Niaqornaarsuk is located some 40 km west of Kangaatsiaq. The settlement’s name means “the odd, head-like”.
The settlement is located on the northern side of the mouth of Arfersiorfik Fiord, which is 152 km long and up to 24 km wide. The name means “the place where the whale was spotted”. The fiord runs from the Davis Strait to the inland ice. Towards the north is Aasiaat and towards the south, Nordre Strømfjord.
The oldest, central part of the settlement is located on a promontory. A fish factory, a shop and a warehouse are located at the port. The school has a central location, at the border between promontory and hinterland, which also holds a newer residential area and the church. One of Niaqornaarsuk’s characteristics is the scattered buildings.
Provisions and subareas
The general provisions apply to all subareas of the municipalities in towns, settlements and open country areas. The provisions are general and do not consider the local conditions in the subareas.
The overall provisions for each subarea are the basis for the municipality"s granting of area allotments and building permits.
The aim is to maintain Niaqornaarsuk’s current service level and range of housing. All further development is to take place within the existing settlement zone. Given the settlement’s size, initiatives should be launched to develop business, especially within fishing and production and these should be included in the town plan. Housing and common facilities to ensure, e.g., stronger association activities are to be prioritised to avoid migration, and waste management and access conditions are also to be improved. Existing houses and rooms may be put to use for cultural and recreational purposes.
The settlement is the largest in the municipality with 267 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2017). In size, the settlement had its peak in 1997 (370 inhabitants), But since then the population has fallen severely, with a 28% decline.
Since no considerable increase in population is expected, the planning period primarily calls for areas for replacement buildings in connection with redevelopment. The promontory is fully developed, but a large area north of the promontory is zoned for residential purposes. The area is partly developed, but can hold another 20 homes, which is considered sufficient to cover the demand in the planning period.
There are 90 households in Niaqornaarsuk, which gives an average household size of 3 persons. The settlement in Niaqornaarsuk consists primarily of detached single-family houses.
The Niaqornaarsuk population mainly work in fishing all year round and in sealing during the winter. Royal Greenland operates a small fish factory without freezing facilities in the settlement (B-777), which primarily receives cod and roe and produces salted fish. The fish factory employs as many as ten persons during peak season. In addition to fishing, sealing and whaling, jobs relate to municipal activities, school and service trades.
The unemployment rate in the four settlements in Kangaatsiaq district as a whole (18,2%) is slightly larger than Kangaatsiaq (17.1%), and almost twice as large as the other districts in the municipality (8.2-10.9%). It is thus also far higher than both the municipal average (10.7%) and the national average (9.1%). No figures on work force distribution across trades are available.
The settlement’s location to the open sea is favourable, ensuring open water all year round. The port includes a cutter quay and a place for launching and hauling up boats.
There is no available space for industry in the town plan.
The settlement features a helistop, which is operated by Air Greenland during the winter, connecting the settlement to Aasiaat and Kangaatsiaq. From May to October, Diskoline sails passengers and goods to and from Aasiaat and Kangaatsiaq. The port is navigable from May to December. From January to April, the port is navigable depending on ice conditions. The schooner quay is used for goods, passengers and trading. Next to the two bridges of the dock, Naalakkersuisut has designated two port authority areas.
The settlement has a limited internal system of roads consisting of simple wheel tracks.
Niaqornaarsuk features a winter water tank (B-756) with all-year water pipeline. Plans are made to establish more draw-off points. The settlement also features a power plant (B-511) and plans are made to extend the grid. There is no sewerage which causes ever greater problems in terms of wastewater management. Day-time refuse, night soil, chemical waste and metal are deposited at the dump, where waste is burned in the open.
Telecommunications is handled by TELE Greenland.
The settlement holds a settlement office (B-777), village hall (B-379), service house (B-777), fish factory (B-777), health-care station and a newer church from 1981. Once a church chapel, the church is located on the north side of a small inlet, which is connected to the promontory by means of a small bridge. Day-care schemes provide child care services.
The settlement school numbers some 60 pupils. In 2009, half of the old school was demolished and brand new buildings were constructed, extending the building’s floorage.
In addition to the village hall, the settlement boasts a soccer field. The field lies north of the settlement, close to the helistop. No buildings or areas in the settlement have preservation value or are listed.