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Nuuk (Cape)
Godthåb (Good Hope)
Nuuk (2010)
Nuuk (2010)
Commune Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq
District Nuuk
Geographical location 64 ° 10 '48 "  N , 51 ° 43' 12"  W Coordinates: 64 ° 10 '48 "  N , 51 ° 43' 12"  W.
Nuuk (Greenland)
Residents 18,326
(January 1, 2020)
founding 1728
Time zone UTC-3

Nuuk (  [ nuːk ] ; according to the old spelling Nûk ; Danish Godthåb [ ˈgɔdhoːʔb ]) is the capital and at the same time, with over 18,000 inhabitants, by far the largest city in Greenland . It forms the cultural center of the country and is growing rapidly with the urbanization tendencies of the arctic country belonging to Denmark . Nuuk is also the capital of the former municipality of Nuuk and the current Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq . Please click to listen!Play



The fjord system around Nuuk

Nuuk is located on the western tip of an approx. 75 km long peninsula, which is bounded in the north by Uummannap Sullua and in the south by the Ameralik fjord . South of Nuuk, this peninsula is divided by the Kangerluarsunnguaq (Kobbefjord) fjord . The Nuup Kangerlua (Godthåbsfjord), one of the longest and widest fjords in Greenland and the main arm of one of the largest fjord systems in the country, runs off the west coast of Nuuk . The urban area grows around Qinngorput Bay (Malenebugt). To the south of this are a number of other larger islands, the largest of which are Aqissersiorfik (Rypeø) and Angisunnguaq . The next inhabited place from Nuuk, Kapisillit , is about 75 km away in the inland part of the fjord system.


Nuuk is characterized by a maritime - subpolar climate. The annual mean temperature is just below freezing point . Since the beginning of the 20th century, mean annual temperatures (with the exception of 2010) have fluctuated between −4 ° C and 1 ° C. The monthly mean temperature varies by less than 20 ° C throughout the year, with the coldest month in March and the warmest in July. The rainfall distributed throughout the year, with the wettest months are in the summer and fall. Overall, around every third day in Greenland is a rainy day . Nuuk is less than 300 km south of the Arctic Circle , which has an impact on the duration of sunshine because of the polar days and nights .

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WetterKontor (1961–1990)
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Nuuk
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −4.4 −4.5 −4.8 −0.8 3.5 7.7 10.6 9.9 6.3 1.7 −1.0 −3.3 O 1.8
Min. Temperature (° C) −10.1 −10.6 −10.6 −6.1 −1.5 1.3 3.8 3.8 1.6 −2.5 −5.8 −8.7 O −3.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 39 47 50 46 55 62 82 89 88 70 74 54 Σ 756
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 0.5 2.3 4.8 6.0 6.1 6.8 6.3 5.3 4.7 2.6 1.0 0.2 O 3.9
Rainy days ( d ) 9 9 10 9 9 8th 10 9 12 10 11 10 Σ 116
Water temperature (° C) −1 −1 −1 −1 0 1 1 2 2 1 1 0 O 0.3
Humidity ( % ) 78 79 81 81 84 84 87 87 83 78 76 77 O 81.3
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WetterKontor (1961–1990)

City structure

View of the north of Nuuk with the 1,210 m high Sermitsiaq in the background

Nuuk is the only city in Greenland that can be divided into districts . The other cities with less than 7,000 inhabitants do not have the necessary size for this. Nuuk is divided into four districts: Nuuk in the narrower sense of the city center, Nuussuaq, Quassussuup Tungaa and Qinngorput.

City center

The actual Nuuk that has formed around the historical core is in the area west of 400-rtalik road and south of Qallussuaq Lake . It has an area of ​​approx. 3 km² and houses almost half of the city's population. This is where most of the city's public and, above all, historical buildings and the Nuuks passenger port are located.


Nuussuaq ( German  big cape ) is the approx. 1.75 km² large district, which connects to the city center on the eastern side of the 400-rtalik and is therefore also east of the Umiarsualivik bay , where the passenger port is located. The district area includes several islands, the Umiarsualiviup Qeqertai (short Qeqertat / Danish Admiralitetsholmene ), which were artificially connected to the mainland and form the container port. In the Iggiaa strait between the Qeqertat and the mainland is the city's boat harbor, which consists of 21 piers.

