Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2008/33 posted by hidden europe on

There has been a revolution overnight in Nuuk. In the early hours of this morning, referendum results showed that Greenlanders have voted overwhelmingly for much greater autonomy from Denmark. This is not the first time that Greenland has rocked the boat. In 1985, Greenland seceded from the European Community (the precursor to the European Union), and in so doing immediately halved the geographical area of the Community.

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Dear fellow travellers

It is the start of another day in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, and a place which is actually among the least Greenlandic of any community in the country. Okay, Nuuk certainly tells more of Greenland than the US airbase at Thule in the far northwest of the country. But Nuuk is a dash of untidy urban sprawl, with folk living in apartment blocks that look for all the world as if they were designed for Minsk or Moscow - a far cry from the conventional images of Greenland that feed our fertile imaginations.

There has been a revolution overnight in Nuuk. In the early hours of this morning, referendum results showed that Greenlanders have voted overwhelmingly for much greater autonomy from Denmark. This is not the first time that Greenland has rocked the boat. In 1985, Greenland seceded from the European Community (the precursor to the European Union), and in so doing immediately halved the geographical area of the Community. Greenland may be a tiddler in terms of population, but its land area is four times larger than France.

The referendum debate has not just been about the massive hydrocarbon reserves that may or may not surround Greenland. Political discussion has also revolved around culture, as inhabitants of the Arctic nation have asserted their right to celebrate their own distinctive history and use their language. The Danish economic élite who live well in Nuuk, and in other communities around the coast of Greenland, must this morning be wondering whether now is the time to start packing their bags and booking a flight back to Copenhagen.

Home news

The authors who contribute to hidden europe are a talented crew. Among them is Neil Taylor whose latest book, Baltic Cities, was launched at a reception at the Lithuanian Embassy in London last week. The volume is a perceptive guide to the major cities of the eastern Baltic: from Tallinn to Tartu, Klaipeda to Kaliningrad. The book is published by Bradt Travel Guides.

Meanwhile, Rudolf Abraham, who writes regularly for us, has won an award for the best new guidebook from the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild. The award relates to Rudolf's volume The Mountains of Montenegro published by Cicerone Press. Rudolf wrote a feature for hidden europe on the same topic in May 2008 (see issue no. 20).

Nicky Gardner, co-editor of the magazine, was amazed to open the post last week and find that an article she wrote for hidden europe has been awarded a prize by the British Guild of Travel Writers. The article, on the coming of spring in the Bosnian town of Brcko, was cited by the Guild as the best short article on a destination published in 2007/8. You can catch the flavour of the piece by reading an online excerpt here. And the article is one of a dozen or so pieces from hidden europe that can now be purchased for immediate download from our website. Just follow this link.

Did you know that you can see an archive of past issues of our e-brief online? Just click here.

This article was published in Letter from Europe.

About The Authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.