The large-scale thickness distribution of sea ice was measured during several campaigns in the European Arctic north of Svalbard from 2007 using an airborne electromagnetic induction device. In August 2010 and April–May 2011, this was complemented by extensive on-ice work including measurements of snow thickness and freeboard. Ice thicknesses show a clear difference between the seasons, with thicker ice during spring than in summer. In spring 2011, negative freeboard and flooding were observed as a result of the extensive snow cover. We find that the characteristics of the first-year sea ice allow combining observations from different years. The ice thickness in the marginal ice zone increases with increasing latitude and increasing distance to the ice edge; however, in the inner ice pack from �100km from the ice edge the thickness remains almost constant. Modal ice thickness in spring reaches 2.4m whereas in summer it is 1.0–1.4 m. Our study provides new insight into ice thickness distributions of a typical ice cover consisting of mainly first- and second-year ice, which may become the dominant ice type in the Arctic in the future.