Germany is one of the Consultative Parties of the Antarctic Treaty since 1981 and maintains a long-term commitment to scientific research in Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) as the national co-ordinator, enables Germany to fulfill this role by its research, long term monitoring and survey activities. It provides the main mobile and stationary infrastructure for Antarctic research, and thus maintains the permanent German presence in Antarctica. The new institute was named after one of the really prominent German polar researchers, who developed the first in-depth ideas about continental drift.
In austral summer 1979/1980 a scientific expedition under the leadership of Heinz Kohnen on the Norwegian M/S “Polarsirkel” took place in the Weddell Sea. One major issue was the site survey for the selection of a suitable location to build the German research station. A location on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf at 77°36’South and 50° 40’West was selected as a first choice.
Construction, technology and living conditions on the two German Antarctic research stations Georg von Neumayer Station (GvN, operational 1981/82 to 1992) and Neumayer Station II (NM-II, operational from 1992 through 2007 then replaced by a new Neumayer Station III (NM-III) in 2009
Georg von Neumayer Station (GvN) WAP DEU-Ø1
Neumayer Station II (NM-II) WAP DEU-Ø2
Planned under the supervision of Hartwig Gernandt, Neumayer III Station (70°40’S and 08°16’W) WAP –DEU-Ø8, was inaugurated on 20th February 2009 as the new German Antarctic research Base. It is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institut (AWI) Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-und Meeresforschung and follows the Georg-von-Neumayer Station (1981-1992) WAP DEU-Ø1 and Neumayer II Station (1992-2009) WAP DEU-Ø2 as the German overwintering station on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
Neumayer III Station WAP DEU-Ø3 integrates research, operational and accommodation facilities in one building (see video below).