National planning

The planning forecast is to describe how the town planning links to national planning.

Interests of the Government of Greenland in town planning

In 2015, the Government of Greenland adopted the “Overview of the interests of the Government of Greenland in town planning – 2015”, as part of strengthening the municipal planning. This describes a number of general criteria and goals that the municipalities should base their planning upon, as well as the Government's requirements for planning in the municipalities.

The general conditions comprise national planning directives, national planning forecasts and cross-cutting measures and strategies for regional development, tourism, and the housing, transport and health sectors etc. In addition, overall considerations regarding nature, conservation and commodity interests, including EIA reports or Nature Impact Assessments, when planning major projects, are registered.

According to the objectives and requirements of the Government of Greenland, town plans are to:

  • Incorporate building regulation in the overall provisions for buildings in subareas, such as distance requirements, rescue and firefighting procedures, road building lines and access areas , and calculation of the extent of the building in the detailed provisions
  • Set out protection zones around explosives stores, such as safety distances to nearest area use and development around such installations
  • Set out safety zones around airfields, heliports and helistops and restricted zones to ensure safe aviation operations
  • Include provisions for the location and delimitation of ports and related transport services
  • Set out protection zones and safety zones around telecommunications plants
  • Determine the location, delimitation, land and restricted around fuel installations
  • Determine the location and delimitation of hydro plants, and protection zones for safeguarding drinking water resources and water protection zones including recovery of ice
  • Delimit subareas zoned for industries with special location requirements
  • Plan for polluting and potentially polluting areas and areas zoned for polluting industry
  • Safeguard protected and preservation-worthy sites and structures, including natural values or areas of special preservation interest
    Determine the location and delimitation of cultural heritage area

The municipality must generally be aware of the guidelines for protected natural habitats. The new nature conservation act has also meant that a municipal statute can no longer protect a land area, a fjord, a river or a lake, while the municipality in turn can establish local guidelines (municipal statutes) for the protection of bird colonies and bird areas. The section "Respect for Environment and Resources" contains a map of protected areas in the municipality.

National planning reports

Following the budget agreement in 2014, there was a strong desire for both the municipalities and Naalakkersuisut to establish better coordination in order to achieve the desired development of our society. With the National planning reports, an intensive prioritization has been carried out over a three-year period. Throughout the process, the focus for Naalakkersuisut has been to create a framework for a more self-sustaining economy. In addition, Naalakkersuisut wanted the framework to provide better opportunities for more balanced development for all municipalities.

The National planning reports is to make the planning and prioritization of the various areas of interest clearly visible, thus contributing to the gathering, strengthening and targeting of actions that will lead to the realization of the goals set by the Greenland Government. The reports should thus promote better cooperation, coordination and prioritization across and in dialogue with the individual areas of administration in the administration, municipalities and society in a broad sense.

The National planning reports of recent years together constitute a description of the challenges that spatial planning and thus the economic planning face in these years.

There are currently no actual plans for the preparation of further national planning reports in the coming years. The Planning Act states that Naalakkersuisut must submit a report on the national planning to Inatsisartut (Greenland Parliament) at least every four years.

National planning report 2015 - The necessary coordination

With National planning report 2015, Naalakkersuisut makes a status for key parameters and describes how far we have come in relation to creating better coordination and greater coherence between spatial planning and economic planning. Following the budget agreement in 2014, there was a strong desire for both the municipalities and Naalakkersuisut to establish better coordination in order to achieve the desired development of our society.

National planning report 2015 presents a picture of how demographic development has taken place in recent years and how we can expect some of the developments to come to light in the coming years if we just present current trends. It is important to pay attention to the dominant role of public activities in the overall business pattern. On the one hand, they constitute an important basis for the local economies, but on the other hand, a high degree of addiction.

National planning report 2016 - The necessary prioritization

It requires coherent efforts and the establishment of an efficient public sector with a good division of labor, capable of delivering coherent solutions for the benefit of the citizens and contributing to making Greenland competitive. The use of sector plans and coordination between the national and municipal sector plans is well underway, but there is still a greater effort to get these in place in certain sectors. However, they are important tools for moving larger areas to the municipalities in the coming years, as the political coordination group has started preparing.

It was one of the preconditions of the structural reform that tasks should be transferred from Naalakkersuisut (the National Government) to the municipalities. At the same time, it was also recognized by the parties that some tasks might be relocated from the municipalities to Naalakkersuisut to the extent that the municipal task solution does not deliver the desired results.

Likewise, the number and size of our municipalities is important for the priority that needs to be taken. Here is specific attention to the process that is underway in Qaasuitsup Municipality, where a division of the large municipality in January, respectively, takes place. Kommune Qeqertalik and Avannaata Kommunia. This breakdown is expected to have consequences for prioritization in a wide variety of other areas.

