Where it all started

So, now I found myself in this small research settlement only little over 1200km from the geographical north pole. With only 60 buildings and in summertime a population of 150-200 people, mostly scientists, a very special place. Most people only come here for a short period to do their fieldwork and head home afterwards. I was one of the lucky few who could stay for two months, as my fieldwork took longer. This makes it a very dynamic community with a core of people who return year after year and many new ones each week.

The village of Ny Ålesund

For me, it was a great opportunity to meet new people, hear about different scientific studies and spent time in one of the greatest fjords of Spitsbergen. Ny Ålesund only has one shop and the largest part of that contains souvenirs (the second largest part has booze…). No food is needed, for most people, as they all eat together in a large mess room, a left over from the time when Ny Ålesund was a mining community. We were one of the few exceptions, as we had changed our daily rhythm, we were allowed to make our own food. Good for science, as it was a lot cheaper and made us more flexible, but less for our social life. However, there were enough alternatives to meet with other people. But more on that later.


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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