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Project - The exploitation of the natural resources in the Polar Regions, 1600 - 2000 (LASHIPA)


Introduction: The exploitation of natural resources in polar areas is an instructive example of the way man is exploiting the natural resources in the world. The voyages of discovery in the second half of the 16th century and later, during the so called Heroic Century of Polar Exploration (1870-1920), including the first International Polar Year (1882-1883), made it possible for the western colonial powers to penetrate into the polar areas. The voyages of discovery not only led to the exploitation of natural resources but also to scientific research. In both cases, stations were built to facilitate the work and to lodge the people. According to Friedmann's core/periphery concept (1966) the polar areas can be called Resource Frontier Regions because they produce raw material for the industrial centres in the world core areas (Sugden 1982). Whaling, fur hunting and mining have produced raw materials for the international market for more than 400 years. These activities were carried out by companies and people from outside the polar regions. The companies belonged to the worldwide actor networks (Latour 1986, Law & Callon 1992) in the core areas and local networks in the polar areas.It is notable how similar the developments were in both polar areas. One can divide the exploitation of natural resources in both areas into two phases: directly after the discovery a first phase in which fur hunters and whalers from different countries were active and a second phase in which the activities were focussed on the exploitation of minerals.Scientific research has increased the knowledge of both areas and contributed to the understanding of global processes. The industrial settlements and the research stations have played an important geopolitical role and have serious impact on the natural environment and in the Arctic on indigenous communities. Many sites belong to the polar cultural heritage nowadays.

Aim and strategy: Until now, the history of science in and exploitation of polar areas were almost exclusively studied from a regional and national approach based on written sources from the archives in the countries in the core region. The aim of this project is to study the various (hunting, whaling, mining and research) settlements/stations from a bipolar, international and comparative perspective. Field and archive research will be done to collect the necessary data. The outcome of the various studies will be compared with each other to acquire more knowledge about the history of scientific research and the exploitation of the natural resources, the impact on the natural environment and the indigenous peoples. Finally the geopolitical consequences of the stations will be studied using written and material sources.The project will start in 2006 with archive research carried out to acquire more insight into the historical context. Much archive research will be done by the participants of the project in their various countries. This will produce a body of documentation, photo and film material which may be used not only for research but also in outreach activities. Field surveys will be carried out jointly on various already known sites in both polar areas. Several selected sites will be mapped and photo documented completely and compared with archival data. In 2007-2008 field work will be done on places difficult to reach. The data analysis of the various sites will be carried out jointly. The databases and maps will be collected in Groningen and made available for cultural heritage purposes and outreach activities. Finally a synthesis will be made which will be published in a joint publication in English and translated in several other languages.

People involved



TitleStart dateEnd date


H. de Haas, 2012. In Search of Profit in the High Arctic. The Commercial Background of the Dutch Expedition to Spitsbergen in 1920. LASHIPA. History of Large Scale Resource Exploitation in the Polar Areas. , 47 - 60

Y. I. Aalders, 2012. Perceptions of Polar Resources: A Comparison of the Animal remains of the Russian Hunting Station Kokerinesetand the Dutch Whaling Station Smeerenburg. LASHIPA. History of Large Scale Resource Exploitation in the Polar Areas , 33 - 46

L. Hacquebord, 2012. The History of Exploitation of the Atlantic Arctic and its Geopolitical Consequences. LASHIPA. History of Large Scale Resource Exploitation in the Polar Areas. , 127

D. Avango & A. Houltz, 2012. The Essence of the Adventure. Narratives of Arctic Work and Engineering in the Early 20th Century. LASHIPA. History of Large Scale Resource Exploitation in the Polar Areas. , 87 - 104

F. Kruse, 2012. Spitsbergen - Imperialists beyond the British Empire. LASHIPA , 61-70

U. I. Gustafsson, 2012. A Science and Technology Studies (STS) Approach on the Evolution of the Modern Whaling Industry. LASHIPA. History of Large Scale Resource Exploitation in the Polar Areas. , 113 - 126

Dag Avango, Louwrens Hacquebord, et al., 2011. Between markets and geo-politics: natural resource exploitation on Spitsbergen from 1600 to the present day. Polar Record 47 (01), 29-39

Ricardo Roura, 2010. Monitoring the transformation of historic features in Antarctica and Svalbard: local processes and regional contexts. Polar Record 46 (04), 289-311

R. M. Roura, 2010. The Polar Cultural Heritage as a Tourism Attraction. A Case Study of the Airship Mooring Mast at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Téoros 28 (1), 29 - 38