In addition, it is important to consider how the physical location of Naalakkersuisut workplaces is best organized. According to which principles should public employment be placed around the country? Many argue that not all jobs should be located close to Parliament, Inatsisartut. Equally speaking, not all towns must have equal numbers of the workplaces of Naalakkersuisut. There must be a division between the two viewpoints.

National planning report 2017 - The necessary cooperation

The theme of the National planning report 2017 is "The necessary cooperation". The cooperation will ensure that we achieve balanced development throughout the country. Cooperation must take place at all levels. There must be cooperation between the individual units in the Greenland Autonomous Administration. There must be cooperation between Naalakkersuisut and the municipalities. There must be cooperation between the public and all other actors, such as organizations, NGOs and citizens.

The National planning reports has the assignment of collectively visualizing the planning and prioritization of the individual resource areas, thus contributing to gathering, strengthening and targeting efforts that will lead to the realization of Naalakkersuisut's goals.

A resource triangle and a habitation profile are described that should be used to compare the different towns and settlements. With habitation profile 2017, the number of is expanded and grouped into three categories. In the resource triangle there are focuses on (1) the actual (existing and potential) industry resources, (2) the available human resources and (3) the available social resources. In an overall assessment of the strengths and potentials of a habitation, the real and potential scores of the three resource parameters must be weighted in relation to each other. That is what is ensured in the overall habitation profile.

The national planning directive for the open country

The national planning directive constituted a framework for the open country, which the municipalities were to administer after 1 January 2011, when the municipalities took over responsibility for planning area allotment in the open country. The national planning directive were to be incorporated into the municipal plans and aimed at counteracting unplanned land use.

The national planning directive classifies the open country into five subareas:

  • K - Huts, holiday cottages etc.
  • L - Special recreational areas
  • M - Keeping of animals and agriculture (area for sheep farming, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, dog islands etc.
  • N - Technical supply plants and other infrastructure
  • O - Unbuilt areas, which include the following subcategories:
    • O1 - Unbuilt natural areas
    • O2 - Areas for extensive grazing
    • O3 - Unspoiled natural areas.

This was incorporated into the municipal planning with the municipal plan 2014-26.

The regional development strategy (RUS)

The regional development strategy (RUS) describes a wide range of goals, actions and agendas for issues relevant to the town plan, such as industry, including tourism, fisheries and extraction of raw materials, education and housing. Particularly in terms of education and industry, considerable work is done in formulating strategies that can affect the development of the country as such.

The development strategy is at a political and procedural level, where there is often a leap for the town plan's more concrete focus on the development of the municipality in general and on physical / spatial development in particular. However, the development strategy is considered to be very well in line with the municipality's objectives, policies and desired development.

The regional development strategy has a significant impact on the town plan in certain areas, as it constitutes the regional policy foundation for local development and thus can have a derivative effect on the settlement and relocation patterns within the municipality.

Read more about the regional development strategy and gain access to the report on the national development strategy at

Report of the Transport Commission

National infrastructure projects - first and foremost decisions on ports and airports - will have a decisive impact on the future development of towns and settlements in the municipality.The Transport Commission report submitted in 2011 addresses a number of key issues and challenges regarding passenger and goods transport and presents analyses and recommendations for visions, objectives, key action areas for the Greenlandic infrastructure sector and transport system up to 2030. Recommendations apply both to the set-up and to the prioritisation of infrastructure and services.

Furthermore, the report presents analyses of specific infrastructure projects already in the pipeline or in the spotlight.

Several of the projects analysed are of immediate relevance to Avannaata Kommunia. The projects concerned are:

  • Extension of the airport in Ilulissat
  • Road and maritime connections between Qaarsut and Uummannaq
  • Closure of the airport in Qaanaaq
  • Municipal ports, especially in Ilulissat
  • New airport on Uummannaq Island
  • Other airports (in Upernavik, Qaanaaq, Qaarsut).

Read more about the report of the Transport Commission at:

Nature protection interests

In all 8 bird protection areas have been designated in Avannaata Kommunia, which must be covered by the town planning:

The 8 bird protection areas are:

  • Lion Islands south of Qeqertat (1)
  • Kuup Apparsui/Kap Schackleton (2)
  • Toqqusaaq (3)
  • Kingittuarsuk, west-northwest of Angissoq (4)
  • Upernaviup Apparsui/Sandersons Hope (5)
  • Kippakup Apparsuit (6)
  • Salleq (7)
  • Appat Innaat/the bird cliff Appat at Ritenbenk. (12)

Preservation and conservation interests

Preservation and conservation interests include preservation and conservation at national level, preservation areas, listed buildings, which all are to be incorporated into the town plan. In addition, the municipality has identified a number of buildings worthy of preservation.

