Qaqortoq

Qaqortoq,[2] formerly Julianehåb,[3] is a town in the Kujalleq municipality in southern Greenland, located near Cape Thorvaldsen. With a population of 3,050 in 2020, it is the most populous town and the municipal capital in southern Greenland and the fourth or fifth-largest town on the island.[1]

Qaqortoq

Julianehåb
Qaqortoq
Qaqortoq
Coat of arms of Qaqortoq
Coat of arms
Qaqortoq is located in Greenland
Qaqortoq
Qaqortoq
Location within Greenland
Coordinates: 60°43′20″N 46°02′25″W / 60.72222°N 46.04028°W / 60.72222; -46.04028Coordinates: 60°43′20″N 46°02′25″W / 60.72222°N 46.04028°W / 60.72222; -46.04028
Sovereign state Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country Greenland
MunicipalityKujalleq-coat-of-arms.svg Kujalleq
Founded1774
Government
 • MayorKiista P. Isaksen
Population
 (2020)
 • Total3,050[1]
Time zoneUTC-03
Postal code
3920
Websiteqaqortoq.gl

HistoryEdit

The area around Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Beginning with the Saqqaq culture roughly 4,300 years ago, the area has had a continuous human presence.

Saqqaq cultureEdit

The earliest signs of population presence are from roughly 4,300 years ago. While Saqqaq-era sites are generally the most numerous of all the prehistoric sites in Greenland, around Qaqortoq the Saqqaq presence is less prominent,[4] with only sporadic sites and items such as chipped stone drills[5] and carving knives.

Dorset cultureEdit

The Dorset people arrived in the Qaqortoq area around 2,800 years ago.[6] Several rectangular peat dwelling structures, characteristic of the early Dorset culture, can be found around the wider Qaqortoq area.

Norse cultureEdit

Written records of South Greenland history begin with the arrival of the Norse in the late 10th century. The ruins of Hvalsey – the most prominent Norse ruins in Greenland – are located 19 kilometers (12 mi) northeast of Qaqortoq. General or even limited trade between the Norse and the Thule people was scarce. Except a few novel and exotic items found at Thule sites in the area, evidence suggests cultural exchange was initially sporadic. Later, the south Greenland Norse adopted trade with the southern Inuit and were for a time the major supplier of ivory to northern Europe.[citation needed] The Norse era lasted for almost five hundred years, ending in the mid-15th century. The last written record of the Norse presence is of a wedding in the Hvalseyjarfjord church in 1408.[7]

Thule peopleEdit

The Thule culture Inuit arrived in southern Greenland and the Qaqortoq area around the 12th century and were contemporaneous with the Norse. However, there exists little evidence of early contact. The Thule culture was characterized by a subsistence existence and there are few, if any, dwellings of considerable structure to be found from the era. Items, however, are relatively numerous.

Colonial era until presentEdit

 
Qaqortoq (Julianehaab) in 1860.

The present-day town was founded in 1775 by the Dano-Norwegian trader Anders Olsen, on behalf of the General Trading Company.[8] The town was christened Julianehaab after the Danish queen Juliane Marie, although it sometimes mistakenly appears as "Julianshaab".[9] The name was also sometimes anglicized as Juliana's Hope.[10] The town became a major center for the saddle-back seal trade[11] and today remains the home of the Great Greenland sealskin tannery.

Until December 31, 2008, the town was the administrative center of Qaqortoq municipality. On January 1, 2009, Qaqortoq became the biggest town and the administrative center of Kujalleq municipality, when the three municipalities of South Greenland, meaning Qaqortoq, Narsaq, and Nanortalik were merged into one municipality.

LandmarksEdit

Historical buildingsEdit

The building that now houses the Qaqortoq museum was originally the town's blacksmith's shop. The house was built in yellow stone and dates back to 1804.

The oldest standing building at the historical colonial harbor – and thus of all of Qaqortoq – is a black-tarred log building from 1797.[12] The building was designed by royal Danish architect Kirkerup, pre-assembled in Denmark, shipped in pieces to Qaqortoq, and then reassembled.

