FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Can I come visit you?

There are no commersial airplanes to Jan Mayen, the only airplanes are from the Norwegian Royal Airforce. To visit us you can charter a boat from Iceland or Norway, but we are not equipped to supply visitors! Foreign visitors must gain permissions from the station commander well in advance before visiting the island. Read this page for more information.

Can I buy land on Jan Mayen?

No. The Jan Mayen island is owned by the Norwegian government, and most of the island is a nature reserve.

Do you pay taxes?

Yes. We pay 7.8% social security tax, 2% retirement savings tax and 8% state tax. At the moment (nov. 2005) the government is proposing a tax increase from 8% to 12%.

Why use Loran C, GPS exists, right?

Significant adoption of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) services by government, industry, and private users creates a dependency. A loss of service whether accidental or otherwise can have economic and political consequences. In the United States, ubiquitous GPS usage classifies the system as critical infrastructure. Numerous reports and studies assessed the vulnerabilities associated with short- or long-term outages. Recommendations to minimize safety, environmental, or economic impacts include the retention or provision of alternate services that provide position, velocity, and time.

Loran is, for the largest user communities, the only viable alternative system. It is:
- Characterized by dissimilar failure modes to GNSS
- Difficult to jam due to high power levels
- Provision of an area navigation capability (RNAV)
- Precise time and frequency service, even in rural areas, between city blocks where GPS line-of-sight constitutes a problem.
- Capable of meeting harbor/harbor minimums
- Most cost effective per square kilometer

Technological improvements in transmitter performance, system control, and end-user signal processing equipment and antennas offer improved system accuracy, availability, and integrity.

I would like to know about the whale boat captain that discovered this small
country and why it had never been come across before.

The first certain discovery of the island is from 1614. There are earlier
claims and possible discoveries, even as early as the early 6th century. The
island is named after the Dutchman Jan Jacobs May van Schellinkhout who
visited the island in 1614.

What is the legal drinking age?

Same as in the rest of Norway. You have to be at least 18 years old to drink alcoholic drinks like
wine and beer, and 20 years old to drink spirits.

What government do you have?

The island is a part of Norway. Norway is divided into 19 counties. Jan
Mayen is governed by Nordland county. Norway is a constitutional monarchy.

Does Jan Mayen have much importance?

Today Jan Mayen has a weather station, a Loran C transmitter, coastal radio,
nuclear test ban treaty surveillance, seismographs, magnetometers and so on.
All are important in the work of securing Norway and the rest of the world, and
collecting vital data for research. For instance, a lot of the weather that
hits Norway and Europe develops in this area. The Norwegian Meteorological
Institute claims that the Jan Mayen weather station is the most important station located on the northern hemisphere. This is due to the fact that warm water moves up between Norway mainland and Jan Mayen where it meets the cold polar water
from the North Pole and Greenland. The cold air above these two big
“refrigerators” cools the warmer air above the water and a lot of weather

How warm are the summers on Jan Mayen?

Average temp is 5°C/41°F. Maximum recorded temperature is about 18°C/64°F, but normally the warm days are 10-12°C/50-54°F.

How cold can it be over there?

Rarely below -20 °C/-4°F. Normally the average temperature is about -5°C/23°F in the winter. Due to the wind chill factor, when it blowes strong gale (28.5m/s - 64mph), a temperature of -5°C/23°F has the same effect as -26°C/-15°F with no wind.

Are there any animals on the island?

Only birds. More info here and here.

Is there any vegetation?

Moss, fungus, grass and flowers. More info here.