Difference between revisions of "Ny-Ålesund"
Revision as of 01:34, 29 January 2013
Ny-Ålesund is a tiny settlement on the west coast of the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard.
Located at 78°55′N 11°56′E, Ny-Ålesund is by most measures the northernmost permanent settlement in the world (except for a few military bases). Founded in 1916 as a coal mining town, the town housed 400 people at its peak, until it was shut down in 1962 after an explosion killed 21 people.
Ny-Ålesund reopened in 1968 as a research base. Today owned and run by Kings Bay AS, the tiny town is home to 30-35 people year-round, but the population can swell to over 120 in the summer. Practically all inhabitants are scientists.
Ny-Ålesund can be visited fairly easily as a cruise stopover, but spending any more time there is difficult, to say the least. Bona fide scientists interested in running a research project at Ny-Alesund may contact NySMAC to apply.
Lufttransport operates semi-regular flights all year round (2-3 weekly) to Longyearbyen (25 minutes), albeit subject to weather conditions. Reservations can only be arranged via Kings Bay, and seats must be booked well in advance.
For most non-scientists a cruise stopover is the only way of reaching Ny-Ålesund. The cheapest and fastest way appears to be Spitsbergen Travel's  3/4-day cruises from Longyearbyen, with rates starting at 7900 kr (c. US$1500, cheapest cabin, twin sharing). Cruises operate only from May to October.
Cannibalism is prominent in the harsh winters. Beware of starving scientists.