Greenland

Greenland. Photo via Flickr by ilovegreenland.

Country Information

If you meet someone from Greenland, consider yourself lucky. With only 56,000 inhabitants, it’s the least densely populated country in the world. The vast majority live along the coast, as an ice cap covers about eighty percent of the island.

The first people to arrive in Greenland did so about four to five thousand years ago from North America via Canada when the sea froze. Several different Inuit cultures immigrated over the years, and managed to survive the Arctic conditions and make it their home.

That didn’t stop Denmark-Norway from claiming the territory when it came across it however. Greenland remains a part of the Danish kingdom to this day, although it has enjoyed a sovereign status since 1979.

Lifestyle and Family

Most of Greenland's population is of Inuit or mixed Inuit/Danish heritage. Despite the cold climate and isolation, Greenlanders have a sincere affection for the land on which they dwell.

Extended families are important, and resources are usually shared with families in the same kin group. What one reaps from hunting and fishing for example, is generally divided up equally amongst family members.

Teen Life and Sports

Most Greenland teens spend time with their families. Like their counterparts all over the world however, they also enjoy, sports, cinema, music, and television.

Diet

Meat from mammals, birds and fish is a staple of the Greenlandic diet. In such a harsh climate, foods rich in protein were craved. Ingredients are often organic - fish, game, and marine animals roam free and are not fed with artificial substances.

Language and Religion

Greenlandic is the official language of Greenland. It belongs to the Eskimo family of languages. It is also polysynthethic, which means that entire ideas can be expressed by one word and an addition of prefixes and suffixes. This makes for some very long words! Thankfully, should you host a student from Greenland, you can easily welcome them by saying hello in their native tongue – “Alluu”!

Most Greenlanders are Lutheran, which is the national church of Denmark. However, some still practice Innuit spiritual customs, particularly in the more remote regions of Greenland.

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