Quassussuup Tungaa

Quassussuup Tungaa ( German  direction of the large ridge ) is the name of the district north of Nuuk and Nuussuaq. It has an area of ​​approx. 5 km², of which only a good half is built up. The western part consists mostly of residential buildings in several neighborhoods and for example the University of Greenland , while the eastern part is Nuuk Airport .


Qinngorput is the most remote and youngest part of Nuuk. It is about 1.5 km² and is located on the east side of the bay of the same name. The district, which was only founded in 2004, is only half built up to date. Qinngorput has another small boat harbor. The prison to the northeast of the airport is also assigned to the district.

Urban development

In the last 40 years the population of Nuuk has doubled. Nuuk added more inhabitants (around nine thousand) than Greenland as a whole (around seven thousand), which is due to the strong urbanization tendencies (→ see Demography of Greenland # internal migration ). Several hundred people move to the Greenland capital every year. By 2030, Nuuk should be able to accommodate 30,000 residents, more than half of today's population. To provide space for the growing population, the construction of another district has already been planned. After temporarily considering expanding Nuuk to the other side of the fjord in the Akia region , for the purpose of residential developments or for a new airport - in 2006 they even considered building a tunnel under Nuup Kangerlua, which would have set a world record with a depth of 300 m - the area south of Qinngorput at the entrance of Kangerluarsunnguaq has meanwhile been included in the municipal plan and is intended to form the new district Siorarsiorfik ( German  where you 're out in the sand ). The start of construction for Siorarsiorfik, in which 3,600 new apartments are to be built, is expected in 2019.


18th century

The statue of Hans Egede , the founder of Nuuk, on the mountain by the church

The colonization of Greenland began in 1721 by Hans Egede when he founded the mission station Håbets Ø 17 km west of today's Nuuk . Originally he had looked around in the area to find a suitable place for the mission station and found Nuuk to be suitable, but the port conditions led him to build Håbets Ø elsewhere. Nevertheless, he came back to Nuuk in the summer of 1727, where he was once again convinced of the advantages of the position. He found a large plain here with grassy areas for grazing cattle, good hunting grounds for catching reindeer , salmon , redfish and cod, and the place was already inhabited by Inuit , both Nuuk itself, where there were two houses with twelve families, and also the surrounding area.

On July 2, 1728, Hans Egede and Claus Paarss visited the site together and it was decided to move the colony there. A few days later the first buildings were erected in Nuuk. On August 29th, Hans Egede officially inaugurated the colony under the name Godthåb . On September 30th he moved from Håbets Ø to Godthåb. 30 colonialists lived together in the large house.

The former mission house of the Moravians (2010)

In 1731 the Moravian Congregation was inspired to begin missionary work, and after Saint Thomas in 1732, the following year, the Moravian community was founded in Greenland: Neu-Herrnhut at the Noorliit residential area just a few hundred meters south of Nuuk. Initially the missionary work was not very successful, due to the communication difficulties between the German Herrnhutern, the Dane Egede, who taught them the Greenlandic language , and the Greenlanders themselves, as well as the Kalaallit's lack of interest in being missionary at all. After a few weeks, a smallpox epidemic , brought in from Copenhagen , broke out, killing almost the entire population in the area. Nevertheless, the missionary work of the Greenlanders was continued and expanded for almost 170 years.

In 1734 there was a 185 m² house made of stone with seven rooms (church room, merchant apartment, missionary apartment, catechist apartment, sailor apartment and storage rooms) in Nuuk, a 124 m² half-timbered house that was initially used as a residential house, now as a provisions store, brewery, bakery and Smithy was used, a 22 m² wooden house that served as a weighing house and peat store, a cooperage, a 118 m² bacon house.

