Svalbard: An Alternative Way Of Living On Top Of The World

Have you ever heard of Svalbard? A place anyone can call home.

Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole, is a place where the digital nomad visa is valid. However, this destination will not appeal to everyone wishing to live here due to its long, severe winters, constant cold, and dangerous wild animals strolling around. But, it is definitely a magnificent land with gorgeous Northern Lights, beautiful pink sunrises on white icebergs, and a friendly community. 

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If you’re up for a challenge and enjoy experiencing one-of-a-kind areas, Svalbard could be the place for you.

This archipelago in Norway is home to residents from all around the world, and its capital, Longyearbyen, is the world’s northernmost year-round settlement.

The sun is up 24/7 during the summer and it’s completely dark for the other half of the year with Northern Lights frequently dancing overhead.

How to get to Svalbard?

There’s only one airport in Svalbard, and it is at Longyearbyen, the main visitor hub and the capital of Svalbard.

You can easily fly to Longyearbyen from Oslo, which is the most common route to reach Svalbard.

It is a 3-hour flight and the flights are at least daily, so it is pretty easy to find a flight whenever.

Spring and summer are the busiest visitor months on Svalbard and booking flights early is strongly recommended.

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Svalbard

About Svalbard

Svalbard is the world’s northernmost year-round community, home to the world’s northernmost university, church, and brewery, and one of the few places in the world where anyone can live. It’s located 800 kilometers north of mainland Norway in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Roughly a third of the nearly 3000 people who live in Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s capital, are immigrants from more than 50 other nations. That’s because, as long as they have a job and a place to live, citizens of any country are allowed to settle in Svalbard without a visa. Anyone, regardless of nationality, is welcome to live in Svalbard. You can get a long-term digital nomad visa that has no expiration date, so you can stay for as long as you choose. 

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The Vikings are said to have been the first to explore the islands about 1200, but Dutch explorers were the first to pay a documented visit in 1596 while searching for the Northeast Passage to China. Walrus and whale hunters arrived in the following centuries from England, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, and Russia.

The archipelago’s first coal mine was developed in 1906 by American businessman John Munro Longyear, and coal mining remained Svalbard’s primary industry for the majority of the twentieth century. Nowadays, tourism and environmental and ecological studies are the two main activities.

The islands were ungoverned until 1920 when nine countries signed a treaty guaranteeing Norway’s sovereignty over Svalbard in the aftermath of World War One – the pact now includes 46 countries. The contract states that the region cannot be exploited for military purposes, and Norway is responsible for maintaining the natural ecology of the islands. The agreement’s most notable element, though, is a one-of-a-kind clause that stipulates that Norwegians and non-Norwegians must be treated equally.

When individuals move to Svalbard, the majority of them settle in the capital, Longyearbyen. On the islands, there are just 40 kilometers of roads and no highways connecting the communities, which are only accessible by boat in the summer or by snowmobile in the winter. Anyone leaving the city boundaries usually has a gun with them in case they come upon a polar bear. After all, the archipelago’s 3,000 polar bears outnumber the residents.

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Despite the fact that it is open to anybody, Svalbard is not the best place to be born – or even to die. There are no hospitals for pregnant women, and if someone dies, the body must be airlifted or shipped to mainland Norway by the local authorities. Burials have been prohibited in the archipelago since the 1950s because the permafrost on the islands — a thick layer of ground that remains completely frozen throughout the year – not only preserves bodies but also pushes them out if they are not buried deep enough.

It is, however, a perfectly safe place to live. There is no criminal activity in Svalbard because the population is nearly 3000 and almost everyone knows each other pretty well. Also, where and how far would you go after you commit a crime? There’s no chance you could hide either, the land is surrounded by ice! Since it is a very safe place, people usually leave their cars and homes unlocked. There is also another interesting reason to do this: it can save a life! If any wild animal (a polar bear, a wild fox, etc.) were to chase you, you can hop into someone’s car and survive. So, if you decide to live in Svalbard, make sure to get to know the community first and then maybe leave your car unlocked at all times.

