Longyearbyen is Svalbard's administration center and is located
in the innermost part of the Adventfjord on the island of
Spitsbergen. The place has 2,075 inhabitants (2013) and is one of
the northernmost settlements in the world. The vast majority of the
inhabitants are Norwegians, but almost 40 nationalities are
represented. Citizens of all states that have signed the Svalbard
Treaty are free to settle in Longyearbyen, but they must be able to
The place was created in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear (1850–1922). He was the largest owner of the Arctic Coal Company mining company, headquartered in Boston, USA. The mines and settlement were bought in 1916 by Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani. Longyearbyen was burnt down and destroyed by German forces on September 8, 1943 and rebuilt after World War II.
Previously, Longyearbyen was a mining settlement, but since the beginning of the 1990s, society has changed. While before there were several mines in operation around Longyearbyen, only Mine 7 is in operation today. Mine 7 produces approx. 60,000 tonnes of coal, half of which goes to Longyear Energiverk - the country's only coal power plant. Today, tourism, research and education are important industries in addition to mining. Svalbard Airport, Longyear has air connections to the mainland all year round. There is an active sports and cultural life in Longyearbyen. In Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost blues festival, Dark Season Blues, is held every year at the end of October. In 2002, a local council was introduced in Longyearbyen, where the elected body Longyearbyen local council was given responsibility for infrastructure, community and spatial planning and kindergartens. At the same time as Longyearbyen got local government, a separate city coat of arms was also adopted, modeled after the Norwegian municipal coats of arms. It shows a silver-gray mountainside against a night black sky. A horizontal line into the mountainside should represent a coal mine passage.