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On this page you can read about the journey of creating Ilulissat Icefjord Centre, the architecture and the exhibition. You can also read more about the hikes and seek more information in the UNESCO heritage site and if you wish to learn more you can follow the links below where we have put together a list of our partners. 

CREATING THE ICEFJORD CENTRE 

Ilulissat is situated on the West coast of Greenland at the Disco Bay – 250 km north of the polar circle. The ice fjord is a spectacular place with an exceptional nature. As a visitor at the ice fjord you have the opportunity of experiencing one of the worlds most actively calving glaciers and with your own eyes acknowledge the undeniable presence of the climate changes. It is in this unique natural habitat, which was placed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 2004, that the visionary building project of the Icefjord Centre began in 2019. Ilulissat Icefjord Centre opened its doors for guests for the first time in July 2021.  

Inside the centre guests are taken on a journey through time in the exhibition ”Sermeq pillugu Oqaluttuaq – The Story of the Ice”, which has been designed by the award winning JAC studios. In the exhibition you pass through a landscape of snowflakes, where archeological artifacts are presented in prisms of glass. 

THE ARCHITECTURE

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Photo: Adam Mørk, KJ Greenland & Jeppe Kjær

The Icefjord Centre is designed by the architect Dorte Mandrup and was initiated in 2019. The total area of the building is 1.500 square meters, where 900 are heated and 400 are used as exhibition space. The house accommodates an exhibition, a café and a shop.  

The building is constructed of steel, wood and glass where the steel constitutes the bearing structure of 52 steel frames. Every steel frame has a unique geometrical shape that together creates its characteristic bent structure. Floors, roof, the outdoor terraces and deck, together with a large amount of the interior surfaces are made of wood which gives the house a natural warmth. The primary sort of wood that has been used is european oak, which is resilient and durable in the arctic climate. 

Because the Icefjord centre is located in the arctic where very low temperatures occur, heating has been a central consideration in the building process. The building is very well isolated and is being heated CO2-neutrally with green energy from Ilulissat water power plant. 

LOUISIANA CHANNEL: The architect Dorthe Mandrup introduces The Icefjord Centre

THE EXHIBITION

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Science records, registers and decodes the world around us. Art interprets, explains and marvels. At the Icefjord Centre a meeting between art and science takes place in an installation, that through sound, images and a tactile universe both challenges and expands our perception and understanding of the ice sheets vast range and its significance for the world we are all part of. Besides the permanent exhibition, created by JAC Studios, you can experience the art installations “Eleven Movements of the Cryoscape”, by Louise Foo and “Inside the Greenlandic Ice sheet” by Anna Domnick. 

Through thousands of years inuit have lived in the Disko Bay in spite of the extreme climate and the dark nights in polar circle. Inuit culture has learned to adapted its way of life to co-exist with the ice and the harsh conditions of the greenlandic nature. The technology that the inuit has developed for hunting, fishing, clothing production and transport are a clear example of how humans and nature always have and will be tied together.

A central element of the exhibition are the displays of ice cores from the ice sheet telling a story about culture and climate from today and back to 124.000 years BC. The Ice sheet has been shaped by layers of snow, culminating year after year until it is eventually compressed by the weight of the endless layers of snow. Each layer conceals small bobles of air in the snow that are preserved and stored in a frozen state. Today we can read the ice cores as a book tracing back in time and learning about grand events like eruptions from volcanos or meteor impacts that have been forgotten by time. These events can be discovered and recorded through the ice cores. We can learn the effect of the greatness and the downfall of civilizations and we can become wiser in our journey to understanding climate change and how it impacts our daily lives. When we forget the ice remembers. 

The story of the ice is therefore also the story about how life has been formed here in the Disko Bay. It is the history of the unfathomable weight of the ice sheet that through thousands of years crushes the bedrock under it and pushes it in front of it on its steady and inevitable journey to the ocean. Here the ice delivers the crushed bedrock which releases nutrition to the ocean where it flourishes. The ice also means life for the humans and animals, as they need the ice for hunting and fishing grounds. Here the ice is both the foundation for man and for nature.   