The following areas in Avannaata Kommunia have national conservation status:

  • Melville Bay Nature Reserve between Upernavik and Qaanaaq, because it is an important breeding area for narwhal. Executive order no. 21 of 17 May 1989.
  • Ilulissat Icefiord included on UNESCO's World Heritage List because of its unique glaciological conditions and natural beauty. Executive order no. 10 of 15 June 2007.

Preservation areas in Avannaata Kommunia include:

  • Qallunaarmiut – the entire site (area by Zion Church in Ilulissat)
  • Kagdlo – the entire site (Appat)
  • Igdluluarssuk at Sarkak – the entire site (Ritenbenk district/ Ilulissat district)
  • Ilutalik at Torssukatak – the large ruin, graves at Nangissat (Appat/ Uummannaq district)
  • Serfat – the entire site (Appat)
  • Saputit – the reindeer hunting fence (Appat)
  • All ruins on the Island of Issua (Uummannaq district)
  • Eqaluit – the entire site (Uummannaq district)
  • uussuaq – bear trap weir (Uummannaq district)
  • Nussak – the entire site (Uummannaq district)
  • All ruins north of Nugssuak (Kraulshavn) (Upernavik district)
  • Inugsuk – midden not excavated (Upernavik district)
  • Gl. Skibshavn – the entire site (Upernavik district)
  • Bruuns Island – the entire site (Upernavik district)
  • Nugaarsuk in Umiarfik Fjord – the entire site (Upernavik district).

Listed buildings are buildings of national importance due to their distinctive architectural or heritage value. Owners are to keep a listed building in sound condition. All construction work related to a listed building, be it interior or exterior, minor or major, requires permission from the Greenland National Museum. Listed buildings are governed by the Greenland ParIiament Act no. 11 of 19 May 2010 on Cultural Heritage Protection and Conservation. The Greenland National Museum supervises listed buildings.

Avannaata Kommunia has the following listed buildings:


  • B-3 – Church built in 1839 (now a museum)
  • B-11 – Cooperage built in 1848 (now a museum/retreat)
  • B-12 – Captain's residence on Imerisut built in 1777 (now a museum)
  • B-14 – Shop built in 1864 (now a museum)
  • B-96 – Church built in 1925
  • B-97 – Mortuary built in 1941
  • B-98 – Vicar's residence built in 1866 (now a museum residence)
  • B-99 – School built in 1910 (now a museum).


B-116 – Church built in 1934


  • B-75 – Zion Church built in 1779
  • B-76 – Mortuary built in 1929
  • B-78 – Residence of the Dean built in 1847 (now a museum).


B-463 - Museum built in 1910


  • B-803 - Lager
  • B-807 - Trading station manager's house


  • B-46 – Seamen’s quarters built in 1869 (now a school camp)
  • B-58 – Manager's residence built in 1858 (now a school camp).

For a list of preserved buildings, see the Greenland National Museum..

Finally, municipalities have identified preservation-worthy buildings of regional or local interest to be included in town plans. Municipalities can provide financial support to cover the expenses of maintaining preservation-worthy buildings. It is not allowed to demolish, rebuild, or alter a preservation-worthy building without permission.

Raw materials interests

Potentially, development in extraction of raw materials may have a decisive impact on the municipality and the country as such. The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum and its affiliated agencies are the overall competent authority for the Greenlandic raw materials sector. The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum's primary task is ongoing administration of prospecting, exploration and exploitation of mineral resources. The Bureau is the entry to all governmental regulatory procedures on issues of raw materials.

The raw materials sector is governed by the Raw Materials Act, Greenland Parliament Act no. 7 of 7 December 2009 on Mineral Resources and Mineral Resource Activities. The act governs licenses related to prospecting, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons and minerals. The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum and its affiliated agencies are the overall competent authority for the Greenlandic raw materials sector. Apart from the Raw Materials Act, the sector is governed by a regulatory framework, which can found at the home page of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum

If you as a citizen want to apply for a small-scale permit or if you want to apply for a prospecting, exploration and exploitation permit for the oil and minerals, please contact the municipality. We then coordinate the efforts with other entities that support regulatory procedures. A principle that ensures efficient proceedings.

Citizens: Find application forms for small-scale permits on
Companies: Find application forms, rules and guidelines on

Thule Air Base

Thule Air Base is situated in the northern part of Qaasuitsup Municipality approximately 1,200 km north of the Arctic circle. Established originally as a trading post, the area was converted into military territory during the Second World War by the U.S. Air Force. The air base in Thule is still important to the NATO cooperation and as such to Greenland’s and Denmark’s security policies.

In fact, Thule Air Base is a community of its own. Due to its remote location in Northwest Greenland, the base has to accommodate everything needed for daily life. As such, the base has its own airport, firefighters, fitness centre, bowling hall, hotel and kitchens and accommodation for employees. The U.S. Air Force is responsible for the military activities of the base.