Greenland and Denmark have had a close relationship for hundreds of years. Their bonds are still very close. There are about 18.000 Greenlanders in Denmark and around 6.000 Danes in Greenland. It still is very natural for us to have a brotherly bond with each other.
Are you travelling through Copenhagen on your way from or to Greenland? In that case you should visit some of the interesting Greenland-related places in Denmarks beautiful capitol.
Exciting Greenlandic experiences in Copenhagen
In Copenhagen, you will find many thrilling experiences that can give you a taste of Greenlandic culture and history. We have chosen 11 of the most interesting adventures for you.
The National Museum in Copenhagen
Greenland House in Copenhagen
The Geological Museum
Christianshavn – Christian’s Harbor
The Greenland Monument
The Arctic Institute
Tranhuset – House of Train-Oil
Knud Rasmussen’s Statue
Knud Rasmussen’s House
Greenland’s National Holiday
The National Museum – getting serious about Greenland’s early history
The National Museum in Denmark houses a wonderful collection of Greenlandic objects, which you certainly are going to find worth the visit.
Scientists from Denmark’s National Museum have played an important role in uncovering Greenland’s past through their archeological work. These experts also gathered a unique collection of cultural items from the Inuit over time.
Moreover, the National Museum has taken part in publishing the Inuit’s pre-history as a cartoon, drawn by the Greenlandic artist Nuka Godtfredsen.
You will find the National Museum in the city center in Ny Vestergade, close to the city hall and Tivoli, the amusement park.
The Greenlandic House – getting a feel for Greenlandic culture
When staying in Copenhagen, you should go for a walk at Greenland House and visit their exhibitions or check out the book store. Many Greenlandic artists have been exhibiting their artwork in this house. There is always something interesting on display here.
Greenland House accommodates a café, changing exhibitions and other cultural events such as concerts, Greenlandic markets, book launches and lectures (the latter are in Danish or Greenlandic).
At the markets, which typically get held before Christmas, in the spring and in the fall, Greenlanders and Greenland-lovers sell home-made jewelry, art and other items of interests for you, who love Greenland. Greenland House has an outstanding book shop, where you can find Greenlandic books, flags and movies.
Kalaallit Illuutaat – Greenland House in Copenhagen is placed at Løvstræde 8, which is close to the big pedestrian area in the center of the city.
Questions about Greenland? Read the most asked questions and their answers.
Geological Museum – see the world’s third biggest meteorite from Greenland
Did you know, that 3,8 billion years ago, Greenland was located in the southern hemisphere?
You can learn about this and many other things, when visiting the Geological Museum in Copenhagen. Amongst other things, the exhibition reports, how this massive island “wandered” northwards to the place, where you will find Greenland on the world map today.
The exhibitions at the Geological Museum include the originally 20 tons heavy meteorite Agpalilik that was found close to Kap York (Thule, North Greenland) in 1963. The meteorite is shown at the entrance of the museum. Agpalilik is the third largest meteorite in the world. Inside the museum you will get to see a slice of it.
Furthermore, the museum is host to a good choice of fossils that are up to 518 million years old. Don’t miss out on the 2,2 million years old fossilized wooden stems either – they tell us about the climate in Greenland many years ago.
The Geological Museum is located on Nørre Voldgade at the corner of the Botanical Gardens and across the street from the National Museum of Art.
Christianshavn – an old, Greenland-inspired part of town
When you get off the metro at Christianshavn Torv (Christian’s harbor place), you are standing right in the middle of one of the most interesting parts of town in Copenhagen. Most of Christianshavn is built on top of human-made islands. To achieve that, a lot of Dutchmen got imported to Denmark. They had a lot of construction experiences from doing the same thing in Amsterdam. That is why a lot of Christianshavn (and also Nyhavn) looks like beautiful Amsterdam.
At Christianshavn, you will find a lot of Greenland-related places, not the least Greenland Travel’s headquarters at Wilders Plads. Close to that, you are going to come across the old Greenland harbor, which now houses the North Atlantic Wharf, the Danish Polar Center and Tranhuset – The Greenland Shop. Read more about those in the next chapter.
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The Greenland Monument on Christianshavns Torv
The Greenland Monument which is placed right in the middle of Christianshavns Torv, consists of three statues. The highest statue in the center shows a Greenlandic catcher in front of his kayak. By the way, did you know that “kayak” is a Greenlandic word?
