Ilulissat, Greenland. This is where icebergs are born. Follow photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström’s journey through the land of mammoth ‘bergs, Inuit traditions, sled dogs, and, yes, even Santa Claus. 

The eerie crackling of breaking ice. The crushing sound of iceberg meeting iceberg—slow moving giants the size of five-story buildings. The howling of sled dogs piercing through the silent night. Greenland awakens all your senses and its jarring landscapes continue to awe travelers willing to brave chilling sub-zero temperatures.

How was I lured here? A book.

It was an intriguing tale of the first African ever to set foot on the world’s largest island, back in the ‘60s. A few years ago, I’d poured through Togo-born Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s book, An African in Greenland. Fascinated by his journey, I vowed to follow in (some) of his footsteps and see those same icebergs that had first intrigued him some 50 years ago.

So here I am, 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, heading towards Ilulissat. Formerly known as Jakobshavn, the name “Ilulissat” means “iceberg” in Greenlandic Inuit—and the town is fittingly called the “iceberg capital of the world” (although, Newfoundland, Canada, with its Iceberg Alley, claims the same moniker.)