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Netherlands Polar Programme

The Netherlands Polar Programme funds scientific research into and in the polar regions. On behalf of the Netherlands, the programme wants to contribute to solutions for fundamental scientific and socio-political issues, such as the consequences of climate change.

  • Purpose

    As a signatory to the Antarctica Treaty the Netherlands is also obliged to carry out scientific research in Antarctica.

    There is a Dutch research facility on the Antarctic Peninsula, the Dirck Gerritsz lab, and a research station on Spitsbergen.


    The Netherlands Polar Programme (NPP) funds scientific research into and at the polar regions. This programme encourages research into solutions to climate issues.

    The Netherlands is a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty and is therefore obliged to conduct scientific research in the area.



    1. Climate change: Covering the current state and (anticipated) changes in Earth, ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere and their dynamics
    2. Ecosystem dynamics: Covering the state and changes in biology, ecology, stressors and permafrost
    3. Social sciences and humanities: Covering legal, social, economic, political, historical and cultural knowledge
    4. Sustainable development: Covering integrated impact analyses, innovations and cold region technology

    Presence North and South Pole

    One of the focal points is the Gerritsz Laboratory on the Antarctic peninsula. Four mobile laboratories are placed there to form a single research base on the site of the British Rothera research station. The laboratory has been realised in close collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and opened in 2013.

    In the North Pole region a Dutch polar station is established on Spitsbergen. The station is run by the University of Groningen.

  • Budget and duration


    The Netherlands Polar Programme is funded by NWO and:

    • the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science,
    • Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management,
    • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy,
    • Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality,
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    For the period 2021-2025 the budget is annually 3,9 million euro.


    The Netherlands Polar Programme runs from 2021-2025.


    Keep following this page for news about upcoming calls.

    Funding instrument for this programme

  • Partners

    Data management

    Research data from the Netherlands Polar Programme needs to be carefully managed. A data centre has therefore been set up at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). Data and research findings are stored and administered there.


    Arctic and Antarctica each have their own networks. Through participation of its managers and scientists, the NPP is actively engaged with those networks and their corresponding meetings.

    The networks cover three relevant focal areas: Political, Science, Infrastructure & logistics. Information on the most recent contacts for the Netherlands into these networks can be obtained at the Netherlands Polar Secretariat at NWO (Dick van der Kroef or Mascha Dedert)

  • Committees

    Programme committee Netherlands Polar Programme

    • Robert Blaauw (chair)
    • Bas Zwaan (representative NWO Domain Science board, ENW)
    • Harry Garretsen (representative NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities, SGW)
    • Liz ter Kuile (chair Interdepartmental Polar Consultative Body, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    • Arthur Eijs (member Interdepartmental Polar Consultative Body, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management)

    Interdepartmental Polar Consultative Body

    All of the funding partners of the Netherlands Polar Programme are represented in the Interdepartmental Polar Consultative Body.

    • Liz ter Kuile (chair, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    • Arthur Eijs (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management)
    • Dorien Lanting, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
    • Martijn Peijs, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
    • Bert Roukens, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
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  • Pool Symposium 2019

    On Thursday 21 November, 2019 the annual Polar Symposium will take place, organised by NWO-NPP in collaboration with APECS-NL.

    The symposium entitled "Poles under Pressure" is centred around three themes concentrating on the topic of Polar Impacts:

    1. Theme 1 Geopolitical & Economic Pressures;
    2. Theme 2 Ice & Climate under Pressure and
    3. Theme 3 Ecosystem Pressures.

    The symposium will be held in English.

    The deadline for submitting a poster abstract was November 8, 2019.

    Registration by form to attend the symposium was closed on 19 November.


    The symposium will be held at NWO The Hague, Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië 300, room 300.

    08:45    Doors open, reception with coffee and tea
    09:15    Welcome and opening by Robert Blaauw, chair of NPP
                  programme committee

                  Theme 1: Geopolitical & economic pressures

    09:20    Carola van Rijnsoever, Arctic Ambassador,
                  Latest developments: A changing Arctic
    09:40    Coco Smits, TenneT and formerly WUR, Social License to
                  Operate in the Arctic

    10:00    Arthur Eijs, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water
                  management, Developments in the Antarctic Protection
                  Act (WbA)

    10:20    Marlynda Elstgeest, IAATO, Developments of tourism in

    10:40    Eelco Leemans, Clean Arctic Alliance,
                  Arctic Marine Litter: Knowing the sources to find solutions

    coffee break (30 min)

                  Theme 2: Ice and Climate under Pressure

    11:30    Roderik van der Wal, IMAU UU, Antarctic ice sheet
                  changes from the past to the future

    12:00    Stef Lhermitte, TU Delft, Antarctic ice sheets
                  and scientific cooperation with Belgium

    12:20    Jacqueline Stefels, RUG, Dutch contributions to the
                  MOSAiC expedition

    12:40    Poster pitches by early career researchers

                  lunch break with poster sessions (1 hr)

    14:00    Francesca Sangiorgi, UU, Paleo climate of the polar
                  regions and IODP expeditions

    14:20    Femke de Jong, NIOZ, Impacts of freshwater on the
                  Atlantic overturning circulation

    14:40    Annemiek Roeling, Delta Programme,
                  Dutch water policy in relation to polar changes

                  Theme 3: Ecosystems under Pressure

    15:00    Maarten Loonen, RUG, The disappearing landscape
                  of the Arctic (SEES expeditions)
    15:20    Gert Polet, WWF Netherlands, Tuvaijuittuq MPA
                  and other WWF Arctic initiatives
    15:30    Intermezzo: Tristan Visser, underwater sounds of
                  whale communication

    coffee break (20 min)

    16:10    Thomas Lameris, NIOZ, Shorebird chicks grow slower
                  in a warming Arctic

    16:20    NPP secretariat staffNWO-NPP, Update on the
    Netherlands Polar Programme

    16:50    Suzanne Veldink, Panorama Mesdag, Louis Apol on Nova

    17:10    Closing remarks