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Home To Seeds All Around The World: The Global Seed Vault

The permafrost and year-round cold temperatures on Svalbard – the average high in summer is about 7°C – were also ideal for the establishment of the Global Seed Vault, which is just 3 kilometers from Longyearbyen’s main road. 

The Global Seed Vault is hidden deep into a mountain. It’s a long-term seed storage facility designed to withstand the passage of time — as well as the threat of natural or man-made calamities.

The Seed Vault houses the world’s greatest crop diversity collection. More than 1,700 genebanks maintain food crop collections for safekeeping around the world, but many of them are fragile, vulnerable not only to natural disasters and war but also to avoidable disasters like lack of financing or bad management. 

The idea to store the seeds arose from the realization of the vulnerability of the world’s genebanks. The Vault’s objective is to keep backups (duplicates) of seed samples from throughout the world’s agricultural collections.

Even without power, the seed samples will remain frozen thanks to permafrost and thick rock. The Vault is the ultimate food supply insurance policy, providing solutions for future generations to overcome climate change and population growth challenges. It will secure millions of seeds representing all of the world’s key crop varieties. It’s the last resort.

6187a7389231661d5c1a770e Svalbard global seed vault entrance

For various reasons, the Vault is an excellent location for long-term seed storage:

– Svalbard is the farthest north a person can fly on a scheduled flight, offering a remote location that is nevertheless accessible.

– While the entrance may be visible, the Vault itself is over 100 meters into the mountain.

– The area is geologically stable and humidity levels are low.

– The Vault is well above sea level, protected from ocean flooding according to the worst-case scenario sea level rises.

– The permafrost offers the Vault room with natural freezing, providing a cost-effective and fail-safe method to conserve seeds.

The Seed Vault can store 4.5 million different crop kinds. Each variety will have an average of 500 seeds, allowing the Vault to hold a total of 2.5 billion seeds.

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Currently, the Vault houses over 1,000,000 samples from nearly every country on the planet. From maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, and sorghum to eggplant, lettuce, barley, and potato, there are distinct variants of important African and Asian food staples including maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, and sorghum. The Vault already has the world’s largest collection of food crop seeds.

Please visit Svalbard Global Seed Vault for more information.

Disney Announces Luxury Arctic Cruises To Svalbard In 2023

Tickets for two additional Adventures by Disney cruises to Svalbard in 2023 will go on sale soon. The 10-day cruise, dubbed the Arctic Expedition Cruise, covers the western shore of Spitsbergen, the main island in this remote Arctic archipelago that is home to polar bears.

The two new itineraries, which will depart in June and July 2023, are Disney’s newest family-friendly expedition cruises, which currently feature stops in Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands.

A luxury trip to the top of the world

Passengers will board the Le Boreal in Longyearbyen. The ship has a total capacity of 264 guests in all-luxury staterooms and suites.

A spa, theater, and pool are among the onboard amenities, as are programmed events for adults and children, which range from movies and trivia games to nighttime live music and pool parties. The coastline of Svalbard, on the other hand, is sure to steal the show.

The itinerary from days 3 to 8 will be kept flexible due to Svalbard’s unique natural surroundings. When the skipper selects the finest sites for closer exploration by Zodiac, weather conditions and ice movement will be taken into account.

Wild reindeer and arctic foxes, as well as many species of birds and the possibility of seeing a polar bear, are among the wildlife. Leading naturalists will give talks to assist you to learn more about this fascinating region.

Previous Disney cruise passengers will be able to book starting next week. If rooms are available, the general booking will begin on November 12th.

The firm welcomes children as young as eight years old, however, because of the unpredictable weather and encounters with wild animals, it is recommended that children be at least ten years old at the time of travel.

If you’re planning on traveling to Svalbard with children, you might want to consider this Disney cruise.

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What do you think of Svalbard?
Would you like to live there or is visiting’s enough for you?

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