In the first few years the river repeatedly damaged the buildings that were built too close to it. In the 1760s , Egill Þórhallsson therefore called for the colony to be relocated to Kangeq , for example , where significantly more Greenlanders lived. At the beginning of the 19th century, Carl Ludwig Giesecke wanted the colony to be moved to the other side of the fjord.

In 1758 a 48 m² church was built, which was renovated in 1772, but was demolished in 1850 before a cooperage was built from the stones.

In 1782 the colony of Godthaab became the seat of the inspector of South Greenland , which means that Nuuk, together with Qeqertarsuaq , the seat of the North Greenland inspector, could be regarded as the capital of Greenland.

19th century

Nuuk on a watercolor by Andreas Kornerup from 1878

In 1845 it was decided to build a new church, a teachers' college and a new missionary apartment, as the old house was only used as a colonial administrator's apartment. The Grønlands Seminarium , founded in 1845, played an essential role in Nuuk's role as a training center in Greenland . The current main building was built in 1907 and is depicted on the coat of arms of the former Nuuk municipality .

First half of the 20th century

Nuuk (around 1900)

In 1900 the Moravians left Greenland and the residents of Neu-Herrnhut all moved to the nearby Nuuk by 1914, which incorporated the former Noorliit residential area.

From 1911 onwards, Nuuk was a separate municipality as a colony, which also included the residential areas Ikaarissat , Saarloq and Qaarusuk . The municipality was part of the 8th county council electoral district of South Greenland. Nuuk was also the seat of the Provincial Council of South Greenland, which was founded in the same year .

In 1918 there were 357 Greenlanders and 34 Europeans in Nuuk. Nuuk was the second largest town in Greenland after Maniitsoq at that time . The population actually had European ancestry throughout, but the residents of Noorliit who had just moved to Nuuk were almost entirely pure Inuit, as mixed marriages were uncommon in the Moravian community.

The following people were publicly employed among the residents: the Danish inspector, two book printers, a photographer, a printer's assistant, a clerk for the inspector, the Danish colonial administrator, the Danish doctor, a Danish volunteer, a Danish nurse, a ruler, a boat driver, five carpenters, four cooper, two blacksmiths and gunsmiths, a cook, a baker, a colonist, two apprentices, a midwife, the Danish seminar leader, the Danish pastor, a Danish seminar teacher, two head catechists, an organist, two book printers in church services and 39 Seminar students. Among the Greenlanders were 21 hunters and two fishermen. The population lived mainly from hunting seals and belugas . What is striking is the small number of hunters compared to the population, which had to do with the fact that even then many fathers no longer taught their sons to hunt because it was easier to earn a living as a kiffaq (helper), for example.

Nuuk (around 1933)

The population lived in 47 Greenlandic houses. In 1918 there were the following public buildings in Nuuk: The inspector's apartment, built in 1831, which also included an archive, a goat shed and a coal shed, the state archive, which was built as a hospital in 1856, the printing works from 1894, the colonial administrator's apartment from 1728 in which was also an assistant's apartment, another assistant's apartment from 1906, which at that time was occupied by the doctor because the doctor's apartment had burned down, another assistant's apartment from 1833, which was built from the materials of the first inspector's apartment, a potion factory from 1850, a bacon house from 1888, a boathouse from 1839, a cooperage from 1887, a brewery with forge from 1848, a provisions store with shop from 1850, a fish house from 1913, a coal house from 1882, a material house that previously used the cooperage from the materials of the first church, a carpenter's workshop with a bakery from 1892, a hospital from 1903, a provision house from 1872, e in coal house from 1902, several coal sheds, goat stalls, petroleum and powder houses, the mission house of Neu-Herrnhut, the church from 1849, the pastor's apartment from 1847 with goat barn and shed, the school from 1862, the seminarium with the gym, four boarding houses and an organist apartment.

Second half of the 20th century

In 1950 Greenland was decolonized and North and South Greenland were united. This went hand in hand with Nuuk becoming the seat of the National Council for all of Greenland. This made the city de facto the sole capital of Greenland, which has now also become the largest city in the country. From 1950 Nuuk was the capital of the Nuuk municipality . Since the introduction of the Hjemmestyre in 1979, Nuuk has been the seat of Greenland's parliament and government . During the administrative reform in 2009, Nuuk became the capital of the new Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq .

Modern apartment block architecture in Nuuk (2011)

In the middle of the 20th century, more and more small settlements were abandoned and the cities grew, especially Nuuk. In order to accommodate the rapidly growing population, large blocks of flats were built in Nuuk in the 1960s and 1970s, the largest of which, Blok P , which was demolished in 2013, housed around one percent of the country's total population. At the beginning of the 1960s, around 3,000 people still lived in Nuuk, whereas ten years later the figure was 8,000, today it is 18,000. From the late 1970s, the first suburbs of Nuuk were established, starting with Nuussuaq. The large blocks of flats stand in sharp contrast to the typical colorful Greenlandic single-family houses in smaller towns and also represent a radical break with the traditional village way of life of the Inuit, which manifests itself in major social problems such as alcoholism .

List of colonial employees until 1921

Colonial administrator

The following people worked as colonial administrators of the Godthaab colony until 1921. Initially, the data refer to the Haabets Ø colony.

Missionaries and pastors

The following missionaries and pastors were active in the Godthaab colony until 1921. The missionaries of the Haabets Ø colony are also named. In the beginning several missionaries were often active at the same time. From 1794 to 1795 the missionary of the Frederikshaab colony was responsible. In the following year there was no missionary in South Greenland. From 1797 to 1807 the colony was also assigned to the parish of the Frederikshaab colony. From 1812 to 1815 there was again no missionary in South Greenland. From 1841 to 1845 the missionary of the Holsteinsborg colony also worked for the Godthaab colony.


Since 1839 the colony of Godthaab was the seat of a medical district. The surgeons previously were not part of the organized medical system.

  • 1721–1723: Johan Georg Daniel Bernhardt
  • 1723–1725: Johan Georg Daniel Bernhardt and Johan Vilhelm Jordan
  • 1725–1726: Frederik Henckel
  • 1727-1730: Christian Keding
  • 1730–1731: Christian Keding and Christopher Laugesen
  • 1732-1742: Christian Keding
  • 1742–1744: Christian Keding and Johan Andreas von Osten
  • 1767–1768: Christoph Brasen
  • 1839–1846: Friedrich Peter Æmil Bloch
  • 1846–1848: Rasmus Christian Rasmussen
  • 1848–1849: Johan Carl Bentzon
  • 1849-1853: Rasmus Christian Rasmussen
  • 1853–1859: Jacob Frederik Theodor Lindorff
  • 1859–1866: Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Stender
  • 1866–1880: Baldwin Fernando Sørensen
  • 1880–1885: Aage Rolf Ibsen
  • 1885–1891: Carl Ludvig Binzer
  • 1891–1901: Thomas Neergaard Krabbe
  • 1902–1907: Gustav Koppel
  • 1907: -0000Søren Hansen (interim)
  • 1908: Carl Martin Norman-Hansen (interim)
  • 1908–1912: Carl Andersen
  • 1912–1913: Peter Christen Sørensen
  • 1913–1914: Carl Martin Norman-Hansen (interim)
  • from 1914: 00.Stephan Vilhelm Barchalia


Nuuk is the most economically diverse city. While the economy in the small villages is characterized by fishing, hunting and administration, Nuuk offers numerous other career opportunities, also made possible by the diverse educational opportunities. Many Greenlandic companies are based in Nuuk and so offer work, as do the many institutions. The largest employment sector in Nuuk is administration. However, fishing also plays a role in the capital. The fish factory in Nuuk processes cod , black halibut , redfish , striped sea wolf and roe . Part of the city's income is also generated by emerging tourism .

Infrastructure and supply

Main street Aqqusinersuaq in Nuuk with Hotel Hans Egede on the right

Nuuk has a passenger port, a container port and two boat ports. The sea around Nuuk is ice-free and navigable all year round. Nuuk is connected to the national air network and Iceland via Nuuk Airport . In 2018 it was decided to expand the airport into an international airport, although the construction of an airport on Angisunnguaq would have been much more popular with the population. In the city itself there are well-developed roads, on which Nuup Bussii operates three bus routes. The main street is the Aqqusinersuaq . Nuuk is the landing point of the Greenland Connect submarine cable .