Stone & ManEdit

Qaqortoq is a town of artists and talented craftsmen. From 1993 to 1994 Qaqortoq artist Aka Høegh and other 18 Nordic artists presided over the Stone & Man project, designed to transform the town into an open air art gallery. Eighteen artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland carved 24 sculptures into the rock faces and boulders in the town. Today there are over 40 sculptures in the town, all part of the Stone & Man exhibit.

The fountainEdit

The town is home to the oldest fountain in Greenland, Mindebrønden, finished in 1932.[13] It was the only fountain in the country prior to another in Sisimiut. A tourist attraction, the fountain depicts whales spouting water out of their blowholes.[14]

TransportEdit

AirEdit

 
Qaqortoq heliport in 2008

Qaqortoq Heliport operates year-round, linking Qaqortoq with Narsarsuaq Airport and, indirectly, with the rest of Greenland and Europe.

Feasibility assessments were underway regarding building a landing strip for fixed-wing aircraft. The issue was previously debated in 2007, when the Democrats opposed a Siumut landing strip proposal,[15] citing ecological and environmental concerns. In contrast to the previous debates, presently the Democrats are lobbying for a 1,799-meter (5,902 ft) runway, making passenger flights to continental Europe possible. A shorter, 1,199-meter (3,934 ft) runway, supported by the CEO of Air Greenland,[16] would enable flights with small turboprops to Iceland and eastern Canada.[17] The cost of moving the airport from Narsarsuaq as a 1799-meter runway is estimated at DKK900 million (€120.7m), while a 1199-meter runway is estimated at DKK370 million (€50m).[18] Presently Narsarsuaq airport is a community of 140 people, depending solely on the airport, but the Kujalleq Municipality supports the plans for moving the airport to the centre of South Greenland, thereby creating economic growth in the region.[19][20]

Five locations for a possible airport was assessed. Four of these – at Prinsessen, Nunarsuatsiaap Kujalequtaa, Munkebugten, and halfway towards Narsaq – are for a 1,199-meter (3,934 ft) domestic runway. Only one location, northwest of the town between Nuupiluk and Matup Tunua, would be suitable for a runway up to 2,100 meters (6,900 ft), in order to accommodate intercontinental flights. It was in 2011 expected that a new airport would be built before 2020, probably with a 1,499-meter runway behind the mountain of Saqqaarsik, being able to serve flights from Europe, Iceland and other parts of Greenland, thereby moving the air transport centre of South Greenland from Narsarsuaq to the centre of the region.

The final political decision on the matter was then pending for years, but an act on the project was finalized by the parliament of Greenland in 2018, and a project is now being prepared for an airport with a 1500-meter runway, allowing smaller jets to land during the crucial summer tourist season. The 1500 meter runway will also be important for developing the nearby Tanbreez REE-mine project. The construction of the airport is expected to start in 2021, with an expected completion in 2024. Further a road was constructed 2015–2017 to the expected airport site behind Saqqaarsik Mountain.

The decided site is at 60°45′51″N 46°3′57″W / 60.76417°N 46.06583°W / 60.76417; -46.06583, 5 km north of town, having a decided runway of 1500 meters.[21] The 1500 meter runway is considered the shortest possibility, in terms of future economic development, especially within the tourism sector.[22] The access road to the airport site was completed as a temporary gravel road in 2017.

LandEdit

 
Qaqortoq in summer

As is true of all populated places in Greenland, Qaqortoq is not connected to any other place via roads. Fairly well trodden hiking trails lead north and west from the town, but for any motorized transportation all terrain vehicles are needed. During winter, snowmobiles become the transport of choice.

SeaEdit

Qaqortoq is a port of call for the Arctic Umiaq ferry.[23] The port authority for Qaqortoq is Royal Arctic Line, located in Nuuk. With a channel depth of 50 feet (15 m), the port can accommodate vessels up to 500 feet (150 m) in length. The port offers pilotage upon request, but no tug boat services.

The port of Qaqortoq, situated close to the southern tip of Greenland, is an important cruise destination of the North Atlantic, having 30-40 calls per season, often large cruise ships transferring in late summer / early autumn from North Europe to the Caribbean.

