Named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz who rediscovered Svalbard in 1596, Barentsburg is presently home to 500 people who are largely employed in the Russian owned coal mining company. Mostly comprising of Russian and Ukrainian citizens, who under the unique Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920, permits citizens of signatory countries to exploit natural resources found within the region; Russia also maintains a consulate in Barentsburg Town. Starting as a Dutch mining town in 1920s, Barentsburg is eventually occupied by Arktikugal Trust, a Russian State owned company since 1932.
Served by a heliport operated by the Russian company, most visitors however arrive by sea from Longyearbyen on day-trips. A two-day hiking trip from Longyearbyen to Barentsburg is possible during summers, and travel by snowmobile is a fantastic and more popular option during winters. Displaying a chapel, Lenin statue, Pormor Museum and the Star and Slogan Sign, Barentsburg is also having two sea-water swimming pools along with other assorted sports facilities.