Nature and history

In the pictures in the previous post, the tundra at Signehamna looks very untouched and unspoilt by any human activity. This, however, is far from the case. A little further and you find yourself in a heap of rusty metal. Oil barrels, remains of wooden boxes, chairs and even some boots. Some of it is still labelled ‘Kriegsmarine’, the German navy from the second world war.

The leftovers of the German weather station at Signehamna – HDR from 3 images, 24mm, ISO 400

Somehow, this looks odd, all this garbage in the unspoilt nature of Spitsbergen. But still, it does belong there as well. It’s part of the history of Spitsbergen as the Germans had a very secret weather station there during the war. Not hidden enough, as it was discovered by the Norwegians and eventually bombed by the allied powers. Now all that is left is some rusty garbage. At first sight, it doesn’t look nice, but it also takes you back to that time and makes you wonder what it would be like for those German soldiers to spend the winter in such a remote corner of the world. Taking it away to a museum wouldn’t give you that opportunity as then, it would just be some weird garbage.


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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