Greenland is the world’s largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
The nearest countries are Canada, to the west and southwest across Baffin Bay, and Iceland, east of the country in the Atlantic Ocean.
It is a unique country that people do not know much about it.
The country has been controlled first by Norway and then by Denmark. Once it was part of the EU in 1973 when the country was part of Denmark, but it later left. The majority live in the lower part of West Greenland, while a small part lives in the northern Thule area.
We’ll share some fun facts about the world’s largest island to inspire you to make your dream trip a reality.
Photo credit: Helen / Flickr
Here are 32 fun facts you didn’t know about Greenland
1. The name Greenland means “Land of People.” and it was originally discovered by Vikings in the 10th century.
2. It is the largest island in the world. If you think about Australia and Antarctica – they are continents.
3. Almost 80 percent of the island is covered by ice and glaciers.
4. If all an ice-sheet on Greenland melt, the world’s sea level would rise by 7 meters.
5. The only time the average temperature in the country goes above zero is in July.
6. The population is roughly around 56,000, about 25% live in the capital Nuuk.
7. The largest town in southern Greenland is Qaqortoq, which has been occupied for about 4,300 years.
8. Scientists have estimated that the ice sheet is between 400,000 and 800,000 years old.
9. The fishing and funds from Denmark are the primary sources of income for inhabitants in Greenland.
10. There are no roads connecting the cities.
11. The Hvalsey Church was the first Christian church on the island.
12. The primary transport is by boat. There are less than 3000 cars in the whole country.
Photo credit: Ívar Atli Sigurjónsson / Flickr
13. A full round trip takes 80 hours in each direction.
14. The island became part of the Norwegian Empire in the 13th century.
15. In 1946 The USA offered to purchase Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000.
16. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1979 and began full self-government in 2009.
17. The country has been largely self-governing since 1979, but Denmark oversees some aspects of government.
18. The religion on the island today is mainly protestant Christian.
19. The hydropower renewable energy on the island has great potential.
20. The Greenlandic cuisine is based mostly on fish, sea mammals and birds.
21. The country’s flag has a polar bear in a blue shield – the polar bear is meant to symbolize the fauna of the island and the blue represents the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
22. Danish krone is the currency of Greenland.
23. Recent research confirms that the inhabitants of Greenland originated from eastern Siberia via Canada.
24. “Kayak” and “igloo” are Greenlandic words that became popular and have been adopted by other languages.
25. Coffee in Greenland typically includes whiskey.
26. The world’s largest National Park – Kalaallit Nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq covering an area with over 375,000 square miles can be found here.
27. June 21 is a national holiday and it is the longest day of the year.
28. The country is geographically part of North America, but politically is part of Europe.
29. The official languages of the country are Greenlandic and Danish, though English is widely understood.
30. It is the largest dependent territory by area in the world.
Its remote location, small population and seemingly insular political and economic system make it largely inaccessible to all curious tourists.
Read more interesting articles about Greenland.
Want to learn more about sustainable travel? Check our other posts.