Homepage and address of Project Leif 2000
Click to navigate
   Detailed program below
The Millennium

The millennium celebrations commemorate a unique chain of events in Greenland.
Around 1000 AD, Leif Eriksson and his crew set out from Brattahlid in South Greenland, bound to explore the land to the east which they had seen on their journey from Norway to Greenland in year 1000 AD. Their journey ensured that the name of Leif Eriksson is etched so deeply into the annals of history that even today - ten centuries later - the world is still talking about him.
Now, on the occasion of the millennium celebrations, the sails are up again - literally and figuratively. This time it is to celebrate Leif Eriksson's voyage, a voyage that truly and rightfully lowers Columbus' rank to second place (at least) in any "encyclopedia of discoverers." Now Greenland is launching a whole series of events revolving around its famous explorer.
In the Wake of Leif Eriksson Major highlights of the commemorative events are Viking ships and Viking life.
The Viking ship "Islendingur" makes a commemorative summer voyage from Erik the Red's farm at Eiriksstadir in Iceland to his farm at Brattahlid (today's Qassiarsuk) in South Greenland, and then on towards Canada and the USA.
Greeting the ship in Brattahlid are kayaks and umiaks (women's boats) as well as other testimonies to the presence of Inuit culture in Greenland.
In contrast to Leif Eriksson's ship, the "Islendingur" is not filled with livestock or hunting and fishing tools.

  Thjodhildur's Church and Erik's farmhouse
The year 2000 also marks 1000 years of Christianity in Greenland. Amazingly, this was another Leif Eriksson accomplishment! According to the Norse Sagas, it was Leif who brought "the good word" to Greenland. Yet his father and leader of the Norse colony, Erik the Red, was not about to give up his Norse gods. However, Erik's wife, Thjodhildur, stepped into the picture in a momentous way by presenting her husband with a tough choice: She would not share bed with him as long as he did not become a Christian. Thjodhildur then had a Christian church built. The remains of her little church were discovered in 1961. Year 2000 sees her church and her farmhouse reconstructed, adding yet another page to Viking history. The remains of a huge farmhouse ("Erik the Red's Farmhouse") was discovered in 1932. A series of traditionel Inuit houses have been restored as well, ensuring a living impresssion of both cultures.
Many other events
Considering the magnitude and variety of the upcoming commemorative events, it would be an understatement to say that sails and crosses alike are up in South Greenland for the Millennium. The list of events continues……….
Viking/Inuit Festival 2000
We know very little about the meeting between the two cultures - Inuit and Norsemen - 1000 years ago, but as part of the millennium the Vikings and Inuit have set up another meeting with one another. 32 Vikings from Europe and Iceland will come together with Greenlandic Inuit on 15th - 17th July to re-enact everyday life 1000 years ago with demonstrations of contemporary cooking skills and domestic crafts, archery, combat, music and dancing. The plan is to make the Viking - Inuit gathering an annual event in cooperation with Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Detailed programme (Detailed programme below)
Statue unveiling
Immediately after the Viking ship Islendingur arrives in Greenland on 15th July, a three-metre tall statue of Leif Eriksson is to be unveiled, sited on a ridge in Qassiarsuk with a view of the ocean. It will stand here as a lasting reminder of the celebrations and Leif Eriksson's achievement. One of the contributors is the Leif Eriksson International Foundation in Seattle and the statue is a copy of similar statues in Tromsø and Seattle.
Greenlandic food over 1000 years
In summer 2000 a cultural-historical cookbook will be published - not an ordinary cookbook but a book about food in Southern Greenland over 1000 years. About eating habits and customs. The book will show the diversity and inventiveness of Greenlandic cooking. Fundamentally food has meant survival. Hunger and need have been a part of life. Celebrations meant an abundance of food, eating a lot and eating together.
Leif stamps
Post Greenland is issuing eight Viking stamps, four in 2000 and four in 2001.
School book project
Iceland and Greenland have jointly developed history books on Leif Eriksson for the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, which are currently published in Greenlandic, Icelandic and Danish.
The whole of Southern Greenand celebrates
Distinguished guests from home and abroad will add sparkle to the millennium celebration, but the events will also greatly involve the local population.involve the local population. The South Greenland sheep farmer's annual festivities are held in the first weekend in July. The sheep farmers wives display their handicrafts and agricultural implements throughout the ages, including the period of the Norse, are on display. Highlights are the horseback riding tournaments featuring tilting at the rings and races. In Qassiarsuk, for example, the 70 inhabitants will be organising an exhibition of agricultural machinery and animals, and the sheep farms will display their work. In Igaliku the 38 inhabitants will greet the guests with songs. In Narsarsuaq there will be exhibition of Greenlandic art and handicraft.
Program of the official celebrations of Leif Eriksson's discovery of Vinland and the introduction of Christianity to Greenland:

