APECS NL at the Pool tot Pool dag 2018

On Saturday, March 10th, Linde van Bets, Rúna Magnússon and Hans Slagter of APECS NL visited the Pool tot Pool dag and represented APECS NL.

The Pool tot Pool dag (Pole to Pole day) is an annual outreach event for enthusiasts of polar regions at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, where scientists, artists and travelers meet to exchange experiences. This year was the 12th edition and featured 5 lectures on popular scientific topics ranging from geology and ecology to archaeology and literature, introduced by host Marijke de Boer.

Piece from the Canadian Inuit art exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum in Leiden

PhD student Thomas Lameris of the Nederlands Institute for Ecology and University of Amsterdam researches whether migratory birds can keep up with rapid climate changes in the Arctic. Timing of migration is crucial with respect to food availability for Barnacle geese and survival of their offspring. Using GPS trackers on geese, climate data and measurements of grass quality Thomas and colleagues studied to what extent geese can keep up with these changes. It also involved quite a lot of geese-catching, as can be seen from the tiny documentary below, shot at their fieldwork site in Russia (Dutch).


Dr. Sandra Comis studied clothing remnants from the Dutch whaler settlement Smeerenburg on Svalbard, and from the nearby graveyard Zeeuwse Uitkijk, to get a glimpse into the life (and death) of whalers on Svalbard in the 17th and 18th century. Findings were mostly woolen stockings, jackets, typical 17th-century “poofy pants” and woolen hats, similar to regular fishermen’s attire of that time. So interestingly, they did not seem to have any special clothing for this harsh environment. Most of the garments had been mended an re-used, with records of over 40 repairs on one single garment.

Hans Beelen discussed the diary of Hidde Dirks Kat, a whaler from the Dutch island of Ameland whose ship got crushed in the ice off the coast of Greenland during 1777-1778. His diary tells of this unfortunate event and how he and some of his crew were saved by the Inuit, which gives us a unique insight into this meeting between Inuit and Western Europeans. On the one hand Hidde Dirks Kat describes Inuit lifestyle and traditions as savage, but on the other hand, seeing as how he owed them his life, praises them for their hospitality and kindness.

In her lecture, humorously nicknamed “Was macht das Weib am Nordpol?”, professor Janke Klok describes rare accounts of female Arctic explorers. We got an impression of a female perspective on the traditionally male-dominated genre of Arctic literature, varying from accounts of explorers to filmmakers, artists and hikers. Their accounts are characterized by the sense of being a pioneer in a male-dominated environment as well as in a remote and harsh environment, and by their colorful descriptions of the beauty of the Arctic.

Finally, Dr. Steven Goderis of the Free University of Brussels and the University of Ghent lectured about his spectacular searches for meteorites on Antarctica. Due to glacial flow, meteorites accumulate in blue ice areas on the South Pole. Exposed rocks on Antarctica also contain unusually high amounts of cosmic dust. Due to the high amounts of meteorites accumulated in these areas, chances of finding large or rare fragments are higher, and in the video below you can see Steven Goderis and colleagues find an 18kg meteorite!


In between lectures, a small fair was installed in the museum where polar enthusiasts, researchers, travel organizations and art vendors could meet. APECS NL had a small info stand at the fair. In the museum itself, a special exhibition of modern Canadian Inuit art was a beautiful addition to the program, apart from the regular exhibitions.

APECS NL thanks the organization of the Pool tot Pool dag, Michelle van Dijk, Frieda van Essen and Jack Kauw, as well as the National Museum of Ethnology, for the interesting day and hopes to keep contributing to this beautiful event. For more information, visit http://www.pooltotpool.nl/

The APECS NL stand at the Pool tot Pool dag

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