PROGRAM & PRACTICAL INFO
AT A GLANCE
The North Atlantic Native Sheep & Wool Conference itself will take place at Hotel Narsarsuaq from 12-19 July 2022, including lectures from internationally-known and innovative movers in the wool world, delicious local meals, an exhibit and a marketplace featuring beautiful handicraft from artisans in Greenland and the entire North Atlantic. Extra Courses will be available, for additional cost, and one is always welcome to look into book-self tours around the area.
Travel dates will be Tuesday 12 July 2022 and Tuesday 19 July 2022. The Agricultural Consulting Services and Innovation South Greenland have reserved a set amount of seats on direct flights from both Reykjavík (SOLD OUT) and Copenhagen (SOLD OUT). Upon registration, you can request your desired flight route, and the airfare price will be added to your final bill. NOTE: As space is limited, the earlier you register and request flights, the better.
Lodging will be in single private rooms (unless otherwise requested) with en-suite bathrooms at the conference venue, Hotel Narsarsuaq, and your room is automatically reserved upon registration.
Registration is closed.
Please register via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information.
Note: you are not considered confirmed until you receive a confirmation email. Payment instructions to follow.
Full name as it is shown on your passport
Contact phone number while travelling internationally
Special position, if applicable (ex: speaker, course leader, exhibitor, marketplace merchant)
Allergies or diet requests, if applicable
Room type (single occupancy, double occupancy)
Desired flight route (via Copenhagen (SOLD OUT) or via Reykjavík Domestic (SOLD OUT))
Desired excursion (Igaliku or Qassiarsuk)
Optional course request (see below)
The conference will be held at Hotel Narsarsuaq in Narsarsuaq, Greenland over the course of eight days / seven nights. There will be engaging and thought-provoking presentations from both Greenlandic and North Atlantic speakers on four of the days; there will be a full-day Excursion Day for discovery in nearby sheep farming settlements; and there will be a free day to either take Extra Courses, go on book-self tours around the area, or get into deep conversation with old friends and new contacts. And without a doubt, your tastebuds will be spoiled with tasty locally-sourced dishes. The first day and final day will be dedicated to travel.
The Exhibit will be open throughout the conference, and the Marketplace will be open on select days over the course of the conference.
Tue, 12 July – Arrival & Check-in / Registation
Wed, 13 July – Conference all day
Thur, 14 July – Conference all day
Fri, 15 July – Excursion Day
Sat, 16 July – Conference all day
Sun, 17 July – Conference all day
Mon, 18 July – Free day; Extra courses available, for additional fee (see below)
Tue, 19 July – Departure
(Click the program to enlarge)
"North Atlantic Native Sheep & Wool through 10 years" by conference founder, Karin Flatøy Svarstad.
A discussion of how this conference came to be, the importance of international networking amongst people with like interests, and the role visibility plays for addressing challenges in the wool industry. A holistic overview of the full sheep and wool industry throughout the entire North Atlantic region.
"Wool in the North" by Svanhildur Pálsdottir.
For the last two years, stakeholders from the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway have been working on a project funded by NORA (Nordic Cooperation) to ultimately revive the use of local wool in the respective countries, thereby combatting the widespread and unsustainable trend of wool waste. The partners travelled together in Norway earlier this spring to visit everyone from farmers and hobby felters to textile museums and full-blown mills. By the time of the conference, they will have also just completed a similar visit in South Greenland, and later this autumn, the group will finish with a tour in the Faroe Islands. In time, these trials will be turned into traveller-friendly experiences to be marketed collectively in the umbrella of sustainable rural tourism. Svanhildur Pálsdottir from the Icelandic Textile Center will introduce this important NORA project with a discussion of where the project stands today and what the future vision is.
"Traveling Knots: Weaving the Vikings' Life Insurance" by Marta Kløve Juuhl & Monika Ravnanger.
These two women from Østeroy Museum in Norway will give a discussion on a textile research project about a reconstruction of a 1000-year-old shaggy woolen textile from Borgund Kaupang near Ålesund, Norway. Borgund was a Norwegian small city during the Viking Age, but after the year 1500 it did not exist any longer. Finally, there will be a discussion of similar shaggy woolen fragments, which are found around the North Atlantic - for example the Heynes fragment from Iceland and three fragments from Greenland (Landnamsgården ved Narsaq, Gården under Sandet and the farm Narsarsuaq ).
"Building a Sustainable Farm with Shetland sheep & cattle" by Ronnie Eunson.
One man's story of moving from conventional sheep farming to focussing on marketing native sheep products in a modern consumer market - essentially finding the perfect place in the future for breeds from the past. A description of all aspects of native sheep production, processing of products, marketing, sales, and suggestions towards future developments.
"Faroese Wool: Challenges and Opportunities" by Dorthea Joensen.
