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Ilulissat (formerly Jakobshaven) is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality of western Greenland, about 350 km (220 miles) north of the Arctic Circle in Disko Bay. With a population of about 4,500, Ilulissat is the third largest city in Greenland after Nuuk, the nation’s capital(17,000 residents), and Sisimiut, its industry center (5,500 residents).

In Greenlandic dialect “Ilulissat” means “Icebergs.” One glance at the enormous floes drifting offers insight to why the town was so named. Icebergs calve from Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier (also known as Jakobshavn Glacier) southeast of Ilulissat, at the inner end of the fjord. This glacier is the largest and most productive in the northern hemisphere, draining ice and meltwater from Greenland’s ice sheet into the Ilulissat Icefjord then west into the open ocean. Ilulissat Icefjord is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site and the town has come to rely on tourism as its principal industry. Ilulissat is a key place for Arctic research focused on sea level rise.

Services/goods available in Ilulissat include:

Greenland homes
Photo by: Ed Stockard