News Articles

Polar explorer Aarnout Castel an Alaska Pioneer

Connected Far North Coastal Villages With Freight Service

Tags: Dutch Exploration Immigration HistoryVlissingen's connection with Alaska! It is true, the history of the LowLands has an amazing global scope to it, be it by trading corporations such as the VOC and the WIC, by smaller trading partners, by explorers and adventurers, and immigrants. The Dutch left footprints in distant places. Here's a start to my globetrotting series with Vlissingen's native son Aarnout Castel who left some 'calling cards' on Alaska's map: Castel Bay and Castel Cape. Aarnout earned a living along the Siberian coast and Canada included him in its history museum. For years, he operated a freight service along the coast in the Far North. His story became known in the Netherlands when he visited his 93-year old mother in late 1953 after an absence of 43 years. Aarnout Castel married into an Eskimo clan and had eight children, according to the Dutch illustrated magazine Panorama which ran a feature article on him of several pages in January 1954.