New investments in Jan Mayen to strengthen Norway’s strategic presence in North Atlantic

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - July 9, 2024
The strategic position of Jan Mayen is increasingly important of Norway. Photo: Torbjørn Kjorvold, Norwegian Armed Forces

Several hundred million kroner will be spent on a major refurbishment of buildings and infrastructure at the remote Norwegian island.

“This is a project with great significance for Norway and the Norwegian Armed Forces,” head of the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency Thorbjørn Thoresen says in a comment.

“Jan Mayen is an isolated island located far out at sea. The project includes unique geological, geographical and logistical challenges,” he explains.

The investments include the building of a brand new main building, as well as the renovation of two existing smaller buildings. A new garage facility and two new boathouses will be erected, and local infrastructure facilities upgraded, the Defence Estates Agency informs.


The base at Jan Mayen. Photo: Norwegian Armed Forces


“The decision to build new facilities is very important for the strengthening of Norwegian presence and sovereignty at Jan Mayen in the future,” says Brigadier General Halvor Johansen, leader of the Norwegian Cyber Defense.

He underlines that the upgrades will allow the Armed Forces to offer its local staff a safe and modern work place.

The investments amount to 830 million kroner (€72,4 million), defense news magazine Forsvarets Forum reports.

The 377 square kilometer volcanic island is located at 70° North and is managed by the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Almost all of the island has status as nature reserve. A glacier covers major part of the island, and there is an active volcano, the Beerenberg, on the northern part of the territory.

Jan Mayen has an airfield and seaport. But the local Arctic climate is unpredictable and there are significant challenges related to supplies and logistics.

Norway today has a staff of 17 people on the island, of whom 15 are employed by the Norwegian Armed Forces and two by the Meteorological Institute. All work on 6-month contracts.

More people might soon be employed. “Are you ready for the most exotic work place in Norway,” a job add from the Armed Forces reads.

Among the staff needed are engineers, machine and electronic experts, mechanics and nurses.

“If you are versatile and good at solving challenges, like to cooperate and take initiative – then you might be the one we are looking for,” the Norwegian Defense informs.


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