L. Hacquebord & Y. I. Aalders, 2010. Cross-cultural contacts between European whalers and Russian hunters. A Circumpolar Reappraisal: The Legacy of Gutorm Gjessing (1906-1979). , 111 - 121

L. Hacquebord, 2010. The Netherlands; Beset in the Ice of the Kara Sea. The History of the International Polar Years (IPYs), From Pole to Pole , 63 - 71

U. I. Gustafsson, 2010. Industrialising the Arctic: Settlement design and technical adaptations of modern whaling stations in Spitsbergen and Bear Island. Whaling & History III. Papers presented at a symposium in Sandefjord on the 18th and 19th June 2009 , 45 - 59

L. Hacquebord, 2010. The Dutch Contribution to the Second International Polar Year 1932-1933. The History of the International Polar Years (IPYs). From Pole to Pole , 184 - 190

L. Hacquebord, 2010. English and Dutch whaling stations in Spitsbergen (Svalbard) in the 17th Century. Whaling and History III , 59 - 68

V. F. Starkov, L. Hacquebord, & D. Avango, 2010. Archaeological Studies at Svalbard Archipelago according to IPY Programme. Changes of Natural Environment and Climate; natural and possible consequent human-induced catastrophes. , 301 - 307

Olivier Gilg, 2009. A Passion for the Pole: Ethological Research in Polar Regions, edited by Louwrens Hacquebord and Nienke Boschman. ARCTIC 62 (2)

L. Hacquebord & D. Avango, 2009. Settlements in an Arctic Resource Frontier Region. Arctic Anthropology 46 (1-2), 25-39

L. Hacquebord, 2009. Kopenhagen en de toekomst van het Noordpoolgebied. Internationale Spectator 63 (11), 562 - 565

L. Hacquebord, 2009. Resource Exploitation and Navigation in a Changing Arctic. Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 69 (3), 655 - 688

L. Hacquebord, 2009. Back to the Future. The Past, Present and Future Resource Development in a Changing Arctic. Journal of Northern Studies 2, 9-23

D. Avango, 2009. Integrating the Human Dimension in IPY 2007-2009: Reflections on the Achievements in Sweden. Journal of Northern Studies 2, 123-126

H. R. Hidde, 2008. Nederlandse ondernemers op poolavontuur. De Nederlandsche Spitsbergen Compagnie, 1920-1932. Tegenpolen! Op expeditie naar contrastrijke poolgebieden , 10

L. Hacquebord & D. Veerman, 2008. Van muthe naar waarheid. Beelden van het poolgebied in historisch perspectief. Tegenpolen. Op expeditie naar contrastrijke poolgebieden. , 11 - 17

L. Hacquebord, 2008. Smeerenburger spek en Groenlandse traan. Nederlandse walvisvaart in het Arctisch gebied. Tegenpolen. Op expeditie naar contrastrijke poolgebieden. , 79 - 88

R. M. Roura, 2008. Vignetten van het hoge noorden. Tourisme in het Arctisch gebied. Tegenpolen: Op expeditie naar contrastrijke poolgebieden. , 114 - 222

R. M. Roura, 2008. Antarctic scientific bases: Cultural heritage and environmental perspectives 1983-2008. Historical Polar Bases - Preservation and Management , 38 - 52

T. Tin, A. D. Hemmings, & R. M. Roura, 2008. Pressures on the wilderness of the Antarctic continent. International Journal of Wilderness 14 (3), 17 - 12

L. Hacquebord, 2008. The little bird and the big whale. A Passion for the Pole. Ethological Research in Polar Regions , 85 - 102

R. M. Roura, 2007. Cultural heritage tourism in Antarctica and Svalbard (Spitsbergen): Patterns, impacts and policies. Abstracts. Tourism and Global Change in the Polar Regions University of Oulu, Finland 29 November - 1 December 2007 , 24 - 25

, & , 2006. Two centuries of bowhead whaling around Spitsbergen; its impact on the arctic avifauna. Whaling and history II. New Perspectives , 87 - 94

L. Hacquebord, 2006. The ecological impact of whaling and walrus hunting in Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen in the history research works , 351 - 365

L. Hacquebord, 2005. Bedreiging van het Nederlands erfgoed in het poolgebied. Koersvast. Vijf eeuwen navigatie op zee , 190 - 201

Prof. dr. L. Hacquebord, 1934. Zeitschrift fur auslandisches offentliches Recht und Volkerrecht. (Institut fur auslandisches offentliches Recht und Volkerrecht). Columbia Law Review 34 (1), 204

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