Carl Koldewey – Pionier in the Arctic Ocean
born: 26.10.1837 in Bücken (near Hoya) died: 17.5.1908 in Hamburg
Carl Koldewey left his Clausthal school prematurely in 1852 and went to sea in 1853. In the years that followed, he underwent nautical training until qualifying as a ship's captain, after which he commenced studies in Hanover in 1866 with the aim of becoming a teacher of navigation. He continued his studies at the University of Göttingen, where he took mathematics, physics and astronomy.
Soon afterwards, August Petermann appointed him to lead the first North Pole Expedition in 1868 aboard the "Grönland". This was followed in 1869/70 by the important second German North Pole Expedition on the "Germania". Once again, Koldewey was the captain and leader. The original plan, to penetrate as far as possible into the central region of the Arctic and if possible to reach the Bering Strait, was brought to halt at the Greenland coast. After several attempts, Koldewey had to abort at 75.5° due to the impenetrable ice.
After his various expeditions to icy regions, Koldewey played a key role producing various scientific and narrative publications. From 1871 onwards, he worked at the German Hydrographical Office in Hamburg, where he took over the Department for Nautical Instruments in 1875, under Neumayer's directorship. Here he dedicated most of his efforts to "compass theory". He retired on 31 July 1905.
The Koldewey Station in Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen, was named after him.