On June 17, 1596, Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz discovered Spitsbergen, an island located within the Arctic polar region. Spitsbergen is a relatively large island, the largest belonging to Norway, as it covers an area of as much as 39,044 square kilometers, ie 3904,400 hectares. Interestingly, Spitsbergen is larger even than Sicily, Sardinia and Taiwan, but it is home to only about 2,600 people (Sicily has more than 5,000,000 inhabitants and Taiwan more than 23,000,000).
Willem Barentsz was originally from the northern Netherlands (Friesland) and conducted extensive Arctic research. For example, it even came to the New Earth (today part of the Russian Federation). Interestingly, Barentsz was killed during his last research trip, only about a year after the discovery of Spitsbergen.
The name Spitsbergen is taken from the Dutch language, meaning roughly pointed mountains. Today, the island of Spitsbergen is part of Norway, and it is interesting that it has the northernmost airport in the world with regular flights – Svalbard Airport.