top of page

About Longyearbyen

  • Founded in 1906

  • Named by John Munro Longyear

  • 2400 inhabitants

  • 50 nationalities


Recommended checklist:



Take note of the limited health care services at Longyearbyen Hospital - our emergency medical hopsital:

Health care in Svalbard

The origin story


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.


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.


Community of today


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.




Local tips!


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: Otherwise a wide selection of restaurants and gastro pubs with service until 9-11pm depending on day and time of year.

bottom of page