No one seems certain how to take the news that the President Trump is interested in buying Greenland. Is it a joke? Is it even possible? Would Mexico pay for it?
Though numerous Greenlandic politicians have weighed in to unequivocally rebuff Donald Trump’s reported interest in acquiring their homeland, the president himself has not yet commented publicly on the Wall Street Journal report that first publicized his private hope for the Arctic nation.
Sources have said that Trump is interested in Greenland for its natural resources, strategic location for national security purposes, and because buying the territory could represent a windfall (or should we say snowfall?) for his presidency in the annals of history, à la Alaska.
On the off-chance Trump’s request for his White House counsel to investigate acquiring the Arctic island hasn’t frozen in its tracks, here are some things you should know about Greenland and its real estate.
- Greenland is technically part of Denmark, but is an autonomous territory with its own domestic government. Self-governance was achieved in 2009.
- Greenland is an island which is roughly 836,000 square miles in size. For comparison, that means the territory is about nine times the size of the United Kingdom; the U.S. is about five times the size of Greenland.
- It’s the least populated territory on the planet. Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, which shares some similarities to Manhattan, has 18,000 residents, which is roughly a third of the country’s total population. It only has a few real estate brokerages.
- The most expensive house for sale on a local Greenland listing platform is about $800,000 and no one can buy land in the territory. Instead, “buyers” are granted the right to use the land.
- Greenlandic is the official language (locally known as Kalaallisut), but residents are also taught Danish and English.
- As of Friday morning, there are only six Airbnb properties available for rent in Nuuk over the coming week. They range from $142 per night to $48.
- There are 16 major towns in Greenland and, yet, no roads connect each settlement. The only roads are in and around existing towns. Instead, residents travel via boat in the summer and snowmobile or dog sled in the winters.
- In 2018, the U.S. officials campaigned to block China from financing three airports in the country. Denmark provided the cash instead.
- More than 80 percent of the land in Greenland is covered by ice that is melting due to global warming, creating opportunities for resource extraction and dumping 900 million tons of land particles into surrounding oceans.
- The territory is believed to hold about 10 percent of the world’s rare-earth metals. Offshore Greenland reportedly holds 30 percent of the world’s gas reserves and 10 percent of its remaining oil reserves.
Sources: Reuters, WSJ, New York Times, BBC, NeighborhoodX, Brookings Institution, the Government of Greenland, Airbnb, Lynges.gl, The Telegraph