds, these vast, frigid environments are teeming with life.


Photos from Svalbard

The islands were allegedly first discovered by Viking explorers in the 12th century. However the first recorded voyage here was by the Dutch in 1596, landing on the northwest of Spitsbergen. This coast served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norway's sovereignty was recognized in 1905; five years later it officially took over the territory. However, the Svalbard Treaty gives "absolute equality" to other nations wishing to exploit mineral deposits, and Russia continues to maintain a significant population on the island.

Take a few minutes and look at these stunning photos from Svalbard.

Taking by Franco Pacelli

Read about Svalbard - Spetsbergen - Before you go - find out about the islands

The Svalbard Archipelago: American Military and Political Geographies of Spitsbergen and Other Norwegian Polar Territories, 1941-1950
The Svalbard Archipelago: American Military and Political Geographies of Spitsbergen and Other Norwegian Polar Territories, 1941-1950

Norway's Spitsbergen Archipelago, known as Svalbard to the Norwegians, is of increasing interest to Arctic scholars and geographers, as well as to military historians and analysts of strategy.

The Svalbard Passage
The Svalbard Passage

The Svalbard Passage is a masterful novel set in the US and Norway. The intensity of the story, combined with the authors’ knowledge of political reality, result in one of the best Cold War novels ever written. Readers of LeCarre, Follet, Condon and Ludlum will find it irresistible.

Spitsbergen: Svalbard, Franz Josef, Jan Mayen, 3rd: The Bradt Travel Guide
Spitsbergen: Svalbard, Franz Josef, Jan Mayen, 3rd: The Bradt Travel Guide

The original wilderness encompassing the archipelago of Svalbard (commonly known as Spitsbergen) is a vast region of ice and snow where you can travel for weeks without meeting a soul. Lying as close to the North Pole as can easily be reached, its climate and wildlife are unique in Europe; this is the home of the arctic fox, the reindeer and the polar bear.


Svenskhuset - Now we know what happened

for years it was a mystery.

In 1879 plans for an international polar year 1882-83' were made. Eight nations co-operated to establish fourteen different research stations during The Polar Year. Twelve of these stations were situated in the Arctic. Sweden undertook responsibility for the station on Spitsbergen. This was established at Kapp Thordsen on the northern side of Isfjorden, where A.E. Nordenskiöld had already put up a house ten years earlier. Today the building is known as 'Svenskhuset'. The house was expanded and equipped as an adequate research station for overwintering and making scientific observations. The engineer Salomon August Andrèe led the rebuilding work. The expedition consisted of six scientists under the leadership of the meteorologist Nils Gustav Ekholm. Three Swedish and three Norwegian workers also took part.

Already 1872 a tragedy took place in this house. 17 scientists were found dead. Some buried and others in their beds. There have been theories why they died and nobody knew for sure until now, 135 years later. The graves were opened and Doctor Ulf Aasebø and historian Kjell Kjær found that the cans of food they had been eating were full of lead. They died from lead poisening. Some of the cans were so full of lead they had little drops inside. The lids had been closed with lead as the custom was in those early days.

Polar bear attack

July 2010 Photo AP

Oslo - A polar bear was killed Thursday after it attacked two men in a tent on the Svalbard Archipelago off northern Norway, news reports said.

The polar bear managed to drag one of the two men some 40 metres from the tent before it was shot to death by the other man.

The man who was dragged from the tent was not seriously injured, the governor of Svalbard said.

Both men were Norwegian nationals and in their early 20s. They were kayaking in the archipelago and were attacked on the island of Nordaustlandet. The men alerted authorities about the attack.

A helicopter was dispatched to the scene and transported the men back to Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Svalbard.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center - The Polar Bears are in danger!

The ice is melting so fast on the North Pole, Greenland and here at Svalbard

These data have been collected from an Arctic desert site (latitude 78o57'29N, longitude 12o27'42E), Broeggerhalvoya in western Spitsbergen, 10 km NW from Ny Alesund, 45 m above sea level, 2 km from the shore. This is a low relief tip of a bedrock peninsula covered with several meters of glacial drift and reworked raised beach ridges.

Polar Bears are in danger

Follow the separate journeys of two captive polar bears, as they travel from their northern hemisphere homes to Sea...

Serious Conference about the life of Polar Bears

Planet Earth - about the Polar bear

One of the episodes is about the struggle the Polar bears have to survive. A very moving sequence where the bear is walking walking walking basically into his death.

Planet Earth: The Complete Series [HD DVD]
Planet Earth: The Complete Series [HD DVD]

Planet Earth is quite simply the greatest nature/wildlife series ever produced.

Accompanied by majestic orchestral scores by George Fenton, every episode is packed with images so beautiful or so forcefully impressive (and so perfectly photographed by the BBC's tenacious high-definition camera crews) that you'll be rendered speechless by the splendor of it all.


Photo from Planet Earth

Photo from Planet Earth
Photo from Planet Earth

What YOU can do about the Global Warming


Act now and make a difference!

Reduce Reuse and Recycle

Bring your straw to the anthill - our earth

Simple daily little things

It is very frustrating to watch the Global Warming just get worse and worse. Here are some of the things you can do to help our planet:

Change a light, and you help change the world. In EU it is a new law to do that this fall! Replace the conventional bulbs in your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the ENERGY STAR and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household in the U.S. took this one simple action we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.

