Greenland is a land full of raw, pristine natural beauty. However, it is also one of the least visited countries in the world due to the difficulty of accessing it. Nonetheless, there are many fascinating facts about Greenland you should know and probably experience if you ever get the chance.
Common Facts About Greenland
Greenland is famous as “Inuit Nunaat,” meaning the “Land of The People.” It is an Island country in North America, although it is also a part of the Danish Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland has an approximate population of 57,000 people.
But do you know the one unfortunate Greenland fact? Its geographical location and untouched terrain make it seem like one of the most isolated countries in the world. As such, there are many lesser-known facts about Greenland.
However, this beautiful Arctic country is the biggest island country in the world. And it has a fair share of rich culture and history that is certainly worth discovering.
Historical Facts About Greenland
Greenland Is Over 1000 Years
There are many talks about how old the country is. One interesting fact about Greenland is that it has archeological evidence of human habitation from 2500 BC.
In the 10th century, many Norsemen from Iceland moved to southern Greenland to create a settlement. Before that, though, North Americans have already flocked to the country and settled there.
That said, even prior to their arrival, It is believed that certain indigenous groups already lived there. However, these original settlers that habituated the region were said to have faced a mysterious death as the cause of death are still unknown.
In the 13th century, the Inuit people from Asia migrated to Greenland, and you can still find descendants of the Inuit people there today.
World Largest Park
Tapping on its geographical advantage, this is one of the most exciting facts about Greenland. It houses the world’s largest park, the Northeast Greenland National Park.
This park was built in 1974 and further expanded in 1988. It is also one of the world’s largest protected areas. Interestingly, this park is larger than many countries in the world.
The park is about 972,200 square km and also serves as a sanctuary for Arctic wildlife. It’s not just a place worth visiting, but one of the main reasons why any traveler goes to Greenland.
The Origin Of The Greenland Name
The name Greenland is unique. Why? You might ask.
One Greenland fact that many may not know is that the land is not that green. Greenland has more of an arctic climate and 80% of the land is covered by ice.
So you can imagine the name did not come because of the region’s geography. Greenland got its name from a Viking, “Eric the Red.” Many consider him the father of Greenland.
In the 90s, Eric the Red was exiled from Iceland for killing someone. To attract more settlers, the Vikings named the place “Land of the People,” better known as Greenland.
Air Base For WWII
Here is one piece of Greenland information you need to know. This Island country played an important role during WWII. The country’s location was very strategic, considering it sits between North America and Europe. It made it easy for the allies during the war.
3 major airports played a major role during the war. The U.S. built Kangerlussuaq, Blue East Two, and Narsaruaq to support the war.
Two of these airports (Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsuaq) are still functional. The third is abandoned, although it still has some ruins from that period.
World Ice Golf Championships
As much as Greenland is still a relatively untouched country that is still being explored, it has many interesting offerings. Here’s one interesting fact about Greenland, it hosts a world championship tournament.
Uummannaq, a city in Greenland, has been hosting the event for over 20 years since 1999. This exciting golf tournament played on the ice in extremely cold weather is impressive and unique.
Many players flock to the country for this 2-day tournament in a bid to be crowned the world ice golf champion. If you have what it takes, your can plan your next travel toward the start of the tournament.
Useful Facts About Greenland For Travelers
Hot Springs In Greenland
Who doesn’t love to bathe in a hot spring? If you are a fan of relaxing in warm waters, Uunartoq Island in Greenland houses several hot springs. Yeah, it’s surprising, considering the country is more ice. But this is certainly a pleasant and welcomed surprise!
Beyond its fascinating landscapes, there are hot springs in a certain region of Greenland. These springs are open to all. When planning your visit, factor in some relaxation time to take a bath there.
Summer In Greenland
There are many fun facts about Greenland, but this one stands out for all travelers who can’t stand the cold.
The southern part of Greenland enjoys mildly warm summers. Temperature around this time can rise up to 61°F (16°C). There is no better time to visit Greenland than this as you get to immerse in the outdoor experience on offer, without shivering in your boots.
Transportation In Greenland
Here’s some quick information about Greenland. The country’s major mode of transportation is air traffic and boats. It’s no surprise considering the natural terrain.
Greenland is more water and ice sheet, so you have lesser bus stops and more boats, heliports, and airports. You can also try dog sleds and snowmobiles if you are up for the adventure.
3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Considering the location of Greenland, it is understandable why you might be surprised it has a UNESCO Heritage Site. Interestingly, there are not just one but three such sites in Greenland. And they are worth a peek on your next trip there.
Sermeq Kujalle (one of the world’s active glaciers), Kujataa (subarctic farming landscape), and Aasivissuit, Nipisa (Inuit hunting site) are the 3 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Greenland to check out.
Northern Lights In Greenland
One of the best places in the world to catch the northern light is Greenland. Although other cities in the Arctic circle also provide opportunities in this regard, Greenland offers its own charms with its crazy raw terrain.
Parts of Greenland are directly under an Aurora (known as polar lights,) ”Borealis.” This beautiful natural light display in the sky is like nothing you will ever see. It is a bucket list worthy experience for sure.
