Christmas Mood on the Isolated Island in Norway

Norwegian daily Dagbladet featured the story of how the four men celebrate the Christmas at the country’s most desolate and extreme places. Hopen , a small island in south of Svalbard, is one of those destinations. With complete darkness that lasts all day, twenty degrees below zero and fresh polar bear tracks outside the house, four men working at the meteorological station on the island have a very special Christmas, writes Dagbladet.

– We started the celebration in an old hunting cabin. There we have not heating or anything, just candles, says station manager at Hopen, Ragnar Sønstebø to Dagbladet.

– Afterwards we have eaten lovely dinner here on the station, and enjoying ourselves with both Christmas ribs (Juleribbe) and lamb ribs (Pinnekjøtt). We four are the perhaps the most isolated throughout Norway, with about 300 kilometers to the nearest neighbor, he says.

The crew, who work for the Meteorological Institute, goes on six-month contracts. The current crew will not come home until the summer, but have received gifts and letters from their known on the mainland, writes the newspaper.

Hopen is an island in the southeastern part of the Svalbard archipelago (Norway). Hopen was discovered in 1613, probably by Thomas Marmaduke of Hull, who named it after his former command, the Hopewell.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute operates a manned weather station on the island with a staff of four persons. For the welfare of the crew, there are three cabins available on the island for their use.

During World War II, the Luftwaffe placed a meteorological team there under cover of Operation Sizilien.

A significant number of polar bears are found at Hopen in the winter; moreover, the sub-population of Ursus maritimus found here is a genetically distinct taxon of polar bears associated with the Barents Sea region.

This is a republished article from December 2015.

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