The Northernmost Town on Earth (Svalbard in 4K)

The Northernmost Town on Earth (Svalbard in 4K)


Come take a walk with me, around Longyearbyen. That’s the largest town on the Norwegian islands of Svalbard. Parts of it may look familiar. But make no mistake, this place IS different. At 78° north, It is just 1800mi/1300km from the North Pole. And with over 2000 permanent residents, it is the northernmost real town on Earth. There are only 50km (31mi) of road, including the small streets between houses. So people get around the island mainly on snowmobile. In fact, there are more registered snowmobiles, than residents. Anyone leaving town is required to travel with a gun and someone who knows how to use it. Because the islands are also home to polar bears. The average daytime high, is below freezing for all but four months of the year. Hi. And from the end of October to mid February, the sun doesn’t rise at all. This is the long polar night. Living here, is tough. This past December, an avalanche in town destroyed 10 homes, which used to be here, killing two people. So how did this cold, remote, ice-covered archipelago come to be inhabited? Well, the hills around town are rich in coal deposits, that have been mined for over 100 years. The coal was transported to the port via a series of aerial tramways. Some of which remain today, though they are no longer operational. Coal is a reminder that Svalbard was not always an Arctic ice world. 360 million yaers ago it was actually in the tropics, just north of the equator. A swampy area it was covered with a precursor to modern ferns, which were much larger than they are today, reaching 10-30m (33-98ft) in height. This vegetation was then covered in mud and sand, and submerged under the sea. Over time, it turned into the coal deposites that in the 20th century brought miners from Norway, Russia and the US. Most of the coal mines have now closed and the economy is gradually shifting towards tourism, education and research. Tourists take trips on snowmobiles and dog sleds. There is a university center in Svalbard which offers semester courses in biology, physics and geology. And up on the side of a mountain, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. But that’s a story for another time. The locals tell me that interest in the region from different nations is increasing. As the globe warms and Arctic ice shrinks trade routs are opening up across the north. And Svalbard is strategically placed between North America, Asia and Europe. So one day in the future, Svaldbard may no longer be as cold or as remote as it once was. But for now, it is a reminder of how through our ingenuity people can live in even the most inhospitable of places.

100 thoughts on “The Northernmost Town on Earth (Svalbard in 4K)

  1. Was that cluster of snow mobiles banashed from Town? Seems puzzling to me; them parked way out there like that.

  2. I've been tryna gets some facts on living in Svalbard lately as it is visa free for all nationals but hey! Are there single man there as I will be needing lots of cuddles and some jobs for me to do?

  3. Do you think it would make sense to build a giant dam between Svalbard and Greenland to prevent icebergs from flowing through the Greenland Sea? This could have a benefit at preventing sea level rise by keeping the ice in the Arctic.

  4. Next time check out Pyramiden – an abandoned Soviet mining town just across the Sassenfjorden. Now that would be a cool drone video. I will be posting a video (on foot, no drone) as soon as I have time to make edits to the footage (definitely not as professional as yours). I just came back so there was no snow on the ground. Also, you forgot to mention another fun fact besides more registered snowmobiles than people. There are also more polar bears than people in Svalbard 🙂 Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I didn't see one during my days there. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I don't know why this town, and I am talking about the man made part of it, looks much better than Barrow, Alaska, which in comparison looks like a dump. Of course, the surroundings are also magnificent to look at.

  6. how sad to think that these isolated, serene and majestically beautiful places on earth are going to be transformed into a landscape we will no longer be able to label as being truly unique and wonderfully wild.

  7. I watched this video about a month ago and last week my university sent an email to the earth and ocean science students about a coop program in collaboration with UNIS. I am thinking about going there for a semester but I dont know if i am gonna be able to cope with the weather and life in general in a place this extreme

  8. Is there any statistic on crime rates there? It sounds like a joke, but I wondered if in such remote places with relatively low number of inhabitants there are crimes committed?

  9. but…but.. the conservatives tell me that global warming is a myth! how could new trade routes be opening up? sounds like a massive conspiracy funded by the 2k residents of Svalbard to increase interest in their city!

  10. Derek ! WOW !
    Of any of your videos that I've watched, this is the most breathtakingly beautiful.
    The tone of your narration is perfect.
    Well done, my friend. Well done.

  11. not anymore avg daytime high above freezing 4 months of the year, approaching 6 months now and an overall average above freezing, ruining shallow permafrost already.

  12. Went there about five years ago. Great place. Went in July and temperature was 10 degs with no wind and blue sky. Beautiful place!

  13. How do you get to move up there and live to keep basic services running like electrical transmission, water and sewer services and school teachers to teach the young people who still live there. All the food and fuel for cars and snowmobiles has to be shipped in so cost of living has to really high. What about Doctors and a Hospital, I imagine medical emergency 's are Helicoptered out.The Long Polar Night would also take a toll on one's mind.?

  14. Not very detailed. How do they generate their electricity? Is there a hospital? Is there a form of city government? Is there crime? Is there a police department? What is the temperature during the warmer months? Is there a fresh water system? Is there a sewer system? Why not show a typical house inside? There are 1000 dogs there. Where are they? Do they have sheltered areas? All this did was peak my interest and cause me to do some research on my own. Drone photography was nice, but more detail would be appreciated.

  15. Thx bro? you make a very beutiful video,.. I love this place,.,.Svalbard-Spetsbergen /Björne from Kungsbacka Sweden??

  16. Very good narration. It's Amazing(because I can't spell fascinating), the ancient history. The place is a science fiction novel.

  17. Great drone footage, Yet regardless of the subject, global warming enthusiasts insist on inserting the cult like messaging wherever they can. Damn shame! What starts out as an interesting topic soon inevitably becomes sprinkled with propaganda.

  18. Большое спасибо за рассказ!! У тебя всё красиво получается! Рассказ + сюжет = красивая картина ??. Смотреть было, на одном дыхании…

  19. Why can't we as humans leave well enough alone? Why is it that we need to someday make it "less remote"? Let the people who are there be. We don't need to overpopulate every single place on earth. There are some places that need to remain beautiful and open, quiet and remote.

  20. Contrary to what is said in the video I hope Svalbard will stay just as it is now , the most beautiful and magical place I have ever seen!!! Btw it is forgotten to mention that the Svalbard archipelago was discovered by Barents who happen to be a Dutch guy , another curiousity is that forth community among 40 nations after Norwegians, Russians, Swedish is the Thai community, and Longyearbyen – the city of Longyear- is named after US guy Munro Longyear ☺

  21. I don't know why but looking at those landscapes. The horizon. It feels amazing, I know it must be difficult living there but it's so compelling to be there, a mystical land which looks so special and unreal.

  22. I never heard of this place until I start playing euro truck simulator 2 promods map and get stunned by the fascinating landscape of Longyearbyen in the game. I was born in a big city in China with more than 30 million residents. Living in a town with only 2000 residents is unimaginable for me.

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