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Maniitsoq in 1890
Maniitsoq in 1890
Maniitsoq is located in Greenland
Location within Greenland
Coordinates: 65°25′00″N 52°54′00″W / 65.41667°N 52.90000°W / 65.41667; -52.90000Coordinates: 65°25′00″N 52°54′00″W / 65.41667°N 52.90000°W / 65.41667; -52.90000
State  Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country  Greenland
Municipality Qeqqata-coat-of-arms.svg Qeqqata
Founded 1782
Population (2013)
 • Total 2,670[1]
Time zone UTC-03
Postal code 3912

Maniitsoq,[2][3][4] formerly Sukkertoppen,[5] is a town in western Greenland located in the Qeqqata municipality. With 2,670 inhabitants as of 2013,[1] it is the sixth-largest town in Greenland.


Archaeological finds indicate that the area has been settled for more than 4,000 years.[citation needed]

The modern town was founded as New or Nye-Sukkertoppen[6][7] in 1782 by Danish colonists relocating from the original Sukkertoppen, a trading post founded in 1755 at the site of present-day Kangaamiut.[8] In time, the original name was taken up again.

In the 19th century, the town served as a major trading post for the Royal Greenland Trading Department's trade in reindeer hides.[9]


There are advanced plans for an Alcoa aluminium smelting plant either at Maniitsoq or Sisimiut. The plant would provide employment for 600–700 people,[10] or more than 1 percent of the population of Greenland. As it is a vital decision for the town, wide public consultations were carried out in 2008–2010[11][12][13] by both the town authorities and the Greenland Home Rule Government in order to address potential environmental and social concerns.[14][15]



Main article: Maniitsoq Airport

Maniitsoq is served by Air Greenland with flights to Nuuk, Kangerlussuaq, and Sisimiut.[16]


Maniitsoq is a port of call for the Arctic Umiaq ferry.[17]


With 2,670 inhabitants as of 2013, Maniitsoq has experienced a decline in population over a long period of time.[18] The town has lost almost 15% of its population relative to 1990 levels, and nearly 9% relative to 2000 levels.[18]

Migrants from the smaller settlements such as rapidly depopulating Kangaamiut choose to migrate to Sisimiut, the capital in Nuuk, and sometimes to Denmark, rather than Maniitsoq. Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut are the only settlement in the Qeqqata municipality exhibiting stable growth patterns over the last two decades.

Maniitsoq population dynamics
Maniitsoq population dynamics, 1991-2010. Source: Statistics Greenland[18]

Notable people[edit]


In July 2012, the existence of a 100 km (62 mi) wide crater centred about 55 km (34 mi) south-east of Maniitsoq in West Greenland was proposed by scientists from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), along with members from Cardiff University, Lund University in Sweden, and the Institute of Planetary Science in Moscow. The crater structure is believed to be around three billion years old.[19] The article's abstract says in part, "A 100 km-scale, circular region in the Archaean North Atlantic Craton centred at 65°15′N, 51°50′W near Maniitsoq town in West Greenland comprises a set of highly unusual geological features that were created during a single event involving intense crushing and heating and are incompatible with crustal orogenic processes. The presently exposed features of the Maniitsoq structure were buried 20 to 25 km (12 to 16 mi) below the surface when this event occurred at c. 3 Ga..." If confirmed as an impact crater, this crater would be older than other old impact craters such as the much smaller 16 km (10 mi) wide, 2.4 billion year old, Suavjärvi crater in Russia and the larger 300 km (186 mi) wide, 2.0 billion year old, Vredefort crater in South Africa.

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Maniitsoq is twinned with:


  1. ^ a b Greenland in Figures 2013 (PDF). Statistics Greenland. ISBN 978-87-986787-7-9. ISSN 1602-5709. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  2. ^ The pre-1973 spelling was Manîtsoq or Mannétsoĸ. The name means "Place of Rugged Terrain".
  3. ^ Ross, James. Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-west Passage, and of a Residence in the Arctic Regions During the Years 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833. A.W. Webster, 1835.
  4. ^ Air Greenland. "Maniitsoq".
  5. ^ The name is also spelled Zukkertoppen, Sukkertop, Zukkertop, and Zuckerhut. All of them mean "Sugartop" or "Sugarloaf" after the appearance of three nearby hills.
  6. ^ Walker, J. & al. "British North America. Published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge." Baldwin & Cradock (London), 1834.
  7. ^ Colton, G.W. "Northern America. British, Russian & Danish Possessions In North America." J.H. Colton & Co. (New York), 1855.
  8. ^ O'Carroll, Etain (2005). Greenland and the Arctic. Lonely Planet. pp. 155–156. ISBN 1-74059-095-3. 
  9. ^ Kane, Elisha Kent. Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition. 1856.
  10. ^ "Aluminium smelting plant". Sisimiut Town, Official Website. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Alcoa holds town hall meeting in Sisimiut". Sermitsiaq. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Where should Alcoa plant be located?". Sermitsiaq. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Alcoa in Greenland". Alcoa. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Alcoa project can paralyse building sector". Sermitsiaq. 13 April 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Alcoa eller ej". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 25 March 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Booking system". Air Greenland. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  17. ^ AUL, Timetable 2009
  18. ^ a b c Statistics Greenland, Population in localities
  19. ^ Garde, Adam A.; McDonald, Iain; Dyck, Brendan; Keulen, Nynke (2012). "Searching for giant, ancient impact structures on Earth: The Mesoarchaean Maniitsoq structure, West Greenland". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 337-338: 197. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.04.026.