Hans Island is made up of two square kilometers of rock situated at 80° 49′ N and 66° 26′ W, smack-dab in the middle of Kennedy Channel, mid-way between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. It has a population of zero; not counting the occasional seagull that stops by.
Both Canada and Denmark have claimed the insignificant island, which has led to a decade long farce, involving both countries making symbolic gestures in the name of ownership.
In 1984, Kenn Harper, a noted Arctic historian, wrote an article about Canadian-based Dome Petroleum’s occupation of Hans Island for a local newspaper in Greenland. A Danish publication instantly picked up the story and soon after, Denmark’s Minister for Greenland flew to Hans Island where he raised a Danish flag and left a bottle of Denmark’s finest schnapps. Since then, both countries have taken turn in more or less idiotic chest thumping activities. As it should have, it has inspired a steady flow of satire, including a website that, amongst other things, points out the similarity between Nazi Germany invading Denmark during WWII and Canada’s current occupation of the island. On the site, it reads:
The Canadian government has not denied the allegations that they plan to use Hans Island as a storage site for nuclear waste.
While this is actually true, Hans Island Liberation Front, another website, has to lie to get their point across, claiming that two inhabitants (both named Hans), live on the island and fight passionately for its independence.
All jokes aside, the Hans Island controversy is a joke.