Homepage and address of Project Leif 2000
Click to navigate

  16th of July
  The jubilee festivities continue in Qassiarsuk.
Just as the numerous participants are brought over to the little settlement by boat, the sun breaks through, creating the perfect setting for the dedication and inauguration of Thjodhildur's church and Erik the Red's Farmhouse.





The Queen and the Prince in Greenlandic national dress
  Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik,
wearing Greenlandic national dress,
are on their way in through the door
of the replica of Thjodhildur's church.
Bishop Sofie Petersen
As is traditional in Greenland on festive occasions,
a devotion by Sofie Petersen, the Bishop of
Greenland was arranged in front of the replica of
Thjodhildur's Church. Next to Prince Henrik and
Queen Margrethe in the front pew are Icelandic
president Ólafur Ragnar Grímssons and Kristjana
and Jonathan Motzfeldt. A fantastic colourful tableau dominates the entire clifftop: over half the official
guests are in national dress.






Committee president Àrni Johnsen
On behalf of the Brattahlid Project Construction Committee and the West Nordic Council, Committee president Àrni Johnsen presents the keys to premier Jonathan Motzfeldt with the words: "President Jonathan Motzfeldt, may the key to the church be a key to the joys of life in accordance with the message of Jesus."
  On behalf of the newly-formed Gardar Foundation, Jonathan Motzfeldt offers thanks for the formal ownership of the replica of Thjodhildur's church.

"The Gardar Foundation is an international, interdenominational religious organisation based in Greenland. Its aim in the first instance is to secure the basis for the maintenance of the church. This little church was the first church on the North American continent. So, despite its lack of impressiveness and its size of merely 7 square metres, it can be said to be the mother of all later churches on this continent. Conservation of this unique historical monument is thus not only in the interests of Greenlandic society and the Greenlandic church - it is a matter which concerns Christian society over the whole of the northwest Atlantic, from Greenland to North America. Therefore it is a source of great pleasure to me that seven church leaders, from Greenland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Canada and the USA, have agreed to be involved in the Gardar Foundation... It is my hope that Tjodhilde's church will be a symbol of unity, fellowship and peace throughout the entire Christian world.




Tjodhildurs church
  It was Leif Ericsson who christianised
the Norsemen but it was Thjodhildur,
Erik the Red's wife who coerced her
heathen husband into buildin the first
church in Greenland. Inside the church
a cross made by artist Aka Høgh has
been erected over the altar. The
reconstruction of the two buildings is the
largest project the West Nordic Council
has ever been involved in. The construction
costs have amounted to approximately
7 million kroner, with the Icelandic and
Greenlandic authorities being the
biggest contributors.



Press people
There are press people everywhere. The1000-year jubilee is an obvious opportunity to turn the world's attention towards Greenland. More than 60 press people from 9 different countries have come to Narsarsuaq, ensuring column inches and broadcast time for Southern Greenland.
Kalistat Lund
  Kalistat Lund offers thanks on behalf of
Narsaq Kommune for these extraordinary
gifts, and promises that they will be looked after, for the benefit of all.




The Longhouse of Erik the Red
  The Queen and Prince Henrik step
into the Longhouse of Erik the Red.
The house is 12m long and 5m across
inside the 2m-thick peat walls and
gives a unique insight into the Norsemen
period. With these new replicas, future
visitors to the settlement will have the
opportunity to go back in time,
wandering through the ruins of Viking
and Inuit buildings.



The Queen and the Prince
The Queen and Prince Henrik have visited Greenland many times and are very fond of the country.




The royal couple, mr. Motzfeldt and mr. Grimssons on board the viking ship
The royal couple, mr. Motzfeldt and mr. Grimssons on board the viking ship
The captain of the Islendingur has invited the
royal couple on board the Viking ship, together
with Jonathan Motzfeldt and Ólafur Ragnar
Dance at the festival gala

The day closed with a large gala dinner in the hangar of Greenlandair, decorated with branches and angelica.
A thrilling programme of entertainment and dancing awaited the guests, who were served mead in Viking tankards as a welcome drink.
The menu offered the best of Greeenland's produce in the form of smoked seal and reindeer, trout, Greenland halibut and fantail prawns, in addition to a main course of whole roasted lamb with preserved angelica.

Jonathan Motzfeldt made the first speech. He commended yet again the good relations that exist between the countries of the North Atlantic, and concluded with the words: "Life in the arctic regions is fantastically large and beautiful, in terms of nature, but it also demands the ability to survive, as humans, culturally and economically. It needs a spiritual ballast, which is what Tjodhilde provided with her little church, which proclaims: "And see, here is more than Salomo".

The Queen began her speech with a handsome introduction to Greenland: the fjords with their green shores, the ice-scoured hills giving way to blossoming hillsides and thickets. No one familiar with northern Scandinavia will fail to feel at home: this is the Greenland of the Norsemen. The Queen then drew a historical line from Leif Eriksson, through Hans Egede, to the Greenland that the whole of the royal family love to visit. The Queen has always concerned herself closely with the welfare of Greenlandic society, and she was pleased with the positive development of the Home Rule Government: "There have been, and continue to be, human costs, but the identity crisis of which so much was made during the transition is now a thing of the past. Home Rule, and the results that have been achieved, have created a new self-awareness. Greenlandic society acknowledges its roots with pride: Greenlanders are proud of who they are and what they stand for. These festivities are not just a manifestation of the indomitable Greenlandic joie de vivre; they also show the world that Greenland is the Land of Humanity."

The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímssons, described his visit to the big Viking exhibition in Washington, where Greenland has a prominent role. "It is true that, like the Vikings, we Icelanders have also long had a tendency to treat these old creations as our property. It was time to put aside our quarrels and invite the Greenlanders along! And that's what we have done over the last few fantastic days."

The evening concluded with dancing, and the guests were escorted by torch-bearing Vikings when they left the party.

During the day the Viking and Inuit Festival
continued alongside the official programme.
Here is an Inuit family dressed in clothing
made of seal skins.

Click to navigate!
Greenland Guide Index A graphic view of the site Search all pages Ideas and experiences Icebergs, snow and ice cap Hiking, angling, kayaking . . . It's more than transport Whales, walruses, musk oxen A must in a lifetime Nothing compares From the tourist board Hotels and travel agencies Zoom in to the options An email service What's on? Greenland Masks on your screen Send a greeting from the Arctic - free! Download Center Order online About the publishers
© Copyright Greenland Guide & Project Leif 2000