Bright orange fishing boats in the harbour at Ilulissat, Greenland

Greenland - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 25th March 2018

What Continent Does Greenland Belong To?

  • Greenland is a massive island, the largest in the world. (Australia and Antarctica are deemed to be continental land masses.)
  • It is geographically part of North America, but politically it is part of Europe. The inhabitants of Greenland are Inuit, coming from Canada, but originally from Central Asia.
  • Most of Greenland is in the Arctic Circle, so almost eighty percent of the land mass is covered by the second largest ice sheet in the world and glaciers. Though a minority of land, the ice-free area is nearly as large as Sweden. Scientists have estimated that the Greenland ice sheet about two miles thick and between 400,000 and 800,000 years old.
  • The sun does not set from May 25th to July 25th. June 21st, the longest day of the year, is a national holiday. July is the only month when Greenland's temperature rises above freezing.

Is Greenland a Country?

  • The Vikings ‘discovered’ Greenland in the tenth century, and the exiled Erik the Red called it Greenland in the hope that the name would attract more settlers
  • Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953, when it became a country. It attained full home rule in 1981. There is a 31-member parliament called the Landsting, with a prime minister. The nominal head of state is the Danish monarch and the country sends two representatives to the Danish Folketing.
  • The official languages are Greenlandic and Danish; kayak" and "igloo" are Greenlandic words that have been adopted directly by other languages.
  • The currency is the Danish krone

Can You Live in Greenland?

Greenland is a great place to live, if you love nature, don't mind the cold and are happy to to live in a small community.  The total population is 56,081 (2020), making it the least densely populated territory in the world. The capital is Nuuk, with 15,469 inhabitants, so that's the place to head if you'r feeling lonely.

What to See in Greenland?

Again Greenland is a great place to holiday if you love the outdoors and don't mind the cold. The scenery, especially the icebergs and glaciers, is spectacular. And there are plenty of activities on offer - walking kayaking etc. I stayed in Ilulissat and went on a boat trip in Disko Bay, took a freezing husky sled ride and had great views of the Northern Lights

How to Get to Greenland?

From the UK you can fly via Copenhagen or Iceland. There are also boat cruises that call there.

Is Greenland Expensive To Visit?

Greenland is very expensive to visit. Flights and hotels are both costly and nearly all food has to be imported.

Join the discussion, leave a comment

Been there? Something to add? Want some advice? Just want to say Hello? Get in touch…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

hello world!

Newsletter Subscription

Stay in touch. Get travel tips, updates on my latest adventures and posts on out of the way places, straight to your Inbox.

I keep your data private and only share your data with third parties that make this service possible. Privacy Policy. No spam I promise. Unsubscribe any time.