The Sisimiut District (Sisimiut Kommune) lies on the west coast of Greenland, north of the Arctic Circle. Close by the inland ice cap and slightly outside the district's eastern boundary lies Kangerlussuaq Airport, Greenland's international airport, which has the highest landing frequency in the world. At the other end of the district, in the west, lies the town of Sisimiut, linked all year long by an ice-free harbour to the international container-shipping network.
Area: 14,000 km2
Capital: Sisimiut (pop. 5,000)
Languages: Greenlandic and Danish
Most important export: Shrimp
The town was founded in 1756, but real growth only began in 1927 when Greenland's first fish-processing plant was set up here. The next boost to growth came with the boom in Greenland's shrimp fisheries, which reached their peak in the 1970s. Sisimiut was always the trawlers' favourite landing harbour, and thus it is shrimp fishing that has made it into Greenland's second largest town. The town is based on fishing, and is therefore completely dependent on it, even though recent years have seen significant growth in land-based occupations.
General informationThe district's budget balances at about DKK 160 million.
Sisimiut is a community with all modern conveniences. The town has a sound economy, and is also part of one of the best-structured national economies in the world. Social unrest is unknown, and industrial disputes are generally resolved peacefully without disrupting the life of the community.
The town's facilities include:
Health facilities: A hospital and dental clinic.
Education: 2 primary schools, 2 vocational schools and Greenland's only folk high school.
Recreation: 2 gymnasiums, an outdoor swimming pool, a football pitch, ski-lift and ski-run.
Culture: A library, local radio and TV stations, theatre group, and the world's most northerly recording studio ULO.
The main occupation is fishing, and the town's largest enterprise is the Royal Greenland A/S shrimp factory, which is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the world. It produces about 12,000 t of shelled shrimp per year. In addition to the fishing industry, Sisimiut has a large number of trading and construction companies, and both Greenland's largest supermarket chain, KNI Pisiffik, and the nationwide housing company INI A/S have their headquarters here.
The Sisimiut local authority is known for making a substantial contribution towards economic development. This takes the form of grants towards, and active participation in, Sisimiut Trade Council, which works to establish constantly closer ties with trading partners and investors abroad. Particular efforts are directed towards the fisheries sector. Greenland's waters contain many species which have yet to be exploited. The opening of a new regional airport in 1998 will have a great effect on development in the years ahead, particularly as the region includes Northeast Canada.
As regards economic activity, Sisimiut is aiming at developing the area stretching from Kangerlussuaq Airport in the East to the Davis Strait in the West, using both existing and new local and regional infrastructure. The plan is that in the future, this large area will offer sites for both industrial enterprises and tourist facilities.
Tourism is Sisimiut's principal growth industry. Hitherto it has played a subordinate role, but given the magnificent local landscape, the basis exists for the development of individual tourist enterprises centred on unique experiences and attractions. During the summer, the tourist can enjoy the beautiful fjord scenery, take part in whaling safaris and fishing trips, or savour the quiet and seclusion of walking tours among the rivers and mountains of the hinterland. In the winter, tourist attractions include trips by dog-sled, skiing, hunting trips for musk oxen and seals, and nights under the Northern Lights.