Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


baesemans in norwayAfter the great success of the IPY Oslo Science Conference, I was able to join the 2nd IPY Polar Field School at UNIS for a few days. What a wonderful programme - be sure to check out their blogs and photos. After Svalbard, I headed to the European Science Open Forum in Torino, Italy to be on a panel organized by Jose Xavier showcasing how young researchers can impact international science. Then it was time for a vacation!

Even though I have been here in Norway for 1.5 years, I haven't been able to explore as much of it as I wanted to... but thankfully by brother and sister came for a visit all the way from my family's dairy farm in Central Wisconsin, USA. They spent a great week here and we packed in as much as we could. From a day in Oslo, we took an amazingly beautiful train ride to Bergen and then flew up to the "Paris of the North" for a day in Tromsø, the home of the APECS International Directorate Office. From there we headed down to what every one has told me is the most beautiful place in Norway - the Lofoten Islands. Everyone was right - Lofoten is absolutely amazing!

reine lofotenLofoten is an archipelago north of the Arctic Circle on the west coast of Norway. The total land area amounts to 1,227 square kilometres. Due to the warm Gulf Stream, Lofoten has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude, such as Alaska and Greenland. The coastal climate in Lofoten makes the winters mild and the summers relatively cool.

The first people came to Lofoten about 6,000 years ago. Lofoten's Stone Age inhabitants survived on fishing and hunting in an area which provided good living. All of Lofoten was covered by large pine and birch woods at that time. There were deer, bear, wild reindeer, lynx and beaver, and the sea was full of fish, seals and whales.

Agriculture developed early, and grain was harvested in Lofoten as early as 4,000 years ago. The Viking Era saw the emergence of several large chieftain seats and has created a very rich history that we were able to see at the the Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg." (modified from

knapp schoolLofoten is one of the most plentiful fisheries in Norway and the stockfish drying racks can be seen in many parts of the islands.

If you are looking for a great place to relax, go for a great hike, join one of the best whale watching tours in the world, and learn about the fascinating Norwegian culture - I highly recommend Lofoten... which is also the home of the first APECS President, Kriss Rokkan-Iversen. They also have a school where you can learn how to take a nap... well its actually called Knapp Skole and its not really for teaching people how to take a nap, but they do learn how to 'count' sheep :)

For more information on Lofoten, visit

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Huginbakken 14
9019 Tromsø
Email: info(at)

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