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Show news archive Sustainability – in our everyday life

Closest to the fish

The small settlement communities along the west coast of Greenland is a characteristic feature of the country and a strong base for the fishing industry. Royal Greenland has a great social responsibility to support good living conditions for the people in the settlements.

Towns and settlements

Towns and settlements

Along the west coast of Greenland, there are 17 towns and 54 settlements spread along the long, winding coastline that measures 2,670 kilometres from south to north. The population numbers 55,647 people, of which just over 52,000 live on the west coast.


88% of Greenland's population lives in the 17 towns. The largest town is Nuuk with 19,604 inhabitants, while the second largest towns Sisimiut (5,436 inhabitants), Ilulissat (4,848 inhabitants) and Qaqortoq (3,005 inhabitants) are significantly smaller.


The 54 settlements have a total of approx. 6,900 inhabitants. The number of people per settlement varies from around 20 to 500, making the communities small and often geographically remote.

Closest to the fish

Royal Greenland has 37 landing sites along the west coast of Greenland, 24 of which are located in settlements from Aappilattoq in the south to Qaanaaq in the north. The vast majority of the inhabitants in the settlements make their living from fishing, either by being a fisherman or working with purchasing, processing or administration at the factories or servicing the fishery in other ways. Therefore, Royal Greenland, as a state-owned company, has a great social responsibility to support good living conditions in the settlement communities by ensuring a stable work offer and the possibility of trading their catch from the fishery.

In 2022, 1,084 fishermen traded to Royal Greenland's settlement facilities, which corresponds to 26% of the people living in the settlements in question, however, you can trade to a settlement without living there, so Royal Greenland also services the neighbouring settlements where there is no trading. In addition, approx. 187 people were employed at the settlement facilities during the year.

See an overview of all Royal Greenland's landing sites here

Life in a settlement

Life in a settlement

When you live in a settlement, you know each other - it might take 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other. This close bond between residents, along with proximity to nature and widespread freedom, is emphasised when residents are asked about the benefits of living in a settlement.

The density within the settlement contrasts with the distance from the rest of the world. As there are no roads between towns and settlements in Greenland, you have to sail or fly if you need to transport yourself to other places. This can, especially for young people, necessitate that they have to move in order to get an education. Some dream of returning to live where they grew up, while others root themselves in the larger cities.

Being present in both small towns and settlements is part of Royal Greenland's DNA, it is out here that we are "closest to the fish" as our vision states, and out here that our presence is fundamental for small communities to develop and increase prosperity.

See also

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