Nansen2020 postponed till 2021

Submitted by Thorsten on 13th March 2020

Today, we regret to announce that we will be postponing our Nansen2020 expedition for a year until 2021. We have already touched base with all our expedition partners and are grateful that all our collaborations and the expedition concept will remain in place for next year as well.

What happened?

This decision comes after a string of unfortunate events over the past four weeks. It began when two of our members decided they did not want to come to Greenland with us after all. Being already down one expedition member, that left us with three out of six spots on the team filled and sent us into a scrambling mode to evaluate our options. We threw around some ideas ranging from taking a smaller team over hiring a guide to postponing the expedition for a year and concluded that there is currently no way to go ahead with the original plans without a huge impact on our expedition budget, so we reached out to our partners informing them of our decision to postpone over the past weeks.

On top of all that, the current global COVID-19 pandemic has hit Europe in force and is making international travel difficult. We had a training expedition to Hardangervidda planned for next week, which we’ll now have to cancel as well. Given this situation, it turns out we made the right decision. There’s no way to tell what impact this will have on our training plans, but it would have made any training before the summer and searching for and meeting possible new team mates exponentially more difficult.

Where does that leave us?

We are very grateful that all our expedition partners have come back to us saying they will continue supporting us through next year. I’d like to thank the UNHCR, Nathan Smith and the University of Manchester and the Fram Museum at this point for their flexibility and understanding. That means the expedition concept will remain in place. We will still go ahead and celebrate Nansen’s amazing legacy, and we can even keep the celebration of the centenary of his humanitarian work intact. Although Nansen started to work on international relief efforts in 1920, he was only appointed the first High Commissioner for Refugees in 1921.

It also means we will have more time to prepare ourselves, train for the expedition, approach sponsors and raise money for the UNHCR. We can do all that from a better starting point than last year since we’re working with a fleshed-out concept and already have our collaborations in place. That isn’t a bad thing.

We are naturally disappointed it has come to this, but are confident that this will help us to better hit our goals. Our priority will be to build up an expedition team again now, applying what we learned from last year.

Nansen2020 postponed till 2021


Keen hiker and ├ľAV trekking and hiking guide, in love with Nansen. Owner of the most walk-averse rescue dog ever. Ice cream lover, kit junkie, runner and mad software genius.