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Denmark

Queen Margrethe undertakes Greenland tour


Varde Kommune via Flickr CC

Queen Margrethe of Denmark is currently undergoing her latest tour of Greenland, which began on 8 October and will end on the 12th. The visit is taking place upon the invitation of the Chairman of the Naalakkersuisut Múte B. Egede and will take Her Majesty to Ilulissat, Nuuk, Pituffik and Station Nord.

This visit comes on the 100th anniversary of the first Danish royal visit to Greenland, when King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine, Crown Prince Frederik (future King Frederik IX) and Prince Knud travelled to the country to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hans Egede’s arrival in Greenland, and the subsequent arrival of Christianity in the country. 

On day one, 8 October, Queen Margrethe arrived at Disko Bay in Ilulissat by plane and was welcomed by Mr Egede and the Mayor of Avannaata Kommunia Palle Jeremiassen. 

Following the official welcome, Her Majesty moved to Kangiata Illorsua – Ilulissat Icefjord Centre, a structure that has been open to the public since July and is designed to convey the beauty of Greenland’s natural environment, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The centre is currently hosting the exhibition “Sermeq pillugu Oqaluttuaq – The Tale of Ice Cream,” which the Queen got to tour.

In the afternoon, Queen Margrethe got to take a boat trip in the Ilulissat Ice Fjord with Múte B. Egede and other authorities. 

The next day began with a visit to Knud Rasmussen’s birthplace in Ilulissat, which has been transformed into a museum that is currently hosting an exhibition about the 5th Thule Expedition. Between 1921 and 1924, it was the biggest of seven polar explorations that Rasmussen undertook. It trekked across Arctic Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe and stopped at the Russian border, where Rasmussen was refused a visa. The expedition was designed to gather information on Arctic cultures, specifically on Eskimos. 

Following the visit, Queen Margrethe made the journey to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, where she first visited Ilisimatusarfik – the University of Greenland, where, after being welcomed by Rector Gitte Adler Reimer, she attended a conference on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in Greenland by the arrival of Hans Egede, receiving his anthology as a present. The book was published with the contribution of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik’s Foundation. 

In the evening, Her Majesty attended a reception hosted by Chairman of the Naalakkersuisut Múte B. Egede. She gave a speech, expressing her joy at being in Greenland after her trip had to be postponed in the summer due to health safety concerns in the country. She praised the Greenland population and government for managing to keep their case levels low and remembered the many anniversaries she is celebrating during her visit. She also highlighted the history, which is not always a happy memory, that unites the two countries, stating that, like in the Thule expeditions, different populations can come together in the name of science and the common good. 

Day three, which was Sunday, 10 October, began with a visit to the Greenland National Museum. Located in Nuuk’s old colonial harbour, the museum gave the Queen a tour, during which she was accompanied by Museum Director Daniel Thorleifsen and was presented with objects from Rasmussen’s Thule expedition, as well as memorabilia from King Christian X’s visit from 1921. In the colonial harbour, there is also a memorial stone for the 1921 royal visit, and Queen Margrethe visited it and unveiled a commemorative plaque. 

Her Majesty concluded her day by participating in the inauguration of the new Bishop of the Diocese of Greenland, Paneeraq Siegstad Munk. The ceremony took place in Hans Egede Church in Nuuk. The Greenlandic Church is an Evangelical Lutheran Church and is part of the Danish National Church.

The visit will continue until Tuesday, and Queen Margrethe is expected to return to Copenhagen in time to receive letters of credentials from new ambassadors in Fredensborg Palace on Wednesday at 10 am. 

Greenland is an autonomous territory that falls under the Realm of Denmark, meaning that the government has power over the executive decisions in local affairs, and Queen Margrethe II acts as the Head of State.