Economy and infrastructureEdit

 
Autumn in Qaqortoq

Qaqortoq is a seaport and the centre of South Greenland. Fish processing, tourism, tanning, fur production, and ship maintenance and repair are important activities, but the economy is based primarily on educational and administrative services. The primary industries in the town are fishing, service, and administration.[24]

The native subsistence economy was long preserved by the former monopoly Royal Greenland Trading Department, which used the town as a source of saddle-back seal skins.[11] The Great Greenland Furhouse is the only tannery in Greenland and the primary sealskin purchaser on the island; it remains one of the major employers in the town.

Agriculture, mainly as sheep farming, cattle and reindeer herding, are conducted on a number of farms in the fiord landscapes close to Qaqortoq. Qaqortoq is an important service provider and supply centre for the farmers.

Of all exports produced in Qaqortoq, 70.1% are headed for the Danish market.[25]

Qaqortoq is located in the one of the most mineral rich areas in the world, South Greenland having a vide range of mineral deposits. Mining has been a major ecenomic activity in South Greenland in the past, especially the nearby Ivittuut mine north of Qaqortoq.[26] A gold mine was operating from 2003 to 2013 in Nalunaq, south of Qaqortoq. The gold mine is expected to reopen in 2022.[27]

The Tanbreez multielement project, situated less than 20 kilometers east of Qaqortoq, was granted an exploitation licence in 2020,[28] and a major mine is expected to be established within a few years.

EmploymentEdit

During the summer of 2020, the unemployment rate in Qaqortoq was at 7%,[29] a rather high level compared to for instance Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. The level of unemployment in Qaqortoq has during the last decade been declining.

EnergyEdit

All of Qaqortoq's electricity is supplied by the government-owned company Nukissiorfiit. Since 2007, Qaqortoq gets its electric power mainly from Qorlortorsuaq Dam by way of a 70-kilometer (43 mi) 70 kV powerline. Previously the town's electricity was supplied by means of so-called "bunker fuel generators",[30] three diesel ship engines converted to energy production.[31]

EducationEdit

Qaqortoq is the main center for education in South Greenland and has a primary school, middle school, and high school, a folk high school which started as a workers' college (Sulisartut Højskoliat) in 1977, a school of commerce, and a basic vocational school.[32]

ReligionEdit

 
Gertrud Rasch's Church

Gertrud Rasch's ChurchEdit

Gertrud Rasch's Church (Danish: "Gertrud Rasks Kirke") is a white concrete Lutheran church. The church is named after Gertrud Rask, the wife of missionary Hans Egede. Due to the increasing population in Qaqortoq, the old church could no longer adequately serve the community, and a new church was commissioned by the Church of Denmark. Construction started in May 1972[33] and it was consecrated on July 8, 1973. It was designed by architect Ole Nielsen,[34] and is made entirely of concrete. The church has a concrete altar. The motif of the altarpiece is based upon south Greenland flora. The church features a ten-stop Frobenius organ from 1973.[35]

HealthcareEdit

Qaqortoq is served by Napparsimavik Hospital, officially Napparsimavik Qaqortoq Sygehus. The hospital is also the main hospital in southern Greenland. With a staff of 59 people, presently the hospital has 18 beds.[36] The three villages in Qaqortoq municipality – Eqalugaarsuit, Saarloq, and Qassimiut – also belong to the healthcare district of Napparsimavik Hospital. The villages are visited via sea and with a medical helicopter in case of emergencies. During the summer of 2010, the hospital used Greenland-grown vegetables exclusively.[37]

TourismEdit

 
Qaqortoq in winter

Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy of the town. The Qaqortoq Tourist Service – Greenland Sagalands A/S – is the main local cruise operator and tourist office. The main foundation for tourism in town is the cruise tourism, Qaqortoq being the main cruise destination in Greenland with more than 35 cruise calls per season and +30000 cruise visitors. The cruise tourists are a wide range of nationalities, with Germans, British and Americans as major groups.

Roughly two-thirds of all non-cruise tourists (65.5%) are from Denmark.[25] There are several facilities offering accommodations, including the Qaqortoq Hostel. The Qaqortoq Museum offers services in English, Danish, and Kalaallisut. The Great Greenland Furhouse is also a popular tourist attraction.