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HIKING TRAILS

From the Icefjord Centre you will find a boardwalk leading you to the spectacular World heritage site. The boardwalk will take you past the old settlement of Sermermiut which ends at the ice fjord close to “Kællingekløften”, where the blue trail starts. From the parking lot at the Icefjord Centre you can access the yellow and red hiking trail which together with the blue trail suggest more challenging and longer hikes than the boardwalk. 

For more information about the area click here.

WORLD HERITAGE TRAIL ↓

TRAIL: Ilulissat Icefjord Centre – Sermermiut (boardwalk)

The boardwalk is the easiest and fastest way to the ice fjord and is therefore used by both turists and locals. 

LENGTH: 1,3 km each way

WALKING TIME: 0,5 hour each way

HIKING LEVEL: ●○○○

TERRAIN: Boardwalk all the way. Easy accessibility for guests with disabilities, wheelchairs and strollers.

 

RED TRAIL ↓

TRAIL: Ilulissat Icefjord Centre – Holms Hill

A short cut to or from the ice fjord ending at Holms hill where you get an outstanding view of the ice fjord.

LENGTH: 1 km each way

WALKING TIME: 0,5 hour each way

HIKING LEVEL: ●●○○

TERRAIN: Relatively easy – only few increases 

 

YELLOW TRAIL ↓

TRAIL: Power Plant – Ilulissat Icefjord Centre

A beautiful hike with panoramic views of the colossal stranded icebergs at the moraine edge. 

LENGTH: 2,7 km

WALKING TIME: 1,5 – 2 hours

HIKING LEVEL: ●●●○

TERRAIN: Relatively easy – only few increases

 

BLUE TRAIL ↓

TRAIL: The Quarry – Sermermiut – Ilulissat Icefjord Centre

A breathtaking hike with a variation of scenery that shows the ice fjords many different perspectives.

LENGTH: 6,9 km

WALKING TIME: 4 – 5 hours

HIKING LEVEL: ●●●●

TERRAIN: Uneven scenery with increases

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WHO ARE WE?

Northern Light at Ilulissat Icefjord. Photo - Aningaaq R. Carlsen, Visit Greenland-min

Iliulissat Icefjord Centre is the first of six planned visitor centres in Greenland. We are an independent and self-governing institution under the umbrella of Greenland Visitor Centre.

As well as providing you with interesting knowledge about the Icefjord, it is our aim to contribute to a better future by discussing the interplay of humans and nature.

It is our aim that your visit to the Icefjord Centre will forever change your perception of the place human beings have in nature.

We believe that people and nature are inextricably linked, and that each and every one of us bears responsibility for our common actions, which have consequences for and an impact on our world.

We believe in the importance of quality, sustainability, accessibility, and solidarity. We therefore strive to use as many local products as possible in our food, plates, cutlery and packaging materials; toilet paper and cleaning products are sustainably produced and biodegradable. In our shop we primarily carry sustainably produced products, and we urgently encourage you as a visitor to Ilulissat Icefjord Centre to help us keep our environment clean.

 

Want to know more?

  1. Unesco Verdensarvsområdet KANGIA 
  2. Naturinstituttet i Nuuk
  3. Klimaforskningscentret 
  4. GEUS – De Nationale Geologiske Undersøgelser for Grønland og Danmark
  5. Grønlands Nationalmuseum og arkiv
  6. Realdania

EMPLOYEES

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Elisabeth Momme

Director of The Icefjord Centre 
elisabeth@isfjordscentret.gl 
M: +299 555588

ORGANISATION

Ilulissat Icefjord Centre is staffed on a daily basis by our manager, who reports to the director and the board of GVC.

Ilulissat Icefjord Centre is owned by Greenland Visitor Centre, which manages a number of overarching functions for Ilulissat Icefjord Centre.

GREENLAND VISITOR CENTER

Greenland Visitor Centre owns and runs Greenland’s visitor centres. GVC manages sponsorships and partnerships with the centres, and package deals with tour operators and travel agencies.

If you are an operator or travel agency, you can read more about your options on GVC’s website greenlandvisitorcenter.gl

SPONSORS

Ilulissat Icefjord Centre wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to our sponsors. They contribute to making possible the high quality of our exhibitions, which you as a visitor can enjoy.

If you or your business wish to support the Icefjord Centre and the good cause it represents, you can read more here: