The Svalbard site of Andréeneset
One of the Svalbard locations we occasionally visit, if ice conditions permit, is Andréeneset. A headland on the southwestern corner of Kvitøya, Andréeneset is a popular walrus haul-out area. The island itself is sometimes referred to as the most eastern island in the Kingdom of Norway, but Kvitøya is actually governed by the Svalbard treaty, which states that it is technically not part of the kingdom despite being ruled by Norwegian law. Like a few other areas of Svalbard, Andréeneset is haunted by one of the many tragic expeditions common to the Arctic region.
Andréeneset’s historic happenings
The Kvitøya headland of Andréeneset is named after S.A. Andrée, a Swedish engineer, aeronaut, and polar explorer who died in 1897 while attempting to reach the Geographical North Pole by hydrogen balloon. Andrée and his fellow two passengers were forced to land their balloon on pack ice only days into their expedition, touching down some 300 km (190 miles) north of Kvitøya. They then endured a grueling two-month trek to Kvitøya’s only ice-free area, the headland we now know as Andréeneset. The mystery of their disappearance was not known until thirty years later, however, when their wreckage and remains were finally found.
Picture by Troels Jacobsen