Tourists are offered by the tourist office activities such as kayaking, guided hiking, whale-watching, tours to the Greenland ice cap, Norse ruins, farms, the Uunartoq hot springs and general boating. In recent years, Qaqortoq has experienced a decline in tourist revenue, beside cruise tourism, with an average of 1,700 tourists annually staying in the town overnight, very much due to the lack of an airport close to the town. The Qaqortoq Stadium is the first artificial grass football stadium in Greenland.[38] The Danish Crown Princely family visited the town as part of an official tour of Greenland in summer 2014.[39] A small grove of hardy poplar trees was planted by the Crown Prince family.[40]

DemographicsEdit

With 3,050 inhabitants as of 2020, Qaqortoq is the largest town in the Kujalleq municipality.[1] The population is nearly unchanged from its 1995 levels.

There exists no gender imbalance among native Greenlanders in Qaqortoq, the only gender inequity is among inhabitants born outside Greenland, with 3 out of 5 being male. As of 2011 10% of the town's inhabitants were born outside Greenland, a decline from 20% in 1991, but an increase from a 9% low in 2001.[41]

GeographyEdit

Qaqortoq is located at approximately 60°43′20″N 46°02′25″W / 60.72222°N 46.04028°W / 60.72222; -46.04028 in the Qaqortoq Fjord, beside the Labrador Sea.

ClimateEdit

Qaqortoq has a maritime-influenced polar climate (ET) with cold, snowy winters and cool summers. The southern tip of Greenland does not experience permafrost.[42] The cold waters of the Labrador Basin ensure that summer stays below the tree line in spite of it being below the 61st parallel. Winters are much milder than at much lower coastal parallels in continental North America due to the marine effect. Therefore, the seasonal variation in the climate is very small for a location so far north.

Climate data for Qaqortoq, Greenland (1961-1990), extremes 1961-1999
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.3
(54.1)
11.5
(52.7)
10.8
(51.4)
14.0
(57.2)
20.4
(68.7)
20.0
(68.0)
20.4
(68.7)
22.0
(71.6)
18.0
(64.4)
16.6
(61.9)
13.7
(56.7)
12.0
(53.6)
22.0
(71.6)
Average high °C (°F) −2.2
(28.0)
−1.7
(28.9)
−1.0
(30.2)
2.8
(37.0)
6.9
(44.4)
9.2
(48.6)
11.1
(52.0)
11.0
(51.8)
8.0
(46.4)
3.9
(39.0)
0.8
(33.4)
−1.4
(29.5)
4.0
(39.1)
Average low °C (°F) −9.2
(15.4)
−8.8
(16.2)
−8.4
(16.9)
−4.4
(24.1)
−0.4
(31.3)
1.3
(34.3)
3.3
(37.9)
3.7
(38.7)
1.9
(35.4)
−1.7
(28.9)
−5.0
(23.0)
−7.8
(18.0)
−3.0
(26.7)
Record low °C (°F) −30.0
(−22.0)
−25.2
(−13.4)
−26.0
(−14.8)
−16.4
(2.5)
−12.8
(9.0)
−6.0
(21.2)
−2.4
(27.7)
−3.4
(25.9)
−8.5
(16.7)
−11.0
(12.2)
−18.0
(−0.4)
−21.6
(−6.9)
−30.0
(−22.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 57
(2.2)
51
(2.0)
57
(2.2)
56
(2.2)
56
(2.2)
75
(3.0)
97
(3.8)
93
(3.7)
92
(3.6)
72
(2.8)
78
(3.1)
73
(2.9)
857
(33.7)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 8.5 7.4 8.2 8.5 7.4 9.5 10.3 9.1 9.2 7.8 9.1 9.0 104
Average snowy days 10.3 8.8 9.5 8.3 4.2 1.0 0.1 0.1 1.5 5.4 8.6 10.3 68.1
Source: Danish Meteorological Institute[43]

Twin townsEdit

Qaqortoq is twinned with:

