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SVALBARD

First ever Arctic bank robber gets caught cold

An armed man has robbed a bank in the world's northernmost settlement on Norway's remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard but he was caught shortly afterwards, authorities said on Friday.

First ever Arctic bank robber gets caught cold
File image of Longyearbyen. It was always going to be a difficult getaway. Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

The heist was the first ever bank robbery in living memory in the territory, which is located in the Arctic Ocean, about halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole.

“There was an armed robbery at around 10:40 am (0940 GMT),” Terje Carlsen, a spokesman for the local governor, told AFP.

“A man with a gun seized a sum of money. He was arrested quite quickly” in the centre of Longyearbyen, the capital, he added.

Police said the suspected robber was a foreigner travelling in the region who was sent to the northern town of Tromso on the mainland where he will be questioned.

Authorities declined to give more details about the suspect's identity, the amount stolen or the weapon used in the robbery.

The odds of the heist succeeding were always low on the archipelago, famous for glaciers and its polar bears who outnumber residents.

Longyearbyen has around 2,000 inhabitants and practically everyone knows each other. The airport is the main means of leaving the settlement.

Commentators on social media were quick to make fun of the failed bank robbery.

“The most reckless bank robbery in Norwegian history?” said one Twitter user.

“He probably forgot to think about his escape route,” commented another.

The Svalbard archipelago, roughly twice the size of Belgium, lies about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the North Pole.

Temperatures in winter regularly plunge to below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) and can drop below minus 40.

MUSEUM

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

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