JUL 25, 2017 Email Page to a Friend Mail to a Friend
Creative Commons


With the autonomous


The mountains appear to be shaped like a prism and stand in a long line, parallel to one another,
between which are snow-filled valleys.


The BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS are the overarching definition for a series of contemporary and scientifically sustainable projects established by The IK Foundation, an undertaking which aims to inspire and contribute to understanding of our shared planet! These projects are grounded in the concepts of retracing and lifting both practical and theoretical knowledge from the Linnaeus Apostles' journeys. The core of said projects revolve around a series of expeditions – with fieldwork in both rural and urban landscapes – which will be used to collect data and knowledge from several of the world's continents. This work incorporates a look into both cultural and societal values of specific regions as well as the measuring of the natural permutations of the landscapes travelled three centuries ago and if they have shifted with the passing of time. In essence the BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS are a mixture of 18th century knowledge and 21st century know-how, two contrasting entities employed in unison to create an endeavour which is interdisciplinary but also groundbreaking within its field. These contemporary expeditions offer insight into the developments and constants of the world we live in, divergences which lay the groundwork for new avenues of knowledge.


Midtøya, Spitsbergen, Svalbard. (MAP VERSION: IK | BBES | v. February 2017). Midtøya, Spitsbergen, Svalbard. (MAP VERSION: IK | BBES | v. February 2017).
Forlandsøyane close to the west coast of Prins Karls Forland, Spitsbergen, Svalbard are highly interesting and important from many points of view. Still, investigation of these islands have been rather limited. The main reason for this is their position and climate. Further, during the latest century, environmental and other protection of their precious nature, flora and fauna as well as their cultural heritage has been very well conducted.

The first known and documented scientific investigation of Forlandsøyane took place on the first of July, 1758. Then, Anton Rolandsson Martin, one of the Linnaeus apostles, managed to get ashore and study the largest of the three Forlandsøya islands, Midtøya. For the purpose of scientific studies of the climate, fauna and flora of Spitsbergen, he was a guest naturalist aboard a whaling ship.

While able to stay on Midtøya for a few hours only, Anton Rolandsson Martin, scientifically trained by Linnaeus and highly motivated, used the time available in a very determined manner. In addition to writing a thorough description of the island, its size, form, climate, fauna and flora, he selected a small but significant rock sample for further studies at home. This sample was documented, studied and classified by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is noted that the same Academy had provided important funding for his Spitsbergen research endeavour.

Spitsbergen Rock Sample The rock specimen is a quartzite with intercalations of grey slate bands and dotted with small pyrites. In 1920 Nils Zenzén identified the sample as the one donated to the Royal Academy of Sciences by Anton Rolandsson Martin. Photo: Jonas Hagström, Department of Palaeobiology at the Swedish Museum of Natural Sciences.
Inspired by the pioneer investigations of Anton Rolandsson Martin, The IK Foundation arranged, in September 2016, partly funded by the LMK Foundation et al, a research expedition to Spitsbergen and, not at least, to Midtøya. The expedition was part of the IK Foundation’s global BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS programme. Just as Anton Rolandsson Martin in 1758, the members of the 2016 expedition studied the west coast of Spitsbergen concerning climate, glaciers, flora and fauna as well as its impressively well-preserved cultural heritage. At the same time, the expedition, guided by Anton Rolandsson Martin’s diary, succeeded in confirming Midtøya as the island visited and studied by him. His diary was additionally first published in English by the IK Foundation in 2007 – The Linnaeus Apostles Global Science & Adventure (Volume Two Book One), together with his Talk On Norwegian Housekeeping based on his observations from a journey to Norway in 1759-1760. More information on Anton Rolandsson Martin as a person and his work can be found in iFACTS and iMAPS.

In addition to the September 2016 expedition, The IK Foundation, supported by the LMK Foundation, decided to attempt further scientific investigations of the west coast of Spitsbergen. This implied initiation of a long-term and large-scale project for further studies of Midtøya, its climate, fauna and flora, all with emphasis on environmental and cultural preservation of this invaluable place, one of very few places on Earth still possessing truly pristine wilderness, an ambitiously sheltered haven for important wildlife species.

As a result, The IK Foundation as project owner and the LMK Foundation as project patron has defined and funded an interdisciplinary project featuring the installation and operation on Midtøya of an autonomous scientific field station, referred to as the ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”. The aim of the station is detailed round-the-clock functions as well as round-the-year scientific studies without disturbing presence of people, with visits to the island by one or two person(s) required only once, possibly twice, per year.


