Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Difference between revisions of "Greenland"

From Wikitravel
North America : Greenland
Jump to: navigation, search
(Work)
(Work)
Line 176: Line 176:
 
==Work==
 
==Work==
  
Skilled workers (teachers and doctors in particular) are always needed, knowledge of Danish or preferably Greenlandic are necessary, except at the University of Greenland in Nuuk which does offer some programs in English. Foreigners, including most EU/EEA nationals (Greenland is not part of the EU/EEA) require a work permit in advance, which needs to be vetted and approved both by the Danish immigration authorities and the Government of Greenland. Danish citizens and other nationals of the '''Nordic Passport Area''' (Faeroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Sweeden) are exempt. Some types of short-term work (such as teaching, performing, installation technicians, and certain types of contract-work) do not require a work permit under any circumstances. See [http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/greenland/greenland.htm]
+
Skilled workers (teachers and doctors in particular) are always needed, knowledge of Danish or preferably Greenlandic are necessary, except at the University of Greenland in Nuuk which does offer some programs in English. Foreigners, including most EU/EEA nationals (Greenland is not part of the EU/EEA) require a work permit in advance, which needs to be vetted and approved both by the Danish immigration authorities and the Government of Greenland. Danish citizens and other nationals of the '''Nordic Passport Area''' (Faeroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Sweeden) are exempt. Some types of short-term work (such as short-term teaching, performing, installation technicians, and certain types of contract-work) do not require a work permit under any circumstances. See [http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/greenland/greenland.htm]
  
If you have residency (permanent or temporary) in Denmark, you do '''not''' have any automatic immigration privileges in Greenland, although you can visit for up to 90 days without a visa even if you are a citizen of a country that would normally require one. Keep in mind that under Danish immigration law, time spent in Greenland is considered time outside of Denmark for residence permit purposes, and a long visit or work assignment in Greenland (i.e. 6 months or more) could cause your permit to lapse. Contact the immigration department if this may apply to you. (Note that for purposes of applying for <u>citizen</u>, time spent in Greenland fully counts as it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.)
+
If you have residency (permanent or temporary) in Denmark, you do '''not''' have any automatic immigration privileges in Greenland, although you can visit for up to 90 days without a visa even if you are a citizen of a country that would normally require one. Keep in mind that under Danish immigration law, time spent in Greenland is considered time outside of Denmark for residence permit purposes, and a long visit or work assignment in Greenland (i.e. 6 months or more) could cause your permit to lapse. Contact the immigration department if this may apply to you. (Note that for purposes of applying for Danish <u>citizenship</u>, time spent in Greenland fully counts as it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.)
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==

Revision as of 14:29, 10 February 2012

[[File:noframe|250px|frameless|Greenland]]
Location
[[File:noframe|250px|frameless]]
Flag
[[File:Gl-flag.png|108px|frameless]]
Quick Facts
Capital Nuuk (Godthåb)
Government Parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy
Currency Danish krone (DKK)
Area total: 2,166,086 km2
land: 2,166,086 km2 (410,449 km2 ice-free, 1,755,637 km2 ice-covered) (est.)
Population 56,344 (July 2007 est.)
Language Greenlandic (Kalaallisut), Danish, English
Religion Evangelical Lutheran
Country code +299
Internet TLD .gl
Time Zone UTC to UTC-4

Greenland (Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat; Danish: Grønland) [1] is the world's largest non-continental island, in the far northeast of North America, largely within the Arctic Circle. Although it is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it was granted self-government effective in 1979, more recently it voted for more autonomy, in effect making it a separate country with formal ties to Denmark. Some inhabitants are now projecting the eventual road to independence. Copenhagen remains responsible for its foreign affairs, and of course is a source of investment. The closest neighbouring countries are Iceland to the South-East, Canada to the West and Svalbard in Norway to the North-East.


Contents

Understand

Although some maps with flat projections of the globe tend to make Greenland look the size of Africa, it is actually "only" about the size of Mexico. Greenland has the world's lowest population density.

