on October 10, 2017

Who is this dude with the most glorious ‘stache ever!

The dude in question is Fridtjof Nansen – a tough-as-nails, Norwegian born super-brilliant, ultra-hardcore crazy person with an impossible-to-spell first name and an unstoppable desire to explore the world and make waves as an international humanitarian. Today marks what would have been the 156th birthday of the pioneering Norwegian, who was born in Oslo on October 10,1861.

Nansen found himself gripped by a sense of adventure from a young age. He learned to cross-country ski as many as 50 miles (equivalent to two marathons) a day, every day; alone in the wild with just his faithful dog, a sharp knife, and his glorious ‘stache to keep him company. The 50km cross-country ski race is the longest ski race the Olympics has ever offered. The 1948 Winter Olympic Games was the last time the race was offered, perhaps the race was found akin to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
His love of the outdoors led him to study zoology at the Royal Frederick University, and though a top academic in his field, the wilderness called to Nansen and he took up his skis again. In 1888, he became the first man to lead an expedition across the snow-capped interior of Greenland. A few years later, Nansen attempted to become the first man to reach the North Pole. While the expedition was unsuccessful, he did reach the northernmost latitude of any explorer at that time.
As World War I took hold in 1914, Nansen was forced to halt his explorations and focus on research at home. However, by 1920, his interests shifted from understanding the landscape of the world to influencing the international political climate as the war came to a close. Nansen became one of the world’s great humanitarians as he worked to free hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war and repatriate refugees. He was Norway’s representative in the League of Nations, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and he closely worked with governments and the Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the war. He negotiated a relaxation of the Allied blockade of Europe, allowing food to get through to starving people, and negotiated the repatriation and ethical treatment of displaced persons and refugees, developing techniques still used by the UN today.

He created the Nansen Passport, a travel document for stateless refugees that became recognized by 52 governments around the world and allowed those who were displaced to emigrate and resettle. Nansen was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work helping those without a voice and searching for a home. The adventurer, explorer, scientist, and humanitarian died in 1930 – just a few years before he would have found a way to single-handedly end World War II with his facial hair.
Image Credits: Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive) Bild 102-09772, Google Inc.
Source: BadassOfTheWeek.com, Mirror.co.uk