Flag of Iceland

Currency: Icelandic Krona (ISK)

Calling Code: 354


Description of Iceland

Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland, is a sovereign country located in the extreme northwest of Europe, whose territory encompasses the homonymous island and some small adjacent islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, between the rest of Europe and Greenland. It has a population of about 350,000 inhabitants and an area of ​​103,000 km², because of its location on the mid-Atlantic ridge, it is a country with great volcanic and geological activity, a factor that greatly affects the landscape of the Icelandic territory. The interior of the country consists of a plateau characterized by deserts, mountains, glaciers and glacial rivers that flow into the sea through the lowlands. Thanks to the effects of the Gulf Stream, it has a temperate climate in relation to its latitude and provides a habitable environment.

The first human settlement in Iceland dates back to the year 874 when, according to the Landnámabók or "Settlement Book", the Norwegian leader Ingólfur Arnarson became the island's first permanent settler.Other navigators, such as the Faroese Viking Naddoddr, possible discoverer, visited the island around the year 860 to spend the winter in it. However, they never founded a permanent settlement there, and over the following centuries, human groups of Nordic and Gaelic origin settled in Iceland. Until the twentieth century, the Icelandic population depended on fishing and agriculture, and from 1262 to 1944 it was part of the kingdom of Norway and, later, of Denmark. In the 20th century it gained its independence and the Icelandic economy developed rapidly, despite its isolation from the world due to its geographical location.

Today it has a market economy, with relatively low taxes compared to other OECD members, maintaining a welfare state that provides universal health care and free higher education to its citizens. the most affluent countries, and in 2009 it was classified by the United Nations as the ninth most developed country in the world.

In 2008, the Icelandic financial system suffered a collapse, causing a strong economic contraction and demonstrations that led to the advance of parliamentary elections, in which Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir won the post of prime minister. At the same time, what was known as the Icelandic Revolution, a series of protests and movements of citizen organization that, together with the new Government, resulted in the indictment of the former Prime Minister of Iceland during the crisis, Geir Haarde, two referendums to decide on the payment of the external debt of the national banks and a citizen process that led to changes in the Constitution that culminated in a constitutional draft on July 29, 2011 to be debated in Parliament.

Iceland has a developed and technologically advanced society whose culture is based on the Nordic heritage. The majority of the population is of Celtic and Scandinavian origin. The official language is Icelandic, a northern Germanic language that is closely related to Faroese and Western dialects of Norwegian. The country's cultural heritage includes its traditional cuisine, art and literature.


Travel Destinations in Iceland

Southwest Iceland




West Fjords




 West Iceland




North Iceland



Vatnajökull National Park
Svartifoss Waterfall
Hverfjall Crater


East Iceland


Höfn í Hornafjörður

Lagarfljót Lake Monster


South Iceland





As the Icelandic sagas say, the island was discovered by the Vikings in the 60s of the IX century and one of the discoverers, Floki, was called Ísland "ice country" (from ís "ice", land "country") for the abundance of ice covering the island; at the same time, another Viking who landed on the opposite bank called it Snjøland "snow country".

According to another hypothesis, the island was originally named Gardarsholmur ("island of Gardar") - after the Swedish Viking Gardar Svavarson, who is considered the first Scandinavian to live in Iceland. Nevertheless, the name Ísland stuck to the island, well suited because of its natural conditions.



Settlement and the era of democracy (874-1262)
missions. Recent archaeological excavations have unearthed the ruins of a hut at Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Radiocarbon dating shows that it was abandoned between 770 and 880. In 2016, archaeologists discovered a longhouse in Stødvarfjordur dating back to 800.

The Swedish Viking and traveler Gardar Svavarson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island. He stayed there for the winter and built a house in Husavik. Gardar left the following summer, but one of his men, Nattfari, decided to stay with two slaves. Nattfari settled in what is today known as Nattfaravik; both he and his slaves became the first documented permanent residents of Iceland.

The Norwegian leader Ingolf Arnarson built his manor on the territory of modern Reykjavik in 874. Ingolf was followed by many other settlers - mostly Scandinavians and their slaves - many of whom were Irish or Scottish. By 930, most of the arable land on the island was occupied; to regulate Icelandic democracy, the Althingi was established - the legislative and judicial assembly. The lack of arable land on the island also served as an impetus for the settlement of Greenland, which began in 986. The period of appearance of these early settlements coincided with the medieval climatic optimum, when the temperature coincided with the temperature of the beginning of the 20th century. At this time, about 25% of Iceland was covered with natural forest, compared to 1% at present. Christianity was accepted unanimously around 999-1000, although Norse paganism persisted among part of the population for several years after that.

Middle Ages
Icelandic democracy lasted until the 13th century, when the political system developed by the first settlers proved unable to cope with the growing power of the Icelandic leaders. The internal strife and civil unrest of the Sturlung era led to the signing of the Old Treaty in 1262, which ended the rule of the people and brought Iceland under the rule of the Norwegian crown. The possession of Iceland passed from the Kingdom of Norway (872-1397) to the Union of Kalmar in 1415, when the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark and Sweden were united. After the dissolution of the union in 1523, it remained a Norwegian dependent territory, as part of the Danish-Norwegian union.

