Niaqornat – “the head-shaped” – is located on the north side of the Nuussuaq peninsula, some 60 km west of Uummannaq. It has been inhabited since 1823 and was granted trading station status in 1870. It enjoys a unique location, perched on the peninsula’s tongue of land, looking onto Uummannaq Fiord. The colourful houses of the settlement wind along the bay where the boats of fishermen, sealers and whalers are made fast.
Provisions and subareas
The general provisions apply to all subareas of the municipalities in towns, settlements and open country areas. The provisions are general and do not consider the local conditions in the subareas.
The overall provisions for each subarea are the basis for the municipality"s granting of area allotments and building permits.
As a minimum, the current level of service and housing in the settlement is to be maintained. The goal is to strengthen and further develop fishing and tourism. This calls for room for extending factories, better quay facilities and areas allocated for fishing gear. The renewed interest in the settlement should be exploited to boost tourism, and the old warehouses could be used actively by tourists and citizens alike. The conditions for the settlement’s children and youth should be improved, e.g. by ensuring sufficient areas around the school and outdoor facilities.
The population in Niaqornat has been declining for the past 40 years and has been more than halved since 1980 (87) and now counting 38 people. The population is expected to continue to decrease in the years to come, so the planning period will primarily call for replacement buildings in connection with redevelopment. In general, quite a few houses are in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment and many are empty.
The settlements of Uummannaq total 509 homes (2010 figures), primarily detached single-family houses in one to 1½ storeys. In 2017, the settlements numbered 367 households and a total of 981 inhabitants. This corresponds to an average household size of 2.7 persons per household, which is equal to the size of the household in town of Uummannaq. Senior citizens looking for a retirement home have to leave the settlement.
A major residential area is zoned southeast of the settlement. However, to expand the area, a new road connection has to be established, and land site development will require blasting major rocks and establishing coastal protection measures. The remaining capacity within Niaqornat is considered limited – only enough for around 55 homes.
Trade in Niaqornat is based on fishing, sealing, whaling and catching of walrus and the occasional polar bear. The waters are full of cod, Greenland halibut and bowhead whale, and on land, reindeer, mountain hares, ptarmigans, common eiders, seagulls etc. are hunted. Fishing, sealing and whaling are carried out by means of dog sledges and dinghies. Port facilities include a small quay in the settlement, whereas boats are made fast in the bay and hauled onto the western beach, where fishing gear is also stored. From the dock, Naalakkersuisut has designated a 200 meter long area as a port authority area.
In 2011, Royal Greenland closed down the fish factory and trading facility in the settlement, so since then, fishermen have sailed to Uummannaq or other settlements to trade their catches. In 2011, the inhabitants established KNT Aps, a private limited company that aims to maintain fish production in Niaqornat. From the community’s perspective, maintaining trading and the fish factory and developing tourism are considered to be of vital importance to the survival of the settlement.
The seven settlements in the Uummannaq district had a total unemployment rate of 6.7% in 2015, which is lower than for the town Uummannaq (7.8%). The Uummannaq settlements, as well as the Ilulissat settlements, both have a total unemployment rate of 6.7%, which is Avannaata Kommunia's lowest. The unemployment rate is therefore also lower than both the municipal average (9.1%) and the national average (9.1%).
The headquarters of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources are located in Nuuk, but in 2007, a branch opened in Niaqornat, which is ideally located in terms of studying, e.g., narwhals, belugas and polar bears.
Tourism is also important, and a local association is working to attract more tourists. To this end, activities, some involving local guides, are organised when cruisers call on the settlement.
In the town plan, the remaining capacity for industry and port facilities is estimated to around 4,000 m2.
The settlement’s helistop is located on the beach, east of the lagoon. There are no roads, just a wheel track that runs between the different functions. Other transport is by boat, dog sledge or snowmobile.
Day-time refuse is deposited and burned at the dump on the beach south of the helistop. The settlement is unsewered, and night soil is discharged above ground (on the beach where the tide leads it away, and in other places). The settlement has its own power plant, and heating is provided by means of independent oil burners. The water supply is provided by extracting water from a mountain lake and collecting it in a large community water tank. The water tank and power plant are located south of the lagoon, whereas the fuel tank installations are located by the sea to the southwest.
Overall a technical operation is handled by Nukissiorfiit, and telecommunications is handled by TELE Greenland A/S, whose facilities are located on the small hill south of the settlement.
The school features a small library and organises recreational club activities. The settlement offers no day-care institution, nor organised family day care. It does boast a shop, a nursing station, a community workshop and a service house, which includes laundry and shower facilities. Constructed in 2012, the KNI shop is a new 225 m2 prototype shop made of 15 20-foot container modules.
The municipal office is located in the same buildings as the school (Neriunnerup Atuarfia), which also houses the settlement’s chapel. The school numbers ten pupils from forms 1 through 8. After form 8, pupils attend the town school in Uummannaq.
Niaqornat includes five preservation-worthy buildings: (B-73) built in 1839, (B-75) built in 1909, (B-77) built in 1852, and (B-81) – former shop – built in 1763/1823. Furthermore, (B-82) – the trade manager’s home – from 1922 is preservation-worthy. The warehouses are located near each other as one preservation-worthy building environment. (B-81) was relocated from the abandoned settlement of Nugssuaq. The cemetery is located on the little mountain on the peninsula, north of the settlement.
Cultural and leisure activities mainly take place within the school buildings.
Leisure activities include hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor sports activities. South of the settlement lies a soccer field, and the valleys to the south are great for winter sports. The lagoon is also used for ice-skating.