Two sediment cores of 70 and 252 cm length were recovered from Hjort Sø, a small lake on Store Koldewey, Northeast Greenland, and studied with a multidisciplinary approach in order to reconstruct the local environmental history and to test the relevance of proxies for paleoenvironmental information. The basal sediments from the longer core are dominated by clastic matter, which was likely deposited during deglaciation of the lake basin. These clastic sediments are overlain by gyttja, which is also present throughout the shorter core. AMS radiocarbon dating was conducted on plant macrofossils of 11 samples from the gyttja in both cores. A reliable chronology was established for both cores, which dated the onset of organic accumulation at 9,500 cal. year BP. The Holocene temperature development, with an early to mid Holocene thermal maximum, is best reflected in the grain-size composition. Nutrient availability was apparently low during the early Holocene and led to low productivity in the lake and its vicinity. From ca. 7,000 cal. year BP, productivity in the lake increased significantly, probably induced by external nutrient input from goose excrements. From this time, micro- and macro-fossil remains reflect relatively well the climate history of East Greenland, with a cooling during the middle Holocene, the medieval warming, and the Little Ice Age. The amount of organic matter in the sequence seems to be more affected by lake ice cover or by nutrient supply from the catchment than by temperature changes. The record from Hjort Sø thus reveals the difficulties in interpreting sedimentary records from high arctic regions. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.