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Longyearbyen is in Adventfjorden on the island of Spitsbergen, and is one of the world's northernmost settlements. As of today (23 August 2022), there is around 2504 inhabitants divided between Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund, and around 50 different nationalities with the largest proportion being Norwegians.

The origin of the city

The town was established in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear (1850-1922). He was the largest owner in the mining company Arctic Coal Company with headquarters in Boston, USA. In 1916, the mines and the settlement were bought by Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani.

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Company Town

Longyearbyen used to be a mining settlement, but from the beginning of the 1990s society has changed. While there used to be several mines in operation around Longyearbyen, today only Mine 7 is in operation. Half of the production of coal today goes to Longyear Energiverk - the country's only coal-fired power plant.

Today's society

Today, tourism, research and education are the most important economic avenues in addition to mining. Svalbard Airport Longyear has flights to the mainland all year round. There is an active sporting and cultural life in Longyearbyen, where Longyearbyen Lokalstyre is, among other things, responsible for infrastructure, social and spatial planning, in addition to kindergartens and schools.



Longyearbyen has no bank or ATM.

Bring several credit cards depending on what type of travel you are doing.


Polar bears are protected by law.

According to the Svalbard Environment Act §30 it is forbidden to attract, pursue or in any active way seek out polar bears. 


The grocery store closes at 7pm on weekdays and 6pm on weekends.

Beyond a wide variety of restaurants, you can also drop by Mix Isbjørnbutikken until 10/11pm.


For more tips, see frequently asked questions or reach out to us!

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