What it’s like to live in Greenland

Guest post by Agness and Cez from etramping


With Iceland becoming such a popular tourist destination these days, most people forget about its much larger neighbor, Greenland. Most people have never visited Greenland let alone have the slightest notion of what it’s like to live there. Sometimes it can be refreshing to place yourself in another person’s shoes to get a perspective on their totally different way of life. That’s why some travellers opt for a home stay where they get to live with a local family and understand the culture from an insider’s viewpoint. Since homestays aren’t for everyone, many will take a more typical tourist approach and take cruises and boat trips to experience the island. While these trips are sure to be amazing experiences, you won’t quite get the same understanding of what it’s like to be a Greenlander. Here are some of the things we’ve learned about life in Greenland.

live in Greenland

Getting around by boat is common

There are literally no paved roads in Greenland. Just like there are hardly any cars and no skyscrapers in sight. If you’re travelling from the bustling city, you’re going to be in for a shock! The silence will give your mind the peace and quiet it is yearning for. Boats and ships are a common form of transport, as well as dog sleds. If you take a look at Greenland cruises, you’ll notice that the best way to view this extraordinary place is by sea. You’ll get to see the floating ice up close and watch the wildlife in its natural habitat. What could be better than a relaxing sail around the country?

live in Greenland


You probably sip on Suaasat

Labelled as ‘old Greenland’ food, Suaasat is a traditional soup made with seal meat. It’s certainly an acquired taste and worth a try if you’re a meat eater. This delicious dish can also be switched to reindeer, sea-bird and whale meat. After a long day in the snow, a lot of Arctic adventurers like to warm up with a hot pot of the national dish. Due to its dense texture, it’s thickened by natural starches. For instance, rice, barley and potatoes. Also, you can season your serving with salt and onion, yet you may just enjoy it without any added extras. Greenlanders rely on natural food sources; the meat is fresh and hunted locally so you understand where your meal is coming from.

live in Greenland

Sealing is a major source of income

Sealing has always been a massive source of income for the local communities in Greenland. Not only do they use the meat for traditional dishes but they also sell it to outside tradesmen. According to Hakai Magazine, there’s been a noticeable decrease in the amount of Inuit youth who wish to become seal hunters. The fact that there are fewer youth participating in the traditional trade means that the Inuit history may be succumbing to modernization.

live in Greenland


June 21st is an important day

National day festival takes place every year on the 21 st June. It’s full of morning songs and historic speeches. The flag gets hoisted up as the Greenlanders watch in pride. There’s plenty of local entertainment such as folk dancing and traditional music. People like to show off their kayaking skills so there may be a few races going on too. The museums in Greenland will create special events and exhibitions in aid of the national day. It was actually formed in 1983 and is an ultimate tradition. It’s otherwise known as the lightest and the longest day in Greenland. A perfect day to celebrate their culture with pride…

You may believe in Ghosts

Greenlanders love to tell ghost stories and some of them will really freak you out. The Inuit believe that once you die, your soul can return to earth and continue in a different body. They also believe that animals have souls and they continue to live after death. This is where their ghost stories originate from, their strong belief in the underworld and the ‘upper world’. Once a relative is gone, they will act as guardians from above for children and close family members. A relative may come back as a ghost or a spooky reincarnation. If you get a chance to go to Greenland, you may hear some interesting stories. Yet, if you’re not a fan of the supernatural, there are plenty of natural hotspots to be discovered.

live in Greenland

Wolves can be Neighbours

Greenland has a vast array of wild animals creeping around the country and there’s tons of wildlife to watch. There’s the ‘Greenland Wolf’ which is pale coloured and is said to be under threat as there are not many of them left. Unfortunately, many of these majestic wolves lose their lives to the materialistic world of taxidermy. They’re shot and stuffed for decorative purposes. Arctic wolves also roam around the country, hence why many of them are known as the Greenlander’s neighbours. The locals have learnt to live with these wolves in peace, as long as they’re not disturbed or provoked, the animals will take caution and respect boundaries. Wild wolves are striking creatures and they are seriously worth observing in person…

Global warming is reality

Often we hear news stories about the latest global warming effects, yet Greenlander’s actually live alongside them everyday. For instance, they see their ice caps melting and they notice the decline in their food sources. There are ways you can assist the crisis by being eco-friendly and incorporating energy-saving techniques into your daily routine. Every year, climate change is becoming more visible and companies are investing millions into innovative ways to prevent it.If you want, you can take a look at SNFS for further information about the current situation with Greenland’s global warming situation…


Have you ever wanted to visit Greenland?


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