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Northern Lights

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Northern Lights

 Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

Northern Lights – in Nuuk

There is one thing that seems to be on most people’s bucket lists when the talk comes to the Arctic. It’s beautiful, green and can be enjoyed from the comfort of the northernmost capital in the world. Did you guess it already?

It’s of course Aurora Borealis. Northern Lights. Or as we call them in Kalaallit Nunaat: Arsarnerit. Arsarnerit can be translated literally to ball games. According to Inuit legend, arsarnerit is our ancestors playing football with skulls. A bit scary huh?

We Inuit love a good scare, and many of our elders have vivid childhood memories of running home when the northern lights showed up on a winters evening. Why? They were scared their skull was next!

Cloudy with a chance of northern lights ***

Luckily, research shows very little evidence of Aurora Borealis related disappearances, so you should feel perfectly safe under the northern lights in Nuuk. And there are lots of chances of seeing vividly beautiful green light dancing across the Arctic sky – from pretty much anywhere in Nuuk in the autumn, winter and spring period. This means you’ll have the chance of seeing arsarnerit roughly from August/September to March/April, with most chance of success in October – February. And according to Space Tourism Guide Kalaallit Nunaat is the best place on the PLANET to see the northern lights!

While Space Tourism Guide places Nuuk as number 4 of all places to see northern lights in Kalaallit Nunaat, it is still worth considering a visit for you green light enthusiasts out there. We know that Nuuk is the capital of Kalaallit Nunaat aaaand capitals ARE notorious for light pollution, but bear in mind that Nuuk is a capital of just 19 thousand inhabitants.  That doesn’t only mean it’s small but it also means that you will be surrounded by beautiful and vast nature wherever you go. And you’ll be able to get away from the light pollution pretty quickly. By car, by boat or even by foot!

If you have a car available, you can drive out to the outskirts of Nuuk in order to get most out of your northern light spotting. Some good spots to enjoy nature’s very own light show could be the stop” Stanislavs Plads” in the road leading to Qinngorput, out by Inuk Hostels or basically anywhere with an ocean view. The green dancers love to wiggle around over the darkness of the vast ocean.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your Arctic evenings while you visit us in Nuuk, rest assured that there is a very high chance of seeing the incredible natural phenomenon of Inuk ancestors playing ball. People will be just as green with envy as the arctic night sky is, when they hear about your Northern Lights stories!

Different operators offer Northern Light boat trips – and they are super popular. Some of them even encourage the bravest to bring their swim wear and dip into the deep, dark night ocean! Some people love a bit of a chill with their northern light thrill!


Kuluk Helms

Performing artist, poet, nuummioq