Europe :: Jan Mayen
  • Introduction :: Jan Mayen
  • Background:
    This desolate, arctic, mountainous island was named after a Dutch whaling captain who indisputably discovered it in 1614 (earlier claims are inconclusive). Visited only occasionally by seal hunters and trappers over the following centuries, the island came under Norwegian sovereignty in 1929. The long dormant Beerenberg volcano, the northernmost active volcano on earth, resumed activity in 1970 and the most recent eruption occurred in 1985.
  • Geography :: Jan Mayen
  • Location:
    Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the Norwegian Sea, northeast of Iceland
    Geographic coordinates:
    71 00 N, 8 00 W
    Map references:
    Arctic Region
    Area:
    total: 377 sq km
    land: 377 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Area - comparative:
    slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    124.1 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    Climate:
    arctic maritime with frequent storms and persistent fog
    Terrain:
    volcanic island, partly covered by glaciers
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Norwegian Sea
    2277 highest point: Haakon VII Toppen on Beerenberg

    note: Beerenberg volcano has numerous peaks; the highest point on the volcano rim is named Haakon VII Toppen, after Norway's first king following the reestablishment of Norwegian independence in 1905

    Natural resources:
    none
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 100% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    0 sq km (2012)
    Natural hazards:

    dominated by the volcano Beerenberg

    volcanism: Beerenberg (2,227 m) is Norway's only active volcano; volcanic activity resumed in 1970; the most recent eruption occurred in 1985

    Environment - current issues:
    pollutants transported from southerly latitudes by winds, ocean currents, and rivers accumulate in the food chains of native animals; climate change
    Geography - note:
    barren volcanic spoon-shaped island with some moss and grass flora; island consists of two parts: a larger northeast Nord-Jan (the spoon "bowl") and the smaller Sor-Jan (the "handle"), linked by a 2.5 km-wide isthmus (the "stem") with two large lakes, Sorlaguna (South Lagoon) and Nordlaguna (North Lagoon)
  • People and Society :: Jan Mayen
  • Population:
    no indigenous inhabitants

    note: military personnel operate the the weather and coastal services radio station

  • Government :: Jan Mayen
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Jan Mayen
    etymology: named after Dutch Captain Jan Jacobszoon MAY, one of the first explorers to reach the island in 1614
    Dependency status:
    territory of Norway; since August 1994, administered from Oslo through the county governor (fylkesmann) of Nordland; however, authority has been delegated to a station commander of the Norwegian Defense Communication Service; in 2010 Norway designated the majority of Jan Mayen as a nature reserve
    Flag description:
    the flag of Norway is used
  • Economy :: Jan Mayen
  • Economy - overview:
    Jan Mayen is a volcanic island with no exploitable natural resources, although surrounding waters contain substantial fish stocks and potential untapped petroleum resources. Economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Norway's radio and meteorological stations on the island.
  • Communications :: Jan Mayen
  • Broadcast media:
    a coastal radio station has been remotely operated since 1994 (2008)
  • Transportation :: Jan Mayen
  • Airports:
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 225
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    Ports and terminals:
    none; offshore anchorage only
  • Military and Security :: Jan Mayen
  • Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of Norway
  • Transnational Issues :: Jan Mayen
  • Disputes - international:

    none