Foreign relationsEdit

Qaqortoq has a consulate from the government of Latvia, representing Latvia for Greenland.[44]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Population by Localities". Statistical Greenland. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  2. ^ The name is the Kalaallisut for "White". The pre-1973 spelling was Kakortok. The pronunciation of both sounds like  this .
  3. ^ The pre-1948 spelling was Julianehaab.
  4. ^ Bjarne Grønnow. "Saqqaq culture chronology". National Museum of Denmark. Archived from the original on April 19, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  5. ^ "Bifacial tool/projectile point". National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "Early Dorset / Greenlandic Dorset". National Museum of Denmark. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  7. ^ Kenn Harper (2 August 2012). "Taissumani: Sept. 16, 1408 – Wedding at Hvalsey Church". Nunatsiaq Online. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  8. ^ Marquardt, Ole. "Change and Continuity in Denmark's Greenland Policy" in The Oldenburg Monarchy: An Underestimated Empire?. Verlag Ludwig (Kiel), 2006.
  9. ^ Colton, G.W. "Northern America. British, Russian & Danish Possessions In North America." J.H. Colton & Co. (New York), 1855.
  10. ^ Lieber, Francis & al. Encyclopædia Americana: A Popular Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, History, Politics and Biography. "Greenland". B.B. Mussey & Co., 1854.
  11. ^ a b Kane, Elisha Kent. Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition. 1856.
  12. ^ Lynn Kauer. "Qaqortoq". Retrieved April 6, 2011.(in English)
  13. ^ "The Official Tourism and Business Site of Greenland". Greenland.com. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  14. ^ O'Carroll, Etain (2005). Greenland and the Arctic. Lonely Planet. p. 115. ISBN 1-74059-095-3.
  15. ^ "Ufred hos Demokraterne" (in Danish). Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  16. ^ "Air Greenland støtter forslag om Qaqortoq lufthavn" (in Danish). Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  17. ^ "Lufthavn i Qaqortoq. Ja, tak" (in Danish). Kamikposten. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  18. ^ "Turismeerhvervet i Sydgrønland frygter nye lufthavnsplaner" (in Danish). Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  19. ^ http://sermitsiaq.ag/11-siger-ja-lufthavn-qaqortoq
  20. ^ "Rungende nej til flytning af lufthavn" (in Danish). Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  21. ^ Qaqortoq
  22. ^ "Korte baner begrænser fremtidsmulighederne". Sermitsiaq.AG (in Danish). Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  23. ^ "AUL, Timetable 2009" (PDF). Retrieved April 6, 2011.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Information about the town Qaqortoq". Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Greenland in figures 2009" (PDF).
  26. ^ "How This Abandoned Mining Town in Greenland Helped Win World War II". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  27. ^ "AEX Gold: Environmental Report Declares Historical Nalunaq Mine a Blueprint for Future Mining in Greenland". Junior Mining Network. 2020-07-15. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  28. ^ "Tanbreez Mining Receives Exploitation Permit in Greenland | High North News". www.highnorthnews.com. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  29. ^ "To byer særlig hårdt ramt af ledighed". Sermitsiaq.AG (in Danish). Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  30. ^ "Arctic Sunrise, Greenpeace USA". Greenpeace USA. Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  31. ^ "QORLORTORSUAQ – Hydroelectric Project". Verkis. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  32. ^ "Blue Ice Explorer". Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  33. ^ Hans Blomhøj. "1969". Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  34. ^ Ark. "Gertrud Rasks Kirke". Archived from the original on 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
  35. ^ Randall Harlow. "Pipe Organs of Greenland". Archived from the original on 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
  36. ^ "Napparsimavik Qaqortoq Sygehus" (in Danish). Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  37. ^ "Yum yum". Sikunews. October 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  38. ^ "Tourisme - Qaqortoq Kommunia 2004-2014" (PDF) (in Danish). Kujalleq Municipality. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 5, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
  39. ^ "Official visit to Greenland - Qaqortoq, Paamiut and Qeqertarsuatsiaat". Scandinavian Royalty. Archived from the original on 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  40. ^ "Billedgalleri fra Qaqortoq: Kronprinsfamilien fik træer". Sermitsiaq.AG (in Danish). Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  41. ^ "Statistics Greenland". Statistics Greenland. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  42. ^ Nyegaard, Georg (2009). Journal of the North Atlantic - Restoration of the Hvalsey Fjord Church. Eagle Hill Foundation. p. 192.
  43. ^ Danish Meteorological Institute Archived 2013-06-30 at the Wayback Machine |language=Danish
  44. ^ "Consulates in Greenland - Naalakkersuisut". naalakkersuisut.gl. Retrieved 2019-08-26.

External linksEdit