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Exchange Rate Home >> Country Info >> Svalbard

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  Svalbard   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
First discovered by the Norwegians in the 12th century, the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norway's sovereignty was recognized in 1920; five years later it officially took over the territory.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

Map references:
Arctic Region

Geographic coordinates:
78 00 N, 20 00 E

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Arctic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Newtontoppen 1,717 m

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

Geography - note:
northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area; Spitsbergen Island is the site of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed repository established by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government

Area:
total: 61,020 sq km
land: 61,020 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

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

Coastline:
3,587 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than West Virginia

Irrigated land:
NA

Environment - current issues:
NA

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

Natural hazards:
ice floes often block 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

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (no trees; the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry) (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
NA

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0% (2001)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
0 (2001)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)

Literacy:
NA

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3% (1998)

Population:
2,165 (July 2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.023% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Norwegian, Russian

Death rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
0 (2001)

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

Birth rate:
NA (2008 est.)

  Government Back To Top

Government type:
NA

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

Dependency status:
territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was awarded to Norway

International organization participation:
none

Legal system:
the laws of Norway, where applicable, apply

Flag description:
the flag of Norway is used

Independence:
none (territory of Norway)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitzbergen)

Capital:
name: Longyearbyen
geographic coordinates: 78 13 N, 15 33 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Executive branch:
chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)
head of government: Governor Per SEFLAND (since 1 October 2005); Assistant Governor Rune Baard HANSEN (since 2003)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor and assistant governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice

  Economy Back To Top

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$NA

Exchange rates:
Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar - 5.2338 (2008 est.), 5.8396 (2007), 6.4117 (2006), 6.4425 (2005), 6.7408 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
NA%

Labor force:
NA

Exports:
$197.6 million (2004)

Currency (code):
Norwegian krone (NOK)

Economy - overview:
Coal mining is the major economic activity on Svalbard. The treaty of 9 February 1920 gave the 41 signatories 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 hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox.

Imports:
$NA

Currency code:
NOK

Economic aid - recipient:
$8.2 million from Norway (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 57.9984%
hydro: 42.0016%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0%

Budget:
revenues: $25.07 million
expenditures: $NA (2004 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
NA

Telephones - main lines in use:
NA

Televisions:
NA

Internet country code:
.sj

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1 (plus 2 repeaters), shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:
NA

Television broadcast stations:
NA

Telephone system:
general assessment: probably adequate
domestic: local telephone service
international: country code - 47-790; satellite earth station - 1 of unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
13 (Svalbard and Jan Mayen) (2000)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden

Heliports:
1 (2007)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2007)

Airports:
4 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
Svalbard is a territory of Norway, demilitarized by treaty on 9 February 1920

Military branches:
no regular military forces

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
despite recent discussions, Russia and Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone

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Quiz #4
  1. Which is the largest ocean in the world?
  Atlantic ocean
  Artctic ocean
   Pacific ocean
  Indian ocean
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