Maps of Belgian polar research and expedition in 2017/2018

Today is #AntarcticaDay2017! Could there be a better day to launch a new category on the APECS Belgium Website?

We are very excited to present to you for the first time interactive maps that showcase,

I) all the polar research groups currently active in Belgium (quite a lot for its small size!)


II) where in the Arctic and Antarctic Belgian polar researchers will be conducting their fieldwork in 2017-2018.

Follow the links above to have a look! And in case your expedition does not appear on the map or any other information is missing, please contact us. We don’t want to miss anyone!

Ming and Caro for APECS Belgium



POLAR2018: APECS World Summit

By now you’ve hopefully submitted an abstract to the upcoming POLAR2018 conference in Davos in June 2018. When you start planning you’re trip there (better do so early, it may quickly get expensive…*) consider coming in time for the workshop of the APECS World Summit on Monday, June 18! All information including program and registration info can be found on the APECS pages!

*there’s a facebook group to help organize budget/shared accommodation

POLAR 2018

APECS Belgium at BNCAR Meeting

APECS is all about early career scientists, but we exchange and stay in touch with what is being discussed at senior level also. The two APECS delegates took part in the second meeting in 2017 of the Belgian National Committee of Antarctic Research (BNCAR) at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels on November 6th. The meeting was chaired by Frank Pattyn (ULB) and Bruno Delille (ULg) and reunited around a dozen scientists.

There, important topics were raised, such as the involvement of researchers in a scientific committee, which is active in the management of projects being held at the Belgian Princess Elisabeth station. But did you know that Belgian polar researchers are also very active in conservation? Annick Wilmotte and others engage in the elaboration of a management plan for an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) in Dronning Maud Land.

In addition, plans were developed to introduce an overarching web platform as entry point for information about Belgian Polar Research, likely hosted by BNCAR. The idea from Vinciane Debaille is that for example Belgian scientists going to Antarctica write blog entries on this site and link to individual pages about researchers and projects. We certainly endorse the idea and will keep you posted.

Alex & Henrik (APECS Belgium)


The Belgica expedition. A scientific success poorly known outside Belgium

Imagine being stuck on a wooden ship, in Antarctica’s sea ice, 13 months long, hundreds of miles away from the nearest human settlement. This was once reality for the crew of the Belgica expedition, the first ship to winter in the Antarctic Region. In the period 1897-1899 Adrien De Gerlache and his crew sailed south to Antarctica in an attempt to reach Cape Adare (Victoria Land, Continental Antarctica), meanwhile collecting valuable scientific data. This was the topic of yesterday’s talk by Em. Prof. Patrick De Deckker (Australian National University, Canberra) at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences in Brussels. Prof. De Deckker gave an enlightening talk about the Belgica, its crew, their endeavours, and their incredibly valuable scientific data. The conclusion of the day was that, despite the outstanding observations and samples collected during this expedition, the Belgica expedition is too often ignored or forgotten by the international scientific community. It is for us, young polar scientists, to help turn the tide!

For those who are interested to learn more about the Belgica expedition, you still have the chance to listen to Prof. De Deckker during the next coming days – highly recommended! Here‘s an overview of all dates.

(Wednesday, 25.10.2017, Oostende, 13:30h – only for VLIZ staff)

Wednesday, 25.10.2017, Antwerpen, 20:00h, free for the public and friends of The Belgica Society International, but need to register here!

Thursday, 26.10.2017, Leuven, 16:00h, free for university staff & students

Monday, 30.10.2017, Gent, 19:00h, free for the public and scientists, but register here!

The live display of a Belgica model at the Museum, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Header picture: Prof. De Deckker during the introduction of his lecture at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Written by Eveline Pinseel.

Screening of the documentary “Antarctica, sur les traces de l’empereur”

Screening of the documentary  “Antarctica, sur les traces de l’empereur”, directed and written by Jérôme Bouvier and Marianne Cramer, with kind permission of Paprika Films, Wild Touch Production, Andromède Océanologie and CNRS Images. This non-for-profit screening is organized in the frame of the Polar Week (

Where? Salle Gothot, Bat.A1, Place du XX Août, 4000, Liège, Belgium
When? Wednesday 27 septembre 2017 at 18h30.

We hope that this event will represent a moment of reflection to gaze at the beauty of the Antarctic continent, but also to bring the attention to its fragility and vulnerability against environmental threats.

We hope to see you there!

Valentina Savaglia, Benoit Durieu and the APECS Belgium team.