Situated approximately 15 km south of Ilulissat ice fiord, Ilimanaq is the third largest settlement in the Ilulissat area. Ilimanaq means “the place of expectations”. Being one of the oldest in Greenland, the settlement was first established as a mission post around 1741 and since as a whaling station taking its name, Claushavn, after a Dutch whaler operating in Disko Bay in the first half of the 1700s.
Being a tourist attraction in itself by offering access to authentic Greenland culture, Ilimanaq is also the starting point for hiking tours to Qasigiannguit and the southern part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and for boat trips to the ice fiord.
At a minimum, the present service level and housing supply are to be maintained. Existing fishing and processing facilities are to be enhanced. Likewise, the tourism industry should be developed in cooperation with citizens, e.g. by zoning areas for new tourist huts and by protecting cultural heritage in the settlement through the listing of buildings and designation of a new heritage area. Housing standards, community facilities and waste management are to be upgraded to prevent outward migration and to shine up the area. In addition, land is to be zoned for recreational facilities, such as a soccer field at the school and use of the lake for leisure purposes.
Population in Ilimanaq has almost halved since 1980 where 99 persons lived in the settlement. In 2017, 54 persons lived in the settlement. There were 84 inhabitants in Ilimanaq in 2010, which in 2013 had dropped to just 57. By promoting tourism, there is an expectation that the population will stagnate or even increase. Against this background, replacement buildings are the main requirement of the present planning period, including senior housing and single-family houses.
All houses in Ilimanaq are detached, 1½-storey single-family houses. Many houses are in need of repair and refurbishment, and some have been abandoned.
In the town plan, the remaining capacity in Ilimanaq is estimated to approximately 15 homes.
The principal trades in the settlement are fishing, sealing and whaling. Catches are landed in the port to the south, but the majority of catches are landed in Ilulissat. As such, the port has no processing facilities. For some time, the fishing industry has called attention to the difficult conditions for ships calling at the port and an extension of the port facilities is now in the pipeline. In Ilimanaq, Naalakkersuisut has issued two port authorities. One is off the harbour to the south, while the other and much larger form a barely 400 m long v-form between the island and the lake's outlet to the sea.
Apart from fishing, sealing and whaling, tourism is an important source of revenue, which includes rental of huts, accommodation, dining in private homes, boat trips and providing supplies to hikers. From the settlement, hiking trails lead to Kangia and Qasigiannguit. As tourism is high on the agenda, land has been zoned for number of new hut areas.
Finally, there are a number of jobs in skilled trade, service industry, the shop, school and the various facilities and offices of the settlements. Overall, the employment rate has declined in the settlements of Ilulissat since 2010.
The four settlements in the Ilulissat district had a total unemployment rate of 6.7% in 2015, which is lower than for Ilulissat (7.7%). Both Ilulissat and Uummannaq municipalities have a total unemployment rate of 6.7%, which is Avannaata Kommunia's lowest, and thus also slightly lower than the municipal average (9.1%). The unemployment rate in the settlements of the Ilulissat district is also somewhat lower than the national average (9.1%).
In the town plan, the remaining capacity for industry and port facilities in Ilimanaq is estimated to approximately 3,000 m².
The settlement is served by a helistop without waiting facilities, located northeast of the town. The sledge track is also found here.
Road infrastructure consists of a north-south road running from the port in the south to the helistop, church and dump to the north. From the road, side roads give access to the school, the eastern residential area and the central part of the town. Most roads are actually paths, only sporadically paved. As part of the promotion of the tourism industry, the existing system of roads is to be upgraded and extended.
Power is provided by a diesel-powered plant whereas water comes from surface water, which is led to the settlement through pipes and stored in bottling houses. There is a water protection zone around the lake. Nukissiorfiit is responsible for the water supply. Modern water supply facilities are on the wish list of citizens. Homes in the settlements are heated by independent oil-fired burners. There are no sewerage facilities, and waste is deposited in the dump north of the settlement (on the outermost part of the foreland) together with night soil. When the new tourist huts are built, it would be advisable to move the dump to another location, which can also accommodate facilities for waste separation at source in the long term.
TELE Greenland A/S handles telecommunications.
The settlement has its own school (Lars Hansenip Atuarfia) attended by approximately ten pupils, a nurse station, a service house with a public laundry, workshops and sports facilities and an all-purpose shop (KNI shop). The settlement has no institutions or retirement homes. Family day care is the only childcare option.