Theme Week Greenland

Monday, 19 September 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Nuussuaq district in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, with Sermitsiaq mountain in the background © Oliver Schauf

Nuussuaq district in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, with Sermitsiaq mountain in the background © Oliver Schauf

Greenland is an island country that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is the world’s largest island, it is one of three constituent countries that form the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark and the Faroe Islands; the citizens of these countries are all Danish nationals. Greenland is divided into five municipalities: Sermersooq, Kujalleq, Qeqqata, Qeqertalik and Avannaata. The northeast of the island composes the unincorporated Northeast Greenland National Park. Thule Air Base is also unincorporated, an enclave within Avannaata municipality administered by the United States Space Force. Greenland’s capital is Nuuk. Though a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark, the colonial powers) for more than a millennium, beginning in 986. The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors migrated from Alaska through Northern Canada, gradually settling across the island by the 13th century.

Today, the population is concentrated mainly on the southwest coast, while the rest of the island is sparsely populated. Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside of Antarctica. With a population of 56,081 (2020), it is the least densely populated region in the world. About a third of the population lives in Nuuk, the capital and largest city; the second-largest city in terms of population is Sisimiut, 320 km (200 mi) north of Nuuk. The Arctic Umiaq Line ferry acts as a lifeline for western Greenland, connecting the various cities and settlements.

Greenland has been inhabited at intervals over at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples whose forebears migrated there from what is now Canada. Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, having previously settled Iceland. These Norsemen later set sail from Greenland and Iceland, with Leif Erikson becoming the first known European to reach North America nearly 500 years before Columbus reached the Caribbean islands. Inuit arrived in the 13th century. Though under continuous influence of Norway and Norwegians, Greenland was not formally under the Norwegian crown until 1261. The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century after Norway was hit by the Black Death and entered a severe decline. Soon after their demise, beginning in 1499, the Portuguese briefly explored and claimed the island, naming it Terra do Lavrador (later applied to Labrador in Canada).

Sermiligaaq © flickr.com - Ray Swi-hymn/cc-by-sa-2.0 Greenland Dogs © flickr.com - Markus Trienke/cc-by-sa-2.0 Thule Air Base, operated by the United States since the 1950's © thule.af.mil Aurora Borealis © flickr.com - Nick Russill/cc-by-2.0 Hvalsey Church ruins, built in 1408 © Number 57 Nuussuaq district in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, with Sermitsiaq mountain in the background © Oliver Schauf
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Nuussuaq district in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, with Sermitsiaq mountain in the background © Oliver Schauf
In the early 17th century, Danish explorers reached Greenland again. To strengthen trading and power, Denmark–Norway affirmed sovereignty over the island. Because of Norway’s weak status, it lost sovereignty over Greenland in 1814 when the union was dissolved. Greenland became Danish in 1814 and was fully integrated in the Danish state in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. With the Constitution of 1953, the people in Greenland became citizens of Denmark. From 1961 Greenland joined the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which Denmark joined as a founding member of the EFTA in 1960, but its membership ceased with effect from 1973 when Denmark joined the European Communities. In 1973, Greenland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. However, in a referendum in 1982, a majority of the population voted for Greenland to withdraw from the EEC. This was effected in 1985, changing Greenland to an OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories) associated with the EEC, now the European Union (EU). The associated relationship with the EU also means that all Greenlandic nationals (OCT-nationals) are EU citizens.

Greenland contains the world’s largest and northernmost national park, Northeast Greenland National Park (Kalaallit Nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq). Established in 1974 and expanded to its present size in 1988, it protects 972,001 km² (375,292 sq mi) of the interior and northeastern coast of Greenland and is bigger than all but twenty-nine countries in the world.

In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland; in 2008, Greenlanders voted in favour of the Self-Government Act, which transferred more power from the Danish government to the local Greenlandic government. Under the new structure, Greenland has gradually assumed responsibility for policing, the judicial system, company law, accounting, auditing, mineral resource activities, aviation, law of legal capacity, family law and succession law, immigration and border controls, the working environment, financial regulation and supervision. The Danish government still retains control of citizenship, monetary policy and foreign affairs including defence. It also provided an initial annual subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, which will diminish gradually. Greenland expects to grow its economy based on increased income from the extraction of natural resources. The capital, Nuuk, held the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. At 70%, Greenland has one of the highest shares of renewable energy in the world, mostly coming from hydropower.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Government of Greenland, History, Culture, UNESCO world heritage sites, Cuisine, Tourism, Economy, Foreign relations, VisitGreenland.com, Wikivoyage Greenland and Wikipedia Greenland. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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