15th July - Saturday

  • 10.00: Narsarsuaq: Opening of Viking/Inuit Festival by project manager Benedikte Thorsteinsson and Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt.
  • 13.30: Qassiarsuk/Brattahlid: The Icelandic Viking ship "Islendingur" approaches Qassiarsuk. To be met by a fleet of kayaks. South Greenland's choir will provide entertainment.
  • 14.00: "Islendingur" arrives after a three week long voyage from Eiriksstadir, Iceland.
  • 14.10: Welcome address by Narsaq's mayor. Speech by the Viking ship's captain. Opening speech by Greenland's Premier Motzfeldt, who will declare the official jubilee days open. 'Family' speech by the President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson
  • 15.30:The unveiling of the statue of Leif Eriksson. Speech by Kristine Leander of the Leif Eriksson International Foundation in Seattle. Speech by the local council chairman for Qassiarsuk. Speech by the Home Secretary of Newfoundland Speech by the American ambassador.
  • 19.00: Evening in Narsarsuaq. Presentation of joint Greenlandic and Icelandic school book project.
16th July - Sunday
Dedication and inauguration of Thodhildur's church and Erik the Red's farmhouse.
  • 10.15:Qassiarsuk/Brattahlid: Dedication by the bishop of Greenland of Thodhildur's church
  • 10.30:Inauguration of Thodhildur's Church. Hand over of the church to the Gardar Foundation. Building committee chairman Johnsen will hand over the keys to the chairman of the Gardar Foundation, Jonathan Motzfeldt.
  • 11.00:Inauguration of Erik the Red's farmhouse. Hand over of Erik the Red's farmhouse to Narsaq Kommune by the mayor, Kalistat Lund.
  • 12.00:Jubilee lunch Rest of the afternoon for free disposition
  • 19.00:Narsarsuaq: Gala dinner in Greenlandair's hangar Speech by Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt Speech by Queen Margrethe. The entertainment will be provided by popular Greenland singer Rasmus Lyberth and Nukâka.
  • 24.00:Gala dinner concludes with a Viking/Inuit torchlight parade from the hangar to the Viking Festival Site.
17th of July
Celebrations for the millennium day of the introduction of Christianity to Greenland .
  • 09.30:Igaliku/Gardar: Welcome speech by the local council chairman Kristian Motzfeldt. Followed by singing by the choir.
  • 09.40:A walk in procession to the ruins of the cathedral St. Nicholaus.
  • 09.45: Ecumenical service.
  • 10.30: End of service. Historical retrospect at the ruins of Gardar
  • 12.00:Lunch
  The Vikingship Islendingur will be recieved in Greenland on the 15th of July.
Photo: Larus Karl Ingason, Iceland

Program for Viking-Inuit Festival July 15-17, 2000 Narsarsuaq:

15th of July - Saturday

  • 10.00 AM: Opening of the Viking-Inuit Festival.
    Opening Address by the Manager of the Leif2000 Project.
  • 10.15 AM: The Viking-Inuit Village is declared open.
  • 11.00 AM: Viking Duels and Archery Show.
  • 12.00 noon: Barbeque. Food for sale.
  • 1.30 PM: The Viking-Inuit Village closes temporarily.
  • 4.30 PM: The Viking-Inuit Village opens again.
    Fair of handicrafts.
    Music and songs.
    Traditional drum dancing.
    Barbeque and refreshments for sale.
  • 10.00 PM: The village closes for the night.
16th of July - Sunday
  • 1.00 PM: The Viking- Inuit Village opens
    Fair of handicrafts
    Viking Duels
    Rides with horse and carriage
    Music and songs
    Traditional drum dancing
    Archery Show
    Wedding Ceremony
    Food and refreshments for sale
  • 7.00 PM: The fair closes
  • 8.00 PM: Food and refreshments for sale
    Community singing and entertainment by the campfire
17th of July - Monday
  • 2.30 PM: The Viking- Inuit Village opens - this time in Igaliku/Gardar
    Archery Show
    Viking Duels
    Music and songs
    Traditional drum dancing
  • 5.00 PM: Food and refreshments for sale
    Music and dance
  • 9.00 PM: Dancing and entertainment in Igaliku/Gardar

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