23 Aug /13


The naming of Greenland might be viewed as a cautionary tale for advertising professionals. According to a Norse saga, Erik the Red gave this vast island its name back in the 980s. He hoped that the name would attract settlers, but word would soon have spread that this land was anything but green. Even today Greenland is not a member of FIFA, principally because it is not able to grow grass football pitches. Erik the Red is presumed to have been named for his hair colour, but his dubious branding of Greenland may lead us to wonder if he was actually bald.

At over 2 million square kilometres, it is the world’s largest island and has recently reached its highest ever population level. Inhabitants still number less than 60,000, though, so native Greenlanders are unlikely to face a congestion problem.

The economic staples of the country are shrimp and fish. However, there has been a surge of interest in oil drilling, with Cairn Energy making an effort to strike lucky. Rubies are being mined and there are prospects of other minerals being extracted. Greenlandic and Danish are the main language, with only about 12% of the population speaking Danish as their first or only languages. There is an increasing Greenlandisation of the country, with some 20,000 Greenlandic IP addresses, a new university and a rule that international tenders having to be submitted only in Greenlandic. The country has come a long way since Erik the Red.