Sport in Greenland

Sport is an important part of Greenlandic culture, as the population is generally quite active.[1] The main traditional sport in Greenland is Arctic sports, a form of wrestling thought to have originated in medieval times.[2]

Popular sports include association football, track and field, handball and skiing. Handball is often referred to as the national sport,[3] and Greenland's men's national team was ranked among the top 20 in the world in 2001.[4]

Greenland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing and rock climbing, although mountain climbing and hiking are preferred by the general public. Although the country's environment is generally ill-suited for golf, there are nevertheless golf courses on the island. Greenland hosts a biennial international the world's largest multisport and cultural event for young people of the Arctic for the second time in 2016.[5]


The Football Association of Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaanni Arsaattartut Kattuffia), has a national football team but is not yet a member of FIFA because of ongoing disagreements with FIFA leadership and an inability to grow grass for regulation grass pitches.[6] However, it is the 17th member of the N.F.-Board. DBU president Jesper Møller visited Greenland in 2015 and the Danish and Greenlandic associations signed a cooperation agreement which aims to encourage the game at grass roots level and build four to six artificial pitches. The FIFA Goal programme sponsored the Qaqortoq Stadium in Qaqortoq, which has an artificial grass pitch. Greenland holds the Greenlandic Football Championship annually. They previously held the event known as the Greenland Cup. They also are a member of CONIFA and compete in the Island games Football, finishing as runners-up to Bermuda in 2013.[6]


The oldest sport association in Greenland is the Greenland Ski Federation (GIF), founded in 1969. This happened when the then-President of the GIF Daniel Switching took the initiative to found federations and institute reforms. Greenland Ski Federation is further divided into Alpine and cross-country selection committees. The federation is not a member of the International Ski Federation (FIS), but Greenland skiers participated in the Olympics and World Championships under the Danish flag at the 1968, 1994, 1998 and 2014 Games.[7]

Arctic sportsEdit

Greenland competes in the biennial Arctic Winter Games (AWG).[2] In 2002, Nuuk hosted the AWG in conjunction with Iqaluit, Nunavut.[8] In 1994 and again in 2002, they won the Hodgson Trophy for fair play.

Other sportsEdit

Greenland takes part in the biennial Island Games, organized by the International Island Games Association.[9]

Greenland took part in the 2007 World Men's Handball Championship in Germany, finishing 22nd in a field of 24 national teams.[10]

Greenland took part in badminton in the European Men's & Women's Team Championships in 2018 and won the first match ever in international badminton team championships against Hungary.[11][12]


  1. ^ Wilcox, Jonathan; Latif, Zawiah Abdul (2007). Cultures of the World: Iceland. Marshall Cavendish. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7614-2074-3.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Ollie. "Sports you'll never see at the Olympics". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  3. ^ Wilcox, Jonathan; Latif, Zawiah Abdul (2007). Cultures of the World: Iceland. Marshall Cavendish. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7614-2074-3.
  4. ^ Times, Tomos Knox for These Football; Network, part of the Guardian Sport (2014-10-22). "The unlikely success story of football on the massive island of Greenland". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  5. ^ Wilcox, Jonathan; Latif, Zawiah Abdul (2007). Cultures of the World: Iceland. Marshall Cavendish. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7614-2074-3.
  6. ^ a b Homewood, Brian. "Danish FA supports Greenland's bid to join UEFA, FIFA". U.K. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  7. ^ "Ski forbundet". Archived from the original on 2015-02-11.
  8. ^ "Arctic Winter Games". Archived from the original on 25 March 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  9. ^ IIGA. "Greenland". Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  10. ^ "Hodgson Trophy Winners". Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  11. ^ "2018 European Men's & Women's Team Championships: Teams". Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  12. ^ "2018 European Men's & Women's Team Championships: Matches". Retrieved 2018-02-22.

External linksEdit