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.


APECS Belgium Board renewed!


Being early career scientist organizations APECS and APECS Belgium are subject to constant change with respect to the people involved. At some point, often sooner than later, highly motivated and active members step down and leave gaps. Read further on what this means for us.


Aiding polar research, from the eye of a data scientist

Although polar week is over, #PolarWorld never ends.


“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge” — John Naisbitt


Immense amount of data were generated and published by polar researchers. What do we data scientists do about it, without going to polar regions?

Read further for some insights shared by Yi-Ming Gan from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

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.

POLAR18 Abstract fee waiver

Planning to go to Switzerland next year? Abstract submission for the big POLAR2018 conference is open since a couple of days.

Short on funds? The organizers offer some abstract fee waivers, but you have to apply before the end of the abstract submission period! Find all info here.