|Soaring bald eagle; Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise ; Newfoundland Coastline; ||
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Greenland has an Arctic climate, but owing to the size of the country there are great variations in the weather. As the climate graph shows, winters can be severe and the summers comparatively mild, particularly in areas which are sheltered from the prevailing winds. Precipitation, mostly snow, is moderately heavy around the coast. The north of the country, and much of the interior, enjoys true Arctic weather, with the temperature only rising above freezing for brief periods in the summer.Conditions in all parts of the country can become hazardous when there is a combination of a low temperature and a strong wind. Local advice concerning weather conditions should be followed very carefully. Nevertheless, the summer months are suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.
Good-quality windproof and waterproof clothes, warm layers and moulded sole shoes at all times of the year; also some slightly thinner clothes - it is important to be able to change clothing during a day's climbing as temperatures can vary greatly during one day. Sunglasses and protective sun lotion are strongly advised. In July and August, mosquitoes can be a problem, especially inside the fjords and so a mosquito net can prove indispensable. Extra warm clothes are necessary for those contemplating dog-sledge expeditions. Extra clothes are not always available for hire in Greenland.
South Arctic/North Atlantic.
2,166,086 sq km (836,330 sq miles).
0 per sq km.
Part of the Kingdom of Denmark, with a self-rule agreement.
Greenland is the world's biggest island. The surrounding seas are either permanently frozen or chilled by cold currents.The inland area is covered with ice, stretching 2,500km (1,500 miles) north-south and 1,000km (600 miles) east-west. In the centre, the ice can be up to 3km (2 miles) thick.The ice-free coastal region, which is sometimes as wide as 200km (120 miles), covers a total of 410,449 sq km (158,475 sq miles), and is where all of the population is to be found. This region is intersected by deep fjords which connect the inland ice area with the sea.
The official languages are Greenlandic, an Inuit (Eskimo) language and Danish. Greenlanders connected with tourism will normally speak English.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark majority, with small groups of Roman Catholics and other Protestant denominations.
Central/Southern Greenland: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October). East Greenland: GMT - 1 (GMT from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October). West Greenland: GMT - 4 (GMT -3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
Life is generally conducted at a more relaxed pace than is usual in northern Europe, as exemplified by the frequent use of the word immaqa - 'maybe'. Until recently, foreign visitors were very rare. The name of the country in Greenlandic is Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning 'Land of the People'.Photography: Throughout the country there is a ban on taking photographs inside churches or church halls during services. A UV or skylight filter and a lens shade should always be used. In winter, the camera must be polar-oiled. It is advisable to bring your own film. Film cannot always be developed in Greenland.
220 volts AC, 50Hz.
Head of Government
Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond since 2013.
Head of State
HM Queen Margrethe II since 1972.
More than 75% of Greenlanders voted in favour of self-rule in the November 2008 referendum, paving the way for independence from Denmark. Self-rule was assumed in June 2009, giving Greenland rights to potentially lucrative Arctic resources, as well as control over justice, police and prison affairs and, to a certain extent, foreign affairs. Doubts remain, however, over the viability of sovereignty - Greenland currently receives annual subsidies from Denmark amounting to almost half of its budget, but it is hoped that expected increases in revenue from the island's minerals will eventually help fund a complete breakaway from Copenhagen.
Danish Krone (DKK; symbol kr) = 100 øre. Notes are in denominations of kr1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of kr20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 and 25 øre.
Cheques drawn on Danish banks can be cashed at banks and cash can also be exchanged. Postal cheques can be cashed at all post offices. Grønlandsbanken (PO Box 1033, DK-3900 Nuuk; tel: 70 1234; www.banken.gl), has branches in Nuuk, Sisimiut, Oaqortoq, Ilulissat and Maniitsoq. KNI/POST represents the bank in other towns and villages. There is no banking service in Søndre Strømfjord at present.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
Credit cards are restricted to the major towns and most hotels. Some major towns, like Ilulissat, have ATMs.
Cheques in major currencies may be exchanged as indicated in the currency exchange section above. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars. However, exchanging traveller's cheques in Greenland has been reported to be problematic.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
Mon-Thurs 0930-1530; Fri 0930-1500.
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 GBP = 8.86 DKK 1.00 USD = 5.41 DKK 1.00 EUR = 7.46 DKK 1.00 CAD = 5.11 DKK Currency conversion rates as of 12 December 2013
Remote Greenland is the world's biggest island, and the sea that surrounds it is either permanently frozen or chilled by the mainly cold currents. In the centre of the country, ice can be up to 3km (2 miles) thick. It is no wonder that most of its population huddles around the ice-free coastal region. Indeed, the name 'Greenland' is itself a bit of a misnomer.
Those wondering why anyone would want to inhabit such unforgiving terrain are ignorant of the beautiful sights that Greenland grants. The arctic nights in the winter concoct a wondrous continuous twilight and, in the far north of the country, complete darkness, coupled with the spectacular Northern Lights.
The profusion of snow creates the perfect conditions for activities such as dog sledging and tour cruises, which interweave in and out of Greenland's dazzling array of fjords, mountains, islands and icebergs. The wildlife does not disappoint, either: there are abundant opportunities to view creatures such as whales, seals and birds.
From www.worldtravelguide.net copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, December 2013.