Saqqaq is located in Greenland
Location within Greenland
Coordinates: 70°00′35″N 51°56′45″W / 70.00972°N 51.94583°W / 70.00972; -51.94583
State Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country Greenland
First Settled2000 B.C.E.
 • Total132
Time zoneUTC-03
Postal code
3952 Ilulissat

Saqqaq (old spelling: Sarqaq) is a settlement in the Avannaata municipality in western Greenland. Founded in 1755 as Solsiden, Saqqaq had 132 inhabitants in 2020.[1] The village's Kalaallisut name is a translation of the Danish meaning "Sunny Side", in reference to its position relative to Livets Top.

It is the site name for the Saqqaq culture.


It is located in the southwestern part of the Nuussuaq Peninsula, on the northern shore of Sullorsuaq Strait (known in Danish as Vaigat Strait), northwest of Ilulissat. Immediately northeast of Saqqaq is the Livets Top mountain (1,150 metres (3,773 ft)).[2]


The mummy of a six-month-old boy found in Qilakitsoq

Archaeological excavations in Qilakitsoq on the other side of Nuussuaq Peninsula on the shores of Uummannaq Fjord revealed the existence of an ancient Arctic culture, later named the Saqqaq culture, which inhabited the area of west-central Greenland between 2500 BCE and 800 BCE.[3]

Recent DNA samples from human hair suggest that the ancient Saqqaq people came from Siberia around 3,500 BCE and independent of the migration that gave rise to the modern Native Americans and the Inuit.[4][5]

On 21 November 2000 a large landslide at Paatuut, 40 kilometres (22 nmi; 25 mi) from Saqqaq, generated a megatsunami in Sullorsuaq (or Vaigat) Strait. Energy from the tsunami refracted after it struck Disko Island across the strait, generating a wave with a run-up height of 3 metres (9.8 ft) which destroyed boats at Saqqaq.[6]


Air Greenland serves the village as part of government contract, with winter-only helicopter flights between Saqqaq Heliport and Ilulissat Airport.[7] Settlement flights in the Disko Bay are unique in that they are operated only during winter and spring.

During summer and autumn, when the waters of the bay are navigable, communication between settlements is by sea only, serviced by Diskoline.[8] The ferry links Saqqaq with Qeqertaq, Oqaatsut, and Ilulissat.


The population of Saqqaq has increased by 60 percent relative to the 1990 levels, stabilizing in the following decade. Saqqaq is one of the very few demographically stable settlements in the Disko Bay region.[9]

Saqqaq population dynamics
Saqqaq population growth dynamics in the last two decades. Source: Statistics Greenland[9]


  1. ^ "Population by Localities". Statistical Greenland.
  2. ^ O'Carroll, Etain (2005). Greenland and the Arctic. Lonely Planet. p. 180. ISBN 1-74059-095-3.
  3. ^ "Saqqaq culture chronology". The Greenland Research Centre at the National Museum of Denmark. Archived from the original on 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
  4. ^ "The ancient human genome : Nature". Nature. February 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  5. ^ Ritter, Malcolm (February 10, 2010). Associated Press. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Dahl-Jensen, Trine; Larsen, Lotte; Pedersen, Stig; Pedersen, Jerrik; Jepsen, Hans; Pedersen, Gunver; Nielsen, Tove; Pedersen, Asger; Von Platen-Hallermund, Frants; Weng, Willy (2004). "Landslide and Tsunami 21 November 2000 in Paatuut, West Greenland". Ideas. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Booking system". Air Greenland. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  8. ^ Diskoline timetable
  9. ^ a b Statistics Greenland Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine