Photo: Atle Staalesen

No Christmas cash for robber of world’s northernmost bank

There were few ways to escape for the man who robbed the bank in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
December 21, 2018

He threatened with a gun and grabbed with him an uncertain sum of cash. But the thrill of the bank robber did not last long.

Where was he going to run away?

The archipelago of Svalbard is located in the high Arctic, almost 1,000 km from mainland Norway. And the town of Longyearbyen has only few small roads leading into the surrounding desolate tundra.

And if he was to try to make it into the wilderness, he would risk being snatched by a polar bear.

The local police soon caught the man, the Svalbard Governor’s office informs.



The robber is himself not from the island. He will be sent to Tromsø, mainland Norway, and there be charged, the local authorities say.

Svalbard has a population of about 2,500 people, most of whom live in the administrative center of Longyearbyen. Locals include mostly workers in the coal mine, the university center and the tourism industry.

It is the Sparebank1 that operates the bank in Longyearbyen. It is located on 78 degrees North. Because of the many polar bears in the area, locals are allowed to carry guns.


Life and Public