Spitsbergen / Svalbard
Spitsbergen (or Svalbard as the Norwegians like to call it) is an island group halfway between the Norwegian north cape and the North pole. The islands have an arctic climate and besides a couple of thousand permanent human residents, it supports polar bears, reindeer and various large marine mammals like whales. About 60% of the land is covered by glaciers.
Spitsbergen is governed by Norway but the Spitsbergen treaty (1920) defines it as a demilitarized and free economic zone. Its main settlements are Longyearbyen, Barentsburg (russian mining town) and Ny Ålesund (international research town).