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Qeqertarsuaq (big island)
Godhavn (Gotthafen)
Qeqertarsuaq (2006)
Qeqertarsuaq (2006)
Commune Qeqertalik municipality
District Qeqertarsuaq
Geographical location 69 ° 14 '45 "  N , 53 ° 32' 14"  W Coordinates: 69 ° 14 '45 "  N , 53 ° 32' 14"  W.
Qeqertarsuaq (Greenland)
Residents 839
(January 1, 2020)
founding 1773
Time zone UTC-3

Qeqertarsuaq [ qɜˌqɜˈtːɑsːuɑq ] ("big island"; according to the old spelling K'eĸertarssuaĸ ; Danish Godhavn ) is a Greenland city ​​in the district of Qeqertarsuaq in the municipality of Qeqertalik .


Qeqertarsuaq is located on the south coast of the Disko Island of the same name in Greenland , the largest side island in Greenland. 31 km to the northwest is the other inhabited settlement on Disko Island, Kangerluk . North of Qeqertarsuaq lies the approximately 700 m high glacier cap of the Lyngmarksbræ .


Before the colonial era

The first traces of settlement can be found in Qeqertarsuaq from around 5000 years ago, i.e. from the first people who ever set foot on Greenland, the Paleo-Eskimos . Lourens Feykes Haan described the living space at the beginning of the 18th century and called it Liefde Bay ("love bay "). The English called the harbor Port Lievely , probably from the Greenlandic word Iluileq . At that time, however, today's peninsula was still an island and the narrow pincers that can be found in the urban area today was a sound. In 1738 Poul Egede visited the place and met over 200 residents, many of whom were only nomadic.

Foundation phase

Memorial plaque for Svend Sandgreen in Qeqertarsuaq

The modern Qeqertarsuaq was founded in 1773 by Svend Sandgreen as the whaling lodge Godhavn. At first there was a single storey house and a half-timbered bacon house. In the first years scurvy raged among the colonists and the lodge was more or less economically unsuccessful. In 1775 Godhavn had 124 inhabitants. In 1775 and 1777 two more storey houses were built and production increased sharply. Another bacon house had to be built in 1787 because the previous one no longer offered any space for the hunted prey.

In 1782 the whaling facility Godhavns Næs was built in Godhavn a little further south . Together with the Fortunebay facility to the west, there were now three almost identical whaling bases ten kilometers wide. From 1789 onwards, all three were administered jointly from the lodge, Fortunebay was given up in 1791 and the lodge and complex were combined in 1802, but the complex was not really given up until 1851.

In 1782 Godhavn became the seat of the North Greenland inspector . His house, which was completed in the following year, was later replaced by a new building from 1850–1852. In 1790 a school and a missionary apartment were built on the site.

The place was considered the most important North Greenland at the time, but Godhavn never received colonial status, even if the place was head of a colonial district. In 1798, 130 people lived in nine houses in the complex. Although considerable numbers of seals were caught in addition to whaling, the profits often fell victim to the smuggling of the Greenlanders and the British. In 1808 230 people lived in sixteen houses, some of which were in the box.

In 1801, Inspector Claus Bendeke introduced the first means of payment in Greenland with printed playing cards. In 1805, Inspector Peter Hanning Motzfeldt founded the North Greenland Reading Society, a library that grew rapidly through donations and purchases. In 1817 it was expanded by Inspector Johannes West . In 1826, inspector Carl Peter Holbøll bought the entire library.

From 1805 to 1808 Motzfeldt had the silted up sound dug through again, as this made shipping easier. Nevertheless, it soon silted up again and at the beginning of the second half of the 19th century it was finally closed.


