“The Antarctic Treaty is an encouraging diplomatic achievement: Twelve nations agreed during the Cold War in 1959 to peacefully co-administer an entire continent.”
Jochen Werne, Expedition Leader
MUNICH, GERMANY, December 05, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — An exciting part of The Netherlands’ 2018 Polar Symposium will be the ceremonial presentation of the Antarctic Blanc expedition flag to the Arctic Ambassador of The Netherlands, Ms. Carola Van Rijnsoever.
This special occasion recognizes the commitment of The Netherlands in preserving the Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. In addition, it’s also a great chance to remember the explorers, scientists and sailors who set foot on the Antarctic continent to discover and made us all aware how beautiful and equally important this ecosystem and its protection for our planet is.
Since acceding the Antarctic Treaty in 1967 and the establishment of the Dutch Dirck Gerritsz Laboratory in 2013, The Netherlands’ Polar Programme scientists, in collaboration with the international community of polar scientists have been a great inspiration for future generations of scientists and explorers worldwide. The Dutch scientists perform research on climate change, glaciology, marine ecology and oceanography. Antarctica is a unique research environment where the impact of climate change can be measured properly, unaffected by disturbing influences of man. These scientific activities gave inspiration to the Expedition Antarctic Blanc goals set:
“Challenging in twelve days under sails twice the dangerous Drake Passage from Cape Horn to Antarctica and back to establish a peaceful international dialogue about the importance of preserving the fragile Antarctic ecosystem and to commemorate and disseminate the fascinating history of the Antarctic explorers.”
Hosted by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Netherlands, APECS-NL, this year’s polar symposium will take place on December, 7, at NWO in The Hague. Entitled ‘Polar Impacts, the symposium program will cover the following three themes:
• Theme 1 | International collaboration, governance and funding impacts
• Theme 2 | Environmental and climatic impacts
• Theme 3 | Societal and cultural impacts
The expedition flag handover representatives are among others: Jochen Werne (Expedition Leader); Bernd Lehmann (Chief Historian); Götz Credé (Chief Liaison Officer to The Netherlands); Christopher H. Betjemann III (GOST), Philippe Nguyen (GOST assoc.)
Updates to the ceremony will be provided by the press team from The Hague.
EXPEDITION ANTARTIC BLANC Background:
In February 2018, inspired by the era of the great explorers, the 12 members of the international Expedition ANTARTIC BLANC set sail to Antarctica through one of the most dangerous seaways on the planet, the Drake-Passage. Their aim was to raise international awareness and draw attention to the essential need to maintain and protect the unique Antarctic ecosystem. On Deception Island, the Expedition recognized the Antarctic explorers and the establishment of the Antarctic Treaty, in a solemn and dignified manner, paying tribute in the form of an international commemoration ceremony. A wreath formed out of Antarctic ice, was laid in the name of 19 nations, which gave permission to officially act on behalf of them. In addition, ANTARCTIC BLANC supported the UNEP’s “Clean Seas” initiative to combat plastic waste in and on the world’s oceans. Furthermore, the expedition gathered data for the University of Connecticut’s and the Northeastern University’s Ocean Genome Legacy Center Research Project for the meta-barcoding of plankton, which in turn could play a fundamental role in providing answers to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.
The team behind Expedition Antarctic Blanc
The Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST), an international group of dedicated sailors comprised of members from all over the world. GOST which navigates on oceans worldwide and in which many teammates have naval backgrounds, have made it a priority to keep naval traditions alive and to use expeditions as instrument for the creation of international understanding and peoples’ diplomacy. Expedition Antarctic Blanc has been greatly supported by the Yacht Club de Monaco.
Recent expeditions beside “Antarctic Blanc” have been e.g. “Arctic Ocean Predator” where the team sailed from Tromsø into the Arctic Ocean and to Svalbard in order to explore and experience the circumstances under which small weather units worked during their duty on these isolated arctic islands in World War II. The same with Expedition “Cerberus”, where, in conjunction with the British Channel Dash Association, the German Association for Marine and Naval History and supported by the Royal Navy and the German Navy, we followed the route of 1942’s Operation Cerberus from Brest to Kiel.
This international team believes it is important to visit the places where history happened, to not only to understand history better but to remember the events that influenced the world we live in today.
The goal of GOST’s expeditions is always to try to get a sense of the background and the struggles of the events which have happened at sea. By doing this we hope to remember all the brave seamen who served their countries on all sides during times of conflict in the world. As a dear friend Peter Nixon, Chairman of the Channel Dash Association perfectly summarised:
„ … working so hard to bring history back to everyone’s attention and recognising the many great acts of courage performed on our behalf by men and women of all sides during a period of conflict. … It is not about winners or losers. … The world is a wonderful place to live, because it is made up of many different, but beautiful countries.… We should be proud of this fact. Equally, we should not be ashamed of our past, nor should we glorify it, for it was our past which created what we are today.”
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