There are many intriguing things to tell about the second largest town on the largest island on earth.
With a population of 6000 people and 1000 sled dogs, Sisimiut – a 264-year-old town, has plenty of experiences and stories to explore. For this reason, I’m going to write a few blogs about it here on Guide to Greenland. And I figure I’m well qualified since I have been living here for over 22 years (my parents moved back here when I was 1 year old), and I have studied it thoroughly for both work and educational reasons. I could probably write a whole book about it! Maybe I should…
What does the name Sisimiut mean?
The first thing I always love to mention is the name(s). Almost all towns and villages have both a Greenlandic/native name and a Danish/post-colonisation name.
The Greenlandic name is, of course, Sisimiut, which means “fox holes / where the foxes are at” in the native tongue. The stories say that before the town expanded, all around it there were fox holes – including upon arrival at the place that is now the harbour. Even today, after so many years, foxes are still seen nearby or, on rare occasions, in the town itself. This is especially true in the northern part of the town, Akia, which is where I currently live. In fact, I sometimes find pawprints outside of my window in the morning. I have also seen a few at night, but it is rare, and it is nearly impossible to quickly take a good picture.
Now onto the second name. The Danish (or the post-colonisation) name, is Holsteinsborg. Holsteinsborg was inaugurated back in the year 1756. The first colonial building was originally located on a small island called Ukiivik further up north, three fjords away, but because of bad weather conditions it was later moved to its current position. In the place that we now call the colonial heart of Sisimiut was built in 1764 still contains 8 colonial-era buildings, one of which was the very first protestant Christian church of Greenland.
Today in modern Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat; the Greenlandic name for our country), we only use the Greenlandic names for towns and villages. This is because we are no longer a colony of Denmark and are self-governing – we are our own people with our own country and language.
Think I will end this first part of “A bit About Sisimiut” because telling the stories about the name of my town is telling just “a bit” about it it. I hope you learned something new today 🙂
If you have a question or a request about what I should write about, please do not be shy to send a message,
Aviaaja or just Avi