2023 NatWest International Island Games – A Mini Guide to the Islands Taking Part￼
by Karen Rollins Mar 6, 2023
A total of 24 islands will be taking part in the 2023 Guernsey Island Games from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and the North Atlantic to the Caribbean.
This mini guide gives you some interesting information about all of them.
Åland is an archipelago with 6,700 islands. It is strategically located in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden. It has a population of just over 28,500. Åland hosted the Island Games in 1991 and 2009.
Alderney is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and has a population of around 2,200 people. It is the third largest island in the Channel Islands.
Bermuda is a self-governing British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It officially joined the Island Games in 2001 and first took part in 2003. Bermuda hosted the Island Games in 2013.
The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory made up of three islands in the Caribbean Sea – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Competitors from the Cayman Islands have participated in the Island Games since 1999.
The Falkland Islands have a population of just over 3,400 and are a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the South Atlantic Ocean. Falkland Islands’ athletes first took part in the Isle of Wight Island Games in 1993.
The Faroe Islands are in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and the Shetland Islands. The Faroe Islands are a founding member of the Island Games and hosted the event in 1989. The population is just over 50,500.
Frøya is the westernmost municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Fosen region which consists of Frøya and Hitra along with thousands of other smaller islands. Frøya is a founding member of the Island Games.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory situated at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is recognised historically as the southernmost point of Europe. Gibraltar’s first Island Games was in Guernsey in 1985. It hosted the event in 1995 and 2019.
Gotland is situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It is Sweden’s largest island and has a rich Viking history. Gotland is a founding member of the Island Games and hosted the event in 1999 and 2017.
Gozo is one of 21 islands in the Mediterranean Sea that make up the Maltese archipelago. It is the newest member of the International Island Games family having officially joined in July 2022. A small delegation from Gozo will compete for the first time at the Guernsey 2023 Island Games.
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. It is the world’s biggest island by area (836,330 square miles), but 80% of it is covered with ice. Around 88% of Greenland’s population are Inuit (predominantly Kalaallit) or mixed Danish and Inuit. Greenland’s first Island Games was in 1989.
Guernsey is a founding member of the Island Games. It has hosted the event twice before in 1987 and 2003 and will be the first country to hold it three times when the Games take place here again in 2023.
Hitra is a municipality in Trøndelag county which is part of the Fosen region along with Frøya and several other smaller islands. Hitra is the seventh largest island in Norway and is connected to the mainland via an underwater tunnel. The population is approximately 5,200. Hitra is a founding member of the Island Games.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man was the first host of the Inter-Island Games in July 1985. It also organised the Games in 2001 and is scheduled to hold them in 2029. The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is an English county. It lies off the south coast of England in the English Channel. It has a population of approximately 140,000 which makes it one of the most populated constituencies in the United Kingdom. The Isle of Wight hosted the Island Games in 1993 and 2011.
Jersey is a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom. It is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands. Jersey is a founding member of the Island Games and hosted the event in 1997 and 2015.
Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Menorca is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands. It has a population of nearly 94,000 people. The two official languages are Catalan and Spanish. Menorca first participated in the 2007 Island Games in Rhodes.
The Orkney Islands are an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, consisting of more than 70 islands and islets, of which 20 are inhabited. Over 20,000 people call Orkney their home. Orkney is scheduled to hold the next Island Games in 2025 which will be the first time it has hosted the event.
Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia. Saaremaa is well-known for its diverse flora and fauna and was named one of the Top 100 Sustainable destinations in 2020. Saaremaa first took part in the Island Games in 1991.
St Helena is a founding member of the Island Games. St Helena is a remote, 47 square mile British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is probably most famous for being the island where the British exiled Napoleon I of France, until his death there in May 1821. Approximately 4,600 people live on St Helena.
Sark is the smallest of the four main Channel Islands. It is located around 80 miles from the south coast of England and only 24 miles from the north coast of France. The population is close to 600 people. Sark first took part in the Island Games in 1987.
Shetland (also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland) is an archipelago in the North Sea consisting of around 100 islands, 16 of which are inhabited. There are approximately 23,000 Shetlanders. The dialect in Shetland is a blend of Lowland Scots and Norse languages. Shetland is a founding member of the Island Games and hosted the event in 2005.
The Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides, are situated on the extreme northwest of Scotland and stretch for over 100 miles. Competitors from the Western Isles first took part in the Island Games when it was held in Shetland in 2005.
Ynys Mon (also referred to as Anglesey) is an island situated just off the northwest coast of Wales in the Irish Sea. The population is approximately 69,700. Ynys Mon is a founding member of the Island Games. It is due to hold the Games in 2027.