Category Archives: Svalbard

A ‘SUPER’ ADDITION TO THE MARKET: Expanded Svalbardbutikken officially opens after 17 months of upgrades, earning raves even from those who miss the ‘old times’

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Photo of Anne Lise Klungseth Sandvik speaking at official opening courtesy of Svalbardbutikken

This time the expanded version of the world’s northernmost supermarket really, really is officially open.

AN UNEXPECTED RUSSIAN SUMMER WARSHIP ‘CRUISE’: Norway monitoring vessels that suddenly approach southern tip of Spitsbergen and Isfjorden during exercises at sea

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As if foreign cruise ships weren’t enough cause for concern during this second COVID-19 summer,  are still under, Norway is now keeping an alert eye on a group of Russian warships that suddenly departed from an exercise at Franz Josef Land to the east and passing within 20 kilometers of coastlines in Svalbard, according to military officials and media reports.

YOUTHFUL AND SPIRITUAL PRIDE: World’ northernmost LGBTQ+ festival returns to Longyearbyen this weekend with hopes local diversity spreads wider message of inclusion

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Photo courtesy of Longyearbyen Pride

A “rainbow” party for hormonal teens, storytime for little kids, cartoons for slightly older kids and a fair at the church – surely the stuff of chilling “wokeism” for some people/places, but for those in Longyearbyen participating this weekend they will be just among a few of the reasons to take Pride.

Random Bits Of Weirdness for the week of Aug. 10, 2021

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As the Great Pandemic Hoax that we personally set in motion* continues to put everyone’s hopes of normalcy on ice, there are locals like Wally the Walrus making famous tours of forbidden places and famous tourists like Colin Farrell doing seemingly forbidden things locally.

POLAR PERMACULTURE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: Owners say COVID-19, lack of assistance for foreigner-owned companies force end to eight-year-old ‘local food’ and tourism project

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Photo of Polar Permaculture’s greenhouse in Nybyen courtesy of Polar Permaculture

Polar Permaculture – which started in 2013 with one man’s dream of a greenhouse producing local food in Longyearbyen, and blossomed into a full-blown produce and tourism company – announced Friday it is filing for bankruptcy due the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of available assistance for companies owned by foreigners.

RELAPSE: Norway postpones final ‘reopening’ stage yet again due to Delta COVID-19 variant as French cruise company cancels its scheduled Svalbard voyages for the rest of the year

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The final stage of the “reopening” of Norway – and further relaxation of restrictions on travelling to Svalbard – is again being postponed due to concerns about the Delta strain of COVID-19, with the Aug. 1 target date now pushed until at least mid-August, officials said Wednesday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 27, 2021

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Photo of delegation visit to Ny-Ålesund courtesy of Kings Bay AS

The number of research days in Ny-Ålesund is cut by more than half in 2020 due to Covid, winter alcohol sales stave off a sobering year for Korkpenger grants and city technicians save the local government’s computers from a data attack.

10 YEARS AFTER UTØYA: Five Longyearbyen youths were at the youth camp where 69 people were killed July 22, 2011 – here’s how it affected what they and/or their families are doing now

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Photo of Longyearbyen’s 10-year anniversary memorial of July 22 attacks by Eira Egner / Svalbardposten.

Einar Buø says “we have seen surprisingly little anger and cursing” during the 10 years since his son, Johannes, 14, was among the youngest of the 69 people killed during the July 22 attack by a lone gunman at Utøya. But he wonders if that’s an entirely good thing.

Buø, while like other survivors affected by that day emphasizes focusing on the present and future, also shares with them a “never forgot” mentality and like many is seeking to counter the hateful mentality triggering Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack that killed at total of 77 people when the shooting followed a bombing by the same man in Oslo.

OUR EDITOR GET EXPELLED: Here’s what the process is like when the governor forces somebody to leave Svalbard

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(As Icepeople’s editor – and everything else – for the past 13 years, I have written numerous articles about the unique provision that anyone who cannot support themselves must leave Svalbard. On Wednesday I was forced to leave on orders from the governor. Because I figure that – like going to prison – it’s something many people are curious about, but few will experience, this is what it was like to go through “the process.”)

I heard a vehicle approaching sometime after 11 p.m. while laying in my bed of cushions and sleeping bags on the porch of Longyearbyen Camping. The sound of tires taking abuse on the poorly maintained dirt road was the same as the occasional other vehicles passing by to reach the scattering of cabins beyond. Like the others, as soon as the vehicle passed the building the sound faded quickly.

But seconds later the sound of tires coming to a halt came from the other side of the building, followed immediately by two doors of something heavy-duty slamming shut.

And I thought “this is it.”

‘A BETTER, MORE INCLUSIVE AND MORE TOLERANT FUTURE’: An interview with Viljar Hanssen 10 years after surviving Utøya

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Viljar Hanssen, 27, was a high school student in Longyearbyen when he became one of the most recognizable survivors of the July 22, 2011, massacre at Utøya. He suffered near-fatal injuries after being shot five times, ultimately losing an eye and suffering severe impairment of his motor functions.