Qeqertarsuaq (1881)
Qeqertarsuaq (around 1900)
Qeqertarsuaq's pastor's house and church (1918)

During the war, as everywhere in Greenland, economic success fell sharply. After the war, the lodge was operated again from 1815. In 1817 a whaling commander, a bacon cutter, a chief, a boatman, a cooper, two carpenters, two cooks and eight sailors worked in Godhavn. In 1821 176 people lived in seventeen houses, which were distributed roughly equally between the complex and the box. By 1830 the economic yields fell sharply. They then recovered, but in 1848 consideration was given to demoting the lodge to Udsted . In 1830 a large forge was built in Godhavn, but it was abandoned after a few years. In 1840 a new 119 m² apartment was built for the lodge manager. In 1851 whaling was given up. In 1852 Godhavn got a 76 m² bakery and brewery. In 1856 a 52 m² apartment was built for the volunteer with an attached provisions store and shed. From 1879 to 1885 the lodge belonged to the colonial district of Egedesminde . Around 1880 the large oil distillery burned down in an accident. Then a new one was built, along with a bacon house and a powder house. In 1902 a 50 m² shop was built. In 1906 the Arctic Station was founded by Morten P. Porsild in Qeqertarsuaq. In 1909 a pastor's apartment of 74 m² was built. Today's eye-catching church was completed in 1914. In 1915 a building was erected in which the newspaper Avangnâmioĸ , which appeared until 1958, was printed. It also served as a meeting room for the North Greenland Regional Council . From 1915 to 1918 an archive building of 83 m² was built for the North Greenland State Archives.

Qeqertarsuaq is the place of origin of the Broberg family.

Recent history

During the Second World War , the meetings of Grønlands Landsråd were held together with the South Greenland Provincial Council in Qeqertarsuaq. At these meetings it was decided that the United States could establish military bases in Greenland, but also the amalgamation of the two Greenlandic colonies into one based in Nuuk , today's capital of Greenland, which was decolonized just three years later, in 1953.

Qeqertarsuaq was from 1911 a separate municipality without associated living space. In 1950 Qeqertarsuaq became the seat of the new Qeqertarsuaq community , which consisted of the former colonial district. In 1972 the municipality of Vaigat , whose main town Qullissat had been abandoned, was incorporated, so that the municipality has since encompassed the entire Disko Island. During the administrative reform in 2009, the city was incorporated into the Qaasuitsup Kommunia and since 2018 it has been part of the Qeqertalik municipality .

List of colonial employees until 1921

Lodge manager

The following persons were administrators of the Godhavn Lodge until 1921. From 1879 to 1885 the lodge was directed from the Egedesminde colony .

  • 1773-1783: Svend Sandgreen
  • 1783–1789: Christoffer Nikolaj Libeck
  • 1789–1791: Joachim Holm
  • 1791–1793: Johan Buschmann
  • 1793–1795: Jens Christian Arentz
  • 1795–1800: Johan Christian Steen
  • 1800–1803: Christian Frederik Rousing
  • 1803-1807: Michael Olrik
  • 1807–1808: Johan Ritter
  • 1808-1809: Nicolai Julius Rasmussen
  • 1809–1811: Johannes Winding
  • 1811–1815: Hans Christian Møhl
  • 1815–1817: Hans Mossin Fleischer
  • 1817–1818: Frederik Diderik Sechmann Fleischer
  • 1818–1820: Hans Mossin Fleischer
  • 1820–1821: Ole Adolf Winding
  • 1821–1822: Christian Ferdinand Plum
  • 1822–1823: Carl Edvard Ernst
  • 1823–1825: Claudius Andreas Stephensen
  • 1825–1827: Frederik Lassen
  • 1827–1828: Carl Søren Vilhelm Egtved
  • 1828–1829: Claudius Andreas Stephensen
  • 1829–1830: Johan Peter Petersen
  • 1830–1831: Jens August Mørch
  • 1831–1833: Hans Rosing
  • 1833–1835: Henning Bistrup
  • 1835–1836: Peder Goische Kirchheiner
  • 1836–1838: Wilhelm Christian Hansen
  • 1838–1840: Severin Michael Cortzen
  • 1840–1843: Hans Heinrich Muxoll
  • 1843–1846: Knud Geelmuyden Fleischer
  • 1846–1847: Larss Frederik Larsen
  • 1847–1850: Henning Ager
  • 1850-1852: Rasmus Møldrup
  • 1852–1854: J. Georg Kursch
  • 1854–1862: Christian Engelbrecht Andersen
  • 1862–1869: Hans Frederik A. Hansen
  • 1869–1873: Frederik Andreas Asmus Christian Valdemar Gabriel Tryde Lassen
  • 1873–1874: Anthon Frederik Søren Møldrup
  • 1874–1875: Niss Lauritz Elberg
  • 1875–1876: Edgar Christian Fencker
  • 1876–1877: Johannes Herman Mads Mørch
  • 1877–1878: Peter Anton Marius Elberg
  • 1878–1879: Edgar Christian Fencker
  • 1879–1880: Edgar Christian Fencker
  • 1880–1881: Jens Christian Poul Fleischer
  • 1881–1882: Jacob Djurhuus
  • 1882–1884: Peter Jürgen Petersen
  • 1884–1885: Herman Valentin Høst Beyer
  • 1885–1886: Johan Carl Joensen
  • 1886–1893: Herjulf Carl Georg Jørgensen
  • 1893-1896: Geert Hardius Larsenius Elmquist
  • 1896–1897: Louis Victor Mathiesen
  • 1897–1898: Carl Frederik Harries
  • 1898-1899: Ole Bendixen
  • 1899–1901: Anders Peter Olsen
  • 1901–1904: Christian August Nielsen
  • 1904–1905: Hendrik Theodor Petersen
  • 1905–1906: Johannes Otto Frederik Mathiesen
  • 1906–1907: Hendrik Theodor Petersen
  • 1907–1908: Karl Frederik Hannibal Anton Fencker
  • 1908–1910: Oluf Nicolaj Willemann throne
  • 1910–1911: Axel Kristian Marius Vinterberg
  • 1911–1913: Karl Frederik Hannibal Anton Fencker
  • 1913–1916: Aage Carlhegger Erik Østerberg Bistrup
  • 1916-1918: Olav Even Olsen
  • from 1918: 00.Oluf Nicolaj Willemann throne

