QUEEN is a program of the European Science Foundation (ESF) which aims at deciphering the Late Quaternary history of a remote part of our world whichhoweveris of eminent importance for an understanding of mid- to long-term climatic variations over the last two climatic cycles, some 200,000 years. The ambiguities of reconstructions of the extent of the Eurasian ice sheets and the poor understanding of the paleoenvironment of the Arctic Ocean have attracted research groups to conduct field studies in northern Eurasia and marine expeditions to the adjacent shelf and the Arctic Ocean. Such a substantial number of studies was conducted in bilateral cooperations between scientific institutions in Russia and in western Europe that the ESF decided to bring them together under the QUEEN umbrella.An important step for QUEEN was the publication of a first volume of scientific papers (Larsen et al., 1999E. Larsen, S. Funder and J. Thiede, Editors, Late Quaternary History of Northwestern Russia and Adjacent ShelvesBoreas vol. 28 (1) (1999), pp. 1242.Larsen et al., 1999). It included a comprehensive reconstruction of the extent of Weichselian ice sheetsespecially of those at the Last Glacial maximum (LGM) (Svendsen et al., 1999). The results of QUEEN field work demonstrated that the LGM ice sheet was substantially smaller than had previously been anticipated by especially one influential school of scientists (e.g. Grosswald, 1998). QUEEN now presents its second volume of scientific papers to an international community, as this special issue of Global and Planetary Change. The 26 papers have been selected so that they address two major issues: (1) the Late Quaternary paleoenvironmental history of the Arctic Ocean and its shelf seas, and (2) the terrestrial and limnic stratigraphy and paleonvironmental history of the Late Quaternary in northernmost Eurasia. In each of the sections, we progress from general overviews to considerable regional detail. The geographical distribution of the localities addressed in the various papers is illustrated in Fig. 1. The collected papers of this volume largely derive from new data presented at the annual QUEEN workshop held in Øystese (Norway, April 1999)to some extent the results were updated after the subsequent workshop in Lund (Sweden, April 2000).