Infertile soil, volcanic eruptions, deforestation and an unfavorable climate made life harsh in a society where existence was almost entirely dependent on agriculture. The "Black Death" swept across Iceland twice: first in 1402-1404, and then in 1494-1495. In the first case, from 50% to 60% of the then population died, and in the second, from 30% to 50%.

Reformation and early modern period
Around the middle of the 16th century, as part of the Protestant Reformation, King Christian III of Denmark began to impose Lutheranism on all his subjects. Jón Arason, the last Catholic Bishop of Hollar, was beheaded in 1550 along with his two sons. Subsequently, the country officially became Lutheran, and since then most of the population has professed it.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Denmark imposed severe trade restrictions on Iceland. Natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions and epidemics, have contributed to the decline in population. In the summer of 1627, Barbary pirates made several raids on the country (Isl. Tyrkjaránið - "Turkish kidnappings"), during which hundreds of inhabitants were taken as slaves to North Africa, and dozens were killed; it was the only invasion with casualties in Icelandic history. A smallpox epidemic in 1707-1708 is estimated to have killed between a quarter and a third of the population of the entire island. In 1783, the Laki volcano erupted with devastating consequences. In the years after the eruption, known as the "Foggy Difficulties" (Sk. Móðuharðindin), more than half of all livestock in the country died, and about a quarter of the then population died of starvation.

Independence movement (1814–1918)
In 1814, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Danish-Norwegian Union was divided into two separate kingdoms by the Treaty of Kiel, but Iceland remained a Danish dependency. Throughout the 19th century, the climate in the country continued to get colder, which led to mass emigration to the New World, especially to the Gimli region in the Canadian province of Manitoba, called New Iceland. Of the island's 70,000 population, about 15,000 then emigrated.

National identity emerged in the first half of the 19th century, inspired by the romantic and nationalistic ideas of mainland Europe. In the 1850s, under the leadership of Jón Sigurdsson, an Icelandic independence movement arose, inspired by the magazine Fjölnir and other Danish-educated Icelandic intellectuals. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland a constitution and limited self-government. This right was extended in 1904 and Hannes Hafstein became Iceland's first minister in the Danish cabinet.

Independence and Kingdom of Iceland (1918–1944)
The Danish-Icelandic Act of Union[en], signed on December 1, 1918 and valid for 25 years, recognized Iceland as a fully sovereign and independent state in personal union with Denmark. The Icelandic government established an embassy in Copenhagen and asked Denmark to decide on its behalf certain questions of defense and foreign affairs, subject to consultation with the Althing. Two coats of arms and two flags appeared in Danish embassies around the world: the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Denmark and the flag of the Kingdom of Iceland. Iceland's legal position has become comparable to that of Commonwealth countries such as Canada, whose sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II.

During World War II, Iceland, along with Denmark, declared its neutrality. After the German occupation of Denmark on April 9, 1940, the Althing replaced the king as regent and announced that the Icelandic government would take control of its defense and foreign affairs. A month later, the British armed forces carried out Operation Fork, invading and occupying the country, violating Icelandic neutrality. In 1941, the Icelandic government, friendly to Great Britain, offered the then-neutral United States to take over its defense so that Great Britain could use its troops in other countries.

Icelandic Republic (1944 - present)
On December 31, 1943, the Danish-Icelandic Union Act expired, which had lasted 25 years. Beginning May 20, 1944, Icelanders voted in a four-day referendum on whether to terminate the personal union with Denmark, abolish the monarchy, and establish a republic. 97% voted for the termination of the union, and 95% for the new republican constitution. Iceland officially became a republic on June 17, 1944, with Sveidn Bjornsson as its first president.

In 1946, the Allied Defense Forces left Iceland. The country officially became a member of NATO on March 30, 1949, amid internal divisions and unrest. On May 5, 1951, a defense agreement was signed with the United States. American troops returned to Iceland as the Icelandic Defense Force and remained there throughout the Cold War. The US withdrew its last troops on September 30, 2006.

During World War II, Iceland prospered. Immediately after the war, significant economic growth followed, caused by the industrialization of the fishing industry and the American Marshall Plan, under which Icelanders received the largest per capita aid of all European countries ($ 209, followed by the war-torn Netherlands ($ 109).

On August 1, 1980, Vigdis Finnbogadottir took over as President of Iceland, becoming the world's first woman to be elected head of state.

The 1970s were marked in Iceland by the "Cod Wars" - a diplomatic and military conflict with Great Britain over the expansion of Iceland's limits of the exclusive economic zone from 4 to 200 nautical miles (370 km). In 1986, Iceland hosted the Reykjavik summit between US President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev, during which they took significant steps towards nuclear disarmament. A few years later, Iceland became the first country to recognize the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which seceded from the USSR. Throughout the 1990s, the country expanded its international role and developed a foreign policy focused on humanitarian and peacekeeping goals. To this end, Iceland has provided assistance for various NATO-led interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

Iceland joined the European Economic Area in 1994, after which the country's economy has been significantly diversified and liberalized. International economic relations further expanded after 2001, when Iceland's newly deregulated banks began to raise large amounts of external debt, which contributed to the increase in the country's gross national income by 32% between 2002 and 2007.