Whaling commanders

The whaling commanders were also mostly administrators of the facility.

  • 1787–1790: Riewert Booysen
  • 1790–1791: Rivert Jappen
  • 1791–1792: Riewert Booysen
  • 1792–1793: Rivert Jappen
  • 1793–1796: Riewert Booysen
  • 1796–1802: Jürgen Kettelsen
  • 1815–1818: Rørd Ocke Bohn
  • 1823–1826: Frederik Jepsen
  • 1839–1840: Hans Jørgen Frederiksen

Asset Manager

The Godhavn plant was managed by its own administrator until 1850.

  • 1782–1787: Ole Tønder Olrik
  • 1787: -0000Jens Nicolaj Bidstrup
  • 1787: -0000Caspar Gottlieb Lidemark
  • 1787: -0000Christoffer Nikolaj Libeck
  • 1787-1790: Niels Poulsen
  • 1790–1791: Jeppe Andreas Scheen
  • 1791–1792: Riewert Booysen
  • 1792–1793: Rivert Jappen
  • 1793–1796: Riewert Booysen
  • 1796–1802: Jürgen Kettelsen
  • 1802–1803: Johan Christian Geisler
  • 1803–1806: Johan Ritter
  • 1806–1813: Rasmus Jensen Brandt
  • 1813–1815: Hans Mossin Fleischer
  • 1815–1818: Rørd Ocke Bohn
  • 1818–1820: Hans Nielsen
  • 1820–1822: Carl Edvard Ernst
  • 1822–1823: Johan Peter Petersen
  • 1823–1826: Frederik Jepsen
  • 1828–1830: Henning Bistrup
  • 1830: -0000Wilhelm Christian Hansen
  • 1830–1831: Poul Georg Lauri Bolbroe
  • 1831–1833: Wilhelm Christian Hansen
  • 1833–1834: Poul Georg Lauri Bolbroe
  • 1834–1838: Wilhelm Christian Hansen
  • 1838–1839: Knud Geelmuyden Fleischer
  • 1839–1840: Hans Jørgen Frederiksen
  • 1840–1842: Knud Geelmuyden Fleischer
  • 1842–1843: August Gottlieb Kühnel
  • 1843–1844: Nicolai Zimmer
  • 1844–1846: Lars Frederik Larsen
  • 1846-1850: Rasmus Møldrup

Missionaries and pastors

With a few exceptions, Godhavn did not have a missionary of his own. It was not until 1909 that the colonial district received a district pastor who was subordinate to the pastor of the Egedeminde colony .