The project has several purposes, all of them regarded as exceedingly valuable for Midtøya, Spitsbergen, Svalbard and our planet and its life as a whole. As our overall and leading purpose, we want to use observational data to support preservation of the wildlife of Spitsbergen and Svalbard as well as contribute to an improved understanding of Planet Earth. It is our clear conviction that carefully performed studies on Midtøya will provide essential tools for better understanding of the interaction between wildlife and humanity. We are convinced that this will lead to promotion of qualitatively improved handling and care of natural resources, in turn fostering sustainably guided behaviour replacing current deplorably ruthless treatment of our common planet and its precious resources.

The studies to be performed include a large number of targets. One, and important, target is the fauna of Midtøya, with emphasis on both mammals and birds. While current life conditions of seals, walruses and polar bears are the best on Earth, they are, unfortunately, seriously endangered by human global careless behaviour. Bird life, very rich and, again, thriving in globally outstanding conditions, is also, sadly, highly endangered by human actions. Our aim is threefold. First, we want to contribute to improved understanding of the animals present on Midtøya. Second, it will be our endeavour to provide data leading to better insights how to favour optimum life conditions for these animals. Third, we aim at supporting efforts to improve global human behaviour in its interaction with nature.

Artists’ impression - birds eye view, Midtøya. Watercolour Måns Sjöberg
Artists’ impression - birds eye view, Midtøya. Watercolour Måns Sjöberg

In parallel to the fauna, we want to study the flora of Midtøya. A rather special climate means a rather special flora. Currently, it is flourishing thanks to the very thorough protection of the land. It is, however, as the fauna, critically endangered by human global behaviour. As for the mammals and birds, we aim at studies of the flora to improve knowledge, insight and protective measures for its survival in optimum conditions. Also as for the fauna, we want to obtain data for the island flora supporting human global realisation that it is very much in our common interest to change and improve our collective behaviour and interaction with Planet Earth.

Over the past century, we have seen and documented highly serious alterations of the nature of Svalbard, the shrinking of glaciers being a clear example. In this context, Midtøya provides probing and evaluation conditions of very special value. It is uncommonly unaffected by local human activities. It is small enough not to impose significant local effects on more global conditions. Thus, observations of the natural conditions on the island and its surroundings as well as their variations are especially significant as probes of the results of global human-induced changes of environmental conditions. Global warming and air and sea pollution can be assessed, leading to improved human activity in a wide sense.

In short, we regard it, for several reasons, highly important to study the conditions prevailing on and around Midtøya. This is a realisation understood by Linnaeus and Anton Rolandsson Martin but later sadly forgotten by humanity. Still, thanks to the very scrupulous restrictions imposed by Svalbard authorities, the special values of the island have been preserved. It will be our serious endeavour to use them to the utmost extent feasible, at the same time as avoiding all significant alien behaviour.

So far, the only way to perform research on Midtøya such as detailed above has been through personal presence on the island. Such presence is in serious contradiction to the much-needed preservative measures imposed by local Svalbard authorities. The natural answer is an autonomous research facility on Midtøya, a field station providing detailed observational data, yet having no significant impact on its environment. We see Martin’s Eye | Naturae Observatio | Field Station as such a facility.


In addition to the overarching goals which are initially described in conjunction with the BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS, the work will seek out what is unique with each chosen Apostle’s work and to study (a selection of):


  • How said Apostles’ knowledge (practical/theoretical) was used after their initial observations in respective countries.
  • If their observations have been used in modern contexts to understand change/happenings or in various analyses.
  • To document a selection of physical locations visited by each respective Apostle and to try and find points of connection between then and now.
  • Comprehensive looks at what benefits and/or influence – if not primarily historical – their journals and documentations have had for their respective nations and subjects.


  • Locate and confirm Anton Rolandsson Martin’s landing place on the west coast of Spitsbergen.
  • To compare Anton Rolandsson Martin’s natural history samples and descriptions with new collections and knowledge.
  • To establish the autonomous MARTIN'S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION as a long-term and large-scale project for further studies of Midtøya, its climate, fauna and flora, all with emphasis on environmental and cultural preservation of this invaluable place, one of very few places on Earth still possessing truly pristine wilderness, an ambitiously sheltered haven for important wildlife species.
  • To follow Anton Rolandsson Martin’s sail route to its most northerly point (almost) 80° N, where he observed the Cape Hakluyt at the 27th of June (79.7837° N, 10.7635° E).
  • Documenting the flora, fauna, geology etc along the route to compare with Martin’s descriptions as well as later expeditions’, and within this context study which similarities and changes these documentations from 250 years of scientific work can be made useful today.
  • Comparing various forms of documentation (text, drawing, photography etc) originating from different expeditions and give present day field artists a possibility to document the natural environment and everyday life of the expedition.
  • Among other matters; to present the results of the project in an exhibition at Grenna Museum - The Andrée Expedition Polar Centre, Sweden, which will be followed by a travelling exhibition and additionally display the conclusions of the project in iLINNAEUS, articles etc.
  • To inspire new interdisciplinary research in the spirit of Anton Rolandsson Martin – one of the first scientific field travellers to the Arctic area whose aims were to understand more about our planet Earth. The idea is to follow – in this case the journey of Anton Rolandsson Martin – through observations but also interactions with people, organisations and institutions in seeking to gain a better understanding of how the Linnaeus Apostles’ work eventually became part of the practical and theoretical framework of knowledge through history. Work which built bridges between then, now and maybe even tomorrow.


