The Language Secretariat of Greenland

Place Names Committee


The Greenland Place Names Committee’s objectives are to collect, register and authorize place names in Greenland, excluding local road and place names. Furthermore, the Committee is entitled to give guidance to Greenlandic authorities and the public in questions related to place names in Greenland. The Committee shall work together with institutions and persons who publish authorized lists over, or with those who gives recommendations about Greenlandic place names.   The Greenland Place Names Committee’s provision on single authorization of Greenlandic place names Single authorization of Greenlandic place names was taken into use on January 1st, 1996. This means that in that case a place has several place names in several languages, only the Greenlandic place name is authorized for official use. In that case a place does not have a Greenlandic name, the already existing and registered place name is valid to be used, regardless of the language.   Working basis for the Greenland Place Names Committee The current basis for authorization of place names, decided by the Greenland Place Names Committee on 03/03-2022: Criteria for authorization of place names
  • Original Greenlandic place names must be authorized
  • When place names have been changed by newer generations, they must be valid on the basis that they are now used by everyone
  • Only in special cases can places be named after living people
  • Place names commonly used inside the municipal borders must be authorized
  • Naming after dialectal variations follows the principles set by the Greenland Language Counsil
  • Local knowledge and use of place names must be respected
  • The proposed place name should be inspired by the landscape, or the way the landscape is used traditionally
  • Place names that already exist in the area should serve as inspiration
  • The naming after a deceased people who have had impacts on Greenland can only take place if there are extraordinary reasons
  • The naming process with personal name must be taken place by 5 women and 5 men to be confirmed and certified that the person had a great significance to Greenland
  • The naming process of a place name with personal name, must be done with no possessive case ending / genitive case
  • Proposals are submitted with location using WSG-84 UTM 24N or using the local UTM Zone of the proposed location. Coordinates or maps are used for the location
  • The following is the basis for authorization regarding nunataks that emerge from the Ice Sheet:
    • When there are proposals for naming nunataks that have emerged in the Ice Sheet, the local population must be consulted to ensure whether the area in question already has a Greenlandic name or has not yet been named and whether the local population has been on the site
    • Emerging nunataks in the Ice Sheet that have not yet been named must only be named when these are used by the locals
    • It is the locals who must come up with a proposal for naming the nunataks
  • The following is the basis for authorization for when glaciers etc. divide and when conditions arise due to changes in glaciers etc.:
    • The knowledge of the local population must be respected and prioritized
    • When glaciers splits and the ice already have a name, there is no need to rename.
    • When new conditions appear at the retreat of the ice, such as islands, sounds, etc. the existing place name of the ice must be used with additions of words that characterize these
    • New place names used by local in connection with new conditions due to the retreat of the Ice Sheet must be authorized
  The following are working basis for rejecting the authorization of place names:
  • If the proposal is not clearly marked on a map, it cannot be approved
  • Proposals for naming a place cannot be approved if it is not connected to Greenland
  • Suggestions for naming a place cannot be approved if the name is not in Greenlandic
  • Proposals for naming a place cannot be approved if the proposed name is a name of a company
  • It is not possible to name after a person who has not had much influence for Greenlandic society
  • The local knowledge and their use of an already existing place name cannot be replaced with another place name
  The Municipal Authorites have jurisdiction over naming technical installations within city limits.


  • Aviâja Rosing Jakobsen
  • Josephine Dagmar Munch
  • Emma Kristensen
  • Niels Lorentzen
  • Kelly Berthelsen
The Committee has five members, appointed for a four year term.