Press release

Open for viewing again for the first time since 2008 – “Open Ship“ on the research icebreaker Polarstern on 3 June 2012

[08. May 2012] 

Bremerhaven, 8 May 2012. The research icebreaker Polarstern will be returning from the Antarctic to Bremerhaven on 16 May. The world known research ship will be prepared in the docks for the coming summer expedition to the North Polar Sea. Following a stop in the homeport of Bremerhaven, Polarstern will celebrate its 30th birthday in the expanse of the Antarctic Ocean. This is reason enough for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association to open the ship’s hatches to the public: on Sunday, 3 June 2012 between 10 am and 5 pm, the public may gain an impression of life and research in the polar regions on Lloyd dockyard.



The research and supply ship will therefore to open to the public again for the first time since 2008. Together with the team from the Laeisz shipping company, members of the Alfred Wegener Institute will be presenting the many facets of the fascinating flag ship of the German research fleet. During a tour of the ship, guests can discover the helicopters, the meteorological observatory, the scientific laboratories, the OP room, the bridge and holds with an exhibition of operative equipment in the Antarctic.


Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute will provide information on current questions of polar research and will be presenting typical equipment used on the Polarstern. An exhibition marquis directly next to the ship offers guests the possibility to gain deeper insights into research in a relaxed atmosphere. For example, they may become acquainted with diving robots, anchor chains, instruments for measuring sea ice or sensors for microscopically small algae. Life and work on board will be shown in a separate lecture and film programme. Children can dress up as Polar researchers and carry out their very own experiments. There are also drinks and food.


The marine research at the Alfred Wegener Institute is a further highlight during the event: The AWI North Sea Office will be honoured at 1 pm as “Place in the country of ideas“ – a joint initiative of industry and the federal government. The employees will be showing examples from research around Sylt, Helgoland and Bremerhaven. The research cutter Uthörn is usually responsible for this and will be offering short trips in the Kaiserhafen on 3 June starting from the event grounds.


Unfortunately, the Polarstern research ship is not barrier-free. People with serious walking difficulties or parents with pushchairs will not therefore be able to visit the ship. It is also essential for all visitors to carry their ID cards because the organisers are obliged to make random checks due to international security regulations in shipping.


The grounds of the Lloyd docks may reached on 3 June from the main railway station via Havenwelten with a shuttle bus. Parking space in the vicinity is also available.


Notes for Editors: Printable images are available at  Your contact partner in the Press Office of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr. Folke Mehrtens (Tel.: 0471 4831-2007; email:

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans.  The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.


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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.