station daily life
Guests of the Netherlands Arctic Staion can find here information about daily life at the station.
MealsIn the mess of Kings Bay, all people in the village are taking their meals. During weekdays three meals are served. During the weekend there is a brunch and a diner. New guests often forget that breakfast is served in weekends at 10 instead of 7:30.
The best meral of the day is lunch at 12:00 uur. This is always a buffet with a wide choice of warm and cold food. Diner starts at 16:30 and is usually a simple two course meal with meat or fish, vegetables and potatoes. The saturday dinner is special. People get dressed, the tables are set and you can bring your own wine.
During weekdays, the meals have short intervals. If necessary diner can be postponed. The cooks will prepare a plate which can be heated in the microwave. During breakfast or luch you can alo make extra lkunch packages and there is always a fridge with food in the mess. There is also the possibility to order food for Ook is het mogelijk om voedselpaketten te maken tijdens ontbijt en lunch. In the kitchen you again also order food if you are leaving town for several days. Food need to be ordered at least a day in advance.
If you are a vegetarian, introduce yourself to the kitchen staff as soon as possible. They will serve you vegetarian alternatives. The end of the meals is a bussy time for the kitchen personel. They have to clean the tables and the dishes. Leaving the mess at the end of the mealtimes is appreciated. During the summer season, meals are served in two groups. This will be announced near the entrance of the mess.
In the midsummer sun, we usually shift our daily rhythm because the evening and night are the best times for goose observations. We start at lunch time, postpone our dinner til 22:00 and skip breakfast.
Toilet and showerOur houses are protected historical monuments. At his moment, they are renovated. The houses have electricity, heating and fast internet but no water or sewage. We have to use toilets and showers in other buildings. Most of the times, these are the toilets in the museum and the showers in Sammfunnshuset. In Sammfunnshuset there is a shower cabin but also two large rooms with multiple showers belonging to the sauna. Outside this building there is a heated whirlpool.
ShopKongsfjorden buttikken is selling souvenirs, clothing and books. For the people living in the villag they also sell personal care stuff, candy and liquor. When there is a tourist boat visiting the shop opens and long queus form. For the inhabitants, the shop opens on Monday and Thursday from 17:30 to 19:00 o'clock. The permanent residents have their own mailorder shop: Musik og Sport, run by vollunteers. At regular intervals there is a possibility to order clothes,camping equipment and optics. The catalogues and order forms appear near the reception desk. Ordering is only possible via permanent inhabitants because delivery will take sometimes more than a month. Prices are low because they order at the factory and there is a low taxing on Spitsbergen.
SportThere are several sport facilities in town. There is an outdoor football field and an indoor gymn with fitness training equipment, a climbing wall and stuff for basketball and badminton. There are weekly competitions. At this moment bungy, a kind of indoor hockey, is very popular. Competitions are announced at the mess entrance.
Outside the village there is a shooting range. When there is shooting activity an orange flag is shown. For safety reasons, you can better stay away from the shooting range. Any practice should be arranged via the station leader.
Every inhabitant and guest is member of Welferden, a club which supports off-work activities. Velferden owns small boats, survival suits and kayaks. These can be used by everyone as long as you have attended a course how to use the equipment. The boats with outboard motors have a small renting fee. You have to make reservations for all equipment near the reception desk.
Going outIn the mess on the first floor there is a lounge, with television, pool biljart and an electronic piano. Particularly after diner meal or during international sporting events, here is a cozy together.
Ny-Ålesund has its own cafe: Mellageret. Every Saturday night from 8 to 02:00 o'clock there is a bar, which is manned by volunteers. By choosing theme and music these volunteers try to ensure a relaxed evening. As inhabitant of Ny-Ålesund you should also take responsibility for bar duty and subsequent cleaning. In summer there is sometimes an additional bar evening organized on Wednesday.
A good Norwegian tradition in leisure is a trip to one of the huts, who are scattered over the tundra. Reservation has to be made on the bulletin board in the cafetaria. The cabins are suited for sleeping and cooking. There is wood available for a wood stove. Food needs to be ordered one day in advance in the cafeteria. In summer, many huts are locked. In the station there is a key available to unlock all cabins. Do not forget about your security and prepare for a possible weather change during your trip.
TraditionsTake shoes off in all buildings at entry. It is a habit that dates from the coalmine time.
On Wednesday 20:00 pm, the old cruise boat from the Hurtigruten: Nordstjernen is met by a band. There is a whole collection of percussion and brass instruments. Usually people don't know how to play the instruments and the music is out of tune. It is supposed to be show.
Around June 21, there is the midsummer party. This is a big party with barbecue and a special theme. People dress up in funny clothes.
Parties on Spitsbergen often lead to excessive alcohol consumption. Often people have to be carried home after a bar evening. Sunday is usually a day of rest and recovery. Only rarely leads the beverage consumption to nuisance or unsafe situations. Remarkable is the difference in mentality between the different ethnic people. For the Norwegians, a drunk will be sir again next day, while the Asian residents of the village hardly use the cafe.
PostEvery time the plane comes, there is a mail exchange. In summer that is at least three times a week, winter twice. Stamps are available in the store and at the reception. Mail is also useful for sending research material and personal packages. The package usually arrives within two weeks, without complicated (customs) paperwork.
In the village there are two phones with payment cards: at reception and at the dock. We usually call through our computers and the Skype program, which allows also a video connection. Our skype address can be reachesd using a fixed phone line and has a voice mail service. With our internet link, email contact is also assured.
ServiceEveryone in the village will try to facilitate research. If you need help you can always rely on others. For the rental of equipment such as boats, survival suits, radios and rifles, we usually go to the Norwegian Polar Institute, Here there is a special person for logistcs called materialforvalter. For use of heavy or specialised equipment, you can rely on Kings Bay.
WasteThe village has a special system of waste disposal, with all waste sorted in 23 categories. Most categories are transported and to the mainland. The sorting of waste deserves attention. There are special rooms for sorting in the kitchen, in the cafeteria and in the workshops. Extraordinary or toxic waste must be presented to the coordiator of the marine laboratory of Kings Bay.
Prohibited areaAll residents and tourists are asked to stay off the vegetation and use the main roads as much as possible. The area behind Norsk Polarinstitutt is filled with sensitive antennas. There functioning is influenced by people walking close. On top of the Zeppelin mountain, air quality is measured with sensitive equipment. A person smoking mid-mountain is already detected. Closer even your breath will disturb CO2 measurements.
The entire area around the lake Solvatnet and the mossy areas of Thissbukta are nature reserve and closed to people.
For research purposes, it is always possible to enter the closed areas. We do regular measurements of vegetation and collect goose droppings in these areas. It is very confusing to do this when many tourists walk through the village. That is why we do this as much as possible in quiet moments, thougn not in evening or night. Remember that you must always prevent to disturb animals or walk on vegetation.
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