The happiness of Greenland

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Ittoqqortoormiit, a tiny spot high on the map of the Greenland east coast. It is one of the most remote places on earth. No roads lead to it or leave it. Those who want to borrow a cup of sugar from their neighbors must travel 500 kilometers to the south to another village. 350 people live there surrounded by 1,200 polar dogs. But those 350 happen to be the happiest people in the world, they say.

Greenland – This is the last frontier. To get there in any case. It is not much different to leave there. Name another village where the inhabitants must first apply for a passport in order to be able to get out. The closest civilization is in Iceland, about 500 bouncing kilometers through the skies over the Greenland Sea. Whoever leaves Ittoqqortoormiit cannot escape the sea.

In a fire-red propeller plane that fought the wind for hours dancing. Sometimes it made a sudden turn and lumps of ice broke loose and bumped against the windows. “Pok, pokk”, the ice interrupted the buzz of the propellers. “We will land in 10 minutes”, the pilot had suddenly said. Where was a mystery for the time being. For a while we were hanging between water and air.

Nothing indicates the presence of life: no trees, no vegetation, no birds and even the polar bear can not be seen. Stone, ice, water is all that nature has to offer. And then suddenly, a slew and there, by the water, is a collection of brightly colored houses: red, blue, yellow, green, like the color swatches of a paint fan.

Most of the inhabitants live by hunting seals, toothed whales and the musk ox. A lifestyle that has been virtually unchanged since their ancestors settled here in 1925. The Scoresby Bay is the mecca for every nature lover. It is superlative: it is located under the largest national park in the world, is the longest fjord and largest fjord complex in the world. Said in ordinary human language: a huge area full of beautiful bays, rugged mountain formations and deep fjords.

Images: Nicole Franken – Text: Anneke de Bundel

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