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Monthly Archives: April 2009 − News & Stories


Political visits to Ny Ålesund

Ny Ålesund has recently received a number of high-ranking political visitors. EU-commission’s vice president Günther Verheugen visited the German-French research station and the souvenir shop on 16 April. Italian’s minister of foreign affairs Franco Frattini followed on 29 April to open the new Italian “Amundsen-Nobile” climate research tower. In February and March, two Norwegian ministers, Lars Peder Brekk (agriculture and food) and Helga Pedersen (fishery and coastal affairs) had already been to the little research village at Kongsfjord. 

The first tower in Ny Ålesund was built in 1926, also with significant Italian contribution.

Political visits to Ny Ålesund

Source: Kingsbay

New Svalbard Whitepaper published

The Norwegian government publishes a new white paper about every 10 years to define a frame for the further development of Svalbard. The latest one was issued 17 April as “Stortingsmelding No 22, 2008-2009” and underlines the future importance of coal mining and science for the local economy and development. Also tourism will be developed carefully, focussing on central areas around Longyearbyen. A watchful eye will be kept on cruise tourism in the East Svalbard nature reserves, an issue that has recently been discussed controversially. The importance of local jobs and economy is emphasized.

Important milestone: “Stortingsmelding
nr 22«

New Svalbard Whitepaper published

Source: Norwegian government (directly to the document. 3.2 MB, 121 pages, Norwegian)

Svalbardmuseum: new exhibition

The Svalbardmuseum in Longyearbyen has opened a new exhibition with historial annexation signs, dating back to those days when Spitsbergen was No Man’s Land until 1925, when the Spitsbergen-Treaty came into force. Until then, everybody could easily claim a property, for example for mining purposes. Overlapping claims by many persons and companies who tried to find their fortune in the frozen ground lead to chaotic situations and to the obvious need for proper legislation and administration.

Remains of annexation sign in Ebbadalen (Billefjord).

Svalbardmuseum new exhibition

Source: Svalbardmuseum

Increased avalanche risk

Increased amounts of snowfall have lead to a significantly increased avalanche risk everywhere on sloping terrain in Spitsbergen. Whilst the snow mobile season is in full swing, the SAR-team of Sysselmannen and local Red Cross need to go out regularly to rescue people from avalanche areas. For one person in March, all help came too late: a local person could only be found dead under the snow masses. In another range of incidents, people got away with the shock. Great care needs to be taken during any winter travel in Spitsbergen.

The avalanche risk is significantly larger than it has been in the past. This is due to increased snowfall and thus to changing weather patterns.

Beautiful, but potentially dangerous: winter in Spitsbergen.

Increased avalanche risk

Source: Sysselmannen

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