VILLAGE LIFE IN OQAATSUT

Village life in Oqaatsut is about sustaining a small community that loves to be close to the sea. The few houses are scattered across a rocky terrain yet never very far from the harbor. Out here in this roadless village, cars are useless but fishing boats are the most prized possessions. Every summer morning, fishermen charge themselves anew with the sun that shone all night and thoughts of how many halibut and sharks they will bring home by the day’s end.
 
In winter Oqaatsut life persists, only it trades the small boat for a pack of raring sled dogs and add more candlelight and good friends around the dinner table to relieve the polar darkness. Greenlanders in Oqaatsut embrace village life because it is in the Inuit blood, but more importantly, it is a chosen lifestyle. Oqaatsut is home.

"There is a very good spirit in Oqaatsut. It is extremely small yet very cozy. It is amazing that people are living there!"

  • Oqaatsut is a North Greenland village with a direct view to icebergs in Disko Bay. It sits 21 km north of Ilulissat.
  • Oqaatsut has been inhabited since the 1700s. Currently, 42 residents live in Oqaatsut, making it the 8th smallest village in Greenland.
  • Oqaatsut means “cormorants”, a black seabird common to the area. The village’s original name was Rodebay, meaning “red bay”, which was given to it by Dutch whalers.

VISIT OQAATSUT

As a traveler, visiting Oqaatsut is your opportunity to experience the beat of village culture. Here the environment and one’s own internal clock prevail over standard concepts of time, but don’t for a second interpret that as ‘sleepy’.

 

The midnight sun in Oqaatsut virtually gives you time and energy to try a bit of everything. Explore the Oqaatsut backcountry spotted with lakes, and if your feet are up for a half day scenic walk follow the marked hiking trail between Ilulissat and Oqaatsut.

 

Or, take the easy route - a boat trip to the Ilulissat Icefjord or into town for souvenir shopping before sailing back to Oqaatsut. The aroma of lamb on the barbecue for a weekend grill fest will guide the way.

 

Follow the Inuit culture and go deep sea fishing any time the opportunity presents itself. Oqaatsut has a prime position on Disko Bay where cod, catfish, and redfish are abundant. To kick it up a notch, get an extreme fishing permit and go after all the halibut and Greenlandic shark your angling passion desires.

GREENLAND GASTRONOMY

Food is a universal language, and with a bounty of Greenlandic specialties straight from the Oqaatsut waters, Greenlanders never meet a stranger. If you have found your way all the way to Oqaatsut, then you have surely earned a spot at the table.
 
Restaurant H8 serves crowd-pleasers like the freshest cod, shrimp, and salmon, and you can have it any way you wish – smoked, steamed, breaded, pickled. For the adventurous palates, the invitation to try whale and roe is always open!
 
While the chef’s creations take care of thrilling your taste buds, the scene out the window delivers a feast for the eyes. Restaurant H8 is the closest building to the Oqaatsut harbor, so the view literally does not get any better. Watch fishermen come in with tonight’s dinner, and if you sit there long enough, which is absolutely within the realm of possibility, watch how the current brings the icebergs in Disko Bay to life.

"We walked to Oqaatsut and arrived quite late. We were very happy to find Restaurant H8 was still open. The owner was so kind! He organized a private boat trip back to Ilulissat for us, which was marvelous because of the light on the icebergs!"

  • There is one small grocery store and a church that doubles as a schoolhouse. There are approximately 6-8 pupils in Oqaatsut school.
  • Restaurant H8 is the only restaurant in Oqaatsut, and it features Greenland gastronomy. Its name is tribute to the renovated colonial-era warehouse it occupies.
  • Overnight accommodations in Oqaatsut include: Hotel Nordlys, hostel rooms in converted warehouses and cooper shops, and private homestays.

‘REMOTE’ IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Standing in Oqaatsut, one does feel a refreshing sense of isolation, as the pleasant cadence of Oqaatsut is the polar opposite of the hurried pace you encounter at home. It may come as a surprise that Oqaatsut is actually quite close. From Ilulissat, short boat routes and a marked trail – used for hiking in summer and dog sledding in winter – make the remoteness of village culture in Oqaatsut just around the corner.