Saturday, July 17, 2010

The National Anthem of Greenland

Greenland, the world's largest island, is a sparsely populated dependency of Denmark. It also has a local anthem used by this self-governing island which was adopted back in 1916. Since 1979, when home rule was granted, the government has also recognized the anthem used by the local kalaallit people, "Nuna asiilasooq" (The Land of Great Length). The music was composed by Jonathan Petersen (1891-1960), a Danish songwriter and lyrics written by Henrik Lund. The national anthem is "Nunarpututoqqarsuanngoravit" (Our Country, Who's Become So Old).

Henning Jakob Henrik Lund was a Greenlandic lyricist, painter and priest. He wrote the lyrics to "Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit," in the indigenous Greenlandic language, an Eskimo-Aleut language.

Henrik Lund was born on 29 September 1875 in Nanortalik, a village on the southwest coast of Greenland. He grew up near a community of relocated East Greenlandic Inuit and, like m any in his family, devoted himself to work in East Greenland. Lund was of mixed Inuit and European descent, described as having Greenlandic features and bluish-grey eyes. His wife was Malene Lund, who was born in 1877 and died in 1979. He learned to love music and poetry through his family and a local German Moravian mission. His father, Isak Lund, was a head catechist and a poet, whose patriotic sentiments are evident in his works, such as the poem "Nuna Tassa Tupingnartoq" or "This Is a Wonderful Country."

After attending the Danish Lutheran seminary in Godthaab, Lund became the catechist at Angmagssalik in East Greenland in 1900. In 1909, he returned home to West Greenland. He was ordained as a pastor on October 9, 1936 at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ultimately, he became the local pastor at Narssaq.

From 1923 to 1932, Lund was elected to the South Greenland provincial council. He also painted in oils and watercolors.

Royal Anthem of Denmark click here.

Above is a stamp of Peterson, the composer issued in 1991. Below, Lund the lyricist issued in 1984.