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  15th of July

The 1000-year jubilee has begun.

Over the next few days, more than 500 official guests, members of the press, Vikings and volunteers will be celebrating together with the people of southern Greenland.

  The Viking ship Islendingur
  There was a sense of being in
the presence of history when the
Viking ship Islendingur, approached
Qassiarsuk after a three-week voyage
from Eiriksstadir in Iceland.
12 kayaks went out to meet the ship and perform
a kayak display.



Arrival of the viknigship
Led by Kaj Kleist, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and dressed in Viking gear, the captain Gunnar Marel Eggertsson and his crew of eight went ashore to be received by Kalistat Lund, the mayor of Narsaq .
"I'm proud and honoured to welcome each and everyone of you. ...We don't know what Leif Eriksson might have said when he first set foot on America. However, he might have said; "That's one small step for a man but a giant leap for mankind...
We wish you all a happy and safe journey home when you leave from here"
  Speech by the captain Gunnar Marel Eggertsson
  On behalf of the crew Gunnar
Marel Eggertsson expressed
his gratitude for the warm welcome.
"It is a pleasure for us to arrive here
today. The Voyage from Iceland to
Greenland has sparked thoughts and
ideas among our crew about the great
adventures and voyages of the Viking age.
The Voyage has been long and tough and
Nature can be merciless. We have
indeed met mercilessness on this trip.
We are tempted to follow in the wake
of Leif Eriksson, Thorstein, Thorfinn and
Gudridur Thorbjarnadóttir to mention some of them.
As they did, we sail with a prayer to God asking for
a good voyage and a safe return."
The Queen, Margrethe II of Denmark



Speech by Mr. Jonathan Motzfeldt

Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt declared the official celebrations open. "We have been looking forward to this day with pleasure, pride and eager anticipation....The arrival of Islendingur is a physical illustration of the ties that link us together - the ties of kindship and history. We who are gathered here today represent many countries, languages and cultures but we share a commun background which translates into international understanding and mutual respect."

The Icelandic President Òlafur Ragnar
Grimsson finished with a "family" speech.
"We recall here those people who
a thousand years ago linked our countries
together. May our lives and work be
in the spirit of the cooeperation
which forged bonds of friendship
between our countries."

  Speech by Mr. Grimssonfeldt plays at the church
  At 15.30 Captain Gunnar Marel
Eggertsson unveiled the new
3-metre high bronze statue of
Leif Eriksson.
The staue of Leif

This proud, impressive statue stands on a rise
in the centre of this small settlement. After 1000
years, Leif Eriksson stands here again, looking out over the sea.
The inscription on the base reads: "He led the way".



Speech by Mr. Jonathan Motzfeldt

Kristine Leander from the Leif Eriksson International Foundation in Seattle was among the contributors to the statue.
"What does Erif Eriksson represent to us? I can't answer what he means to you, but just as was true a hundred and ten years ago when the first statue was unveiled in Boston, for Americans whose roots are in Scandinavia, he still represents our ethnic identity and who we are as a people. Although he's officially a Son of Iceland, and his farm was here in Greenland, it's clear to me that he serves for all of us a symbol of Vikings and our mutual Nordic Heritage.
There were more speeches on the significance of Leif Eriksson and the importance of forming bridges between countries.
In addition, the Queen and the Icelandic president were presented with a new teaching book on Leif Eriksson, which has been published on the occasion of the 1000-year jubilee.



Viking fight



The queen at the viking fight
Outside the official program the first Viking and
Inuit Festival was opened at 10.00. Accompanied
by Viking chief Vidar Bjarnason, Queen Margrethe
watched a tremendous fight.



In true Viking fashion, there is lamb for all. 45 Vikings from eight different countries have arrived for the Viking and Inuit Festival, which runs concurrently with the official programme.
The clock has been turned back, and the Vikings and Inuits are demonstrating what life was like 1000 years ago.
  Carving runes

Using chisels, Vikings are busy
carving runes. Although in Viking
times deadlines must have been
unknown, the aim is to have the
name "Erik the Red" carved in
stone by the close of the festivities.


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