Svalbard Local Custom Tips by Saagar Top 5 Page for this destination

Svalbard Local Customs: 17 reviews and 16 photos

A common doorsign in Longyearbyen - Svalbard

A common doorsign in Longyearbyen

Carrying guns while shopping - bad taste

If you want to go shopping in Longyearbyen, leave your gun outside - or do not enter.... Some shops and restaurants have designated areas for gun storage while you are shopping. In general, try to plan so you do not end up in this situation. It is definitely frowned upon!

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 27, 2008
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Disarmed gun, vital parts removed - Svalbard

Disarmed gun, vital parts removed

Gun culture

It is not allowed to carry a loaded rifle, pistol or revolver within the Longyearbyen settlement. However, if you are walking in town with a rifle, ensure there are no bullets in the gun, and that the chamber is open and ideally the loading arm and fire piston part removed.

When outside the settlement, load up with four cartridges, and secure, but no cartridge in the chamber. Then carry the gun on the shoulder or across the chest. Ready the gun for firing only when a polar bear is present.

It is considered bad taste to rattle off the bullets outside the hunting season as shots fired also signify to others that you may be in trouble.

Some shops and restaurants have door signs saying you are not allowed to bring guns inside. Among them, the bank and post office! This includes guns that are disarmed the way described above.

Other Contact: Outfitters' information.

Website: http://www.sysselmannen.no

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 27, 2008
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Local Svalbard web page

The Svalbard Pages is a net site that links people and activities at Svalbard, mainly orineted at and run by those who live here. There are some useful sub pages and links for short-time visitors and tourists as well, especially for students at UNIS and people on job assingments.

Website: http://www.svalbard.com/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 15, 2008
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Radar antenna and screen helps finding the way - Svalbard

Radar antenna and screen helps finding the way

Radar, but not for speed control

You know something is not entirely normal when vechicles carry radar antennas to find their way. Seemed to be a maritime style short range radar that picks up local terrain formations. Nice to have when the road is blown over and the lights are out for another three months!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 28, 2005
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-25 degrees, out skiing - Svalbard

-25 degrees, out skiing

Small skiers, rough habits

The main drag in Longyearbyen seem to attract little skiers. Not all of them equally steady, so watch your step...
Fun to watch, though!

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 28, 2005
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Spark - kicksleigh - Svalbard

Spark - kicksleigh

Brats on kicksleighs

On the main street during the snowy season look out for the little brats with kicksleighs - spark, as they're called in the Norwegian. They can get a good speed, but steering and control is beyuond them, by and large...

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 28, 2005
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Father Christmas'  Workshop is up here. - Svalbard

Father Christmas' Workshop is up here.

Father Christmas' mine - Julenissegruva

If you wonder why the mine up the mountainside near Nybyen is lit - a warm glow of lights come out the windows - this is the story:

The mine is since long out of operation, and remains there as part of the historical museum that is Longyearbyen.
But very strong local rumor has it that this mine is Father Christmas' workshop; this is where he and his assistants are making all the Christmas gifts for kind children. This story is of course told all the children in Longyearbyen when it gets dark in the autumn and Christmas draws near. Stories are spun around this and children get really excited. Lights are put on and remain lit until midnight sun takes over the show in April. Pure gimmick - and for children, not for tourists. The rumor is spreading, however, and the Longyearbyen post office gets a heap of letters from all over the world addressed to Father Christmas, the North Pole, c/o Longyearbyen every year.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 8, 2005
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Bring your air ticket to buy drinks!!!!? - Svalbard

Bring your air ticket to buy drinks!!!!?

Liquor quotas...

There is cheap liquor to be purchased in Svalbard compared to the mainland due to the absence of the state tax regime.
To control the situation - this being Norway after all - residents have a quota system. For travellers on a temporary stay only you will need to show your return ticket or print-out of your e-ticket in order to purchase anything. The ticket is then validated. It has escaped me how much you can buy in one go, but I assume it is equivalent to the quota you can bring back duty-free to the mainland.
The liquor store is called Nordpolet and is located within Svalbardbutikken. Se separate tip.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 8, 2005
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"Music Workshop" the doorsign says... - Svalbard

"Music Workshop" the doorsign says...

Longyearbyen Blues Klubb

Longyearbyen has a Blues Club. I guess this is excellent therapy duirng the dark months?! You may be lucky to come across one of their evenings/events there. Ask around for news or e-mail them at blues@svalbard.com

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 7, 2005
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Not what it looks like - Svalbard

Not what it looks like

Military vehicles

Svalbard is a demilitarized area, so if you see any military-looking vehichles they are surplus equipment bought and brought privately from the mainland.

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 6, 2005
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