Netherlands Arctic Station, P.O.Box 1, N-9173 Ny-Ålesund, Norway
0031 50 7200 449 (Skypein number, with voicemail) or 0047 7902 6852
Station Manager:
Maarten Loonen


The Netherlands Arctic Station is owned and run by the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen.


The Netherlands Arctic Station is situated in Kongsfjorden on the island of Spitsbergen and is part of an international research community in the former mining town of Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. In this town, more than 10 nations have their own station while using shared facilities for meals and recreation. The whole local community is focused on science and maintenance of infrastructure. Several stations have independent terrestrial research programs and the Netherlands Arctic Station is the smallest of all.


Kongsfjorden is a beautiful high arctic environment with several glaciers terminating in the fjord. The raised beach terraces are sparsely vegetated with dense moss cover around small tundra lakes and below bird cliff s. Locally there are clear traces of former human activity by trappers and from coal mining. At present, the whole area is well-protected and a special permission is needed to enter the islands during the bird breeding season. In 1978, reindeer was re-introduced and since 1982 barnacle geese have established a colony and are regularly feeding between the houses. Both herbivores have a clear impact on the vegetation.


From 1916 to 1968, the village of Ny-Ålesund was a coal mining settlement. This village has now developed into a unique mix of stations, laboratories, and research infrastructure ( There is a small international community of 40 to 180 people – all scientists and science supporting staff, and meals are provided in a central facility ( Tourists are discouraged to stay overnight. In 1990, the University of Groningen initiated a project on barnacle geese and later joined the shared facilities with the establishment of the Netherlands Arctic Station ( The station consists of two small, historic buildings for lodging with electricity and internet. The station has a close cooperation with the German-French base (, which provides logistic support during summer.


Research focuses on the role of barnacle geese in the arctic ecosystem. Nutrient cycles, plant productivity, and vegetation patterns are studied to understand plant-herbivore interactions. Data on behavior, timing, and breeding success of individually ringed geese are collected over their lifetime, and the effect of predators is studied as a dynamic interaction. Population trends of plants, herbivores, and predators are monitored in a warming environment. Long term experiments include grazing enclosures and greenhouses on paired vegetation plots. Timing of migration in geese and arctic terns is monitored with geolocators. Other projects involve insect abundance, lake biodiversity, marine fytoplankton, the history of human exploitation, the effect of tourism on cultural heritage, archaeology and pollution.


The local community in Ny-Ålesund is a mixture of nationalities from the various stations. The area is owned by a company called Kings Bay, taking care of the logistics for the entire village. Ny-Ålesund has no permanent residents and all activity is linked to science. The closest town is the Norwegian village of Longyearbyen, which is the main hub of Svalbard. In Longyearbyen, permanent residents are few (ca 2000). There are no indigenous people and most inhabitants originate from the Norwegian mainland and live on Svalbard only because of their temporal job assignment. Tourism, local administration and science are the most important sources of income.


Throughout the year, Kings Bay organizes two flights per week with a small plane (14 passengers) between Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund. In summer, there are about 30000 tourists landing by boat for just a few hours. There is only a limited amount of roads near the village. Local transportation is possible by car, bicycle, snowmobile, or foot. Small boats are used for transportation inside the fjord.


This service is provided by INTERACT partner MAPILLARY

EU Logo