Pentti Kronqvist

Pentti Kronqvist – Polar explorer and enthusiast

Pentti Kronqvist, the founder and museum director of the museum, was born 1938 in Vaasa. He grew up in Fäboda, Jakobstad, where the museum is located today.

The broad ices of the Gulf of Bothnia already fascinated him as a young boy. Pentti worked at the fire department in Jakobstad for 34 years before he retired from being head of the fire department in 1994. He was a specialised paramedic and rescue diver.

Expeditions to the north

Pentti first participated in an expedition in 1971. The expedition consisted of Erik Pihkala, Christer Boucht and Peter Boucht. Pihkala needed a fourth man and was advised to contact Kronqvist, who was considered to have excellent fitness and dared to take on challenges. The fact that he was a paramedic was also an advantage. Pihkala contacted Kronqvist and this was the beginning of Kronqvist’s Arctic adventures.

In 1973, Pentti traveled with Christer Boucht to Baffin Island in Canada to hike.

In 1976, Christer Boucht wanted to take on a bigger challenge, skiing from northern Greenland to Canada. Pentti was an obvious participant. The third man who accompanied him was his Koivusalo from Vaasa. They went skiing and dog sledding from the US air base in Thule to Grisefjord in Canada. Because of the ice conditions in the Smith Strait, the expedition could not cross the strait as planned and the men had to go further north. The total distance of the expedition was 800 km. Pentti describes the last 400 km as “incredibly tough”. Both the supplies and the mens strength began to run out. However, they were lucky and met Canadian RCM policemen, who drove them on a snowmobile to Grisefjord.

 

In the summer of 1977, Pentti and Boucht visited the Thule area to make a film for Finland’s TV.

In May 1981, Pentti led the Finnish-Norwegian Trans-Greenland expedition across Greenland. Other members of the expedition were Seppo Salomäki (Jakobstad), and the Norwegian brothers Arild and Kjell Bronken. The explorers travelled by own power with skis and sails. The 600 km long journey took 26 days, which made it the fastest expedition in the world across Greenland.

 

 

Over the years, Pentti has made numerous trips to Greenland to visit the Thule-inuites, who have become his friends. Among these trips, Pentti made an expedition to the Thule area in northern Greenland together with Professor Wladimir Goichman in 1984, and in 1990, he travelled to Svalbard with Goichman and Carl-Gustav Eriksson.

 

Pentti has held lectures on the Thule-inuites in, i.a., Finland, Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and France. Pentti and the Nanoq Museum have received many honorary awards and medals from various organizations. Among other things, he is an honorary member of the Finnish Arctic Club and the Finland-Greenland Association.