14 Things You Didn’t Know About Greenland

The world’s biggest noncontinental island with the world’s sparsest population. Which place can it be?

Greenland, of course.

Is there anything else you know about this country except the unpredictable weather, icebergs and polar bears? Not much, right? Let me help you with some facts about Greenland you might have never heard of:

1. Greenland is a country in the Arctic with a population of ~56.000, a quarter of which lives in the capital, Nuuk.

2. The average daily temperature of Nuuk varies over the seasons between -8 and 7°C.

2 HU greenland intext 13. The official language of the country is Greenlandic, an Eskimo-Aleut language, but most people also speak Danish and some English.

4. In the early 18th century Denmark established sovereignty over Greenland. Nowadays it’s running mostly like an independent country due to the home rule in 1979, but it’s still a part of the Kingdom of Denmark which retains control of foreign affairs and defence and monetary policy.

2 HU greenland intext 25. It’s called Greenland because the Viking, Erik the Red, desired to colonize it and lure people from Europe to the island. He was a liar. It’s not green.

6. Two-thirds of the population are Greenlandic Inuit, whose ancestors were the Thule people who migrated out of Asia over the Bering Strait. The remaining third are of European descent, mainly Greenland Danes

7. There are no roads connecting towns in Greenland – you can take a plane, a boat, a snowmobile or a dogsled.
2 HU greenland intext 38. The ice sheet covering 2/3 of the island is over 2 km thick.

9. Being at such a high latitude, the country is dark all winter and light all summer. In the northern part, there are 120 days a year when the sun never sets, 108 when it never rises, and 137 when there’s both light and dark.

10. The suicide rate is very high, and Greenlanders have a problem with alcohol consumption as well.

2 HU greenland intext 411. According to the legend, Qivitoqs are half-dead half-alive as strong as animals who roam the land at night. Sounds creepy doesn’t it?

12. There is an enormous amount of dogs in Greenland, which is no wonder as they’re taking a big part in dog sledding. What surprised me is the fact that these dogs cannot be taken below the Arctic Circle – in case it happens, they can never return. Also, any other kinds of dogs are prohibited to go above the Arctic Circle for fear that they’d interbreed with the Greenland dogs.

2 HU greenland intext 513. There are few land mammals in Greenland: polar bear, reindeer, arctic fox, wolf, arctic hare, musk ox and stoat and all in all around 500 plant species.

14. Santa lives in Greenland! In Ilulissat, to be exact. In the town centre there is a gigantic mailbox full of kid’s letters. And the best part? There are some volunteers, who answer them in the name of Santa. Or more precisely – they are Santa Claus.

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