Ilulissat city

Ilulissat is the third largest settlement in Greenland and also the head of the Ilulissat municipality (Ilulissat Kommuniat) which covers an area of ​​47,000 km². The town is on the west coast of Greenland, in Disko Bay, about 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. It has a population of 4,594 inhabitants (2011) .1 It is the third most populous city in Goenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut. The city has as many sled dogs as there are people.

Ilulissat boats
Ilulissat boats

Illulisat is also widely known by its Danish name of Jakobshavn (“Jacob’s Harbor”). 2 In direct translation Ilulissat is the Greenlandic word for “Icebergs”. Ilulissat is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greenland due to its proximity to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord (Ilulissat fjord), and tourism is now the main industry in the town. Ilulissat was the birthplace of the famous polar explorer Knud Rasmussen and his childhood at his home in the center of the settlement is now a museum dedicated to him.


Inuit settlements have existed in the fjord area (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004) for at least three thousand years. The abandoned settlement of Sermermiut two kilometers south of the modern town of Ilulissat was once among the largest settlements in Greenland with around 250 inhabitants. The modern town was founded in 1741 by the Danish missionary Poul Egede and the merchant Jakob Severin who established a trading lodge in the area.

Ilulissat statement

The Arctic Ocean Conference took place in the city in May 2008. The joint meeting between Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States was held to discuss key issues related to territorial claims in the Arctic (particularly the Hans and Arktika Island 2007) and the contraction of the Arctic caused by climate change.

The conference issued the Ilulissat Declaration. It stated that the law of the sea provided important rights and obligations in relation to the delimitation of the outer limits of the continental shelf, the protection of the marine environment (including ice-covered areas), freedom of navigation, marine scientific research. and other uses of the sea. He also expressed that he remains committed to this legal framework and to the orderly solution of possible overlapping claims.

With this existing legal framework providing a solid foundation for responsible management, there was no need to develop a comprehensive new international legal regime to govern the Arctic Ocean. The states involved would continue developments within the Arctic Ocean and would continue to implement appropriate measures to promote such developments.

Ilulissat Eglise Groenland
Ilulissat Eglise Groenland

Geography and environment

The Ilulissat Icefjord (Greenlandic: Ilulissat Kangerlua) southeast of Ilulissat was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Ilulissat 3 icebergs Groenland
Ilulissat 3 icebergs Groenland

Ilulissat has a tundra climate with long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Ilulissat is one of the driest settlements in Greenland, receiving just 271mm of precipitation. Ilulissat is also one of the sunniest settlements in Greenland, especially during the summer. Interestingly, March is the coldest month in Ilulissat even though similar places experience February as the coldest month of the year. March also has the all-time record low temperature of -37.8 ° C.



Ilulissat Greenland March 2020

Ilulissat Icefjord World Heritage Site Greenland

Ilulissat Greenland Essence

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