Holst has described the badges of distinction conferred on Fridtjof Nansen
and Amundsen as laudatory sagas inscribed in metal:
The medals and decorations bestowed on Nansen and Amundsen bear witness to events in their lives and in the history of their time. We should listen to this testimony, listen to what these mementoes of honour tell us about battles and victories. Few biographies hold a stronger appeal to the ambition of youth; indeed, they urge us all to give our very best, each in our own profession.In his studies of the polar regions, Roald Amundsen carried our more practical investigations than did any other scholar. He was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage, recording observations at the magnetic north pole. He was also the first to reach the geographical South Pole, he negotiated the Northeast Passage and led the first airship expedition over the North Pole.
In acknowledgement of his feats, Amundsen received 65 decorations and medals from Norway, Denmark, Belgium, France Germany, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Austria and Italy. Most of these decorations are in gold and a number of them are orders of high distinction.