Documentation and dissemination of the history of Denmark in Greenland and the Arctic

How the Biographical Encyclopedia was compiled

Leif Vanggaard, senior researcher at the Danish Arctic Institute, over a range of years worked to complete an index of Danish (and foreign) persons, working in Greenland in the period 1721-1921. Work on the encyclopedia concluded around the year 2010.

The encyclopedia has been compiled from older publications and new research on officers, priests, doctors, workers and others sent to Greenland by the Danish authority.

Mr. Vanggaard assembled these informations and organized them into an online database at the service for researchers. MA student Justyn Salamon typed Mr. Vanggaards information into the database referring to the Photo Collection.


The following publications are the main sources for the database:

Johan Carl Joensen: ''De Danske i Grønland. Bidrag til den grønlandske Handels Historie med personalhistoriske Efterretninger om Embedsmænd og Funktionærer i Grønland fra 1721 - 1900''. Publiceret - Arktisk Institut, fondsnummer A 349

Hother Ostermann: ''Danske i Grønland i det 18. Aarhundrede''. Nyt Nordisk Forlag. København 1945

Hother Ostermann: ''Nordmænd på Grønland fra 1721 - 1814''. Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. Oslo 1940

Hother Ostermann: ''Grønland i 200 året for Hans Egede''. 1923


These donors have kindly provided funding support for the development and realization of the online encyclopedia: 

Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse

Kulturfonden Danmark-Grønland

Lilian og Dan Finks Fond


How to search in the index

The main principles for searching in Biographical encyclopedia for Greenland are following the regular search principles in databases. You write or choose a name, place or year and press enter. You can search in one category or combine two or more categories. Please notice, that all information is in Danish.

The Biographical Encyclopedia  has been compiled in order to give our users the easiest access to informations about those people listed in the index. You can choose between four different categories:


Here you type either first name, sir name, part of the name or the whole name (first name, then sir name). If you are uncertain of the spelling of the name, please use the Alfabetisk navneliste and copy/paste the name into the search field. 

Place (City or village)

Choose the name of the city or village from the drop down menu.

The term  'Andet' refers to the fact, that a lot of the people listed in the encyclopedia lived other places than in Greenland as well.

The names of the places are following these principles:

Cities are written with capital letters and are identical with the old colonies. In top of the list are the northernmost cities in Westgreenland listed (Upernavik) and therefrom the cities are listed southwards with Frederiksdal as the last listed. In the bottom of the list you find the Eastgreenlandic cities and Thule.

Villages and trading stations are spelled with capital/small letters and are placed in the list under the city, that the village or trading station belongs(ed) to.


Choose the position from the drop down menu.

Year (you can search in the period 1720-1980. You can search for a specific year or a period of time)

When searching for a specific year (first search field) the search function will include all persons living in Greenland in that specific year. When searching for a time periode (both search fields) all persons living in Greenland in the given period.


Search in the Biographical Encyclopedia >


20036: Dr. Christian Rudolph and family. Dr. Rudolph was district medical officer in Jakobshavn (Ilulissat) 1839-54, colony manager in Egedesminde (Aasiaat) in 1856, doctor and colony manager in Upernavik 1858-74. Member of the commission in 1877. The photo was probably taken after moving to Denmark in 1874.

If you have questions or comments to the database, please contact Danish Arctic Institute +45 32 31 50 55 or

The Danish Arctic Institute collects supplementary information and corrections and may possibly update the database in a future project.