Instagram Email me!
I wrote a book! If you've ever wanted to learn a bit more about creating recipes, this series is designed for you. The first book focuses on cookies, because who doesn't love cookies?
Available now on Kindle.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Little Big City



Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, has about 15,000 inhabitants. By British standards that's a small town, but in Greenlandic terms, it's a metropolis.

This is a prime example of the folly of overlaying one's own assumptions onto a very different world. I assumed it would be a sweet little town, maybe with a few extra administrative buildings for its capital function - and instead, what I found was recognisably a city, albeit on a smaller scale.

Nuuk

Nuuk

Nuuk (originally called Godthåb) was essentially created by Danish missionaries, and a statue of Hans Egede - the man who brought Christianity to Greenland - dominates the older part of the city.

Later Danish colonists were instrumental in the growth of the city, encouraging (sometimes forcibly) the inuit populations of nearby settlements to move into the new tower blocks in town. Some of these older blocks are due to be pulled down shortly - but so far as I can tell, new building is also following in a similar style. And in contrast to the primarily outdoors life we observed in the other towns we visited, in Nuuk everything was locked away behind closed doors.

As Greenland moves from a subsistence economy into the modern age, more and more people are abandoning the smaller settlements and moving into the towns to find work. You can hardly blame them when life as a subsistence hunter has historically involved regular periods of starvation, and a life expectancy for men which hovers around 66 years even now.
Thanks to this population expansion, Nuuk has filled the little peninsula on which it was established. The building of suburbs is progressing at such a rate that the local hiking map, published in 2005, is so far out of date as to be virtually useless. It may be a small city but it is, unmistakably, a city.

Does anyone know of a smaller place that still has a "big city" feel?

19 comments:

Tabor said...

Certainly and eye-opener. If the long nights don't get you the architecture will!

Writing Without Periods! said...

Wow, quite the place. I don't any place like this. Your blogs are always so interesting.
Mary

yogurt said...

This is positively not how I had pictured Greenland. Those apartment buildings are so stark and industrial looking.

Tractor Mom said...

A totally different look of Greenland! Have fun!

www.frugaltractormom.blogspot.com

smilla4blogs said...

There go any preconceived notions of Greenland I might have had thanks to your enlightening blog post. Fascinating...and we shouldn't begrudge the former "picturesque" life of the inhabitants.

Snowbrush said...

I enjoyed learning a little about a place of which I knew nothing. Thank you.

Expats Again said...

I too am amazed at what you have shown us about Greenland. Amazing beauty and the starkness of the city.

A Cuban In London said...

I'm amazed by how much I've learnt about Greenland through your travelogues. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

ScoMan said...

That long line of buildings looks pretty depressing to me. Almost like a factory or warehouses of some sort.

Yenta Mary said...

Hi! Found you through "Fancy Meeting You" -- what a cool blog! Now following ....

foodfloozie.blogspot.com

Deirdre said...

How interesting!

Dedene said...

That is really interesting. But those poor Inuits living in HLMs! Maybe someday, the authorities will tear down those horrible projects and put up some nice livable houses there.

malia said...

just became your newest follower

Carol said...

I'm following you from Fancy Meeting You Monday!
Will you follow me?
http://songberries.blogspot.com

The Blonde Duck said...

I live in San Antonio--a BIG town with a small town type of feel. It's odd.

liliannattel said...

I wouldn't have expected that either. How does it compare to Icelandic cities?

Melissa B. said...

Interesting post. I've always wondered what it was like at the top of the world...

Haddock said...

That was informative.
And its not all that small.
Nice pics.

Bells said...

this is fascinating. A country I have only the vaguest notion of those photos didn't match my imagination at all.

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping in! I'd love to hear what you have to say, and if you leave a URL, I'll be round to visit you soon. (Comment moderation is on because the spam has become overwhelming!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...