Arctic Wilderness Adventure: What to see in Nuuk, Greenland

The world's largest island - Greenland - is an autonomous country that aligns itself with the Kingdom of Denmark.

The world's largest island - Greenland - is an autonomous country that aligns itself with the Kingdom of Denmark. It rests between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and provides travelers with some incredible views of glaciers, indigenous wildlife and the communities that prosper within the northern hemisphere's Arctic Circle. During your cruise vacations, you'll have the opportunity to discover the undisturbed arctic habitats surrounding Disko Bay, where the best mode of transportation is propelled by dogs and the sun stays out all summer. Book your spot on a ship today for your chance to explore one of the last frontiers on the planet!

History of Greenland

This massive island has been home to a number of different people and cultures throughout the millennia. The first-known inhabitants were part of Paleo-Eskimo cultures who migrated to the island from North America. Archeologists believe that these tribes survived off of whale hunting predominantly, though evidence has been uncovered that they also engaged in fishing using specialized harpoons. 

In 986 A.D., the legendary Viking captain Erik the Red arrived with a fleet of 14 ships and established the first Norse settlements on the southeastern- and southwestern-most fjords on the island. Surprisingly, the war-loving Vikings seemed to coexist with the indigenous native tribes without any sort of altercations, according to what scientists have found in their archeological records. These cultures thrived until the 15th century, when a miniature ice age swept the planet, and likely brought Greenland's temperatures way down to an inhospitable degree.

After temperatures warmed up again, European nations such as Norway, Denmark and Portugal began to send expeditions into the Arctic again, which once again brought a flood of inhabitants to the shores of Greenland. Today, while the island is still affiliated with the Danish, it has its own legislative bodies who govern and oversee internal policies. 

Attractions in Nuuk

  • The Greenland National Museum: This expansive facility located in the town of Nuuk on the western coastline features a fantastic selection of exhibits displaying some of the few artifacts uncovered from the island's past civilizations. The museum was built in the 1960s and was originally an extension of the the Danish National Museum, which is housed in Copenhagen. However, scientific excursions throughout this island nation have unearthed a number of quality relics, ruins and historical objects, so the collection is bolstered with unique additions from Greenland's past. The Norse section features some fantastic samples of clothing, weaponry, tools and navigational equipment used by Viking during their original voyages more than 1,000 years ago. The Inuit Archeological Collections house artwork, shelters, attire and other items that were used by the Saqqaq, Thule and Dorset cultures between 2500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. Another amazing feature of the museum is the photographs that can be found throughout the facility. These images provide snapshots of what life was like for some of the island's settlers in the late 19th century, allowing guests to see a visual representation of Greenland's wild past. 
  • The Art Museum of Nuuk: During your time in Nuuk, be certain to stop by the local art museum for a chance to view some incredible paintings and sculptures. The collection was largely donated by prominent businessman Svend Junge, who worked and lived on the island between 1959 and 2007. Junge had a hunger for artifacts and relics from Greenland's past cultures and amassed a collection of more than 300 works before his death in 2007. Visitors hoping to enjoy Junge's lifetime collection will be treated to more than 150 painting by local artist Emanuel A. Petersen, as well as a variety of other watercolors and oil paintings. A great sample of Inuit sculptures is also on display, which demonstrate everyday activities of native cultures in the frozen north of the island. Stop by during your time in Nuuk to gain a sense of Greenland's unique artistic past!