On leaving Greenland

400 years after colonizing a new world, the Norse settlers of Greenland disappeared. Departed, killed or vanished, a more precise theory varies with whom you talk with. Some believe that the colony, which had been dwindling for hundreds of years, could have collapsed due to climate change causing famine and that the remaining few faced isolation and left or died. What we do know is that after 1450, there were no concrete traces of Norse people in Greenland.

Centuries later, the Kingdom of Denmark sent emissaries to Greenland to assert sovereignty over the great arctic island, only to discover an exclusively Inuit population, and well, that second Scandinavian colonization is… History. Today Greenland is still making history. Known nationally as Kalaallit Nunaat, the country is in the last stages of regaining its independence.

Most people don’t realize it, but Greenland is part of North America. Though certainly remote, it is at the crossroads of the Old World and the New World, of East and West. This unique society is what makes Greenland’s culture as fascinating as its nature. After spending 20 (mostly cold) days in Greenland, I was looking forward to a good latté but extremely thankful to have taken part in historical research, met locals and travelers alike, and experienced this incredibly unique place.

Qaqortoq

Picturesque and modern Qaqortoq (formerly Julianehåb) is the largest town in South Greenland

Group pic

From left to right, Georg, Jacob, Andreas, Viking Explorer, Henrik and Terryll. The artists and archeologists got along splendidly.

Christmas beer

We celebrated our arrival and departure from the Hvalsey site with “Christmas” beers