A discussion of Faroese sheep holding and wool. There will be a description of the wool collection process at the speaker's organisation Búnaðarstovan – The Agricultural Agency. In particular, how to collect the wool, sort and pack it and later market it for sale. Finally, a note on the challenges of finding interested buyers and opportunities to get the wool used.
"Breeding of Norwegian spelsheep, from rescue to winner" by Sven Reiersen.
Norwegian spelsheep was original the dominant sheep breed in Norway. But in the late 1800's, continental breeds were introduced, which turned out to be more productive and became more popular among farmers. In 1912, the number of spelsheep were at a critical level and a rescue operation was established with breeding stations and a breeding program. Over the years, the program has worked, and now, in 2022, Norwegian spelsheep are competitive in the market and are becoming more popular year by year.
"Manx Loaghtan Sheep: A Thin Line Between Survival and Extinction" by Jenny Shepherd.
Manx Loaghtan sheep were left on the Isle of Man by the Vikings over a thousand years ago and have been close to extinction more than once. The talk will briefly cover this breed's history, the amazing attributes it has which are especially favourable for wool and meat, and sustainable measures to ensure the breed persists for at least another one thousand years.
"Leader Sheep in Iceland - History - Future" by Daniel Hansen.
Leader Sheep is special race of sheep which only exists in Iceland. It is bred because of its intelligence, it senses for weather changes and its leadership in the flock. The Leader Sheep finds the best track and is useful to lead sheep from one place to another. This race has been used by farmers since the first settlers came to Iceland and is part of our history and culture. The Leader sheep has a different wool which today is very popular and has been made into may products, as it is softer than other wool. The meat is also different, with very little fat content. As there are only around 1200 individuals remaining, we are applying to UNESCO to have it accepted as an endangered species.
Gastronomy is one of the things South Greenland does best, so be prepared to eat a lot of exciting dishes! The region is unofficially called "The Garden of Greenland", and the local chefs, fishermen and farmers, hunters and herders, and culinary students are working to turn that into a more official, internationally-renowned status. In fact, two local producers in South Greenland have been nominated for EMBLA Food Awards. In short, you are sure to be full and satisfied, with the opportunity to taste a wide range of local South Greenlandic specialties.
All meals will be served daily in Restaurant NuNa at Hotel Narsarsuaq, including Arrival Day, the Free Day and Departure Day (where applicable). There is also the possibility to try out the modest selection of small cafes in the settlement. On Excursion Day, you will eat a nice lunch in the settlement you visit. On Conference Days, there will also be mid-morning and mid-afternoon coffee/tea breaks in addition to lunch and dinner.
Dinner will be served daily at Restaurant NuNa, and there will be a variation between buffets and plated dinners.
Meals are included in the conference particitation fee. Note: alcoholic beverages must be paid on your own.
Sample dishes from Restaurant NuNa include:
Braised South Greenlandic lamb with poached leeks
Lamb fillet with Jerusalem artichoke & onion
Minke whale tataki with capelin, horseradish and iginneq (fermented Hooded seal fat, a specialty from the Cape Farewell area of South Greenland)
Smoked lamb with angelica and a horseradish cream cheese
Pan-fried Arctic char with garlic, beerbread chips and a summer salad
Angelica chocolate-covered ice cream bomb
Arctic thyme brulee with bluebell and herbs
A selection of extra courses will be offered on the Free Day, Monday 18 July, for those who will like to get creative and use their hands. Each course costs 500 DKK per course and are charged separately from the participation fee. Reserve your spot upon registration or at the conference itself (cash only).
The following courses will be available:
Making Memories Tangible (instructed by Deborah Gray from Scotland)
Monday 18 July, 13.30 - 15.30
Learn the art of 3D collage journaling with foraged local materials. Put physical items that connect you with the place (in this case, South Greenland) together in a card or amulet form that will always remind you of your time here, every time you look at it. Keep an eye out for interesting items (think stones, yarn, flowers to dry) throughout the week and pop them in your pocket if you fancy. The instructor will also have a selection of pre-collected items to choose from.
How to Knit a Multi-Colour Hat (instructed by Hulda Brynjólfsdóttir from Iceland)
Monday, 18 July, 10.00 - 12.00
Learn to knit a hat with three colours, using Icelandic yarn produced entirely at the instructor's own Uppspuni Mini Mill. All materials provided including pattern, yarn and needles.
Note: needles are not to keep.
Dyeing with Lichen (instructed by Monika Ravnanger from Norway)
Monday, 18 July, 13.30 - 17.30
Setting pigment with the natural resources immediately available in one's landscape is a technique everyone's ancestors once practiced, which then faded away with the onset of industrialisation. Get back to your roots for an afternoon and learn how to dye wool particularly with lichen.
