Svalbard Population: 1,872

739 VISITORS FROM HERE!


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview
  
 History
The archipelago may have been first discovered by Norse explorers in the 12th century; the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norway's sovereignty was internationally recognized by treaty in 1920, and five years later it officially took over the territory. In the 20th century coal mining started and today a Norwegian and a Russian company are still functioning. Travel between the settlements is accomplished with snowmobiles, aircraft, and boats.

 Geography
Northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area; Spitsbergen Island is the site of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed repository established by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government
Location: Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway
Geographic coordinates: 78 00 N, 20 00 E
Area: total: 62,045 sq km
land: 62,045 sq km
water: 0 sq km

note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

Size comparison: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 3,587 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 4 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
Climate: arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current; cool summers, cold winters; North Atlantic Current flows along west and north coasts of Spitsbergen, keeping water open and navigable most of the year
Terrain: rugged mountains; much of the upland areas are ice covered; west coast clear of ice about half the year; fjords along west and north coasts
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, wildlife, fish
Land use: agricultural land: 0% arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0% forest: 0%
other: 100% (2011 est.)
Natural hazards: ice floes often block the entrance to Bellsund (a transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic
Current Environment Issues: NA
^Back to Top
 People
Nationality:
Ethnic groups: Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3% (1998)
Languages: Norwegian, Russian
Religions:
Population: 1,872 (July 2014 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.03% (2014 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate: NA
Literacy:
^Back to Top
 Government
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago)
etymology: 12th century Norse accounts speak of the discovery of a "Svalbard" - literally "cold shores" - but they may have referred to Jan Mayen island or eastern Greenland; the archipelago was traditionally known as Spitsbergen, but Norway renamed it Svalbard in the 1920s when it assumed sovereignty of the islands
Government type:
Capital: name: Longyearbyen
geographic coordinates: 78 13 N, 15 38 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Independence: none (territory of Norway)
National holiday:
Constitution:
Legal system: the laws of Norway where applicable apply; only the laws of Norway made explicitly applicable to Svalbard have effect there; the Svalbard Act and the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, and certain regulations, apply only to Svalbard; the Spitsbergen Treaty and the Svalbard Treaty grants certain rights to citizens and corporations of signatory nations
Suffrage:
Executive branch: chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)

head of government: Governor Kjerstin ASKHOLT (since 1 October 2015); Assistant Governor Lars Erik ALHEIM elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor and assistant governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Longyearbyen Community Council (15 seats; members elected by direct vote to serve four-year-terms)

elections: last held on 6 October 2015 (next to be held October 2019)

election results: seats by party - Conservatives 5, Green Party 2, Labor Party 5, Liberals 3 note: the Council's main responsibilities are infrastructure and utilities, including power, land-use and community planning, education, and child welfare; however, healthcare services are provided by the state
Judicial branch: highest court(s): none; note - Svalbard is subordinate to Norway's Nord-Troms District Court and Halogaland Court of Appeal, both located in Tromso
Political parties and leaders: Svalbard Conservative Party [Kjetil FIGENSCHOO]; Svalbard Green Party [Espen Klungseth ROTEVATN]; Svalbard Labor Party [Arid OLSEN]; Svalbard Liberal Party [Erik BERGER]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: none
National anthem:

note: as a territory of Norway, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" is official (see Norway)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Diplomatic representation from the US:
^Back to Top
 Economy
Tourism and international research are Svalbard's major revenue sources. Coal mining has historically been the dominant economic activity, and a treaty of 9 February 1920 gave the 41 signatories equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have mined in the past, the only companies still engaging in this are Norwegian and Russian. Low coal prices have forced the Norwegian coal company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, to close one of its two mines and to considerably reduce the activity of the other. Since the 1990s, the tourism and hospitality industry has grown rapidly, and Svalbard now receives 60,000 visitors annually. The settlements on Svalbard were established as company towns, and at their height in the 1950s, the Norwegian state-owned coal company supported around 1,000 jobs. Today, around 300 people work in the mining industry. Goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and vehicles, normally highly taxed on mainland Norway, are considerably cheaper in Svalbard in an effort by the Norwegian government to entice more people to live on the Arctic archipelago. By law, Norway collects only enough taxes to pay for the needs of the local government; none of tax proceeds go to the central government. Tourism and international research are Svalbard's major revenue sources. Coal mining has historically been the dominant economic activity, and a treaty of 9 February 1920 gave the 41 signatories equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have mined in the past, the only companies still engaging in this are Norwegian and Russian. Low coal prices have forced the Norwegian coal company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, to close one of its two mines and to considerably reduce the activity of the other. Since the 1990s, the tourism and hospitality industry has grown rapidly, and Svalbard now receives 60,000 visitors annually. The settlements on Svalbard were established as company towns, and at their height in the 1950s, the Norwegian state-owned coal company supported around 1,000 jobs. Today, around 300 people work in the mining industry. Goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and vehicles, normally highly taxed on mainland Norway, are considerably cheaper in Svalbard in an effort by the Norwegian government to entice more people to live on the Arctic archipelago. By law, Norway collects only enough taxes to pay for the needs of the local government; none of tax proceeds go to the central government.
GDP - real growth rate: NA% NA%
Agriculture - products:
Industries:
Labor force: 1,590 (2013) 1,590 (2013)
Budget: revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA
Taxes and other revenues: NA% of GDP NA% of GDP
Exports: $NA $NA
Exports - commodities:
Imports: $NA $NA
Imports - commodities:
Exchange rates: Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar - 8.615 (2016 est.) 8.0646 (2015 est.) 6.3021 (2014 est.) 6.3021 (2013 est.) 5.82 (2012 est.) Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar - 8.615 (2016 est.) 8.0646 (2015 est.) 6.3021 (2014 est.) 6.3021 (2013 est.) 5.82 (2012 est.)
^Back to Top
 Energy
Crude oil - production: 194,300 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 16,070 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 80,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 4,488 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 18,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
^Back to Top
 Communications
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate

domestic: local telephone service

international: country code - 47-790; satellite earth station - 1 of unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only) (2005)
Broadcast media: the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) began direct TV transmission to Svalbard via satellite in 1984; Longyearbyen households have access to 3 NRK radio and 2 TV stations (2008)
Internet country code: .sj
^Back to Top
 Transportation
Airports: 4 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 3

under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Roadways:
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden
^Back to Top
 Military
Svalbard is a territory of Norway, demilitarized by treaty on 9 February 1920; Norwegian military activity is limited to fisheries surveillance by the Norwegian Coast Guard
Military branches: no regular military forces
^Back to Top
 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: despite recent discussions, Russia and Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone
^Back to Top


« Previous Country | Next Country »   Back to Flag Counter Overview


   Source: CIA - The World Factbook
 

Flag Counter