Longyearbyen, Norway

Sprawled in a glacial valley on the severely beautiful island of Spitzbergen in Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago, Longyearbyen was originally a coal mining company town. Today it is the administrative center for the region. Its population of about 2,000-plus souls is highly transient. About a quarter leave every year, and the average stay is just under six years. During our summer visits, the population of terns arriving to nest dwarfs that of the people.