Category Archives: Svalbard

Lights out: Ultra-rare ‘super blue blood moon’ will be even more remarkable in Longyearbyen with a midday occurrence


It’s a cosmic trifeca that makes “once in a blue moon” seem relatively common. And Longyearbyen residents will be in even more rarified company as some of the very few people on Earth able to see it in the middle of the day on Wednesday.

Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 23, 2018


This week’s madness is a madcap movie marathon, beginning with what is currently the world’s northernmost film festival. The nine occupants of the Bjørnøya Meteorological Station gathered last weekend for the 5th annual BØFF (Bjørnøya Filmfestival), watching five movies during a two-day period.

How a flea makes a plea: Saturday rummage sale to benefit Longyearbyen Mixed Choir’s performance of ‘Requiem’


It’s come to this, either for the concert leaders or the musicians: hoping enough folks will pay a few kroner for a saucepan or old cassette tapes (but there should be at least a couple of devices that can play them) to ensure those performing a full-fledged local version of Mozart’s “Requiem” next month get their just due.

Stage of majority: 21st annual Polarjazz festival features all non-jazz lineup (but plenty of musicans who’ve played it)


It’s hardly unusual for a jazz festival to be notably lacking its namesake genre in order to draw enough of a crowd to be commercially viable. Yet the world’s northernmost jazz festival usually features at least one or two bands devoted to some form of jazz –but ended up busting out for its “lucky 21” anniversary.

‘Never got information about the danger’: Parents of 2-year-old girl killed in 2015 avalanche seek 4.4M kr. in lawsuit


“Had we known about the danger of avalanches we never would have agreed to live there.”

But Pia Sivertsen says she never learned about that risk and as a result her two-year-old daughter, Nikoline Røkenes, was killed when an avalanche struck the family’s home and ten others on Dec. 9, 2015. The young girl was rescued after being buried in snow, but died a day later in a Tromsø hospital and now her parents have filed a lawsuit seeking 4.4 million kroner from officials they say were negligent about the avalanche risks they knew existed in the area.

The (much) higher price of failure: Cost of dismantling Store Norske’s main mines doubles to 1.5B kroner


Norway’s government has made it clear they’ll pay whatever it takes to shut down virtually all coal mining in Svalbard – and it turns out they’ll pay dearly as the estimated cost is now twice the 750 million kroner originally estimated.

Birther movement: Jan Morten Ertsaas returning to the town he was born in as the new head of Store Norske


Jan Morten Ertsaas is one of the few people today who can say they were born in Longyearbyen and one of his first jobs was spending a year working at Store Norske’s coal purification facility. Now, decades after departing for the mainland, he is returning to lead the company as it struggles to find a rebirth.

Controversial immigration minister named new justice minister; responsibilities include governing of Svalbard


Sylvi Listhaug, a Progress Party member known for controversial stances on immigration, has been named Norway’s new Minister of Justice and Public Security, a job whose duties include oversight of Svalbard. But local officials, while stating it’s vital to know where she stands on matters related to the area’s major economic and societal transition, said they don’t expect her positions on immigration to be a significant factor.

Random weirdness for the week of Jan 16, 2018


OK, we definitely don’t want the competition given our status as Svalbard’s resident street beggars, but since we’re journalists first and foremost we feel obliged to point out the riches this utterly boring and obsolete photo is worth to folks outside Svalbard who don’t know any better. Yup, it’s a drab and dull photo of that giant Santa’s mailbox that no longer exist (except in pieces in a storage container where it once stood), but digital copies are selling for 4,000 each at Getty Images, a publications, magazines and other media/PR venues. Check out the related images beneath and it’s clear anyone with a smartphone can take premium-priced images if they’re accepted as a contributor. Yup, we’ve sent in our stuff, so if nothing else we’ve got a brief headstart on folks who actually know how to use a camera…

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 16, 2018


Organized fireworks celebration proposed for next New Year’s
A communal New Year’s fireworks show next year is being proposed by a Longyearbyen resident who says it will be safer and more environmentally friendly.