Development of Autonomy in Greenland – From Home Rule to Self-Government

Denmark has a population of 5.7 million in total according to the 2016 census and the major language spoken is Danish as the official language, but there is also a German minority living along the borderline between Denmark and Germany. German is seen as the official minority language of a section of residents of the Region of Southern Denmark which was formerly known as the South Jutland County. The region was part of Germany before the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Of the 15,000 to 20,000 ethnic Germans living in the region, about 8,000 speak standard German or Low Saxon’s Schleswigsch variety in their everyday lives. This German minority population of Denmark also runs its own primary schools where German is the primary language of instruction (WorldAtlas 2017). Denmark can be seen as a largely homogenous country, but because of the vast immigration a lot of different nationalities have recently settled in the country. Today, 12.9% of the total Danish population is immigrants or descendants (Statistics Denmark 2017). The Faroe Islands and Greenland also constitute parts of the Danish Realm with their own traditions and languages. Faroese and Greenlandic are seen as official regional languages in the self-governing territories belonging to Denmark. Greenland is located on the North American continent between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada, but belongs to Denmark. Greenland is seen as the largest island in the world according to area, 2.1 million km2, and has a small population of 56,421 (Statistics Greenland 2021). Nuuk is the capital with 18,800 inhabitants (ibid.). The population is spread across 17 towns and about 7,500 live in 57 settlements around the country. There are only 3,500 people living in the Eastern part of Greenland, in two towns and five settlements (ibid.). The official language is West-Greenlandic, but there are two other dialects in the North (avanersuaq) and East (tunu). About 89.3% of the total population is born in Greenland and constitute the Inuit people, while 10.7% are born outside Greenland (a majority representing Danes) (ibid.). The majority of the population constitutes the Inuit people, however, there are mixed marriages between Greenlanders and Danes and some immigrants, which also live in Greenland.

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Ackrén, M. (2022). Development of Autonomy in Greenland – From Home Rule to Self-Government.

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