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The exhibition on the international MOSAiC expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute shows both the Arctic nature threatened by climate change and the people who spent time in one of the most hostile zones on Earth during the polar night and polar day in 2019/2020.

The exhibition of photographs and objects from the largest research expedition of all time sheds light on the participants and their extremely demanding work, whether as researchers or as part of the crew.

Arctic images on this website:
Alfred Wegener Institute / Esther Horvath (arctic at night)
Alfred Wegener Institute / Lianna Nixon (arctic by day)
Heinz Dahinden (exhibition)

The exhibition in the Glacier Garden is a co-production with the German Alfred Wegener Institute.  It conveys vividly the fascination of an expedition in extreme conditions.

What does the polar night mean for researchers, nature, technology? What happens when it is always night or day?  The year-round expedition results in enormous amounts of new data and fresh awareness of climate change, but also in poignant and moving stories.

With such stories from everyday life, the expedition becomes accessible to the public and curiosity develops. Visitors are invited to reflect on the impact of humans on the earth's biological, geological, and atmospheric processes.


In September 2019, the German research icebreaker "Polarstern", led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, left Tromsø, Norway, to freeze into an ice floe a few weeks later and drift through the Arctic for a year.

 The expedition set new standards: A total of 600 people from 82 research institutes and state-owned companies were involved. Among them were several Swiss citizens. It is the first expedition to have explored the central Arctic over a whole year.

MOSAiC steht für "Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of ArctiClimate".


Photographer and picture editor at the Alfred Wegener Institute and Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. In 2020, she received the prestigious World Press Photo Award. During the first phase of the expedition, Esther Horvath was on board Polarstern and documented the work during the polar night.


The American photographer and filmmaker accompanied the expedition for CIRES of the US University of Boulder, Colorado. Lianna Nixon was aboard Polarstern for four months and was able to experience first-hand what it means to conduct polar research at the time of the midnight sun.


The completion of the Sandstone Pavilion in May 2022 marked the end of the Glacier Garden renovation. Designed by Miller & Maranta, the "bulging rock" is the site for the Glacier Garden film, special exhibitions, and events. ARKTIS is the first special exhibition in the new building.