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.
Here are five things to know about this autonomous territory located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
Facts about Greenland You Didn’t Know
It has the world’s lowest population density
With a population just over 56,000 people, Greenland has the world’s lowest population density and its capital Nuuk is one of the world’s smallest capitals. The national language, Greenlandic, is closely related to Inuit languages of the indigenous population of the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic regions, although people here also speak Danish and most have a good grasp of English.
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They’re Not Eskimos
They will be quite offended if you call them Eskimos. The proper name for an indigenous person from Greenland is Kalaallit, which actually means ‘Greenlander’ in the native Inuit language. 90 percent of its 55,000 inhabitants are Inuit, an indigenous group from Central Asia.
5000 people are Danes. Less than a 1000 people come from other countries – most of them from the Nordics, the other half from Thailand and the Philippines, Lena Lauridsen writes in Inussuk.
Greenland is the biggest island with a land size of over 2 million square kilometers there are no roads or railway systems. All travel between towns is done by plane, boat, helicopter, snowmobile or dogsled.
Only two civilian airports have been built in the country, the largest of which is Kangerlussuaq Airport, in the south-west.
Largest national park in the world
Northeast Greenland National Park (Kalaallisut: Kalaallit Nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq) is the largest national park in the world, with an area of 972,000 km2 (375,000 sq mi), making the park larger than 163 countries. It is the only national park in Greenland, and the most northerly national park in the world, its most northerly point reaching slightly further than the most northerly point in Quttinirpaaq National Park in Canada. The park encompasses the entire northeastern coastline and interior sections of Greenland.
The Sun Never Sets
This only occurs in summer but it’s a pretty cool natural phenomenon. It’s known as the ‘midnight sun’ places north of the arctic circle do not see any darkness all summer. From late April to late August, the sun will rise and colors will change as the day goes on but the sun will still be visible in golden light even throughout the entire night. The longest day of the year, June 21, is also Greenland’s national day.
It was named one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best in Travel for 2016
Perhaps a surprising entry on the Lonely Planet’s list of Best in Travel 2016, Greenland snagged one of the coveted top 10 positions. The organization attributed it to such qualities as the enchanting Northern Lights and the excitement of the upcoming Arctic Winter Games taking place in March.
This unique landscape is wonderful for visitors for here they’ll find fjords that are free of ice, with sparkling channels and relatively luscious landscapes of verdant rolling hills.
Photo credit: Egggeo / wikimedia
A Vibrant Capital City
The capital and largest city in Greenland is Nuuk, with a population of approximately 17,000 people, almost one-quarter of Greenland’s population lives there. Vibrant and funky, the city is the biggest, most cosmopolitan town on the island. It’s home to the University of Greenland, an art museum, sports stadium, cultural center, the National Library of Greenland and the country’s international airport.
One of the best spots in the world to see the Northern Lights in winter
Though winters in Greenland may be long and dark, they do provide the opportunity to see the amazing Norther Lights (aka Aurora Borealis) in all its glory. From September to mid-April, you can see the lights on just about any night the sky is clear, and since there’s little light pollution here, the colors are extremely vivid.
Southern Greenland lies underneath the Aurora Borealis Oval Zone and is, along with Iceland, considered a prime spot for Northern Lights viewing.
Greenland is indeed one of the most fascinating and enigmatic destinations on earth. Alongside a formidable ancient culture that’s distinct, the Arctic wilderness here is simply out of this world.
Watch this increadible video about the Magic northern lights of Greenland from VisitGreenland!
Want to learn more about Greenland? Check our other posts.