In Nuuk, as in the rest of the country, Nukissiorfiit is responsible for the electricity, water and heating supply. The residents are supplied with goods by four Brugseni and Pisiffik branches and one each of Spar , Torrak, JYSK , Elgiganten, Nota-Bene, Akiki and inspiration branches.



The Ilimmarfik, University of Greenland campus

Nuuk has five elementary schools:

  • Atuarfik Samuel Kleinschmidt (Nuuk)
  • Ukaliusaq (Nuuk)
  • Kangillinnguit Atuarfia (Quassussuup Tungaa)
  • Nuussuup Atuarfia (Nuussuaq)
  • Atuarfik Hans Lynge (Qinngorput)

There is also a private school (Nuuk Internationale Friskole), a location of the GUX (Midtgrønlands Gymnasium), the Niuernermik Ilinniarfik (business school), the Saviminilerinermik Ilinniarfik (iron and metal school), a machinist school, a police school and a branch of the maritime school in Paamiut . Nuuk is also home to the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik), the only university in the country that has had Ilimmarfik as a campus in Quassussuup Tungaa since 2008 and was previously housed in the former Neu-Herrnhut. The university library is also the Groenlandica National Library and thus a subdivision of the Nunatta Atuagaateqarfia National Library .


Annaassisitta Oqaluffia (Before Frelser Kirke)

The first church in Nuuk was built in 1758. In 1849 what is now the Evangelical Lutheran church, the Annaassisitta Oqaluffia (Vor Frelser Kirke) was inaugurated, which is now the country's cathedral . The other Lutheran church in Nuuk is the Hans Egedep Oqaluffia (Hans Egede Kirke). In Nuuk also is the only Roman Catholic church in the country, the parish was founded in 1958 Krist Konge with the 1972 effort Finn Lynges built Krist Konge Kirke ( Christ the King Church ).

Culture and leisure

Greenland's National Museum (Nunatta Katersugaasivia) was established in 1966 as the country's first museum. In 1991 it was merged with the National Archives. The museum covers Greenland's history since the island was settled 4,500 years ago. Its inventory includes the mummies of Qilakitsoq . In 2005 the local art museum opened in Nuuk , which has a collection of over 300 paintings and 400 handicraft objects. Nuuk's third museum, Nuutoqaq, is located in the historic colony harbor and is a local museum.

The Katuaq in Nuuk

Katuaq , which opened in 1997, is the Greenlandic cultural center. It functions as a concert building, cinema, theater, gallery and conference building.

In 2011 the Greenland National Theater (Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia) was founded in Nuuk .

In addition to the Nuuk Stadium , where the Greenland national soccer team plays their home games, there is a sports hall, the Godthåbhallen , which is used by the Greenland national handball team , among others .

Nuuk also has a meeting house, several hotels, including the Hotel Hans Egede , and restaurants.

Other public institutions and buildings

There are numerous crèches and kindergartens in Nuuk. A retirement home was built for senior citizens, supplemented by around 150 senior citizens' apartments.

There is a veterinarian, a dentist's office and the Dronning Ingrids Hospital , which is the central hospital in Greenland.

Nuuk is the seat of the Pinngortitaleriffik , the Greenland Nature Institute .

Since 2012, the headquarters of the arctic armed forces of Denmark has been located in Nuuk .


At the colony harbor there is the granite sculpture of the Mother of the Sea by the Greenland artist Aka Høegh , which symbolizes an Inuit legend. The sculpture is placed so that it protrudes from the water at low tide and is completely covered at high tide.


Numerous football clubs come from Nuuk. The oldest is NÛK , which was founded in 1934 and won the Greenland Football Championship five times between 1981 and 1997 . GSS Nuuk , founded in 1944, also won the championship five times between 1958 and 1976. B-67 Nuuk was founded in 1967 and is now the Greenlandic record champion, having won the championship thirteen times since 1993. In 1979, IT-79 Nuuk was founded as the fourth club to win the 2017 championship. In 2011, FC Tuttu Nuuk also took part in the championship once.

