Ny-Ålesund

Ny-Ålesund

Research station at 79 degrees north

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Ny-Ålesund

Ny-Ålesund is the world’s northernmost settlement, situated at 79 degrees north in the north-western region of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Ny-Ålesund can be found on the southern bank halfway inside Kongsfjorden (The King’s Fjord), and it was originally a coal mining settlement that was established in 1916. From the end of the 1960s, scientific research has been the main activity in Ny-Ålesund. At present time however, it is a research station with scientists from over 10 different countries which only has around 40 residents living there throughout the whole year. But in the summertime the population count can on occasion rise to around 150 people.

The settlement has its own airport, harbour, a museum, the world’s northernmost post office and a souvenir shop. In the summertime one can travel to Ny-Ålesund with one day trips by boat from Longyearbyen, or one can visit as part of a longer multi-day trip with larger vessels. In the wintertime Ny-Ålesund is a stopping point for a few select skiing expeditions that are offered by various activity providers in Svalbard. There are no accommodation offers available for tourists in the settlement.

Ny-Ålesund is a settlement with a dramatic history. I the period of 1917 to 1962, King’s Bay Kull Company ran mining operations in Ny-Ålesund. Throughout this period there were a number of accidents, and a total of 76 people lost their lives in mining related activities. What ultimately became the end of the mining community in Ny-Ålesund was the big mining accident on the 5th of November 1962. The accident claimed 21 lives in total. 10 bodies were possible to recover, while the remaining 11 got the mine as their final resting place.

Ny-Ålesund is also known as being the starting point for Roald Amundsen’s expeditions to the North Pole. You can still see the mooring mast that the airship “Norge” was docked with. This was also the starting point for the dramatic North Pole expedition of the Italian Umberto Nobile, whose airship crashed when returning from the pole point. Half of the onboard crew died in the crash, but Nobile miraculously survived the crash and was later rescued.

Ny-Ålesund has Svalbard's largest collection of automatically protected cultural heritage sites. 29 builidings in total, amounting to about half of all the buildings in the settlement, are protected. In addition, many remnants of the settlement's mining history are visible. This contributes towards making Ny-Ålesund a place of considerable value to visitors' experience in Svalbard. 

Important information for visitors to Ny-Ålesund

As a visitor in Ny-Ålesund, there are some rules one needs to be aware of: In the settlement and in a surrounding radius of 20km around Ny-Ålesund there's radio silence, meaning wifi and bluetooth must be turned off on mobile phones and other units. It's not allowed to use drones or other equipment (cameras, wristwatches etc.) with wifi turned on. This is due to The Norwegian Mapping Authority's (Kartverket) geodetic station just outside of the settlement which measures the earth's movements with very finely tuned and delicate instruments.

As a visit in Ny-Ålesund it's also important that one walks on the roads and wooden pathways, and not on the tundra. Biologists do research on the tundra and the birds that use it, and as such it's important to disturb the vegetation or wildlife as little as possible. In addition, there are many research installations placed in and around the settlement, so to be sure that one isn't ruining research findings one should stick to the roads. 

Source: The Norwegian Polar Institute, Kings Bay

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  1. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 526 reviews526 reviews

    Visit in Ny-Ålesund with the hybrid boat Kvitbjørn - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join an exciting trip to the world's northernmost settlement! On the way we will enjoy the beautiful nature and scout for wildlife.

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    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    • Closed boat
    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Food
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 526 reviews526 reviews
  2. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 692 reviews692 reviews

    Ny-Ålesund - The northernmost town in the world - Better Moments

    Longyearbyen

    Join us on a trip to Ny-Ålesund, a former mining town and gateway to the Arctic. This was the starting point for famous explorers’ race to the North pole. Roald Amundsen, known as the first person, to reach both to the South- and North pole, used…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Closed boat
    • Food
    • Handicap-friendly
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 692 reviews692 reviews
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 526 reviews526 reviews

    Ski expedition to Ny-Ålesund - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    One of the most spectacular ski expeditions you can do is our fantastic ski trip to Ny Ålesund. We will pass through miles of glacial landscape at a time of year when the sun is shining 24/7. You will experience fiords and mountains, wildlife, the…

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    • 5 - Demands exceptional physical fitness

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Expedition
    • Food
    • Skiing
    • Tent accomodation

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 526 reviews526 reviews
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