Born in Hannover. Educated
first at the Hannover Polytechnic, in 1867 he graduated from the
University of Göttingen. He
made his first voyage in 1853.
In 1868–1870 Koldewei
made two voyages in order to reach the North Pole between
Spitsbergen and Greenland.
The initiator of these expeditions was the German geographer A.
Peterman, the author and promoter of the hypothesis of the
existence of the open sea in the polar space. He
believed that it was only necessary to break through the ice barrier
lying north of Spitsbergen, and then the path would be free. Mastering
this route promised huge material benefits, and Germany, which for
many years stood apart from the Arctic problems, decided to send an
expedition led by Koldewei.
The expedition vessel, a small yacht “Germany”, left Bergen on
May 24, 1868 and headed to the east coast of Greenland. At
120–130 km from Greenland, in the region of 75° N,
they entered the
several vain attempts to break through to the north in this area,
Koldewei went to Spitsbergen and in the middle of September tried to
go north from there. He
managed to reach 81° 04′N. Winter
was coming, and Koldewey hurried back.
Failure did not shake Peterman, and he found funds for organizing
a second, more ambitious expedition. They
built the steamer "Germany", which was attached to the sailing
vessel "Hansa", re-equipped for navigation in ice conditions.
Peterman believed that the best ice conditions should be between
Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, and offered to send one of the ships
Koldewei categorically opposed this and, going to a conflict with
Peterman, sent both vessels on last year’s route to the east coast
"Germany" off the coast of Greenland
Under 74° 04′ N in
an impenetrable fog, the ships lost each other and never again met. Squeezed
with ice, the “Hansa” was swept away to the south and crushed at 70 ° 52
′ N. The
crew, disembarking on an ice floe, drifted along the eastern coast
of Greenland for 200 days and then reached the south-western coast
with great difficulty on boats. "Germany"
managed to reach the coast of Greenland and cross the latitude of 75° ,
where the expedition stopped for the winter. One
of its participants, later famous
undertook a luge ride along the coast. Having
risen to a height of 1220 m, he saw the sea covered with ice to the
the next trip, Koldewey and Payer reached 77° latitude
and only solid ice was also seen from a height of 300 m. An
important achievement of the second expedition Koldevey was
clarifying the configuration of the northern coast of Greenland.
Both expeditions of the Koldewei showed the inconsistency of
Peterman’s hypothesis, which, however, remained self-righteous for a
long time, becoming the initiator of the subsequent expeditions of
Payer - Weyprecht and De
In 1871, Koldewey became an assistant at the Hamburg Marine
Observatory, where he processed the meteorological and hydrographic
results of the expeditions. When
founding the Imperial Naval Observatory in Germany, he was appointed
head of the department.
He died in Hamburg.
the archipelago of Franz-Josef Land. Opened
and named in 1874 by Yu. Payer.
Koldevey) near the coast of East Greenland. Discovered
in 1870 by the Koldevey's expedition.
in the southwest of the Beich Peninsula on the east coast of
Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
the west coast of Wilhelm Island in the Hinlopen Strait. The
coordinates are 79° 00'N 20° 00'E.