It represents some 97% of the area of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Danish territorial claim is rooted in the 10th-century explorations of the Vikings, though administrative power has changed hands several times over the centuries due to developments in Europe. The native Greenlanders, or Kalaallit, are Inuit descendants of nomads from northern Canada. ("Eskimo" is offensive in some parts of the Arctic.)

According to the Icelandic Sagas, Erik the Red chose the name "Greenland" to entice settlers from Iceland. In fact, Greenland has far more ice cover (about 84% of its surface area) than Iceland does, but the southern coasts the Vikings settled are green in summer, and were likely more so during the Medieval Warm Period.

Be careful with maps of Greenland, as many Greenlandic names simply reference a particular geographical feature. For example, "Kangerlussuaq" means "Big Fjord" and so is not only the Greenlandic name for Søndre Strømfjord.

When visiting a city or village don't be afraid to ask for directions of shops, places to eat or somewhere to sleep, even if you think there might not be any. Most places (even Nuuk) are small enough for everyone to know where everything is, and therefore no one bothered to put up a sign. Don't be surprised to find a fully equipped supermarket inside a grey factory-like building in the middle of nowhere.

Cities

Greenlandic places generally have two names: the (traditional and now official) Greenlandic, or Kalaallisut, and the (once but no longer official) Danish. Greenlandic is abbreviated 'kl;' Danish is 'da.'

Other destinations

  • The Summit - the highest point on the ice cap, and a very inhospitable place, but nonetheless well visited by scientists drilling into the ice

Regions

Regions of Greenland
Southern Greenland
Nicknamed "Sineriak Bananeqarfik" (Banana Coast) by the locals, this is the most easily accessed part of Greenland and the one subject to the least extreme temperatures
Western Greenland
Location of the capital Nuuk (Godthåb).
Eastern Greenland
Sparsely populated, the gateway to the national park
Northern Greenland
Northern Greenland is the northernmost inhabited region, much of it occupied by the Northeast Greenland National Park


Get in

Passports and Visas

If you do not need a visa for Denmark, you can generally visit Greenland for up to 90 days in a half year without a visa, although your passport must be valid for at least three months after your visit.

If you do require a visa for Denmark, keep in mind that Schengen area visas issued for visits to mainland Denmark are not valid for Greenland or the Faeroe Islands. You will need a separate visa, which can be applied for at any Danish diplomatic post or embassy along with your Schengen visa for the mainland (and you will need both as the only practical routes to Greenland are via Denmark or Iceland, which are both Schengen signatories).

If you're planning work or study in Greenland, you'll need an appropriate visa, although certain types of work (teaching, consulting, artists, and a few others) as well as short term research are exempt from needing a work/ study permit if the time spent in Greenland is less than 90 days. For more information see [2].

Immigration and border formalities on entering Greenland tend to be very low key. Questioning is minimal and except at Kangerlussuaq, which has a traditional passport control desk, border staff will either meet your plane on the tarmac or may simply give an all clear to disembark. Airlines send passenger manifests ahead of time to immigration and if there are no concerns, they won't always send somebody - especially at smaller airports. If you need your passport stamped (i.e. for a residence permit) you may need to seek out border staff yourself or get in touch with Greenland Homerule to obtain the stamp.

Expedition Permits

If you stay on the typical tourist paths you do not need any permissions, but any expeditions (including any trips to the national park, which by definition are expeditions) need a special permit from the Danish polar centre. If travelling with an agency they will usually take care of the paperwork for you. If you are entering or travelling through Thule Air Base, you also need a permission from the Danish department of foreign affairs, since it is a US military area (except for children under 15, Danish police and military, US military or US diplomats). See Qaanaaq for details.

