Paamiut is a town in southwestern Greenland and also the administrative center of the former Paamiut municipality today part of Sermersooq.
It was founded in 1742 and later thrived in the whale skin and product trade. It also became known for its soapstone artists. In the 1950s Paamiut developed a resounding cod industry that lasted until 1989 when cod populations declined. The approximate location is 62 ° 00’North 49 ° 43’West. The population is 1,817 inhabitants (2005).
Paamiut is at the tip of a peninsula in southwest Greenland. There is an archipelago with over a hundred islands off the coast of Paamiut. The Qinngunnguaq fjord arm, on which Paamiut lies, is a branch of the mouth of the Kuannersooq (Kvanefjord), one of the largest fjords in the area. The peninsula on which Paamiut lies is bounded in the north by Nerutusoq and cut by further fjords and bays, namely by Tasiusannguaq bay and the Kangerluarsuk and Nigerleq fjords in the north and by Taartoq bay and the Eqaluit and Sammisoq fjords in the south. The nearest inhabited places are Arsuk, 112 km south, and Qeqertarsuatsiaat, 132 km north. Paamiut has the largest stocks of fin whales, humpback whales and sea eagles in Greenland.
18th and 19th centuries
Jacob Severin founded Paamiut in 1742, where he named the place Frederikshåb in honor of King Frederick V of Denmark and Norway. The ship that brought the first colonists to Paamiut sank on the return voyage to Denmark. The second ship, which was supposed to bring building materials, also had to winter in Norway and only reached the colony with a delay. It was not until 1746 that the colony was sails according to plan. In 1747 the ship that was supposed to bring provisions and supplies had to turn back due to a storm. In 1748 Jacob Severin asked to give up the colony because of the high costs and risks, but this was not carried out. The first house measured almost 87 m² and had three rooms, which were occupied by the merchant and his employees, the missionary and the sailors. There was also an 82 m² bacon house and a peat wall house. The first church was consecrated on August 30, 1772, but it was still under construction in 1774, so that it was dilapidated again in 1782. The house was occupied in 1828 by the merchant, the assistant and two craftsmen. At that time there was also the church, a brewery, a supply and material house, a bacon house and a distillery. The Greenlanders lived in seven Greenlandic houses.
In the 19th century the colony lived mainly from hunting seals and whales. From 1900 the shark catch was of great importance, which brought the colony an economic boom.
From 1911 Paamiut was the capital of the municipality Frederikshaab, to which the residential areas Kangilineq and Iluilaarsuk belonged. It was part of the 6th Provincial Council constituency of South Greenland.
In 1918 there were seven Europeans and 201 Greenlanders living in Paamiut, who by the standards of a colony were extremely seldom of European descent. Among the Greenlandic population were 29 hunters, two fishermen, a blacksmith and ruler, two boatmen, three carpenters, three coopers, an engine mechanic, a cook, an apprentice and a midwife who ran the hospital. In addition, there was the Danish colonial administrator, who at that time was also training a Danish Udsteds administrator to work in one of the surrounding communities.
There was an apartment for the colonial administrator in 1918, which was also occupied by the pastor or the assistant after the pastor’s apartment was destroyed in a fire in 1910. The apartment was a floor building with two apartments, seven rooms and attic chambers. The cooperage and carpentry workshop was a half-timbered building built in 1900. The shop dates from 1866 and, like the bakery and brewery from 1873, was a stone building. The food store from 1780 was the oldest building in the colony and a timber-framed building. In addition, the trade still had a stone drink factory and a stone oil house from 1901 as well as a barrel house, a material and coal house, a boathouse, a forge, a stable and several supply and powder houses. There was also a stone hospital from 1876, a peat wall house from 1902, which served as a guest apartment for the relatives of the patients, a church from 1908 and a school with two rooms. The Greenland population lived in 25 houses.
In the 20th century, shark fishing was replaced by cod fishing, which became so important that plans were made in the 1960s to develop Paamiut into the second largest city in Greenland, home to 10,000 people. In 1967 the fish factory was built, which at that time was one of the largest in the North Atlantic. However, from the 1980s onwards, fishery yields fell sharply and Paamiut fell into an economic crisis.
From 1950 to 2008 Paamiut was the capital of the Paamiut community, to which only Arsuk belonged in the end. Paamiut has been part of Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq since 2009.
Despite the decline in cod in the 1980s, Paamiut is one of Greenland’s largest fish factories, which today mainly processes shrimp and crabs. Most of the population, however, works in administration.
Infrastructure and supply
Paamiut has a shipping port operated by Royal Greenland and a smaller leisure port. Nowadays the sea is ice-free and navigable all year round. Paamiut Airport, which opened in 2007 and is located two kilometers north of the city, has air connections to Nuuk and Narsarsuaq airports. Paamiut has an extensive road network.
Nukissiorfiit guarantees the electricity, water and heat supply in Paamiut. Garbage is dumped in the garbage dump in the south of the city, while sewage is discharged into the sea. The residents of Paamiut are supplied with goods by a Brugseni and a Pilersuisoq branch.
The school in Paamiut is Atuarfik Tuiisaq, which was built in 1926 and last expanded in 1969. Paamiut has also been the seat of the Greenlandic nautical school Imarsiornermik Ilinniarfik since 1996. The city also has a day nursery, two kindergartens and a nursing home, as well as an assembly building, a village office, a police station, a hospital, a sports hall, the Paamiut Museum, a hotel and the church from 1909, which is reminiscent of the Norwegian architectural style Stave churches is ajar.
In 1945 the football club Nagtoralik Paamiut was founded in Paamiut, which was able to qualify several times for the final round of the Greenland football championship and was runner-up in 1976. In 1970, the S-69 Paamiut club, founded in the previous year, also took part in the championship.