Copenhagen, Denmark
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumCopenhagen - Credit: CGoulao, Flickr

The capital and largest city of Denmark, Copenhagen is situated on the islands of Zealand and Amager.  It ranks amongst the best European cities for quality of life and environmental impact. Its 1,200,000 inhabitants are spread across 15 official districts, all of which have their own distinctive character. To non-Scandinavians, Copenhagen may seem to be a city of equality, but Smilla can easily distinguish between the affluent areas and the poor ones.


Google Map



Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumChristianshavn - Credit: konhenrik, Flickr

Smilla, the mechanic, Isaiah and his mother live on Christianshavn, an artifical island dominated by canals. Although for much of the 20th century Christianshavn had been a working-class neighbourhood, it developed a bohemian reputation and atmosphere in 1970s. Now it is a very diverse area, with artist, workers and middle class families living alongside each other. It also includes immigrants from post-colonial Greenland.







Google Map
North Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic is the world's second largest ocean, extending between the Americas to the west and Europe and Africa to the east.


North Atlantic Ocean, near Nuuk
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumNorth Atlantic Ocean, near Nuuk - Credit: _Zinni_, Flickr

The North Atlantic is connected to the Arctic Ocean (sometimes considered a sea of the Atlantic) and in this northern part, on the route between Denmark and Greenland, that part of the book called "The Sea" is set.


Google Map


Qaanaaq area, Greenland
Greenland Iceberg
Creative Commons AttributionGreenland Iceberg - Credit: Natale Carioni


Creative Commons AttributionGreenland - Credit: Magnus Franklin

Qaanaaq is the northermost town in the world. This is where Smilla comes from, and this is where Tørk Hviid heads in search of fame and money. It is one of the most difficult places in the world to live, because of the exceptionally harsh weather and long Polar nights. 


Google Map


The Qaanaaq area is inhabited by a Greenlandic minority, who use a different language. The main occupation is still hunting, although environmental bans make it more and more difficult to maintain a traditional lifestyle.