Town twinning

sons and daughters of the town

Population development

Nuuk's population has doubled over the past 40 years. This is due to the strong internal migration and urbanization in Greenland. While the population of the city center and Nuussuaq has remained relatively stable, all of the population growth has been absorbed by the young districts of Quassussuup Tungaa and Qinngorput.


Nuuk Panorama image.jpg
Panoramic pictures of Nuuk


Web links

Commons : Nuuk  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Nuuk  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Map with all official place names confirmed by Oqaasileriffik , provided by Asiaq
  2. ^ GISS Surface Temperature Analysis, Station Data: Godthab Nuuk. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (English).;
  3. GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4), Station Data: Nuuk. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (English).;
  4. Nuuk climate table at
  5. Nuuk at
  6. Net migration in the Nuuk district 1993–2017 at
  7. Arctic capital with growing pains at
  8. Tunnel til Akia er en mulighed at
  9. Kvalitetsboliger med udsigt at ncd.dl
  10. Første Siorarsiorfik-byggeri begynder i 2019 at
  11. a b c d e f g Louis Bobé : Beskrivelse af Distrikterne i Sydgrønland: Godthaab district. History colonies of Godthaab . In: Georg Carl Amdrup , Louis Bobé , Adolf Severin Jensen , Hans Peder Steensby (eds.): Grønland i tohundredeaaret for Hans Egedes landing (=  Meddelelser om Grønland . Volume 60-61 ). tape 2 . C. A. Reitzel Boghandel, Copenhagen 1921, p. 287 ff . ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  12. David Cranz : History of Gro ͤ nland . G. Reimer, Barby 1765 ( fully available in Google Book Search).
  13. a b c d Ole Bendixen : Beskrivelse af Distrikterne i Sydgrønland: Godthaab district. Bopladser i Godthaab district. Colonies of Godthaab . In: Georg Carl Amdrup , Louis Bobé , Adolf Severin Jensen , Hans Peder Steensby (eds.): Grønland i tohundredeaaret for Hans Egedes landing (=  Meddelelser om Grønland . Volume 60-61 ). tape 2 . C. A. Reitzel Boghandel, Copenhagen 1921, p. 242 ff . ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  14. Nuuk at
  15. Blok P at
  16. Nuuk in Den Store Danske
  17. ^ A b c Hother Ostermann : Beskrivelse af Distrikterne i Sydgrønland: Godthaab district. History. Danske Embendsmænd ved Godthaab . In: Georg Carl Amdrup , Louis Bobé , Adolf Severin Jensen , Hans Peder Steensby (eds.): Grønland i tohundredeaaret for Hans Egedes landing (=  Meddelelser om Grønland . Volume 60-61 ). tape 2 . C. A. Reitzel Boghandel, Copenhagen 1921, p. 293 ff . ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  18. a b Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq in Den Store Danske
  19. Nuuk at
  20. Lufthavnspakken he vedtaget at
  21. Debattør kæmper for sydlig lufthavn i Nuuk in Sermitsiaq
  22. a b c d Nuuk at (.pdf)
  23. History at
  24. Groenlandica at
  25. Krist Konge Kirke at
  26. Museet at
  27. Nuuk Art Museum at
  28. Nuutoqaq at
  29. Velkommen at
  30. Grønland's National Theater at
  31. Nuuk og Scoresbysund, Grønland - Venskabsby siden 1963 (Scoresbysund) / 2002 (Nuuk) at
  32. Amasya at (.pdf)
  33. Nuuk in the Norske Leksikon store
  34. Chart of Friendly Cooperative Cities of Changchun at
  35. Kommunkompassen Analys av Huddinge kommun 18–20 September 2006 at (.pdf)
  36. Nuuk at
  37. Vinabæir at
  38. Nuuk ei enää ole Vantaan ystävä at
  39. urban history at
  40. Population of Nuuk 1977–2020 at
  41. Population figures for the Nuuks districts 1994–2020 at