Category Archives: Svalbard

Stuck with muck: World’s northernmost car wash shuts down because cars are too dirty – but, hey, clean rentals


It seems like a winning business formula: lots of cars get very dirty and therefore need to be washed. But it turns out that’s a fatal flaw for the world’s northernmost car wash due to a very Svalbard specific problem: there’s no place here to dispose of all that muck and it’s too costly to ship it elsewhere.

Food for thought: Is a meal of nearly all-local ingredients possible? Yes, but is it economically and politically possible?


It hardly strains journalism objectivity to declare a gathering promoting locally sourced food received universal raves. Indeed, accusations of “media bias” would almost certainly be warranted otherwise since attendees got to indulge in a free dinner with local items included soup, whale, seal, reindeer and salad prepared by a professional chef (who at one point observed “who can afford to eat like that?”).

Random weirdness for the week of June 20, 2017


Yeah, lots of people make fun of Svalbarði’s “super premium” glacier water that costs 400 kroner per 750-milliliter bottle here and twice that elsewhere. But at least it’s marketable as a unique taste of the purity of Svalbard. That can’t be said for the latest bonkers beverage that’s roughly the equivalent of grinding up the world’s most expensive steak and using it to make chili.

Return to sender: Giant Santa’s mailbox benefactor back in Longyearbyen, bewildered at rejection of gift to community


Santa’s Little Helper is back in town – and says she doesn’t understand why her gigantic gift to the community is causing such a huge fuss.

Going offline: RaBi’s Bua closes after 27 years, owner says rustic shop can’t compete with online shopping


Birgit Brekken, 66, says what made her happiest was building up a clothing and gift shop from nothing, not even a loan, that existed for 27 years. But during the final hours at RaBi’s Bua on Wednesday afternoon she said she’s also glad to be free of the responsibilities after recent years of struggle due to people switching to online shopping.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of June 20, 2017


Better efficiency called key part of future energy supply
Buildings in Longyearbyen are so energy inefficient it’s possible to increase population by nearly half, build houses for them and still save energy compared to what Longyearbyen uses today.

Girlfight: Best men for buccaneering are women in local student performance of ‘Peter Pan’


(Imagining the scenario in the land of alternative reality: A student performance of “Peter Pan” featuring an all-female lead cast ended in rioting by parents who assaulted teachers in the audience and tore down the stage set while denouncing the “brainwashing” of youths by coercing them into positive portrayals of homosexuality, transsexuality and racial stereotypes. Angry murmurs throughout the play erupted into violence during the play’s climactic moment when Peter Pan pleaded with the audience to show their belief in fairies…)

Meanwhile in this most-cool town it wasn’t part of any tolerance, diversity or other politically correct exercise. It just turns out the best man for the job was a woman.

Freedom tour: Free ways to go exploring in Longyeabryen without your wallet or a weapon


We get it: It’s a long and expensive trip to get to Longyearbyen and not everyone is into 1) being immediately herded by the dozens onto tour buses or 2) walking aimlessly past a bunch of ugly industrial buildings in the hope of finding something interesting once you reach the nicer part of town.

Random weirdness for the week of June 13, 2017


John Lennon celebrates a 50th anniversary by sticking his face in snow. Doomsday Vault Derangement Syndrome continues with links to Nazis and global human infertility. Threats from space cannibals. And can palm trees Make Svalbard Great Again?

Shelter until the snow flies: Governor lifts evacuation order for homes evacuated after avalanche – but only temporarily


Nearly 60 residences evacuated after an avalanche destroyed two nearby apartment buildings in February can be used as temporary housing until “the ground is covered by snow” unless protective measures are implemented, The Governor of Svalbard announced Tuesday evening.