The story concerns the true-life travel of Willem Barentsz, who in 1596 tried to find a shorter shipping route to India by going North over Russia through uncharted waters. The ship and its crew got surprisingly far, managing to round the Northern tip of the island Nova Zembla before getting irrevocably stuck in the ice. Plagued by hunger, extreme cold and attacks by polar bears, the men made it through the winter by demolishing their wooden ship and using the planks to build a large shelter on the island. When spring arrived the survivors demolished the shelter, built a smaller boat and managed to travel back to The Netherlands. The script is based on the extensive travel journals written by the expedition's cartographer Gerrit de Veer.