Kalaallit Nunaat – A part of the Danish Empire

What might be new to many people, if you are not Danish, is that Greenland is a part of Denmark. Greenland is the world’s biggest island and is called “Kalaallit Nunaat” (the Greenlanders land) in Greenlandic.

The capital of Greenland is Nuuk. The island is 2,166,086 km² and the major part of it is covered by the inland ice. 56,749 people live on Greenland, divided between 18 cities, which makes it the least populated country in the world. Their economy is based on the fishing industry, which makes up for 90 percent of the island’s export.

The Greenlandic climate is arctic, and in the hottest months of the year the temperatures don’t go any higher than 10 degrees. Depending on where you are on Greenland you can experience places where the sun never goes down behind the horizon – it is called the midnight sun. If you go to the Arctic Circle you will for example experience two months with the midnight sun.

Many Greenlanders move to Denmark at some point in their life and today, there are 18,563 Greenlanders living in Denmark. The royal family has a very close and personal relationship with the island and its inhabitants, and they all visit it every year wearing their custom-made national costumes.

Unfortunately, Greenlanders have quite a bad reputation in Denmark. They are said to be drunks who spend their day sitting on a bench with other Greenlanders drinking beer. It is especially the younger generation who sees the Greenlanders as alcoholics. We actually have an expression called “Grønlænderstiv”, which directly translated is “Greenlandic wasted” – to get as drunk as a Greenlandic. But, as a Dane and someone who knows people from Greenland this is just a myth, but unfortunately it is also a myth that is hard to shoot down.

Do you have any negative myths in your country? Or about your culture?


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