- Land ownership doesn't exist in Greenland - neither for locals nor foreigners.
- Real estate purchase in Greenland only includes buildings, not land.
- Know the rules before investing: Land acquisition in Greenland has unique regulations.
- With research and expert advice, navigate Greenland's property market wisely.
Seeking your own slice of Greenland? Get insights into land ownership possibilities and navigate the path to acquiring property.
You can buy real estate in Greenland, but land ownership doesn't exist. No Greenlander owns or rents the land they live on. Natural and legal persons can purchase real estate, but they don't own the site on which the home is built.
As someone who was once curious about buying land in Greenland, I dove headfirst into research. Drawing from my own inquiry and tapping into expert opinions, I've become a go-to resource for all things Greenland real estate. Therefore, I'm here to guide you through the fascinating world of land acquisition in Greenland.
Table of Contents
Can I Buy Land In Greenland?
Greenland, the world's largest island, has been a topic of discussion for years, particularly in terms of their autonomy and climate change. Some might wonder, "Can I purchase land in Greenland?" While it is possible to buy real estate in Greenland, you should know that land ownership doesn't exist in the country.
No Greenlander owns or rents the land they live on. However, both natural and legal persons can buy real estate in Greenland, but they do not own the site on which the home is built.
This autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark stands out due to its strategic location in the North Atlantic and its critical role in issues such as global warming and resource extraction. President Donald Trump has previously shown interest in purchasing Greenland, which has led to an ongoing thought experiment about the country's role in the wider Arctic region and international geopolitics.
Ownership and Regulations
According to Danish regulations, buying land in Greenland is heavily restricted and challenging for both foreign and local entities. While purchasing Greenland or any part of the island may be a fascinating thought experiment, it is currently not a realistic possibility due to the strict laws and opposition from Greenland and Denmark.
Greenland's Land Policy
The island's land policy is unique, as private land ownership does not exist in Greenland. In fact, all land in Greenland is owned by the government, and residents are only allowed to rent the land on which their homes or buildings are built.
This policy ensures that the land in Greenland stays preserved, and prevents any foreigner or local from acquiring ownership of large areas of land.
Foreign Ownership Laws
The Danish government, which oversees the island's foreign affairs, implements strict laws to maintain Greenland's autonomous territory status. To purchase Greenland, or any part of it, by foreign entities is heavily restricted and oftentimes nearly impossible due to these regulations.
Climate change has brought attention to the Arctic Circle and has led to increased interest in Greenland and its natural resources, such as rare earth, which are vital for global industries.
Given the island's strategic location near the Arctic Circle, Thule Air Base, the American military's northernmost base, was established during World War II and remains an important part of the United States Arctic policy.
Despite Greenland's close ties with America and Denmark, the thought of buying or selling Greenland or any parts of it has not been seriously considered by either party.
Purchasing land in Greenland might be possible, but it requires proper knowledge, guidance, and adherence to regulations set forth by the Danish government.
Finding Land For Sale
If you're wondering if you can buy land in Greenland, it's essential to first understand that Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. Though limited, there are options for purchasing land and real estate.
The process typically involves seeking out available properties in Greenland via local government offices or real estate agencies. You might also want to do some research on the country’s land regulations to better understand the implications of buying land in the region.
When buying land in Greenland, it's crucial to have good legal counsel by your side. Consulting with a local attorney, who's familiar with Greenland's land laws can help guide you through the purchasing process.
Additionally, your legal representative will communicate with Danish authorities and adhere to the regulations set forth by the government.
Documentation and Taxes
Upon finding suitable land, you'll need to prepare and submit all required documentation. Part of this process includes reviewing land ownership records, verifying ownership legality, and ensuring there are no outstanding liens on the land. You will also need to pay all applicable taxes and fees, commonly levied by the Danish government.
Here's a table detailing the documents and taxes involved in purchasing land in Greenland.
Greenland remains a highly sought-after location due to its strategic position within the Arctic Circle and its abundance of reserved resources. Despite this, buying Greenland in its entirety is impossible, as it remains an autonomous Danish territory under the Kingdom of Denmark. However, you can certainly explore options for purchasing land individually.
Greenland's position near the Arctic Circle also places it close to the Thule Air Base, the world military's northernmost base. This may be a significant factor to consider when looking at purchasing land in Greenland, especially considering its unique position within world affairs.
Greenland, the world's largest island, experiences significant effects due to climate change, such as melting ice and global warming. This has led to an increased interest in its rare piles of earth, natural resources, and the potential impacts on the Earth's climate.
Considerations and Challenges of Buying Land in Greenland
Before diving into the idea of buying land in Greenland, there are several factors to consider. We’ll explore the challenges and considerations regarding the climate and environment, accessibility and infrastructure, and cultural aspects of purchasing land in Greenland.
Climate and Environment
Greenland has a unique and extreme climate that may not be suitable for everyone. Most of the island is covered in ice, and climate change is causing the ice to melt at an alarming rate, rendering the land more exposed to global warming. As climate change progresses, various resources could become more accessible for exploitation.
Accessibility and Infrastructure
Greenland still has limited infrastructure, with only roads connecting any small town to the capital, Nuuk. Furthermore, Thule Air Base serves as the military's northernmost base, and the country's research station operates under the Kingdom of Denmark. This makes it difficult for foreign investors to purchase land solely for the purpose of real estate development.
Housing is also a challenge in Greenland, as the island faces a severe housing shortage, particularly in larger towns. Moreover, the government controls the land in Greenland, and private ownership extends only to the buildings, not the land itself. So, the possibility of acquiring a large plot of land for personal use, let alone purchasing the entire island, is quite unlikely.
Here’s a breakdown of infrastructural considerations and challenges.
Another important factor to consider is the cultural aspect of Greenland's population (approximately 56,000) is predominantly Inuit.
The Danish government provides various Danish subsidies, including free healthcare, public education, and pensions. These Danish Subsidies help to support its autonomous territory and its citizens. Therefore, respecting Greenland's cultural heritage and ensuring local communities' well-being should be a priority when considering land ownership.
From a historical perspective, the idea of the USA buying Greenland is not entirely recent news. It has been contemplated during World War II and as far back as the 1867 purchase of the Danish West Indies (now known as the US Virgin Islands). However, in recent times, the absurd idea of buying Greenland sparked other countries' interest when President Donald Trump expressed interest in 2019.
Both the Danish government and Greenland's foreign minister quickly rebuffed the idea, asserting that the island is not for sale and highlighting the importance of maintaining cordial foreign and Arctic affairs.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling