Could I start a nation-state on a giant iceberg?

Those of who who like this sort of thing know that the world’s smallest country, so to speak, is Sealand, an old AA platform in the North Sea that’s been calling itself a country for 35 years or so now.

I am the sort who would love to have his own country, and I note with some interest that recently a number of giant icebergs have broken loose from the Antarctic glaciers. It occurred to me that it might conceivably be possible to construct buildings and such on one of these giant icebergs and declare it a country. I could make money by building some casinos there.

Iceberg B-22 has a surface area well in excess if 2,000 square miles, which is bigger than any city I know of. Several other icebergs are into hundreds and even thousands of square kilometers. Iceberg B-15 is even bigger.

Now, others have come up with this idea before, but for the most part it’s people issuing passports and stamps from “The Republic of Fadeland” and bragging about their nonexistent countries and such. I, on the other hand, actually want to start a COUNTRY. I want to get private investors and capitalization to build services and resorts on a big honkin’ iceberg, make a pile of money in gambling and stuff, and buy weapons to defend my iceberg. I will build a University of Rickjay to specialize in the study of antarctic fauna and such. I will pay people to come run the resorts and the businesses that will attract tourists, and they can live in houses built on the iceberg. I’ll have passports and stamps, sure, but only when I need them for my citizenry. I want to have a permanent population and real businesses, a real COUNTRY. So here are my GQs:

  1. How long will one of these super-humongous icebergs last? B-15 isn’t a good example because it apparently crashed into C-16 and might break up, but there are other candidates; if I can find a biggie that will drift alone for awhile, how long do I have?

  2. Is it reasonably possible to construct buildings on an iceberg? As you can see from this picture, these icebergs are pretty flat, but what would have to be done to prevent buildings from just melting through? And can you even build a big building on ice?

  3. Is it possible to slow the melting process, e.g. by covering the iceberg in something that will insulate it, or something?

**Be sure you’re really drifting before you declare your state. You may still face grumbles should you get iced in again over winter, as the big boys signed


To avoid ownership issues, perhaps you should construct your own iceberg out of pykrete. See also ["]here](

How economically feasible would it be to start your own nation/state on an iceberg? What jobs would you have? you couldn’t grow any food, farm anything…you’d have to import 'bout everything and that would cost a lot. And what about houses and plumbing? Recreation?

Or am I taking this question too seriously ? :smiley:


**Seems to me that you would be on shaky ground **

But don’t let this give you **COLD FEET! ** :frowning:

Given that the iceberg you’re talking about is being destroyed already, I’d think the answer is ‘not that long’.

How much would insurance be for a casino on an iceberg that could calve any time? How stable would the iceberg be?

Sounds like Las Vegas

…I’m sending in my army to invade you with blowtorches



You can start a nation-state anywhere you want to. Maybe if yer sitting on something more than umpteen tons of ice someone will care. Or maybe yer guano supply…

As long as you could defend it you could start a nation in the middle of the USA.

Perhaps the north pole area would be a better choice to avoid the antartic treaty.

Also you could build basically a giant a/c where the iceburg is cooled down to stop it from melting and the heat extracted could be used to heat buildings.

Why does it have to be an “iceburg”? You could build your own floating country. The problem is a) it’s not a country if nobody recognises it and b) they’d be laughing so hard they couldn’t recognise it if they wanted to.

Ten or fifteen years, for the big ones. Unfortunately, they don’t just melt around the edges and get smaller. They crack, break into pieces, and occasionally turn over.

Building directly on ice is expensive, and heavy loads are problems in even the best engineered structures. Ice melts faster when there is pressure on it. Larger loads will sink faster than lighter loads. For the probable cost of building a town on an iceburg in the fifteen year time limit, you could build a lot of barges with connecting structures, and just dispense with the ice entirely.


The first thing Eve said, after partaking of the fruit of the knowlege of good and evil, was: “I have nothing to wear!”

What is the mass of one of these super-bergs? Would it be possible to anchor it a hundred miles or so west of Cape Horn or someplace where it’s far enough away from Antarctica to be free of the risk of getting frozen into the pack ice, but also far enough south that it’ll be more stable than it would be by drifting into warmer latitudes? I ask about mass, because given that ocean currents are strong enough to overcome the inertia of something that huge, you’d need to have one hell of an anchoring device to hold the berg in place. That might also help alleviate the risk of the berg suddenly upending, which would be, needless to say, a buzzkill at the blackjack table. The static location might be a possible downside, given that you couldn’t offer deals to customers about “coming to within a hundred miles of your closest port city in 2009, give or take a few years,” but it would enhance the likelihood of your being recognized as an actual nation instead of as a bunch of frozen Bedouins.