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Almost 300,000 square kilometres of rocky tundra and taiga land in the East of Canada. When exploring the shores and inlands of this immense acreage, there is a considerable chance of meeting the Inuit, riding their dog sleighs, fishing in ice-holes or binge-drinking with friends.

(By the way, it is strongly advised to abstain from calling them Eskimo’s, as this means ‘Snowshoe maker’, ‘Raw meat eater’ or ‘Trapper’ - anthropologists are still fighting about the etymology of the word. None of the descriptions cover the professions of all Inuit appropriately. For example, take Mr. Penote Rich, construction worker at the hydroelectric project in Muskrat Falls for Nalco, the 2012 Water Technology Company of the Year. Though he is a native Inuit, he clearly does not make snow shoes or hunts after beavers for their fur. He welds metal constructions. Calling him an Eskimo would therefore probably piss him off).

Only very few people live on this vast stretch of land: Labrador has 30,000 inhabitants. This is less than the number of Labradors in the Netherlands, and only one fourth of the number of people that recently signed the petition against UM animal testing. But it is similar to the population of Bilzen - the Belgian town right across the border. Yet Bilzen, birthplace of retired top tennis player Kim Clijsters (named among the 30 Legends of Women's Tennis by Time Magazine in 2011) and renowned for its Teutonic knights castle ‘Aldenbiezen’, has a population density of about 410[1], whereas Labrador’s population density has stuck at 0.1 people per sq. kilometre. This means that every Labradorian on average can use land the size of Theme Park Plopsa Indoor in Coevorden. To give you an impression of how big this is: everyone could build his own K3-carrousel, K3-Trafficpark, Bumba-playground, Bobo dodgem car, Kabouter Plop play tree, Mega Mindy flying bicycles, Piet Piraat ship, and Samson & Gert carrousel without interfering with others.


Yes, you’re right…this is a rather futile column. But I felt it was important to strike the proper tone when adding to the media coverage of the ‘Labrador topic’.


Thomas Thijssens, lecturer at SBE

[1] The Labrador-density in Bilzen is about 1.2.




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