My stay at the Dutch Polar Station in Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen (third week)


Ny-Ålesund is a research town in Oscar II Land on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. It is situated on the Brøgger peninsula (Brøggerhalvøya) and on the shore of the bay of Kongsfjorden. The company town is owned and operated by Kings Bay AS, who provide facilities for permanent research institutes from ten countries. Ny-Ålesund has an all-year permanent population of 30 to 35, with the summer population reaching 120. Its facilities include Ny-Ålesund Airport, a Mine Museum, as well as fifteen permanent research stations by countries such as, Norway, Germany, France, England, Italy, Japan, South-Korea China and Holland. It is the northernmost functional civilian settlement in the world.

The Dutch Arctic Center of the University of Groningen uses a couple of small buildings in Ny-Alesund as polar station. There they are studying barnacle geese and their ecology. The study in Kongsfjorden started in 1990 and is continuing till today. Dr. Maarten Loonen is keeping a personal log of this study.

I was invited by Maarten Loonen for a stay of 8 days in Ny-Ålesund as part of his team, a great experience for which I’m very thankful.