Facts about Greenland

Oqaatsut
Photographer
Silje Bergum Kinsten/norden.org
Greenland has been populated for 5,000 years, by people from Arctic region and Europe. Although part of the North American continent, geopolitically the island is part of Europe.

Although it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark Greenland enjoys wide-ranging autonomy, which was extended in 2009. However, this does not include foreign and security policy or currency policy.

Politics in Greenland

Greenland is not a member of the EU, but has a special fisheries agreement and was accepted as one of the overseas countries and territories with special association with the EU.

  • National day: 21 June (longest day of the year)
  • Form of government: Self-government, within the kingdom of Denmark
  • Parliament: Inatsisartut (31 members)
  • EU membership: From 1 January 1973 to 1 February 1985
  • NATO membership: Since 1949 (as part of Denmark)
  • Head of state: Queen Margrethe II
  • Head of government (since April 2021): Múte Bourup Egede (Inuit Ataqatigiit)

Population

Greenland has a population of fewer than 56,000, with 18,000 in the capital, Nuuk.

  • Population in 2020: 56,081
  • Population of the capital in 2017: 18,000 (Nuuk) (1)

The population of Greenland

The Greenland economy

Sealing, whaling, fishing and hunting are the main sources of income, but Greenland also has a growing tourist industry as well as some mining.

Per capita GDP is €25,000 (2006).

  • Currency: Danish krone (DKK)

The geography of Greenland

Greenland is the world’s biggest island. Almost 80% of it is covered by the ice cap and glaciers. The ice-free area is almost as large as Sweden but only a very small part of it is arable.

  • Total area: 2,166,086 km2
  • Inland ice and glaciers: 1,755,637 km2
  • Ice-free area: 410,449 km2
  • Highest point: Gunnbjørn’s Fjeld 3,693 m
  • Coastline: 44,087 km
  • Borders: 0 km
  • Forests: 1 km2

The climate and environment of Greenland

Greenland is in the polar zone, where winter temperatures reach as low as -50°C and summer temperatures rarely exceed 10–15°C. Due its size, however, temperatures can vary considerably from one part of the country to another.

  • Average temperature Nuuk (1990-2018): -1.7°C (max. 19.3°C, Min. -20.7°C)
  • Precipitation (2006): Aasiaat 352 mm, Tasiilaq 742 mm

Average temperature in Nuuk

Degrees Celsius

 

Greenlandic

The official language, Greenlandic, is spoken by the majority, although a small proportion of the population considers itself bilingual and uses Danish as a parallel language.

Are you interested in moving to Greenland?

If you are interested in moving to Greenland, contact Info Norden, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ information service.

Do you want to know more about Greenland and the rest of the Nordic countries?

The biennial report State of the Nordic Region provides a comprehensive and unique insight into the Nordic countries, drawing on statistical data on demographics, the labour market, education and the economy in the Region.

Would you like more statistics?

We have collated relevant Nordic data and statistics in the Nordic Statistics database. Learn more here.

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1) Sermersooq municipality