Saving water around the home is simple. Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Look for products with EPA's WaterSense label; these products save water and perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts. There are also simple actions you can take to save water: Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape; only water when needed and do it during the coolest part of the day, early morning is best. Turn the water off while shaving or brushing teeth. Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket - water is wasted with each flush. And did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away. See EPA's WaterSense site for more water saving tips.

There is much more to read on the site I got this information from:


Vanishing World - The Endangered Arctic - A lovely beautiful book

You must see the photos in this book! The colours, the ice and read about the struggle in Arctic landscape. I watched the two people who took the photos on Swedish TV one morning and I must say - this is a book you just have to see! The photographer and the writer are Swedish

Vanishing World: The Endangered Arctic
Vanishing World: The Endangered Arctic

Nature photographer Mireille de la Lez and cowriter Fredrik Granath have spent years working in the high Arctic and specialize in photography and films of the polar regions. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.


There is a new Zoo opened in Orsa Sweden - to help the Polar bears

Polar bear world

Links to information about the global warming

The more you know - the better you can act.

That is a fact in this case. The Global warming is also a fact because of us.

Act now and tell others to do so also!

"Noah´s ark" with seeds this time

A safety-storage for preservation of duplicate collections of seeds on behalf of genebanks.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault At was opened by the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday 26. th of February 2008.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is being constructed as a cave excavated into the permafrost just outside Longyearbyen. The SGS is intended to ensure genetic variety for the world's food plants by storing duplicates of seed collections from gene banks all over the world, and will have storage capacity for over four million different seed samples. If a seed is lost somewhere in the world due to natural disasters, war or resource shortages, it can be re-established with seeds from Svalbard.

The Seed Vault has the capacity to store 4,5 million different seed samples.

Many developing countries are rich in biodiversity. The Svalbard vault will be an extra security for plant diversity.

The gene bank is a facility for maintaining crop diversity in the form of seeds, stored and conserved in a frozen state. The ideal temperature is between minus 10 and minus 20 degrees Celsius. Each different type of seed is stored in its own container, such as a bottle, can, or in sealed a aluminium foil package. Genebanks may also contain living plants and parts of plants in those cases where it is difficult to store the crop in the form of seeds.

Scroll down for more information in the link list.

Svalbard Seed Vault

Pliosaurus found at Svalbard

Reptile from the past

Gigantic Pliosaurus discovered on Norwegian soil

Norwegian palaeontologists have made a sensational discovery, currently drawing much international attention. A complete skeleton of a Pliosaurus, one of the largest-ever marine predators, has been discovered on Svalbard. These gigantic creatures, comparable in many respects to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, lived in the ocean 150 million years ago.

Palaeontologists from the University of Oslo, led by Dr. Jørn Hurum and Hans Arne Nakrem, made the discovery in August this year. The remains, which are very well preserved as well as being unique in their completeness, are the first complete skeleton of a Pliosaurus ever discovered, although parts of pliosaurs have earlier been found in England, Russia and Argentina.

During the two-week field period the palaeontologists documented a remarkable 28 skeletons, ranging from two to ten meters in length. The discovery ranks Svalbard as one of the world's four most productive sites for the remains of marine reptiles.

Pliosaurus, one of the largest-ever marine predators, lived in the ocean and hunted other smaller marine reptiles.

The University of Oslo has launched a website for information about the Svalbard discoveries

Bring your Camera!

Bring your Camera!
Bring your Camera!

Camera with YouTube Capture Mode - All you do is plug it into the computer

1) Casio Exilim EX-Z77 Digital Camera; 2) 2GB SecureDigital (SD) Card; 3) USB SecureDigital (SD/SDHC/MMC) Card Reader; 4) Spare NP-20 Battery for Casio; 5) Carrying Case; 6) Card Storage Wallet; 7) Mini Tripod; 8) Recovery Software; 9) Cleaning Cloth;

Keep your photo memories out where you can see them! - Digital photo frames and cameras

If you have photos from your travelling. Don't keep them in a computer or inside a drawer. Look at them and let them be seen!!

Population increese?

Svalbard authorities are expecting a population increase of 10 to 20 percent for the next five to ten years in the archipelago.

The leader of Longyearbyen local municipality Kjell Mork told the Norwegian radio NRK that many more people will move to Svalbard for the next years.

Both UNIS, the university at Svalbard, and the tourism in the archipelago will expand. There are also plans to open a new coal mine to ensure further production to the Norwegian mining company SNSK - Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani.

Mining plays a major role in the community. SNSK runs two coal mines in Longyearbyen and Svea, and coal mining employs about half the residents.

The North Pole

The North Pole
The North Pole

Svalbard is the most exiting place on earth

What do you have to say about this lens? - Just tell me - good or bad

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    • LouisaDembul profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      What a fantastic place! I would love to go there for a visit. What a nature and wildlife.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      7 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I don't think I could live there, but it is certainly a very special and beautiful place. Your lens is very informative and with the videos a great virtual trip!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Congratulations! This lens was a winner on the Squid's Choice Awards lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      FANTASTIC site. Thanks for tuning us in to the real lives at the top of the world. Travesty about the ice and polar bears, etc.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      Very interesting about the seed vault. Beautifully done! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • GramaBarb profile image


      10 years ago from Vancouver

      The 'seed vault' made the news here in Canada and then when I saw your lens on the subject I was especially keen to read more about it. Thanks for sharing so much good information.


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