By plane

Trans-oceanic service to Greenland either lands at Kangerlussuaq (IATA: SFJ) (Danish: Søndre Strømfjord, English: Sondrestrom), or Narsarsuaq (IATA: UAK) the only airport in the country which can accept jet aircraft. The capital Nuuk (IATA: GOH) is also seeing an increasing amount of international traffic, especially in the summer, although due to that airport's STOL (short takeoff and landing) runway, international connections are limited to places that can be served by turboprops, (i.e. Iceland and Eastern Canada).

SAS ceased its operations to Greenland in 2009 and Atlantic Airways sometime before that. Except on the Reykjavik-Nuuk route, where there is some competition, getting to Greenland is expensive, although sometimes travel agents are able to get discounts through agreements with Greenland Tourism.

Two airlines currently provide scheduled service to the country:

  • Air Greenland [3], the flag carrier offers several options for reaching Greenland:
  • Year-round, two weekly returns between Copenhagen Denmark and Kangerlussuaq on an A330-200, year round. From Kangerlussaq, you can reach any other city or settlement in the country, including the capital Nuuk, through Air Greenland's domestic turboprop and helicopter network.
  • Seasonally, Air Greenland has a weekly service from Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq, operated on a wet-lease basis by Danish carrier Jet Time.
  • June through September, two weekly returns from Keflavik Airport in Iceland (Icelandair's hub) to both Nuuk and Narsarsuaq. This is by far the easiest way to get to Greenland from North America, and doesn't involve transferring from the main international airport in Keflavik to the smaller downtown domestic airport upon arrival in Iceland. It's also the most affordable as it's the only route Air Greenland has any competition on.
  • Also June through September, starting in 2012, weekly service between Iqaluit in Canada and Nuuk. Despite being a technically more direct route for visitors from North America, Iqaluit is difficult to reach with only sporadic air service. Unless you're already visiting the Canadian Arctic and are taking the trip to Greenland as an excursion, or are willing to spend several days laid over in Nunavut in both directions, it isn't realistic. It's also prohibitively expensive, the 90 minute Air Greenland segment alone is being advertised in the 4,000 DKK (800 USD) range. Getting to Iqaluit from a major Canadian city, such as Toronto, is another C$2,000, add several hundred dollars on top of that if you're coming from the United States.

Keep in mind that despite Scandinavian Airlines' minority ownership of Air Greenland, there are no codeshare agreements with SAS, nor is Air Greenland part of Star Alliance - through ticketing or baggage transfers to and from Air Greenland are not possible. Unless you're starting your journey in Denmark or Iceland you will need multiple reservations - be sure to plan enough time in case of delays and have contingency plans for missed connections. Additionally, Air Greenland does not advertise fares on Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or any consolidator website. The only ways to purchase tickets are either directly from them via their website or through a travel agent.

  • Air Iceland [4] operates year-round flights from Reykjavik to Kulusuk, Ittoqqortoormiit and Nuuk and additionally to Narsarsuaq and Ilulissat during the summer months. Bear in mind that Air Iceland is not the same carrier as Icelandair, operates out of the downtown Reykjavik airport (domestic and Greenland flights only), rather than the international airport at Keflavik, which Icelandair uses. If you arrive on Icelandair from North America or Europe, you'll need to transfer airports, and you should allow at least four hours between flights for this. If you are vacationing in Iceland, one popular day excursion is to fly from Reykjavik to Kulusuk, where traditional handicrafts are on sale, before returning to the comparative comforts of Iceland.

There are also numerous charter outfits serving Greenland from Europe and North America, and frequently if you're on a package tour to Greenland from North America a chartered flight is included. Scientific and technical personnel travelling from North America for research purposes typically fly into Kangerlussuaq aboard New York Air National Guard C-130s.

Greenland's airports are very private aviation friendly if the weather is right, the name of Greenland's airport service is Mittarfeqarfiit.

By boat

Realistically, there is no ferry service from Europe or North America.

There are cruise ships from both continents that visit Greenland:

  • Hurtigruten [5], has cruises from or to Iceland.

