Svalbard is an archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean halfway between the northern tip of Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is located between the 74th and the 81th parallels north. A country of mountains and glaciers, Svalbard was the starting point for several polar explorers and adventurers. Russian and Europeans hunters and fishermen came here for centuries but the real colonization of the archipelago began in the XXth century with the coal mining industry. Svalbard made the front page of newspapers in 2008 following the inauguration of the Svalvard Global Seed Vault, an underground safe deposit intended to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds from locations worldwide in order to preserve genetic diversity.