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PROFILE: Greenland

Practical Tips for Doing Business in Greenland

General Background

  • 80% of the country is covered with ice.

  • There are very few roads - only 150 kilometers in the entire country.

  • Dogs are not pets but instead are used by police and for transportation.

Brief History

  • 4000 -5000 years ago the Inuit people from an area that is now Canada settled in the area now known as Greenland.

  • 10th Century - Vikings came to the area.

  • 18th Century - Danish colonization began.

  • 1953 - Officially became part of Denmark.

  • 1979 - Greenland granted self-government by Denmark.

(Note: Denmark still handles foreign affairs, security and financial matters, in consultation with Greenland's government.)

General Information

  • Location: Northern North America between the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada.

  • Government Type: Parliamentary democracy.

  • Capital City: Nuuk (population - 18,000).

  • Literacy Rate: 100%.

  • Size: Slightly more than 3 times the size of Texas (Note: largest island in the world).

  • Population: 57,777.

  • Population Growth Rate: 0.04% (2023).

  • Population Distribution: Southwest shoreline with limited settlements scattered along the remaining coast. Its Interior is uninhabited.

  • The official language is Greenlandic, an Intuit language. Its school system is bilingual (Greenlandic and Danish). English is not widely spoken but is taught as a foreign language in the schools.

The Economy

  • Major industries include fish processing (mainly shrimp and halibut), anorthosite and ruby mining, handicrafts, hides and skins and small shipyards.

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (2021).

  • GDP: $2.413B (2015).

  • GDP Growth Rate: 0.36% (2020 est.).

  • Labor Force: 26,840 (2015).

  • Labor Force Breakdown: Agriculture (sheep, cattle, reindeer, fish, shellfish) - 15.9%, Manufacturing - 10.1%, Services - 73.9% (2015).

International Trade

Total Exports: $641M (2018)

Major Exports: Frozen Halibut: $141M, Frozen Shrimp: $137M, Prepared Seafood: $127M, Fresh or Chilled Mackerel: $49M (2018).

Major Export Partners: Denmark: $547M, Unspecified: $50M, Latvia: $24M, Portugal: $6M, Russia: $4M (2018).

Total Imports: $829M (2018)

Major Imports: Petroleum: $135M, Fishing Vessels: $91M, Aircraft Parts: $19M, Medicines: $12M, Bread etc.: $10M (2018).

Major Import Partners: Denmark: $449M, Sweden: $142M, Spain: $95M, Germany: $21M, China: $20M (2018).

English Language News

Ground News - general news -

Sampling of Greenland Companies

By Paul Mastilak

InterMark3, Inc.


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