  • The expedition is a co-operation between The IK Foundation, Swedish Museum of Natural History, University of Gothenburg (Valand Academy) and Grenna Museum - The Andrée Expedition Polar Centre.
  • The Martin’s Eye | Naturae Observatio | Field Station is a co-operation between The IK Foundation and the LMK Foundation.
  • The main expedition will be carried out in September 2017 during a fieldwork period of nine days, where the project will use the comfortable and ice-strengthened ship M/S Freya as a platform for all of the expeditions participants, used for transport, fieldwork and communication.


The BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS are presented in detail on their dedicated sites under iPROJECTS within iLINNAEUS. Here anyone interested can receive visual and textual updates from our members in the field, as well as results which said expeditions will create. The results themselves will be accessible via iLINNAEUS under the Creative Commons licences which we operate within, as well as in printed articles and publications.

All data collected with Martin’s Eye | Naturae Observatio | Field Station will be made available to all people interested via Internet ( et al). This will be realised under a Creative Commons umbrella, assuring full transparency of all observational data and their results. In addition, we will make special efforts to support as far as possible all researchers and their individual wishes for detailed results. Special efforts will also be made to satisfy wishes from student communities and schools.

We will be more than happy to share data and collaborate with research groups from all over the world. All collected data will be saved in an optimal and easily accessible way. At the same time, we have high hopes and expectations for interesting, valuable and important collaboration with colleagues on Svalbard. In this context, we look forward to close interaction with Sysselmannen authorities, with the Norwegian Polar Institute and its researchers as well as with the University Centre in Svalbard and its staff, to build a positive and innovative base for linked projects within Natural and Cultural History, education as well as extended learning and science. We know that these entities can provide exceedingly valuable advice and guidance for our continued work and its quality.

Interested individuals and organisations with local knowledge within the geographical and subject areas which the expeditions will encompass are welcome to get in touch with the IK Foundation. What is today denoted as Crowd Science was something the Linnaeus Apostles had great adherence to. We are especially interested in reaching out to projects which have used or use modern interpretations of the Apostles' work in their own studies and research!

FIELDWORK INFORMATION | 1st September to 15th September, 2017

    Field documentation (pictures, artwork and text). Establishment of ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”.

FIELDWORK INFORMATION | 1st September to 15th September, 2016

Not Signed In. Sign in | Sign up


In The IK Foundation there are continually ongoing comprehensive projects, each having different character and format. In iPROJECTS the current works and ideas are presented - from fieldwork, research and presentation. For regular updates, and to make full use of iLINNAEUS' possibilities, we recommend fellowship through iFELLOW as well as following us on Twitter - Welcome!


  • (Main title) The Linnaeus Apostles​ ​BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS​ ​To Understand Planet Earth​
  • (Subtitle) BRIDGE BUILDER EXPEDITIONS -​ Spitsbergen (Svalbard)​, ​Norway (Unincorporated area of Norway)


  • Norway (Unincorporated area of Norway)


  • Geography
  • 18th century Studies'
  • Cultural History
  • History of Science
  • Natural History
  • Economic History
  • Field Notes, Arts and Photography​
  • Field station, long-term observations



  • 2015-2016: Preparation and fund raising.
  • 2016 Expedition 1: Field work, research, documentation, publicise and follow-up work.
  • 2016-2017: Preparation, fund raising, production ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”.
  • 2017: Expedition 2: Field work, research, documentation, establish ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”, publicise and follow-up work.
  • 2017-2018: Preparation, fund raising, go live ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”.
  • 2018: Expedition 3: Field work, research, documentation, ”MARTIN’S EYE | NATURAE OBSERVATIO | FIELD STATION”, publicise and follow-up work.
  • and so on...


  • Publications and articles
  • Exhibitions

Become a Philanthropist