MAS opens exhibition on 19th-century Belgian expedition to Antarctica

On Friday, the MAS in Antwerp will open the exhibition To Antarctica: The Polar Pioneers of the Belgica. The museum tells the story of the 19th-century expedition of the ship Belgica to Antarctica, the first expedition ever to spend the winter there.

The ship's international crew included Belgian expedition leader Adrien de Gerlache and Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who would later become the first man to reach the South Pole.

The expedition did not intend to winter on the southernmost continent but became stuck in the ice. Members fell ill from malnutrition and the long polar night without daylight was a mental strain. Nevertheless, they continued to map areas and collect flora and fauna for scientific research.

The Belgica inspired a series of explorers to the North and South Poles. The MAS now pays tribute to these adventurers with an exhibition that includes crew diaries, photographs and authentic parts of the expedition ship.

The exhibition also reflects on Antarctica today. In her work Terra Nullius, Dutch artist Esther Kokmeijer draws attention to the continent's geopolitical status. There is also a focus on the research of the International Polar Foundation, the foundation behind the Princess Elisabeth Station in Antarctica.


#FlandersNewsService | Curator Waander Devillé © PHOTO JEROEN BROECKX

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