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 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


 Total: 62,045 sq km
Land: 62,045 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 3,587 km (Rank: 33)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 4 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia


 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


 Wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west coast clear of ice about one-half of the year; fjords along west and north coasts

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Arctic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Newtontoppen 1,717 m

Natural Resources:

 Coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, wildlife, fish

Land Use:

 Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 100% (no trees; the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry) (2005)

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

Geography - Note:

 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

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Ethnic Groups:

 Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3% (1998)


 Norwegian, Russian


 2,019 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (2009 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 -0.024% (2011 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: NA
Male: NA
Female: NA

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: NA
Male: NA
Female: NA

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0% (2001)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 0 (2001)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 0 (2001)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitzbergen)


 Name: Longyearbyen
Geographic coordinates: 78 13 N, 15 33 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

Dependency Status:

 Territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was awarded to Norway


 None (territory of Norway)

Legal System:

 The laws of Norway where applicable apply

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)

Head of government: Governor Odd Olsen INGERO (since September 2009); Assistant Governor Lars FAUSE (since September 2008)

Elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor and assistant governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice

Flag Description:

 The flag of Norway is used

National Anthem:

 Note: as a territory of Norway, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" is official (see Norway)


 (territory of Norway)

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Economy - Overview:

 Coal mining, tourism, and international research are the major revenue sources on Svalbard. Coal mining is 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. The settlements on Svalbard are essentially company towns. The Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the Norwegian population on the island, runs many of the local services, and provides most of the local infrastructure. There is also some hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox.

GDP - Real Growth Rate:


Labor Force:

 1,234 in Norwegian settlements (2003)


 Revenues: $25.07 million
Expenditures: $NA (2004 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 57.9984%
Hydro: 42.0016%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0%


 $197.6 million (2000)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Norwegian Krone to Any Currency

Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar -
6.044 (2010)
6.288 (2009)
5.86 (2007)
6.418 (2006)

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Telephone System:

 General assessment: probably adequate

Domestic: local telephone service

International: country code - 47-790; satellite earth station - 1 of unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)

Broadcast Media:

 The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) began direct television transmission to Svalbard via satellite in 1984; Longyearbyen households have access to 3 NRK radio and 2 television stations (2008)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 1 (plus 2 repeaters), shortwave 0 (1998)

Internet Country Code:


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 4 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 3
Under 914 m: 3 (2010)


 1 (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden

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Military Branches:

 No regular military forces

Military - Note:

 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

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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

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Last Updated: December 2011

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(kr) Norwegian Krone (NOK)
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