[Country map of Svalbard]


(territory of Norway)


Location: Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway

Map references: Arctic Region

total area: 62,049 sq km
land area: 62,049 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than West Virginia
note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 3,587 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
territorial sea: 4 nm

International disputes: focus of maritime boundary dispute in the Barents Sea between Norway and Russia

Climate: 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

Terrain: wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west coast clear of ice about half the year; fjords along west and north coasts

Natural resources: coal, copper, iron ore, phosphate, zinc, wildlife, fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (no trees and the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: ice floes often block up 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
international agreements: NA

Note: northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area


Population: 2,914 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: -3.5% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

Ethnic divisions: Russian 64%, Norwegian 35%, other 1% (1981)

Languages: Russian, Norwegian

Labor force: NA


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard

Digraph: SV

Type: territory of Norway administered by the Ministry of Industry, Oslo, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was given to Norway

Capital: Longyearbyen

Independence: none (territory of Norway)

National holiday: NA

Legal system: NA

Executive branch:
Chief of State: King HARALD V (since 17 January 1991)
Head of Government: Governor Odd BLOMDAL (since NA); Assistant Governor Jan-Atle HANSEN (since NA September 1993)

Member of: none

Flag: the flag of Norway is used


Overview: Coal mining is the major economic activity on Svalbard. By treaty (9 February 1920), the nationals of the treaty powers have 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 mining 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 trapping of seal, polar bear, fox, and walrus.

revenues: $13.3 million
expenditures: $13.3 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1990 est.)

capacity: 21,000 kW
production: 45 million kWh
consumption per capita: 13,860 kWh (1992)

Currency: 1 Norwegian krone (NKr) = 100 oere

Exchange rates: Norwegian kroner (NKr) per US$1 - 6.7014 (January 1995), 7.0469 (1994), 7.0941 (1993), 6.2145 (1992), 6.4829 (1991), 6.2597 (1990)


Railroads: 0 km

total: NA
paved: NA
unpaved: NA

Ports: Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden

Merchant marine: none

total: 4
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 3


Telephone system: NA telephones; local telephone service
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: satellite communication with Norwegian mainland

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1 (repeaters 2), shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Note: there are 5 meteorological/radio stations

Defense Forces

Note: demilitarized by treaty (9 February 1920)