Ny-Ålesund

Ny-Ålesund

Ny-Ålesund ("New Ålesund") is a small city in Oscar II Land on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, Norway. It is situated on the Brøgger peninsula (Brøggerhalvøya) and on the shore of the bay of Kongsfjorden. The company town is owned and operated by Kings Bay, which provides facilities for permanent research institutes from ten countries. The town is ultimately owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment and is not incorporated. Ny-Ålesund has an all-year permanent population of 30 to 35, with the summer population reaching 120. Its facilities include Ny-Ålesund Airport, Hamnerabben, Svalbard Rocket Range, a port and Ny-Ålesund Town and Mine Museum, as well as fifteen permanent research stations. It is the northernmost functional civilian settlement in the world.

The town was founded in 1917 by Peter Brandal and his mining company, Kings Bay Kull Comp. Initially mining was carried out until 1929, but it was unprofitable for most of the 1920s. There were a series of air expeditions launched from Ny-Ålesund towards the North Pole. The company was nationalized in 1933 and the town was used for tourism and as a fishing port. Mining resumed for some months in 1941 and then from 1945. After several fatal incidents occurred including a mining accident on 5 November 1962 that killed 21 miners in what became known as the Kings Bay Affair, mining activity was terminated and Gerhardsen's Third Cabinet resigned. Kongsfjord Telemetry Station opened in 1967 and the town gradually transformed into a research settlement. Since 1992, foreign institutions have been permitted to build permanent stations in town.

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