[267][268] Iceland has also won the second most World's Strongest Man competitions of any country with nine titles, including four by both Magnús Ver Magnússon and Jón Páll Sigmarsson and most recently Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson in 2018. The animals of Iceland include the Icelandic sheep, cattle, chickens, goats, the sturdy Icelandic horse, and the Icelandic Sheepdog, all descendants of animals imported by Europeans. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. On 31 December 1943, the Danish–Icelandic Act of Union expired after 25 years. [20][23] By 2014, the Icelandic economy had made a significant recovery, due in large part to a surge in tourism. 2. As a result, there is a limit on how many restaurants and grocery shops you can find in each town, as well as hotels. [33] By 930, most arable land on the island had been claimed; the Althing, a legislative and judicial assembly, was initiated to regulate the Icelandic Commonwealth. Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries,[15] as well as the highest trade union membership in the world. Independent music is strong in Iceland, with bands such as múm and solo artists. The closest bodies of land in Europe are the Faroe Islands (530 km). About 15,000 people emigrated, out of a total population of 70,000.[47]. The oldest sport association in Iceland is the Reykjavík Shooting Association, founded in 1867. Iceland is the only country in the world to have a population under two million yet still have a floating exchange rate and an independent monetary policy. Martin Miller blends Icelandic water with its England-distilled gin on the island. Name Abbr. Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. Iceland - 10 Largest Cities. Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. All schools in Iceland are mixed sex schools. A great number of roads remain unpaved, mostly little-used rural roads. The most widely recognized landmark is the famous Blue Lagoon but it is located only a few minutes driving from Reykjanesbær. [263] The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. 2 = Ølstykke-Stenløse is a new city, created by conurbation between Ølstykke and Stenløse on 2010-01-01. Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake, at 248 m (814 ft). Home → Europe → Iceland. 11.29% other religions and not specified; Jonsson, Ivar (2012) 'Explaining the Crisis of Iceland – A Realist Approach' in Journal of Critical Realism, 11,1. Reykjavík is also the most important port in Iceland. The early settlement, made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, fostered further excursions to Greenland and the coast of North America (which the Norse called Vinland). Reykjavik is the smallest amazing green city on our list, with only about 115,000 people living in the city and roughly 300,000 people in the entire country of Iceland. [156] In April 2010, the Icelandic Parliament's Special Investigation Commission published the findings of its investigation,[157] revealing the extent of control fraud in this crisis. The Central Highlands are the coldest part of the country. Contemporary Icelandic painting is typically traced to the work of Þórarinn Þorláksson, who, following formal training in art in the 1890s in Copenhagen, returned to Iceland to paint and exhibit works from 1900 to his death in 1924, almost exclusively portraying the Icelandic landscape. [161] Iceland has 13,034 km (8,099 mi) of administered roads, of which 4,617 km (2,869 mi) are paved and 8,338 km (5,181 mi) are not. [105] The country has a high level of civic participation, with 81.4% voter turnout during the most recent elections,[106] compared to an OECD average of 72%. But, once you try it, it isn’t hard to see why! In recent times, Iceland has produced many great writers, the best-known of whom is arguably Halldór Laxness, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955 (the only Icelander to win a Nobel Prize thus far). Lack of arable land also served as an impetus to the settlement of Greenland starting in 986. Generally speaking, the south coast is warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. Hallgrímur Pétursson wrote many Protestant hymns in the 17th century. Iceland contains about 30 minor islands, including the lightly populated Grímsey and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. It’s main shopping and restaurants street is Laugavegur in the postal code 101 but all around it you can find hidden gems. When he was about to depart, it started to snow. [58] The centre-right Independence Party was returned to power in coalition with the Progressive Party in the 2013 election. USD. , but it stands on its own. Selfoss is the biggest town along the South Coast and has many great restaurants and a fantastic swimming pool. [98], Around 1,300 species of insects are known in Iceland. In grammar and vocabulary, it has changed less from Old Norse than the other Nordic languages; Icelandic has preserved more verb and noun inflection, and has to a considerable extent developed new vocabulary based on native roots rather than borrowings from other languages. Throughout the 19th century, the country's climate continued to grow colder, resulting in mass emigration to the New World, particularly to the region of Gimli, Manitoba in Canada, which was sometimes referred to as New Iceland. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. The country’s capital is Reykjavik. [73], Iceland as seen from space on 29 January 2004, Landscape as seen from Laugavegur hiking trail, A geologically young land, Iceland is the surface expression of the Iceland Plateau, a large igneous province forming as a result of volcanism from the Iceland hotspot and along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the latter of which runs right through it. Some have easy names like Vik but other tough ones like Fáskrúðsfjörður. The head of government is the prime minister who, together with the cabinet, is responsible for executive government. Briem starred in the 2008 film Journey to the Center of the Earth, which shot scenes in Iceland. Iceland has no standing army, but has the Icelandic Coast Guard which also maintains the Iceland Air Defence System, and an Iceland Crisis Response Unit to support peacekeeping missions and perform paramilitary functions. Modern distilleries on Iceland produce vodka (Reyka), gin (Ísafold), moss schnapps (Fjallagrasa), and a birch-flavoured schnapps and liqueur (Foss Distillery's Birkir and Björk). Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to an economic crisis[19] and the collapse of the country's three largest banks. The regent had, for all practical purposes, the position of a president, and Sveinn would later become the country's first president in 1944. [135] The national currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). [207] Polish is mostly spoken by the local Polish community (the largest minority of Iceland), and Danish is mostly spoken in a way largely comprehensible to Swedes and Norwegians—it is often referred to as skandinavíska (i. e. Scandinavian) in Iceland.