SVALBARD (prior to 1925 known by its Dutch name ‘Spitsbergen’) is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
It is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole, where you can see polar bears, whales, seals, walruses and other arctic wildlife like arctic fox, reindeer and about thirty species of bird. In addition to amazing wildlife, there are sightseeing tour to the following places:
1) Longyearbyen, place whereof all our trips on Svalbard starts. It is the world’s northernmost settlement of any kind with greater than 1,000 permanent residents. Known as Longyear City until 1926, the town was established by and named after John Munro Longyear, whose Arctic Coal Company started coal mining operations in 1906. Traditionally, Longyearbyen was a company town, but most mining operations have moved to Sveagruva since the 1990s, while the town has seen a large increase in tourism and research.
2) Barentsburg is named after Dutch explorer Willem Barents. It is the second-largest settlement on Svalbard. Barentsburg started as a Dutch mining town in the 1920s.
In 1932 the Dutch sold their concession to the Soviet Union and since that time the Russian state-owned Arktikugol Trust (Russian for “Arctic Coal”) has been operating on Svalbard. The population has declined over the decades; in its heyday, over 1,000 Soviet citizens inhabited Barentsburg.
3) Ny-Alesund is the northernmost functional civilian settlement in the world. It is situated on the Brogger peninsula (Broggerhalvoya) and on the shore of the bay of Kongsfjorden. Ny-Alesund is a centre for international arctic scientific research and environmental monitoring. The town was founded in 1917 by Peter Brandal and his mining company, Kings Bay Kull Comp. Initially mining was carried out until 1929, but in the 1960s mining activity was terminated. There were a series of air expeditions launched from Ny-Alesund towards the North Pole. Kongsfjord Telemetry Station opened in 1967 and the town gradually transformed into a research settlement.
Svalbard with Polarquest in 2020