Qaanaaq in northern Greenland is one of the world's northernmost civilian settlements, pipped only by the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen and a few military bases. Getting here will be a challenge, as permits may be required for use of the nearby Thule Airbase, under US control. Qaanaaq is a modern Greenlandic town in Northern Greenland. It was formed in 1953 after the expansion of the American air base, Thule, moved residents of the town 100 miles north to Qaanaaq. Geographically, Qaanaaq is located very close to the North American continent. It is likely that the area around Qaanaaq served as an immigration route onto Greenland for thousands of years. The most recent group of immigrants arrived 130 years ago, from Baffin Island.
The alternative name for this settlement is Thule, a name preserved in the nearby airbase. The word comes from the Roman concept of "Ultima Thule", the far North land.
Robert Peary set off from the Qaanaaq area in 1909 on his expedition to the North Pole and Knud Rassumussen launched seven of his polar expeditions from this area.
Qaanaaq is more difficult to reach than other towns in Greenland. There are regular flights from the international airport in Kangerlussuaq with a stop in Upernavik. The Thule Airbase, which is about 100 miles south of Qaanaaq, is not accessible to the public. There are many cruises that stop in Qaanaaq.
A permission to enter or travel through Thule Air Base can at the moment (Apr. 2007) be obtained by sending an application to foreign affairs department in Denmark. Details can be found (only in Danish) at the national ombudsman's homepage .
If you live outside Greenland or do not have a Danish citizenship you must send the following information:
Application can be send or faxed to:
Udenrigsministeriet Asiatisk Plads 2 1448 København K Denmark Telefax: +45 33 92 01 70
If you live in Greenland or have a Danish citizenship you can also apply through the national ombudsman in Greenland. Check the website for details.