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.

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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