Category Archives: Svalbard

CRAPPY CLOSURE: Bank closes due to sewage leak forcing teardown of walls; ATM and post office remain open


A sewage leak forced the closure of the Sparebank1 branch in Longyearbyen on Tuesday after the smell from the seepage into a couple of rooms became too fowl to continue operations, according to the bank’s manager. The ATM in the hallways outside the bank, the post office and the tax office in the same building all remain open.

Random weirdness for the week of Nov. 19, 2019


Our immediate frontrunner for the best sentence written about Svalbard this year: “It’s a wasteland whose residents all hate each other, where violent feuds are the only form of social interaction, and where, if you were to stumble across kids building a snowman, they’d be pallid Addams-styled tots who’ve used carrots to stab the thing instead of giving him a nose.”

NIGHT LIGHT: Storytimes by international residents around town, an art legend’s 30th anniversary, a torchlight walk and hymns bring shine of Kunstpause to first all-dark weekend


Don’t mistake the absence of sun for an absence of light.

The last wisps of twilight are vanishing from Longyearbyen as the polar night takes full force, but bright-minded locals are again welcoming the coming dark season with an assortment of art, literature, music and more during the annual Kunstpause festival that continues through Sunday.

Those wanting to escape the chill can illuminate their souls with free gallery and museum admissions, while those embracing the elements can join neighbors on a midday walk along the beach with torches and an evening with five international storytellers in a walking triangle of locations near the center of town at Skjæringa.

FLEE FOR YOUR LIFE 101: Avalanche season is coming – overview of evacuation and other procedures offered by emergency officials Monday


If you haven’t experienced the adrenaline rush of being ordered to immediately abandon your home, recent history suggests it’s a near certainty if you’re living in certain areas during the coming winter. And your preparations should involve more than throwing a toothbrush and clean underwear in an overnight bag.

FRIGHTENINGLY CLOSE: Longyearbyen continues 106-month streak w/ above average temps, but only by 0.9C in Oct.


The end of October sent plenty of chills through those in Longyearbyen, but it wasn’t quite enough to break a streak of above-average temperatures that’s now 106 months long. The difference of 0.9 degrees Celsius was, however, the closest to normal the town has been in more than two years and among the narrowest margins since the streak began.

HALLOWEEN’S A REAL CIRCUS: Sirkus Svalnardo offers costume collection for creepy community on a very dark day


Tor Snaprud, 10, is just getting together with classmates during the afternoon, but even then is a haunting time in Longyearbyen on the last day of October since there hasn’t been a sunrise for five days. So he’s set to scare any peers who find clowns creepy – but woe unto him if he gets spooked and tries to run away in the snow in his huge floppy shoes.

POLITICIANS TARGET TOTS AND TOURISTS: Visitor tax, private kindergarten among priorities for new city council majority


A tax on tourists, separating the harbor from other local government operations and allowing privately operated kindergartens are among the proposals in a platform drafted by the new, more conservative majority of the Longyearbyen Community Council as it officially took office Monday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Oct. 29, 2019


Mary Ann’s Polarrigg sold as storied owner fights cancer, police go all-out to find shoplifter who stole two pairs of socks and errant drivers are fined for using summer tires in September snow.

SHAKE AND MAKE UP: Labor-led local council forms new alliances and names committees at first post-election meeting


Plenty of handshakes, smiles and congratulations – along with lots of pro forma yea/nay votes – were exchanged by former and newfound rivals as the newly elected Longyearbyen Community Council met for the first time Monday night to formally vote on leadership and committee positions.

‘ARC’ DESIGNED FOR EXTRA, EXTRA PROTECTION: Conception of 50M-high visitors’ center for seed and data vaults unveiled


If you’re looking at the above photo and words such as “seed,” “protection,” “bone” and “arc” don’t stimulate thoughts of a proposed visitors’ center between Svalbard’s two “Doomsday” vaults (yes, there’s a second one that’s obscure), keep in mind the assurance “the finished product will certainly look different.”