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Photo by: Lars T. Christiansen


TOURISM 22. JUL. 2021

Qullissat, a disused coal mining town on the northeast coast of Disko island in West Greenland close to Ilulissat and former capital of the similarly disused Vaigat Municipality. When the settlement was closed down and evacuated in 1972, it had over 1000 inhabitants. Buildings and many machines still stand, as when the place was left, and the settlement is visited every year by many of the displaced inhabitants and their descendants.


Photos by: Lars T. Christiansen

History of Qullissat

Qullissat was founded in 1924 and for the next 48 years was Denmark's only state-run coal mine. The city, which was once one of Greenland's largest cities, is located on the northeast side of the island of Qeqertarsuaq (same as Disko) in West Greenland. The entire city was built around the coal mine, and when the coal mine gave increasing economic deficit, the Danish authorities decided in 1968 to close the city with effect from 1972. After the closure of the mine, in 1972 the residents were moved to several different cities, including to Qeqertarsuaq. Many, however, were moved to Ilulissat,

Qullissat today

Qullissat is visited and used as a summer vacation spot by the former inhabitants and their descendants. Qullissat is also a popular turist attraction. One of the most popular greenlandic bands SUME here performing in Qullissat in 2012 marking the 40 years since the closing of the mining town.

Vaigat music

Vaigat music originated in the 1950s in Qullissat and is named after the Vaigat Strait between the Nuussuaq Peninsula and Disko Island. It is no coincidence that the genre originated in Qullissat. The city was a unique example of industrialization in the country. Here the population worked primarily with coal mining and not with the traditional occupations such as hunting and fishing. 

Here the traditional Vaigat music performed by Greenland National Theatre.

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