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A Trip To Finland


After leaving Piteå in Sweden,1 we drove to Finland.  In the city of Pietarsaari/Jacobstad we discovered the unusual Arctic museum called Nanoq.2  Many relevant and interesting facts about Arctic and Antarctic life are displayed in a simple and impressive manner.


And finally, at the end of our big Scandinavia “Cook” tour we went to Turku to honour the first Finish world traveller, Herman Diedrich Spöring.  Unfortunately he passed away just before the end of the Endeavour voyage.  


Spöring was born, and grew up, in Åbo, as Turku was then known, which was then part of Sweden.3  After attending the university in Turku he went to Uppsala and met there Carl von Linné.  


About 1755 he moved to London, where he became a clocksmith.  He got to know Daniel Solander.  In 1768 he joined the Endeavour voyage.


In honour of Herman Spöring there is a memorial stone in the wall of the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum by the river Aura.4  The stone was brought from Spöring Island, New Zealand, and was installed in his remembrance at this place in 1990. 


In the Institute of Migration is a small room for the study of the history of Finnish navigation.  There are many books to look at, including some on Captain Cook.  On a shelf there is a bust of Herman Spöring, unveiled on 21 March, 2007.  It is one of a pair, the other one being at the University of Auckland.5 


On the wall were pictures of some of the places he visited, including Spöring Island, Tolaga Bay.  In a corner was a model of Endeavour.  In the middle of the room was a box, thought by some to be Spöring’s original sea chest.


We hope other members get the chance to see these places.

Teija and Michael Spiekien

Welcoming sign to Nanoq.

We found a reference to James Cook’s farthest south on 30th January, 1774, on one of the displays.

The glass-fronted display in a museum wall

in the port of Turku, formerly Åbo,

south-western Finland.

Herman Spöring  1733 - 71.

The glass makes it difficult to take photographs

as the reflection is so strong.

Michael Spiekien at the Spöring memorial.

Some of the stones in the Spöring memorial.

Inside the small room for the study of the history of Finnish navigation at the Institute of Migration, Turku.

Bust of Herman Spöring.

A model of Endeavour in the corner of the room.

Spöring’s original sea chest?


  1. Cook’s Log, page 22, vol. 38, no. 3 (2015). 
  2. According to www.nanoq.fi/  the word nanoq means polar bear in the Greenland language.
  3. Cook’s Log, page 19, vol. 29, no. 2 (2006). 
  4. Cook’s Log, page 35, vol. 29, no. 4 (2006). 
  5. Cook’s Log, page 12, vol. 38, no. 3 (2015). 

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 34, volume 38, number 4 (2015).

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