Get around

There is no road or rail system. The easiest way to get around Greenland is by plane, particularly Air Greenland. In the summer, Arctic Umiaq Line [6] passenger ships provide service to destinations between Narsarsuaq and Uummannaq along the west coast.

See

  • Icebergs and glaciers (especially the Ilulissat Icefjord)
  • Animal life - Whales, seals, walruses, musk oxen, reindeer/caribou and polar bears.
  • The Midnight sun - In the northern 2/3 of Greenland, the sun stays above the horizon for days or even several weeks in the summer. In the remainder, the weeks around the summer solstice (June 21, a national holiday) see the sun dip below the horizon for only a short while each night, with the sky never getting truly dark. (Of course the reverse is true in the winter.)

Do

  • Hiking - You can freely hike anywhere in Greenland as there is no property ownership anywhere in the country. DO go off the few small walking paths that exist. You will easily find yourself in offbeat locales, and wonder if you are perhaps the first person to ever stand in that particular spot. This rare sensation is by far the best reason to travel in Greenland.
  • Driving a dog-sled
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain climbing

Talk

The official language - Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - is actually that of the more populated western coast. The eastern dialect is slightly different. Both are highly challenging languages to learn, as words are very long and often feature "swallowed" consonants. Try uteqqipugut or Ittoqqortoormiit on for size.

The good news is that almost all Greenlanders are bilingual Danish speakers, and many will even have a functional command of English. Greenlandic words may come in handy for travellers wanting to experience the "real Greenland", though.

Greenlandic is different enough from Inuktitut, the language of the Canadian Inuit who share similar historical roots to the Greenlanders, that the two peoples have difficulty understanding each other. However, attempts are being made to unify the Inuit language, and Greenlandic - with its existing libraries of translated Shakespeare and Pushkin - seems like the most natural option.

Buy

The official currency is the Danish Krone. There were plans to begin issuing a Greenlandic Krone (along with a Faeroe Islands Krone) pegged to the DKK at 1:1, although this was scrapped in 2009. In large tourist areas, merchants may also accept Euros, US or Canadian Dollars but be sure to check first. Many merchants in Greenland do not accept credit or debitcards, be sure to ask first - cities and settlements all have ATM's.

  • Inuit art and crafts
  • Sealskin -- which the Great Greenland fur company has fashioned into everything from coats to thick belts to purses and pencil cases.
  • Duty-free -- most flights land at Kangerlussuaq, one of those lovely places on earth where you can buy duty-free after landing. Stock up on cheap booze, smokes and everything else at prices far lower than the rest of Greenland. Important: Greenland is not a member of the EU, so although you may be travelling from Denmark, the custom rules are the same as for a trip out of the EU.

Supermarkets

These are the names to look for, if you need to buy groceries:

  • Pilersuisoq - Chain of larger supermarket usually found in small villages. Has a little bit of everything.
  • Pisiffik - Chain of larger supermarkets present in the cities.
  • Spar - Dutch supermarket chain with a few shops in Greenland.
  • Brugsen - Danish supermarket chain with a few shops in Greenland.

Eat

Food in Greenland is generally not that different from American or continental European tastes. Restaurants carry typical European fare. Local food can be purchased at local markets in each town. Many Greenlandic restaurants combine traditional foods (locally-caught fish, shrimp and whales; also muskox and reindeer) with more familiar dishes. Expect to find whale meat at a Thai restaurant and caribou in a Chinese joint. Nuuk also has several burger bars and a couple of very high-end restaurants, most notably Nipisa, which specializes in (very expensive) local delicacies. Prices are high everywhere, but servings are generally large, especially with fries.

Drink

A local specialty is Greenlandic coffee. Its creation in some places is pure performance and it hits hard: its coffee laced with liberal amounts of kahlua, whisky and Grand Marnier. One of the best places to buy is at the Sukhumvit Thai Restaurant, for about $22CAD.

