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  - May 1998. no. 2

LEIF    ERIKSSON

Leif Ericson, Reykjavik, Iceland.
  There are many versions of why Leif Eriksson was called "Leif the Lucky". In Danish he's called lykkelige - literally meaning "the Happy". But in Old Norse, the original language in which the Sagas were written, he is "the Lucky One"- (heppni) - and not "the Happy". In The Greenlanders' Sagas, it is told that King Olav of Norway sent Leif to Greenland to introduce Christianity to its Norse settlers. On his way, he saved the crew of a wrecked and drifting ship. Significantly, he reportedly found Vinland (North America) on that very same journey and thereby earned his name "the Lucky One". His father, Erik the Red, was not exactly too keen about Leif's introduction of Christianity to Greenland - but he could live with his son's new title.

New logo
In the last newsletter, the new logo was not explained and it should have been. It is designed by Thue Christiansen. It features a Viking ship on its way into the 21st century with a Greenlandic flag. After approval of the Project Director, the sponsoring companies in South Greenland will be able to use the logo.

Benefactor
The project now has a patron, our Home Rule Government Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt. Jonathan Motzfeldt has also become an honorary member of the American Leif Eriksson Millennium Committee, LEMC.

Tourism Seminar
A tourism seminar was held in Narsarsuaq at the end of March by South Greenland tourism businesses and municipalities as well as by Greenland Tourism. During the seminar, problems in tourism were thoroughly brought to light and discussed. Proposals came forth on solutions and on how the number of tourists visiting the region could be increased. To decide the future direction for tourism in the area, a committee on cooperation and coordination was established. It consists of the tourism directors for the three South Greenland municipalities, representatives from the newly established Municipality Association and Greenland Tourism. A steering committee for the Leif the Lucky Project was also established. This steering committee seats the regional Tourism Directors as well as a representative from the National Museum and Archives.

Meetings in the US and Canada
In April, The Leif 2000 Project Director visited Leif Eriksson preparatory committees in the USA and Canada. The American committee consists of different Viking enthusiasts - primarily descendants of Nordic immigrants - and accomplishes its work on a private basis. These people are very determined to spread the word that it was Leif Eriksson who was the first white man to discover America - and not Columbus, who showed up 500 years after Leif. The committee has a slogan: "Leif landed first!" During a committee meeting in Philadelphia, Greenlandic Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt became an honorary member of their preparatory subcommittee. Part of its work is to find sponsors for the projects.

The descendants of Icelandic immigrants in Manitoba are busy preparing for Year 2000 celebrations as well. They're working closely with the Icelandic committee. They don't have a homepage yet, but they do have an e-mail-address: millennium@ecn.mb.ca.

After sailing off from the homestead of his father (Erik the Red) at Brattahlid in South Greenland, Leif Eriksson is thought to have landed around L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. That's why a major part of the Leif Eriksson celebrations will center on the voyage of the Viking ship Islendigur from Brattahlid to L'Anse aux Meadows in Leif's wake - and then on to the USA.


  The Canadian millennium committee in Winnipeg
The Canadian millennium committee in Winnipeg.
  Lecture in Reykjavík
During a visit to Iceland, the Project Director of Leif 2000 held a lecture at the Nordic House in Reykjavík. The subject was the Project's possibilities and opportunities. She also showed the new tourism video. The Society Kalak - Friends of Greenland in Iceland - sponsored an "Evening on Greenland" at Nordic House.

The Icelandic preparatory committee - Landafundanefnd - will visit South Greenland this summer, partly to visit the Norse sites and ruins but also to prepare for the signing of a cooperation agreement between Greenland and Iceland in preparation for the 1000th anniversary celebrations. The agreement will be signed by our Premier and by the President of Iceland during his visit in August of this year.

The Icelandic committee has a homepage:
www.leifur-eiriksson.org.

Tourism Video
In cooperation with the Greenlandic film producer Isak Kleist, the 20-minute tourism video about South Greenland was produced in Danish, English and Icelandic. The video is part of the effort to increase the marketing of South Greenland as a tourist destination.

Homepage
At long last, we have created our own homepage: www.greenland-guide.gl/leif2000/. It includes information on topics such as cultural weeks in Qaqortoq and Narsaq, and on restoration of the ruins. The content will continually be updated.

Photo Contest
There will be a photo contest of summertime pictures from the Nuuk and South Greenland areas with the theme: "Subarctic Moments". The contest will be announced through newspapers and the Internet during the month of June. Winners will receive attractive prizes. Photos will go into Greenland Tourism's photo archives. There will be a contest for best winter picture as well - but more on that later.

BENEDIKTE THORSTEINSSON
  project director.

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