  • 1783–1784: Christian Gjerløff
  • 1789–1792: Rudolph Friederich Lassen
  • 1846–1847: Gottfried Martin Quirinus Christophersen
  • 1909–1914: Harald Emanuel Mortensen
  • 1914–1915: Karl Johan Pavia Chemnitz
  • 1915–1916: Harald Emanuel Mortensen
  • from 1918: Svend Peter Christian Rosing00.


Initially, the facility managers also served as surgeons. It was not until 1794 that the first doctor was employed in Greenland. The doctor stationed in Godhavn worked for all of North Greenland. In 1827 he was transferred to Ilimanaq .

  • 1777–1780: Andreas Streitmann
  • 1778–1781: Nikolai Frederik Swindt
  • 1781–1787: Ole Tønder Olrik
  • 1787-1790: Niels Poulsen
  • 1790–1791: Jeppe Andreas Scheen
  • 1794–1801: Theodor Christian Eulner
  • 1802–1827: Johan Frederik Lerch


The importance of whaling has declined significantly since the early days of Qeqertarsuaq. Today, the fish factory operated by Royal Greenland processes shrimp , cod and roe . Also the play seal hunt and the halibut fishing a role. An attempt by a Swiss company to operate a mineral water production plant in Qeqertarsuaq, which was started in 2008 , failed. Qeqertarsuaq also has good resources for tourism . Hikes, dog sledding and snow scooter rides as well as whale tours and a ski area north of the city are offered.

Infrastructure and supply

Qeqertarsuaq has an extensive road network. The city's port is located in a sheltered bay to the west. It has two quays of 12 and 15 meters in length. The Disko Line goes to Qeqertarsuaq several times a week. To the east is the Qeqertarsuaq heliport , which connects the city with Aasiaat and Ilulissat by air several times a week .

Nukissiorfiit operates a diesel power station to supply the city with electricity. The drinking water is obtained by melting ice from the glacier north of Qeqertarsuaq. Oil stoves heat houses in the city. Some of the buildings are connected to a sewage network. TELE Greenland guarantees the telecommunication supply of Qeqertarsuaq.


Qeqertarsuaq Church (2016)

The Qeqertarsuup Atuarfia teaches about 150 students up to the 10th grade. Qeqertarsuaq also has a branch of the Greenland vocational schools (Piareersarfik). There is a crèche with a kindergarten and a nursing home. For medical care, Qeqertarsuaq has a hospital and a dental practice. In the city there is also a municipal office, a post office, a sports hall and a football field and, in addition to various shops and kiosks, a Pilersuisoq branch that supplies the residents with goods. The Qeqertarsuaq Museum in the former inspector's apartment and an assembly building are also located here . The hotel disco and numerous hostels and a campsite are available for tourists . The church (called Herrgott's Inkwell because of its eye-catching design ), the bell tower and the morgue in the city are listed buildings. About two dozen other buildings are classified as worthy of preservation. In Qeqertarsuaq there is also the Arktisk Station founded by Morten Pedersen Porsild in 1906 and a geophysical and an astronomical observatory .

Sons and daughters

Population development

The population of Qeqertarsuaq increased from 1980 to the mid-1990s and has been falling again since then. With around 850 inhabitants, Qeqertarsuaq is now the second smallest town in West Greenland after Kangaatsiaq .

Web links

Commons : Qeqertarsuaq  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Map with all official place names confirmed by Oqaasileriffik , provided by Asiaq
  2. a b c d e Qeqertarsuaq at qaasuitsup-kp.cowi.webhouse.dk
  3. a b c d e f g h i Morten P. Porsild , Hother Ostermann : Beskrivelse af Distrikterne i Nordgrønland: Godhavn District. Bopladser i Godhavn district. Lodges Godhavn . 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 1 . C. A. Reitzel Boghandel, Copenhagen 1921, p. 310 ff . ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  4. a b Qeqertarsuaq Commune in Den Store Danske
  5. a b c d e Hother Ostermann : Beskrivelse af Distrikterne i Nordgrønland: Godhavn District. History . 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 1 . C. A. Reitzel Boghandel, Copenhagen 1921, p. 308 ff . ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  6. Empty bottle in Greenland from observer.ch
  7. Qeqertarsuaq at groenlandkreuzfahrt.de
  8. Population of Qeqertarsuaq 1977–2020 at bank.stat.gl