SOLD OUT! Handicraft with Greenlandic wood (instructed by Tage Kielsen from Greenland)
Monday, 18 July, 8.30 - 10.00 / 10.30 - 12.00
Carving is a classic inuit tradition be that with soapstone, animal horn or driftwood. Think, any and all toys that people had were self-made, and many of these originals are found in museums today. South Greenlandic artist Tage Kielsen has fine-tuned his skills to become one of the great carvers of faces, and his preferred material is Greenlandic wood. In this course he will teach you how to use carving tools and will instruct how to form human facial figures.
For those who would like to use the Free Day to explore more of Narsarsuaq and the surrounding area, there are many local tour operators ready to welcome you. These tours are not part of the official program as they are completely voluntarily and up to individual preference. Therefore they must be booked & paid on your own.
Participation fee (3500 DKK):
Included: Conference participation, accommodation for 7 nights, and 1 excursion by boat to farming settlements near Narsarsuaq (Excursion Day).
Included: All breakfasts (7); All lunches (7); All dinners (7); and All mid-morning and mid-afternoon coffee/tea & snack breaks on Conference Days (4)
NOT included: Travel costs. However, the Agricultural Consulting Services and Innovation South Greenland have pre-reserved seats on direct flights from both Reykjavík (SOLD OUT) and Copenhagen (SOLD OUT). See below. Upon registration, please indicate if you would like to book one of these seats, and the airfare price will be added to your final bill. Note: You are responsible for booking & payment for your travel from your home town to either Reykjavík or Copenhagen.
NOT included: Extra courses or book-self excursions on the Free Day, if desired.
Travel costs (6715 - 8318 DKK):
Included: Flight from either Reykjavík (SOLD OUT) or Copenhagen (SOLD OUT). See pricing & details below
NOT included: Transport from your home town to either Reykjavík or Copenhagen. Any necessary overnight layover either on the way to Greenland or on the way home again. Coordinate with the itinerary times below.
NOT included: Travel insurance.
Extra course participation & materials fee (500 DKK)
The Agricultural Consulting Services and Innovation South Greenland have reserved a set amount of seats on direct flights from both Reykjavík and Copenhagen.
Upon registration, you can request your desired flight route, and the airfare price will be added to your final bill.
Note: you will have to book your own transport from your home town to either Reyjkavík or Copenhagen.
Icelandair: 2.5 hours
Round-trip airfare: 6.715 DKK
From Reykjavik To Narsarsuaq, (Tue 12 July 2022)
Departure from Reykjavik at 11:40 Iceland time
Arrival to Narsarsuaq at 12:00 Greenland time
From Narsarsuaq to Reykjavik (Tue 19 July 2022)
Departure from Narsarsuaq 12:45 Greenland time
Arrival to Reykjavik 17:10 Iceland time
Air Greenland: 5 hours
Round-trip airfare: 8.318 DKK
From Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq (Tue 12 July 2022)
Departure from Copenhagen, 12:15 Danish time
Arrival to Narsarsuaq, 13:05 Greenland time
From Narsarsuaq to Copenhagen (Tue 19 July 2022)
Departure from Narsarsuaq 15:15 Greenland time
Arrival to Copenhagen, 23:45 Danish time
Accommodation will be at the conference venue, Hotel Narsarsuaq,
and your room is automatically reserved upon registration.
Everyone will stay in private single rooms (unless otherwise requested) with en-suite bathrooms.
COVID-19: What effect will the Corona virus have on the conference? Please see more about COVID-19 and Greenland here.
Accessories: What to bring? The following items usually prove to be useful when on holiday in Greenland: binoculars, camera, extra portable battery pack for charging phones or other devices, hat & light scarf & gloves for boat trips, journal & pen, mosquito net hat, reusable water bottle, sunblock/sunscreen, sunglasses.
Airport transfer (Narsarsuaq): How far is it from the airport to the hotel? Narsarsuaq is a small settlement, so there's only half a kilometer from the airport to the hotel. There will be airport transfer on arrival and departure day. Be aware that the vehicles are smaller, so wait time can be expected.
Baggage: What are the rules? Icelandair has the following baggage allowance per person for your ticket. Please see www.icelandair.com for more information regarding dimensions, etc.
1 checked bag – 20 kg / 44 lb max
1 carry-on bag – 6 kg / 13 lb max
Air Greenland has the following baggage allowance per person for your ticket. Please see www.airgreenland.com for more information regarding dimensions, etc.
1 checked bag – 20 kg / 44 lb max
1 carry-on bag – 8 kg / 18 lb
Overweight baggage on either airline is subject to additional fees, at your expense.
Boat transfer – Excursion Day: What will Excursion Day be like? In order to reach the two locations for Excursion Day, Qassiarsuk and Igaliku, it is necessary to be driven down to the Narsarsuaq Harbour to get on board small motor boats and sail to the settlements. Blue Ice Explorer will be providing all the elements of Excursion Day.
