Northern light festival in CPH
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Northern light festival in CPH

Copenhagen has its annual Nordlys Festival (Northern light festival). This year the occasion was used to celebrate the 100 year jubilee of Polar researcher Knud Rasmussen’s 5th Thule expedition 1921-24. This is the most remarkable of Knud Rasmussen’s many expeditions as this is when he travelled 18 000 km from Greenland across Canada, Alaska and all the way to Siberia. He visited inuit all along the route and realised he could communicate with them in his own Greenlandic language (he was of Danish and Greenlandic descent). This made him conclude there be must be a common origin for all inuit people and the original emigration was from somewhere in Siberia. In addition to writing down myths and stories from the people he visited, he also collected a lot of items. Most of these are on display at the National Museum in Copenhagen and this is where the Northern Light festival took place over three days. We went there on Saturday 18th of September together with our sled dog friends, Bo and Susan from kennel Ulvedalen. There were very interesting talks and presentations about the expedition, but also about the Qimmeq project. This is the research project dealing with the Greenlandic sled dog, it’s genetic origin and usage. The Greenlandic sled dog is in rapid decline and there are several health issues, too. Unfortunately, there was no time to hear the young Greenlandic sled dog driver, Francisca D. Olsen tell about her life with sled dogs. Otherwise, excellent talks all of them!

We were not the only ‘sled dog’ people there. We met Pia Lykke with children, and Zoran Dimovski, who was showing his Siberian Huskies as part of the Nordlys festival.

Photo: Susan Hansen. Bo and Erik enjoying their Qajaq beer.
Photo: Gabrielle. From the talk by Tatiana Feuerborn about sled dogs and their origin.
Photo: Gabrielle. Veterinarian Rikke Langebæk explaining about the Greenland sled dog and its health status and problems with especially parasites. The dog ‘Isa’ was the only real Greenlandic sled dog at the festival. The rest were Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.
Photo: Gabrielle. Sled dog driver Francisca D. Olsen and sled dog Isa.
Photo: Gabrielle. Susan is knitting all these beautiful sweaters for her company ‘UlDvedalen knitting’. This green sweater with polar bears is her own design.
(c) Nordlys. The perhaps most impressive character of the 5th Thule expedition is this woman Arnarulunnguaq, who joined Knud Rasmussen all 18 000 km of the journey. There was a presentation about her at the Nordlys festival, which I would have loved to hear.