Location of .mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}Svalbard (dark green) – in Europe (green & dark grey) – in Norway (green)
Location of Svalbard (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in Norway (green)

Location of Svalbard
StatusUnincorporated area of Norway
Administrative centre
and largest city
• Total
61,022 km2 (23,561 sq mi)
• 2016[2] estimate
• Density
0.044/km2 (0.1/sq mi) (248th)
CurrencyNorwegian krone (NOK)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Calling code+47
Internet a
  1. .sj allocated but not used.[3]

Svalbard (ɑːr/;[4] Urban East Norwegian: [²sʋɑːlbɑɾ]; prior to 1925 known by its Dutch name 'Spitsbergen') is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers.

The islands were first taken into use as a whaling base for the Danish Empire as Dano-Norwegians travelled north in hunt of whale fat in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned. Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, and several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. They also established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone. The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies in place. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault playing critical roles. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway.

The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox, and certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, natural environment. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are collectively assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code "SJ". Both areas are administered by Norway, though they are separated by a distance of over 950 kilometres (510 nautical miles) and have very different administrative structures.


Topographic Map of Svalbard

The Svalbard Treaty of 1920[5] defines Svalbard as all islands, islets and skerries from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude.[6][7] The land area is 61,022 km2 (23,561 sq mi), and dominated by the island of Spitsbergen, which constitutes more than half the archipelago, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya.[8] All settlements are located on Spitsbergen, except the meteorological outposts on Bjørnøya and Hopen.[5] The Norwegian state took possession of all unclaimed land, or 95.2% of the archipelago, at the time the Svalbard Treaty entered into force; Store Norske owns 4%, Arktikugol owns 0.4%, while other private owners hold 0.4%.[9]

Since Svalbard is located north of the Arctic Circle it experiences midnight sun in summer and polar night in winter. At 74° north, the midnight sun lasts 99 days and polar night 84 days, while the respective figures at 81° are 141 and 128 days.[10] In Longyearbyen, midnight sun lasts from 20 April until 23 August, and polar night lasts from 26 October to 15 February.[6] In winter, the combination of full moon and reflective snow can give additional light.[10]

Glacial ice covers 36,502 km2 (14,094 sq mi) or 60% of Svalbard; 30% is barren rock while 10% is vegetated.[11] The largest glacier is Austfonna (8,412 km2 or 3,248 sq mi) on Nordaustlandet, followed by Olav V Land and Vestfonna. During summer, it is possible to ski from Sørkapp in the south to the north of Spitsbergen, with only a short distance not being covered by snow or glacier. Kvitøya is 99.3% covered by glacier.[12]

The landforms of Svalbard were created through repeated ice ages, when glaciers cut the former plateau into fjords, valleys and mountains.[13] The tallest peak is Newtontoppen (1,717 m or 5,633 ft), followed by Perriertoppen (1,712 m or 5,617 ft), Ceresfjellet (1,675 m or 5,495 ft), Chadwickryggen (1,640 m or 5,380 ft) and Galileotoppen (1,637 m or 5,371 ft). The longest fjord is Wijdefjorden (108 km or 67 mi), followed by Isfjorden (107 km or 66 mi), Van Mijenfjorden (83 km or 52 mi), Woodfjorden (64 km or 40 mi) and Wahlenbergfjorden (46 km or 29 mi).[14] Svalbard is part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province,[15] and experienced Norway's strongest earthquake on 6 March 2009, which hit a magnitude of 6.5.[16]

Other Languages
Acèh: Svalbard
Afrikaans: Svalbard
አማርኛ: ስቫልባር
Ænglisc: Scearpbeorgas
العربية: سفالبارد
aragonés: Svalbard
arpetan: Svalbârd
asturianu: Svalbard
azərbaycanca: Şpitsbergen
Bân-lâm-gú: Svalbard
беларуская: Шпіцберген
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Шпіцбэрген
български: Свалбард
bosanski: Svalbard
brezhoneg: Svalbard
català: Svalbard
Чӑвашла: Шпицберген
čeština: Špicberky
Cymraeg: Svalbard
dansk: Svalbard
davvisámegiella: Svalbárda
dolnoserbski: Svalbard
eesti: Svalbard
español: Svalbard
Esperanto: Svalbardo
euskara: Svalbard
فارسی: سوالبار
føroyskt: Svalbarð
français: Svalbard
Gaelg: Svalbard
Gàidhlig: Svalbard
galego: Svalbard
хальмг: Свалбард
հայերեն: Շպիցբերգեն
हिन्दी: स्वालबार्ड
hornjoserbsce: Svalbard
hrvatski: Svalbard
Ilokano: Svalbard
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: স্ভালবার্ড
Bahasa Indonesia: Svalbard
Interlingue: Svalbard
íslenska: Svalbarði
italiano: Isole Svalbard
עברית: סבאלברד
Basa Jawa: Svalbard
kalaallisut: Svalbard
ქართული: შპიცბერგენი
қазақша: Шпицберген
kernowek: Svalbard
Kiswahili: Svalbard
Кыргызча: Шпицберген
Latina: Svalbardum
latviešu: Svalbāra
Lëtzebuergesch: Spitzbergen (Inselgrupp)
lietuvių: Svalbardas
Limburgs: Sjpitsberge
magyar: Spitzbergák
മലയാളം: സ്വാൽബാർഡ്
Bahasa Melayu: Svalbard
Nedersaksies: Spitsbargen
нохчийн: Шпицберген
Nordfriisk: Svalbard
Norfuk / Pitkern: Swaalbard
norsk: Svalbard
norsk nynorsk: Svalbard
occitan: Svalbard
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Shpitsbergen
پنجابی: سوالبارد
Papiamentu: Svalbard
Plattdüütsch: Spitzbargen
polski: Svalbard
português: Svalbard
română: Svalbard
rumantsch: Svalbard
русский: Шпицберген
Scots: Svalbard
shqip: Svalbard
sicilianu: Svalbard
Simple English: Svalbard
slovenčina: Svalbard
slovenščina: Spitsbergi
српски / srpski: Свалбард
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Svalbard
Basa Sunda: Svalbard
svenska: Svalbard
Tagalog: Svalbard
татарча/tatarça: Шпицберген
Türkçe: Svalbard
удмурт: Шпицберген
українська: Шпіцберген
vèneto: Svalbard
Tiếng Việt: Svalbard
West-Vlams: Spitsbergn
Winaray: Esvalbard
Yorùbá: Svalbard
粵語: 冷岸群島
Zazaki: Svalbard
Zeêuws: Spitsberhen
žemaitėška: Svalbards
中文: 斯瓦尔巴