[208]. Today, many farms have been abandoned. [252] According to a 2011 report by Freedom House, Iceland is one of the highest ranked countries in press freedom. Some Icelandic place names can even leave the most experienced native speakers stuttering. Akranes is also famous for its lighthouse the, Akranesviti lighthouse, but its lighthouse keeper is known for being exceptionally sweet and informative! High School precinct in Akureyri. It is a town of history, of arts, of skiing, of amazing cuisine and of Brynja ice cream, the best in the biz. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. [107] A more recent 2012 survey found that around three-quarters of respondents stated they were satisfied with their lives, compared to a global average of about 53%. It is said that the first Vikings is Iceland was a man whose name was Naddoðr from the Faroe Islands. Reykjanesbær is the first municipality on the list but the most recognized area is the town of Keflavík, the one that the international airport takes its name after. In 2005, 293 people moved from Iceland to Norway; in 2009, the figure was 1,625. On 5 May 1951, a defence agreement was signed with the United States. However, playschools, primary schools, and lower secondary schools are funded and administered by the municipalities. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. Lakes and glaciers cover 14.3% of its surface; only 23% is vegetated. Geysir has since grown quieter and does not erupt often. Similarly, 83% reported having more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones, compared to an OECD average of 72%, which makes Iceland one of the happiest countries in the OECD. The road speed limits are 30 km/h (19 mph) and 50 km/h (31 mph) in towns, 80 km/h (50 mph) on gravel country roads and 90 km/h (56 mph) on hard-surfaced roads.[162]. [143] According to INSEAD's Global Innovation Index, Iceland is the 11th most innovative country in the world. About 85 percent of total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources. The lowest was −38 °C (−36.4 °F) on 22 January 1918 at Grímsstaðir and Möðrudalur in the northeastern hinterland. [250], Guðrún S. Gísladóttir, who is Icelandic, played one of the major roles in Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's 1986 film The Sacrifice. The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory part of the national curriculum. [64][65][66][67] Geologically, the island includes parts of both continental plates. Akranes. [31][32], The Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in 874. This stage of education is governed by the Upper Secondary School Act of 1996. Selfoss is the largest town with a variety of shops, services and many restaurants and fast food places. Egils saga, Laxdæla saga, Grettis saga, Gísla saga and Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu are also notable and popular Icelanders' sagas. Over 7000 thousand people live in Fjarðarbyggð which is known as the only place in Iceland where wild reindeers roam. Despite low tax rates, agricultural assistance is the highest among OECD countries and a potential impediment to structural change. Any of the towns would be the perfect place to stay at when exploring the Ring Road as every single one of them has that special Icelandic small fishing village charm. Beginning on 20 May 1944, Icelanders voted in a four-day plebiscite on whether to terminate the personal union with Denmark, abolish the monarchy, and establish a republic. The elections for president, the Althing, and local municipal councils are all held separately every four years. Though not compulsory, everyone who has had a compulsory education has the right to upper secondary education. [103], In 2016, Iceland was ranked second in the strength of its democratic institutions[104] and 13th in government transparency. The president, in contrast, is elected by popular vote for a term of four years with no term limit. Fun Fact: There is also an Arborg in Manitoba, Canada. Iceland is ranked 27th in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, lower than in prior years but still among the freest in the world. But an enormous round of applause to you for wanting to try Icelandic - it's a tough language to come to terms with.. Heimey - according to my copy of Portable Icelandic, the ey and ei are pronounced as the 'ay' in 'day' - so Haymay. For many of us — of, shall we say, a certain age — our introduction to Iceland came from the classic videogame and TV show, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?. Description: This map shows cities, towns, villages, main roads, secondary roads, tracks and ferries in Iceland. There are endless cities, towns and villages in Iceland. [158] By June 2012, Landsbanki managed to repay about half of the Icesave debt. This was expanded in 1904, and Hannes Hafstein served as the first Minister for Iceland in the Danish cabinet. Unlike most countries, there are no private hospitals, and private insurance is practically nonexistent. [232], Icelanders are known for their strong sense of community and lack of social isolation: An OECD survey found that 98% believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, higher than in any other industrialised country. It has become a very popular programme for children and adults and is shown in over 100 countries, including the Americas, the UK and Sweden. [citation needed] Conflict with the United Kingdom led to a series of so-called Cod Wars, which included confrontations between the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Royal Navy over British fishermen: in 1952–1956 due to the extension of Iceland's fishing zone from 3 to 4 nmi (5.6 to 7.4 km; 3.5 to 4.6 mi), in 1958–1961 following a further extension to 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi), in 1972–1973 with another extension to 50 nmi (92.6 km; 57.5 mi), and in 1975–1976 after another extension to 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi). The main island covers 101,826 km2 (39,315 sq mi), but the entire country is 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi) in size, of which 62.7% is tundra. According to a 2013 Eurostat report by the European Commission, Iceland spends around 3.11% of its GDP on scientific research and development (R&D), over 1 percentage point higher than the EU average of 2.03%, and has set a target of 4% to reach by 2020. Arctic Adventures. The OECD Economic Survey of Iceland 2008 had highlighted Iceland's challenges in currency and macroeconomic policy. [241] The Living Art Museum, Reykjavík Municipal Art Museum, Reykjavík Art Museum and the National Gallery of Iceland are the larger, more established institutions, curating shows and festivals. [183] Nevertheless, in 2010, Iceland was noted by Guinness World Records as "the Greenest Country", reaching the highest score by the Environmental Sustainability Index, which measures a country's water use, biodiversity and adoption of clean energies, with a score of 93.5/100. [107], Iceland is a representative democracy and a parliamentary republic. 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