Scientific capacities and logistics of a global scale are currently bundled for the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/08 to further foster and focus multidisciplinary and cooperative research in the polar regions of our planet. Being faced with the presently occurring climatic and environmental change, the purpose of the IPY is to comprehensively investigate the current status as well as past changes at various time scales, but also to explore regions of previously unknown geoscientific and ecological systems. The German research institutions are participating in the IPY with a broad band of geoscientific, climatic, biological and human-sociological studies, supported by a large infrastructure and future-oriented technologies. After the first half of the IPY, we will now draw an intermediate resume in which we present the state of the organisation and activities of IPY projects, illustrate the newly and continuously operated infrastructure and show examples of education, outreach and media activities. Scientific highlights from field work in the Arctic and in Antarctica, in which German scientists have participated in over 20 IPY projects so far, will be presented.