Category Archives: Svalbard

Top government official says protecting life and health are vital for disaster-prone Longyearbyen; considering the government may collapse tomorrow, nobody cares


There were the expected emphatic statements about the life and health of the people being the government’s top priority, but since the life of the current government may be measurable in hours it’s not a stretch to say the full attention of the bureaucrats in Oslo isn’t on the new dismaying new crisis in the country’s northernmost town.

Flashback: Six years ago the execs of ‘Fortitude’ visited Svalbard. Here’s their original twisted visions of death


(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Jan. 17, 2012, issue of Icepeople. After filming two seasons in Iceland, the TV drama series “Fortitude” is filming its third and final season in Svalbard this month.)

For those worried about the murderer settling here, relax. For one thing, Longyearbyen doesn’t really have any donuts.

Digging a hole: New justice minister cancels Svalbard visit to face no-confidence vote for controversial statements

They said her vehement anti-immigration policies wouldn’t likely be relevant to her administrative oversight of Svalbard. They were wrong – perhaps disastrously so for all involved.

‘A completely unsustainable situation’: New avalanche risk report says far more homes than thought are vulnerable


Far more homes in the center of Longyearbyen are vulnerable to avalanches than previously thought. Spending 100 million to protect 37 residences and other parts of the city center with various snow barriers is being recommended. But there appears to be no practical way to protect about 140 more residences – meaning even more costly teardown and rebuilding efforts for a town already in a large-scale housing crisis.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 13, 2018


Leak on freighter ship seriously damages six vehicles, other cargo
Some of the cargo aboard the Norbjørn freighter, including six vehicles, suffered serious water damage during a voyage from Tromsø to Longyearbyen, according to the shipping company responsible.

BRIGHT OUTLOOK: Sun makes brilliant return to Longyearbyen after town endures months of darkness and shadow


On this day at least, there was no doubt the world’s northernmost town had one of the world’s sunniest dispositions.

After an absence of nearly four months, the sun peeked over the horizon and shone on the historic wooden steps of a hospital destroyed in World War II, the traditional gathering point for hundreds of Longyearbyen residents and others participating in the biggest local celebration of the year.

The sun’s appearance on the southern horizon at about 12:50 p.m. occurred on a cloudless and windless day – one of maybe four or five such days longtime residents can recall in nearly 50 years of celebrations – allowing one of the two student emcees to make an exceeding rare declaration.

“The sun is clearly back,” she said over the loud cheers of the crowd.

Svalbard is the warmest place in Norway today, the North Pole is above freezing and ‘scientists are freaking out’


Lest anyone freezing to the south think we’re enjoying a balmy break from winter, people and cars are slipping all over water-covered ice, dozens of snowmobiles are half-submerged in pools of water, lots of windshields are blowing off those snowmobiles and tourists are paying a fortune to slog through vast slush-filled wastelands.

Temperatures soaring to four degrees Celsius during the past 24 hours made Longyearbyen the warmest town in Norway, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute reported Tuesday morning. The freakishly warm weather – although not nearly as freakish as it was even a decade ago, thanks to the rapid onset of climate change – was accompanied by intense rain and winds gusting to gale speeds, resulting in various forms of misery for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t stay indoors.

Massive upgrade or mishap? 100M kroner overhaul proposed on seed vault’s 10th birthday – nearly triple original cost of ‘fix’

Those jokes about the so-called “flooding” of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault are no longer a laughing matter, as Norway’s government is “celebrating” the facility’s 10th birthday by proposing 100 million kroner in upgrades – nearly triple the originally projected cost of needed repairs and more than twice the 45 million kroner it cost to build the vault.

Will there be trees? ‘Fortitude’ filming final season in Svalbard instead of Iceland – how will scenery stay consistent?


One of the first things this show about Svalbard will have to do now that it’s finally filming is here make things look a bit more like Iceland.

Whether its detailing vehicles to match those seen in previous seasons or using computer-generated effects to include non-native animals with noteworthy moments, those producing the third and final season of “Fortitude” are doing plenty of preliminary work before filming begins in March.

A tale of two vaults: At 10, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a duel persona of hope and hysteria


It was the best of designs, it was the worst of designs. It was the age of vision, it was the age of foolhardiness. It was the epoch of inevitability, it was the season of incomprehension. It was the season of bright, it was the season of blackout; it was the spring of horizons, it was the winter of disrepair. We had knowledge before us, we had idiotic conspiracy theories before us. We were all going directly to…oh, hell – if Armageddon happens it’s not like the Left Behind will be queueing at what misguided souls think are the well-guarded doors of Svalbard’s most famous structure.