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History of German Polar Research

The history of Germany's polar research activities started in 1868 with its first North Pole Expedition. Captain Koldewey and his crew reached a northerly latitude of 81° for the first time ever with the sailing ship "Grönland". On 10 October, the expedition returned safely to Bremerhaven - thus marking the all-important beginnings of German polar research.

Early polar research activities in Germany were concentrated on investigating geographic conditions in order to obtain a first idea of these hitherto unexplored regions of the world. In later years, attention was focused more on geomagnetic and meteorological questions. The huge unexplored polar regions awakened the curiosity of geologists and biologists. Alfred Wegener, considered the most important polar researcher from Germany, led numerous expeditions to Greenland. He died in November 1930 during an expedition to Greenland's ice cap. The polar research institute newly-established in Bremerhaven in 1980 was named after him.

As a token of remembrance, the Alfred Wegener Institut has named its stations in the polar regions after the great German polar researchers (Koldewey, Neumayer, Dallmann, Filchner). 

The names and their histories:


 
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