At the harbour, you will walk down an angled ramp with handrails to a floating dock. We recommend giving each other plenty of space, watching your footing, and walking with care. Once on the floating dock, there will be two steps up to get into the boat. The boat is heated and has space for 6-12 passengers, depending on the model.
Upon arrival to Qassiarsuk and Igaliku, there will be a similar procedure to come into land – a few steps to a floating dock followed by walking up a ramp. At Igaliku there will be car transport as the harbour is 4 km from the settlement itself. In Qassiarsuk, there is no car transport as the harbour is located right in the center of the settlement.
Iceland Airports: Aren't there a few different airports? For those travelling through Reykjavík, please note that the Icelandair flights to Greenland depart from / arrive to Reykjavík Domestic Airport in the center of town. In order to meet connecting international flights to either USA or Europe, you will have to transfer to/from Keflavik International Airport, approximately 45 minutes’ drive away. While there are several bus companies offering airport transportation, we recommend using Reykjavík Excursions. Airport Transfers can be purchased online ahead of time at www.re.is.
Note: this is not a paid partnership; simply a recommendation from personal experience.
Insurance: Should I buy? Yes, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy.
Money: Does Greenland accept credit card? Businesses in South Greenland accept payment by cash (Danish Kroner) and credit card (chip & pin). It would be a good idea to have both on hand. Cash may be useful if you would like to purchase goods from private local vendors, especially at the Marketplace. Cash may also come in handy in unforseen situations where payment by credit card is not possible. Handmade crafts vary in size and intricacy, of course, but generally they can cost between 400 – 1500 DKK.
Mosquitos: Are there mosquitos? There are mosquitos in Narsarsuaq, though not so many in Qassiarsuk and Igaliku due to the prevalence of sheep farms. It is recommended to bring a mosquito net hat, just in case.
Settlement size: What are the inhabited places like? Narsarsuaq, Qassiarsuk and Igaliku are small places. Narsarsuaq is approx. 2,5 km (1.6 mi) from one end to the other and has 123 residents. Qassiarsuk and Igaliku are a blend of sheep farms, residents and summer cottage owners totaling 20-80 residents each. All three have a lot of charm as small rural communities nestled amongst a vast and beautiful Arctic landscape with fjord, mountains and glaciers.
Sheep: Will I see sheep while at this conference? As ironic as it sounds, no, you won't be seeing sheep on a daily basis, especially not in Narsarsuaq. From June until September, Greenlandic sheep run free in the backcountry to enjoy the nature and freedom just like we Greenlanders do! It gives the sheep farmers a bit of a break in summertime to get other chores done around the farm and gear up for the annual Autumn Collection Period which involves, quite literally, running after the sheep near and far, to the tops of mountains and back again, to bring them home for rounding up and slaughter. That being said, there are sometimes sheep roaming about near Igaliku and Qassiarsuk, so Excursion Day will be the most likely day with a chance to see sheep.
Temperature: How hot or cold is it? South Greenland does get warm in the summer (think 15-20 degrees Celsius / 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with little shade). The inland positions of Narsarsuaq and the surrounding areas make it especially warm. That being said, it can also suddenly get foggy or windy, causing the
temperature to drop considerably. Having a selection of layers with you is always the best bet – a short-sleeved shirt, a lightweight sweater and a waterproof & windproof jacket should be perfect. Warm accessories like a hat and a light scarf would also come in handy, especially on the boat rides if you want to be outdoors to photograph and catch the fresh breeze. See more under “Clothing”.
Travel: What tips can you give? We suggest giving yourself ample time to meet connecting flights during your travel, especially on the homeward bound route to Reykjavík or Copenhagen. If you are travelling via Reykjavík, remember to also leave time for transport between airports. See more under "Iceland Airports".
In the event of your desired connecting flight having a tight connection time, either in Reykjavík or Copenhagen, we suggest you play it safe and take an overnight layover, if necessary.
Walking accessibility: Will I be able to get around easily? Narsarsuaq has one paved main road. There are also several side roads and pathways which are unpaved yet well-trodden. Qassiarsuk and Igaliku have dirt roads and grassy terrain that is slightly hilly. It is highly suggested to wear solid supportive footwear and to take care when walking around. There are no designated sidewalks in any of the three settlements. Cars and ATVs are not so frequent, but when they do approach, kindly step to the side to let them pass.
Popular walking routes in Narsarsuaq on paved road:
Hotel – Arboretum: 100 meters (350 ft)
Hotel – Airport: 0,5 km (0.3 mi)
Hotel – Harbour: approx. 2 km (1.2 mi)
Hotel – Hospital Valley: approx. 2 km (1.2 mi)