Ever Wondered Why Greenland Is Icy and Iceland Is Green?

May 11, 2018

Iceland and Greenland it’s a bit confusing, as Iceland is green, while Greenland is icy. Everything has a significance behind its existence.
Green and Icy

Countries like Iceland and Greenland it’s confusing, as Iceland is green, while Greenland is icy.


Different countries have different significance. Countries names are decided on the basis of elements like its land features, prominent tribe/person, or even a directional description. Like Norway is Norway, because it is a way to the North.


When it comes to Iceland and Greenland it becomes very arguable. You’ll be in awe after knowing that Iceland is green and Greenland is way too icy.


Greenland is a place, where more than 80% area is covered with ice. But you should keep in mind that when the place was explored, the grass was much greener at the time way back AD 982 when Erik the Red, reached the island for the first time.

Norse custom

Norse custom says that the name placed on the basis of its features, consequently they named it “Greenland”. Guess they didn’t see it coming!

“Garðar’s Isle”

The legends say, earlier Iceland was named “Snowland” because it was very snowy. After few years, Swedish Viking Garðar Svavarosson visited the island and called it Garðarshólmur which means “Garðar’s Isle”.

National Geographic Article

After some research about Iceland, we found a catastrophic story behind its name.

“Garðar’s isle was not so kind to its next arrival, a Viking named flóki vilgerðarson. Flóki’s daughter drowned en route to Iceland, then all his livestock starved to death as the winter dragged on. Depressed and frustrated, flóki, the sagas say, climbed a mountain only to see a fjord full of icebergs, which led to the island’s new name.” according to National Geographic’s article.

Actual state

We hope because of climate change both the islands will be switching soon to their actual states. That’s actually a little scary!

Alarming rate

National Geographic, wrote, “The rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet has resulted in cold temperatures in the North Atlantic, which has significantly slowed the Gulf Stream. Should the trend continue, Iceland will likely suffer much colder temperatures and even sea ice, while Greenland will continue to grow warmer and shed icebergs at an alarming rate”