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Daily Archives: 18. September 2020 − News & Stories

Lon­gye­ar­by­en is shrin­king. And: the bank does not always win

Lon­gye­ar­by­en is chan­ging during the coro­na cri­sis. The popu­la­ti­on is shrin­king: 273 peo­p­le have left sin­ce ear­ly March, accor­ding to offi­ci­al sta­tis­tics. In addi­ti­on comes an unknown num­ber of peo­p­le who have never regis­tered or who did not give noti­ce of their depar­tu­re.

Many peo­p­le lost their jobs when the coro­na cri­sis hit hard in spring and sum­mer, and many can’t afford Longyearbyen’s high living expen­ses any­mo­re and moved back to their count­ries of ori­gin. The Spits­ber­gen trea­ty grants citi­zens from many count­ries free access, but the draw­back is that Nor­way does not sup­p­ly Svalbard’s non-Nor­we­gi­an inha­bi­tants with any social secu­ri­ty regard­less how long they have lived the­re. The­re was a one-time finan­cial aid by the govern­ment in spring becau­se of the coro­na situa­ti­on, which also made it dif­fi­cult for many to move away, but it was made clear that this pro­gram­me would not be exten­ded.

To many people’s sur­pri­se, the bank is also among­st the losers: the mother com­pa­ny, Spare­Bank Nordn­or­ge, has deci­ded to clo­se 16 branch banks in north Nor­way. The com­pa­ny says that the reason is a chan­ged cus­to­mer beha­viour as cus­to­mers use the inter­net and do not go to the bank any­mo­re, as Sval­bard­pos­ten found out. It does not sur­pri­se that the decis­i­on is met with strong cri­ti­cism in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Post office and bank, Longyearbyen

Post office and bank in Lon­gye­ar­by­en: the post stays, the Bank will clo­se.

At least the post office will stay: will most post offices in Nor­way will be clo­sed, the one in Lon­gye­ar­by­en is among­st the lucky few who will stay. In many places in Nor­way, pos­tal ser­vices will only be available in shops and super­mar­kets in the future.


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