Sleep

Accommodations in Greenland tend to be pricey, world class hotels exist in all of the more visited areas (Hotel Hans Egede in Nuuk, Hotel Arctic - with its igloo rooms - and Hotel Hvide Falke in Ilulissat), but cheaper options exist. Try for the Seaman's Home hotel in Maniitsoq, Nuuk, Qaqortoq, Sisimiut and Aasiaat.

For less expensive options, you can check with the Nuuk Tourism office for its hostel program, where locals have rooms they will rent out for a third the price of the town's hotels. It's a great way to experience the real Greenland, although knowing a few words of Danish or Greenlandic is very helpful as your hosts may or may not understand English. You can also camp in any field or plain for free if you're equipped to handle the elements.

Learn

Work

Skilled workers (teachers and doctors in particular) are always needed, knowledge of Danish or preferably Greenlandic are necessary, except at the University of Greenland in Nuuk which does offer some programs in English. Foreigners, including most EU/EEA nationals (Greenland is not part of the EU/EEA) require a work permit in advance, which needs to be vetted and approved both by the Danish immigration authorities and the Government of Greenland. Danish citizens and other nationals of the Nordic Passport Area (Faeroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Sweeden) are exempt. Some types of short-term work (such as short-term teaching, performing, installation technicians, and certain types of contract-work) do not require a work permit under any circumstances. See [7]

If you have residency (permanent or temporary) in Denmark, you do not have any automatic immigration privileges in Greenland, although you can visit for up to 90 days without a visa even if you are a citizen of a country that would normally require one. Keep in mind that under Danish immigration law, time spent in Greenland is considered time outside of Denmark for residence permit purposes, and a long visit or work assignment in Greenland (i.e. 6 months or more) could cause your permit to lapse. Contact the immigration department if this may apply to you. (Note that for purposes of applying for Danish citizenship, time spent in Greenland fully counts as it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.)

Stay safe

Crime, and ill-will toward foreigners in general, is virtually unknown in Greenland. Even in the towns, there are no "rough areas." So long as the visitor uses basic common sense and etiquette, he or she should be fine.

Stay healthy

During the northern summer, the days in Greenland are very long. Always make sure that you get as much sleep as you're used to, as sleep deprivation can lead to all manner of health problems.

During the summer, also watch out for the Nordic mosquitoes. Although they are not dangerous as they do not transmit any diseases, they can be irritating.

Stay connected

Internet

Thanks to undersea fiber optic cable links to Europe and broadband satellite, Greenland is well connected with 93% of the population having internet access. Your hotel or hosts (if staying in a guesthouse or private home) will likely have wifi or an internet connected PC, and all settlements have an internet cafe or some location with public wifi. Ask around if you need help finding it.

Newspapers

Broadcasting

  • Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa or Radio Greenland broadcasts one national radio station and one national television station. Both feature a wide variety of programs, primarily in Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) but also in Danish and a few in English.
  • In Nuuk, a second radio station re-broadcasts the primary DR feed from Copenhagen.
  • Many settlements have a secondary commercial television station - such as Nuuk TV and Sisimiut TV with local news and current affairs programming.
  • Nuuk TV also offers the only subscription television service in Greenland as an encrypted over the air digital broadcast, primarially comprised of Danish domestic networks (DR Television), Canal+ movie channels, and several networks found on cable or satellite in Denmark, such as CNN, Discovery, etc... If you're staying in Nuuk and your hotel or guesthouse has Nuuk TV digital, some channels are in English.
  • Terrestrial TV networks do not broadcast around the clock. KNR Television shows news from 6am-11am, closes down until 4pm and then broadcasts an evening program until midnight or 1am, hours are expanded slightly on weekends for sports coverage. The local commercial stations only broadcast in the evening.

Respect

As mentioned above, the word "Eskimo" is considered pejorative by many Arctic peoples, especially in Canada. While you may hear the word used by Greenlandic Natives, its use should be avoided by foreigners. The group of "Eskimos" are used to call themselves Inuit and for the ones in Greenland Kalaallisut, a Greenlander.

Contact



This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!



Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites