Amsterdam Island (Spitsbergen)

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Amsterdam Island is located off Spitsbergen's northwestern coast.
17th-century Dutch map of "Amsterdammer Eyland".

Amsterdam Island[1][2][3] (Norwegian: Amsterdamøya) is a small island off the northwest coast of West-Spitsbergen. It is separated from Danes Island by the strait Danskegattet. Total area 16.8 Highest point Hiertabreen 472 m.a.s.l.. Area covered with ice: ca. 11.5 %.


Amsterdam Island was first seen by Willem Barents in 1596. The Dutch first occupied it in 1614 (the year in which it was probably named), building a temporary whaling station on the island's southeastern promontory. In 1619 a semi-permanent station was constructed. It came to be called Smeerenburg (Dutch for "Blubber Town"). The settlement went into decline in the 1640s, and was abandoned sometime before 1660.


  1. ^ Mills, William James. 2003. Exploring Polar Frontiers: A Historical Encyclopedia. Volume 1: A–L. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, p. 12.
  2. ^ Peter Joseph Capelotti. 1999. By Airship to the North Pole: An Archaeology of Human Exploration. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, pp. xxi ff.
  3. ^ Zeeberg, JaapJan. 2005. Into the Ice Sea: Barents' Wintering on Novaya Zemlya—A Renaissance Voyage of Discovery. Amsterdam: Rozenberg, pp. 121, 156.
  • Conway, W. M. 1906. No Man’s Land: A History of Spitsbergen from Its Discovery in 1596 to the Beginning of the Scientific Exploration of the Country. Cambridge: At the University Press.
  • Norwegian Polar Institute Place Names of Svalbard Database

Coordinates: 79°40′N 10°30′E / 79.667°N 10.500°E / 79.667; 10.500