To the left, there are two Greenlandic women flensing a seal and cleaning fish. The third statue shows two women in their national costume, while fishing ammassat (capelins). The models for the statue came from Greenland.
The statues were created by Svend Rathsack, who has spent some time in Greenland from 1932 to 1932. After coming home, he made the proposal to produce a Greenland monument. It got then ordered by the Copenhagen municipality to get placed at Christianhavns Torv. The statues got completed in 1938.
North Atlantic Wharf unites the countries of the North Atlantic
The idea of a common culture house for Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Denmark was born by the earlier Icelandic president Vigdis Finnbogadóttir. She came from Iceland and studied at the University of Copenhagen. She had a dream of uniting the three north-western countries one place in Copenhagen and through that, creating cohesion.
The old warehouse, that now is North Atlantic Wharf’s domicile, is a part of the old Greenlandic Harbor. Products got sent to Greenland from here over hundreds of years. It was also here, where large amounts of Greenlandic produce were imported. Here, passenger ships started their journey to Greenland, before flying became the standard means of transportation.
At the North Atlantic Wharf, you will find Iceland’s Embassy as well as Greenland’s and the Faroe Islands’ representations. A number of other companies with close bonds to the North Atlantic countries have their homes here, too. Among them are Visit Greenland and Greenland’s national tourist council.
Furthermore, the North Atlantic Wharf will always be remembered as the place that was home to Noma, while the restaurant was becoming famous and won the title “The world’s best restaurant” four times. There are also a number of exhibitions halls available at North Atlantic Wharf, where there are unique exhibitions, a café, a book store and a souvenir shop.
You will find North Atlantic Wharf when you walk down Strandgade or by crossing the new pedestrian bridge from Nyhavn.
Arctic Institute – an impressive collection of pictures and texts
The Arctic Institute is a very well-respected institution on an international level. The institute got founded by two researches with a very good reputation, namely Eigil Knuth and Ejnar Mikkelsen. The purpose of the Arctic Institute is to gather and register material about Greenland and other arctic areas. The interesting thing is that the institute wants to make all this material available to everyone.
You can find many of the institute’s collections online, for instance old texts, photographs, maps, sound recordings and movies. The photo collection, for example, includes more than 150,000 pictures, 80,000 of which are available on their webpage.
You could also consider to pay the polar library at the Arctic Institute a visit. The polar library covers humanistic, social as well as natural scientific subjects from all arctic areas. The polar library is one of the biggest libraries in the world with about 35,000 subjects only related to Greenland.
It is open for the public on weekdays from 1 to 3 pm and closed on Wednesdays. The institute is located right beside the North Atlantic Wharf at Christianshavn.
Knud Rasmussen’s statue at Strandvejen
You have probably heard of Knud Rasmussen, the greatest explorer, Greenland and Denmark ever raised. He was born in Ilulissat and already as a young boy he got fond of dog sledding.
He spoke Greenlandic and Danish fluently. Knud grew up with the Greenlandic myths and histories. Together with his friend Peter Freuchen, he opened a trading station in Northern Greenland and called it Thule. It was the starting point for many of his world-famous dog sledding tours across the Arctic.
If you drive along Strandvejen north of Copenhagen, you will get to his beautiful statue close to Skovshoved. It is standing there, looking out on the sea.
Knud Rasmussen’s House in Hundested
If you have some spare time, you should consider driving to the northern coast of Zealand, the island Copenhagen is placed on. In Hundested you are going to find Knud Rasmussen’s and his wife Dagmar’s home. The beautiful house was built in 1917 and has been open for the public since 1939, when Dagmar donated it to the local parish. The house has a wonderful view over the sea.
For Knud, the remote house was a refuge from the busy life in Copenhagen. A place, where he could withdraw and immerse himself into his work. There is an annex to the main house, which got built a couple of years after the original house. It became Knud’s private workplace.
Above the house on a hill, a cairn got raised in 1936 to remember Knud Rasmussen’s life’s work. The house is located at Knud Rasmussens Vej 9 in Hundested. It is open from Easter to calendar week 42 (the Danish school holidays in fall).
Denmark on 21st June – Greenland’s National Holiday
If you coincidently happen to be in Denmark on 21st June, so watch out for the flagpoles on public buildings. Since 2016, it is permitted by law to voluntarily use the Greenlandic and Faroe flags on their respective bank holidays. It is a beautiful view to see the Greenlandic flag on flagpoles all over Copenhagen (and many other places in the country).