Communes of Greenland

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Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" is dated 2010-08-20. It assigns FIPS codes to the new communes. Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, dated 2010-06-30, does the same thing for ISO codes.

Country overview: 

ISO codeGL
LanguagesGreenlandic (kl), Danish (da)
Time zone(see note)


Greenland began the 20th century as a Danish colony. On 1953-06-05 it became constitutionally part of Denmark as an overseas county. It still retains that status, although it has a great measure of autonomy. Places in Greenland usually have both Danish and Greenlandic names, which are not in the least similar, and can cause confusion.

Time zone note: Most of Greenland is currently on -3 ~ (three hours earlier than GMT, with daylight saving time in the summer). The far northwest, around Thule, is on -4 ~; a small part of the east coast, around Scoresbysund and Constable Pynt, is on -1 ~.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Grønland
  2. Dutch: Groenland
  3. Finnish: Grönlanti
  4. French: Groenland m
  5. German: Grönland n
  6. Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat
  7. Icelandic: Grænland
  8. Italian: Groenlandia
  9. Norwegian: Grønland
  10. Portuguese: Groenlândia f, Gronelândia
  11. Russian: Гренландия
  12. Spanish: Groenlandia
  13. Swedish: Grönland
  14. Turkish: Grönland

Origin of name: 

Icelandic grænland: green land, named by Erik the Red to attract settlers.

Primary subdivisions: 

Greenland is divided into four kommuner (communes); some of the country is unorganized territory, not belonging to any commune.

5 divisions56,1942,415,100932,500
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from the U.S. government standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes".
  • Population: 2009-01-01 estimate from Statistics Greenland
  • Area: Estimates from Wikipedia.


Note: the area estimates are too large, because the accepted total area of Greenland is about 2,170,000 km.². Multiply them by .9 to get estimates that add up to the right amount.

Postal codes: 

Greenland uses postal codes from the Danish system. They are four-digit numbers, beginning with 39 for Greenland. If a country prefix is wanted, use "DK-".

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipalities of Greenland page.

The country is further subdivided into 18 kommuner (municipalities). These may be obsolete, following the reorganization in 2009. A publication of Statistics Greenland distinguishes between the four new kommuner and the eighteen old kommuner by calling the former Storkommuner ("great communes") and the latter gamle kommuner ("old communes"). I have chosen to make the same distinction using the terms communes and municipalities, respectively.

Territorial extent: 

The unorganized territory consists of two very unequal parts: the Northeast Greenland National Park, and Pituffik (Thule Air Base, which occupies less than 10 mi.², enclaved within Qaasuitsup). The National Park includes the northernmost point of land in the world, a tiny unnamed island, as well as Kaffeklubben and Oodaaq Islands, which have also been cited as northernmost. Qaasuitsup includes the island of Disko.

The UN LOCODE page  for Greenland lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

Since 1953, and probably earlier, Greenland was divided into three lansdele ("country-parts"), sometimes called amter (counties), as shown here.

PartHASCFIPSPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Capital (Grl/Danish)
East GreenlandGL.EGGL023,462115,90044,700Ammassalik
North GreenlandGL.NGGL01864106,70041,200Qaanaaq/Thule
West GreenlandGL.VGGL0351,069119,10046,000Nuuk/Godthåb
3 parts56,1242,175,600840,000


2009-01-01: The lansdele were abolished and replaced by four kommuner, as shown in the main table.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Kujalleq: Kommune Kujalleq (Greenlandic)
  2. Qaasuitsup: Qaasuitsup Kommunia (Greenlandic)
  3. Qeqqata: Qeqqata Kommunia (Greenlandic)
  4. Sermersooq: Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq (Greenlandic)
  5. East Greenland: Østgrønland (Danish); Tunu (Greenlandic)
  6. North Greenland: Avannaa (Greenlandic); Avanersuaq (variant); Nordgrønland (Danish)
  7. West Greenland: Kitaa (Greenlandic); Vestgrønland (Danish)


  1. [1] This document  (in Danish) has metes-and-bounds descriptions of the new communes, with links to maps of them.
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