Narsarsuaq is a locality in the municipality of Kujalleq, to the south of Greenland. It has a population of 160 inhabitants (in 2007) .1 The town offers tourist sites such as trips to the glaciers, among others. Near the town are the ruins of the first Norwegian settlements and a replica of the first Christian church in America. Its name in Greenlandic means “Great Plain”.
Narsarsuaq is one of the places in Greenland that is furthest from the ocean. The place is located in the valley of the Kiattuut Sermiat glacier on the Tunulliarfik fjord. Qassiarsuk is located 5 km to the west on the opposite bank.
The settlement was founded in 1941 by the United States Army as the Bluie West One military base, an important stopover between the US and Europe. At times up to 3,000 soldiers were stationed here. Most of the current buildings date from this period, as does the airport. The hospital was enlarged during the Korean War (1950–1953), its number of beds rose from 250 to 1000. In 1958, the base was finally abandoned and taken over by Denmark and partly civil, but after the sinking of Hans Hedtoft it was also used as a sea rescue base and iceberg reporting station. The airport has been used for international air traffic since 1978. Since 1987 he has been under the care of the Greenland government.
Airport operations make up the bulk of Narsarsuaq’s economy. Tourism therefore also plays a major role in the town. There is, for example, a hotel and a hikers’ home and boats take tourists to the surrounding villages. Narsarsuaq also has agricultural potential. The airport is being considered to be closed because, for example, an international airport is being built in Nuuk, which would deprive Narsarsuaq of its economic basis and lead to the decline of the village. According to a forecast, if the airport were to be converted into a heliport, the number of inhabitants would probably drop to 21.
Infrastructure and supply
Narsarsuaq Airport is the second international airport in Greenland next to Kangerlussuaq Airport, making it the most important airport in South Greenland. There is also a port a little further south. A gravel road leads around the fjord and connects Narsarsuaq with Qassiarsuk via the shepherd settlements of Kiattuut, Arnannguit, Qinngua Kangilleq, Qinngua, Qorlortoq and Qorlortup Itinnera.
Due to the American past, almost all buildings are connected to the electricity, water and sewage networks. It is considered to supply Narsarsuaq with electricity from a hydroelectric power station on Motzfeldtip Tasia.
Narsarsuaq has a school that teaches from 1st to 9th grade and is housed in a school building from 2001. The old school building is now used as a kindergarten.
A building from 1943 is now used as a museum and is classified as worthy of protection. The museum covers the history of Narsarsuaq, but also the Grænlendingar and sheep farming in South Greenland.