‘TIGHTENING THE REINS IN SVALBARD’: Multitude of new rules, restrictions by government to make archipelago more ‘Norwegian’ cause controversy and worry among locals

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Photo by The Governor of Svalbard

National authorities are considering revoking voting rights from foreign citizens in Svalbard, increasing environmental protection and introducing stronger requirements for safety in the field, causing many locals to worry about the consequences, according to High North News.

The story of Svalbard is about quick development and the eternal question about what the Norwegian state really wants with the Svalbard community, HNN correspondent Line Nagell Ylvisåker wrote in a longform feature published Friday. She notes that in the 1990s Svalbard went from being a company town in which everything was owned by the state-owned mining company Store Norske, to becoming normalized with private enterprises and a family community. The state saw that the Svalbard community cost money and wanted private enterprise to contribute to cover infrastructure and operations.

At the same time, the town was granted local democracy.

“However, the transition project went faster and more powerful than the authorities had envisioned” Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen told HNN. The number of inhabitants has nearly doubled since then – and the ratio of foreign residents has more than doubled since 2009.

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About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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