Some popular places in Greenland to see the northern lights include Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
Cultural Facts About Greenland
Hunting A Part Of The Culture
With its cold climate and distant location from other countries, hunting is a way of life in Greenland. While Greenlanders love hunting, it is also because they have little choice when it comes to gathering food.
That said, Greenland has relatively rich wildlife. Even though the ice sheet covers about 80% of the country, reindeer and musk oxen are some of the thriving animals in the country.
The local communities in Greenland adopt whaling and hunting for food and culture. If you want to participate in a traditional Greenlandic culture, you can join in hunting and try some of the foods.
Ethnicity And Religion In Greenland
Although there is evidence of North Americans, Norsemen, and Inuit Asians in Greenland’s ancestry, it doesn’t reflect much in the modern-day Greenland culture.
89% Inuit, 7.5% Danish, 1,1% Nordic, while others are 1.9%. Here’s one Greenland fact you can probably guess – The only religion in Greenland is Christianity. Most of the Greenlandic people are members of the Church of Greenland.
Soup As The National Dish
Who would have ever guessed that soup would be a national dish? Suaasat is a meat-based soup that has varying options as the base ingredient. It could be a seal, whale, reindeer, or seabird.
Usually, the soup has onions and potatoes as added ingredients. Bay leaves, salt, and pepper are the main seasoning. When you travel to Greenland, make sure you try a bowl of Suaasat. You will almost certainly enjoy it regardless, as warm soup in cold weather is always a comforting option.
More Boats Than Cars
This is an obvious fact about Greenland that you can definitely observe upon visiting. There are more boats than cars in Greenland. Since there are few roads, many people prefer owning boats and helicopters to cars in Greenland.
The roads connecting cities in Greenland are scares because of the fjords between cities. There are just over 3,000 registered cars in Greenland.
Fascinating Greenland Facts For Kids
World Largest Island
There’s still a debate as to which island is bigger, Australia or Greenland. They both have a case to plead, but Australia is more than a country but also a continent. When considering a large island based on country? Greenland wins it.
Greenland is the largest Island country which is not a continent. It has an area of 2,166,086 square km.
Greenland’s Flag And Coat Of Arm
There are many ironic and interesting facts about Greenland; the flag and coat of arms epitomize some of them.
Greenland’s flag doesn’t feature the color green. The Greenland flag is a bicolor flag featuring White and red equal horizontal stripes. White on top, red at the bottom. The middle features a circle dived into two equal parts, with the red and white swapping sides, red on top and White below.
The flag was designed in 1985 by a Greenlander in Thue Christiansen. The coat of arms features a polar bear in a blue shield. The blue represents the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The bear represents the fauna of Greenland.
Greenland, America, And Europe
Here’s an interesting fact for kids about Greenland. Greenland is one of the very few countries in North America that have a tie with Europe, as it is part of the kingdom of Denmark.
The official language in Greenland is Greenlandic, although English and Danish are also some of the recognized languages in the country. The official currency in Greenland is the Danish krone.
Other Interesting Greenland Facts
Greenland’s Ice Cap
Did you know that 80% of Greenland’s land area is white? It is ironical how a land called green is mostly white. That said, one impressive Greenland fact to know is that it has the second-largest ice sheet in the world, only behind Antarctica.
Another important geographical fact about Greenland’s ice cap is that when combined with Antarctica, they make up 99% of the earth’s freshwater reserve. Based on a scientific study, the Greenland ice has been suggested to be at least 250,000 years old.
No Airport In Nuuk
How often do you see a country’s capital without an airport? Well, that’s another unique fact about Greenland. The country’s international airport is located in Kangerlussuaq, less than 320km from Nuuk.
Due to the geography of Greenland, they face many transportation challenges from both the weather and terrain. Kangerlussuaq has relatively more stable weather conditions and flatter terrain. This makes the area more suitable to house an airport.
Nuuk is surrounded by mountains, which makes it hard for flights to land. Therefore affecting its chances of having an airport.
The Longest Road In Greenland Is 35km.
Volkswagen built a road in Greenland for easier access to their test track on inland ice. The road from the Greenland Ice sheet to Kellyville Research Station goes through Kangerlussuaq. It is the longest road in the country at just 35km.
Visitors can enjoy plenty of sightseeing opportunities while driving on this road. It also provides convenient access for scientific researchers on a quest to the ice cap.
Farming In Greenland
Despite being mostly white and icy, there is actually a green portion in Greenland. The southern part of Greenland lies below the Arctic Circle. In this region, sheep farming, caribou, and root vegetables are some of the major occupations.
It’s a good place to feel the greenness of Greenland, as the fjords here are ice-free. And you can feel the biodiversity of Greenland there from the flowers and fauna.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Greenland
Greenland is a fascinating country with an extraordinary landscape, biodiversity, and culture. These are just some of the amazing Greenland facts, but the relatively untouched land still has plenty more to be uncovered.
For those looking for an adventure off the beaten path, Greenland offers limitless opportunities for exploration and discovery. There is something special awaiting every traveler who visits this remarkable part of North America. If you get the opportunity, be sure to visit and learn more interesting facts about Greenland.