Financial crisis
In 2003-2007, after the privatization of the banking sector under the government of David Oddsson, Iceland moved to an economy based on international investment banking and financial services. It quickly grew into one of the most prosperous countries in the world, but was hit hard by a major financial crisis that led to the biggest migration out of Iceland since 1887, with about 5,000 net emigration in 2009.

Modern Iceland
In 2010, same-sex marriage was legalized in the country.

The Icelandic economy stabilized under the government of Johanna Sigurdardouttir and grew by 1.6% in 2012. In the 2013 elections, the liberal-conservative and Eurosceptic Independence Party returned to power in a coalition with the Progressive Party. In the years that followed, Iceland saw a surge in tourism development as the country became a popular holiday destination. In 2016, Prime Minister Sigmundur David Günnløigsson resigned after being implicated in the Panama Papers scandal. As a result of early elections in 2016, a right-wing coalition government was formed, consisting of the Independence Party, the Renaissance Party and the Bright Future Party. The government collapsed when Bright Future pulled out of the coalition over a scandal involving a letter from then-Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson's father in support of a convicted pedophile. Snap elections in October 2017 brought to power a new coalition consisting of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party and the Green Left led by Katrin Jakobsdouttir.

After the 2021 parliamentary elections, the new government, like the previous one, was a three-party coalition of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party and the Green Left, led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdouttir.



The area of ​​Iceland is 103,125 km²; it is the largest of the European states located entirely in the Western Hemisphere.

Despite the name and the presence of glaciers, Iceland is by no means an Arctic country. The climate of Iceland is maritime, moderately cool, with strong winds, humid and changeable.

The weather in Iceland is influenced by cyclones passing eastward across the Atlantic Ocean, two sea currents (the warm North Atlantic - a continuation of the Gulf Stream - and the cold East Greenland) and Arctic drift ice. As a result, the weather in this country can change dramatically (sometimes within a day) and the coastal waters are free of ice throughout the year. The exception is situations associated with the removal of polar ice in the north and east, which accumulates on the coasts. Due to significant climate changes since the early 1920s, the removal of polar ice to the shores of Iceland has occurred only once, in 1965.

July and August are the warmest months in Iceland (temperature in Reykjavik in July is up to +20°C). The average annual temperature on the southwest coast in Reykjavik is +5°C, the average temperature in January is -1°C, in July - +11°C. The corresponding figures on the north coast (in Akureyri) are +3°C, -2°C and +11°C. The average annual temperature does not fall below +4°C. The average annual precipitation is 1300–2000 mm on the southern coast, 500–750 mm on the northern coast, and over 3800 mm on the slopes of Vatnajökull and Myrdalsjokull open to the south.

Dark time lasts from mid-November to the end of January. At this time, the height of the Sun at the moment of the highest climax does not exceed a few degrees (there is no polar night in Iceland). Throughout the summer, the country can observe "white nights", on June 21 the Sun rises at 02:54 and sets at 00:02 the next day. December, unlike June, is the darkest month in Iceland; daylight hours last no more than 5 hours.

Flora and fauna
In the 9th century, before human settlement, Iceland was covered mainly with birch forests. Mentions about the forest wealth of the island have been preserved in Byzantine chronicles. Gradually, however, almost all the forests in the country were cut down, which led to severe erosion. Desertification was also facilitated by the cold snap that began shortly after settlement and sheep breeding. Currently, only a quarter of the island's area is covered with vegetation, and the most common landscape is tundra-like or completely devoid of plants.

Reforestation programs have existed in Iceland since the early 20th century. Even before the Second World War in the east, in the southern and western parts of the country, afforestation of coniferous species began. The goal is to cover five percent of the desert area with forest by 2040. Some forest plantations are a gift from foreign sponsors of the project. Despite everything, the forest grows very slowly, and the promotion of forest planting programs is highly dependent on funding. Sheep breeding is still a big problem - traditionally free-grazing sheep eat almost all seedlings - so new forests have to be fenced off.
The flora of Iceland includes over 500 species of higher (vascular) plants (of which 53 species are herbs), about 600 species of mosses, 755 species of lichens, more than 2100 species of fungi and almost 1600 species of algae. Iceland is located in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the vascular plants living on it are typical of Northern Europe. Most of the plants are stunted species typical of the Arctic. Common plants - armeria, dwarf willow, saxifrage, grate, bent grass, heather, crowberry, tundra birch and mountain ash - grow naturally. The main trees in the forest plantations are Sitka spruce and its undersized hybrid with dove-gray spruce; Siberian larch has also successfully taken root.

There are no reptiles or amphibians on the island, and, due to its variable climate, there is not a single mosquito. The only wild mammal is the Arctic fox. The most common seabird is the Atlantic puffin.



Transport in Iceland is represented by buses, cars and trucks, ships and aircraft. Railroads are completely absent.

In Iceland, the only vital transport is the car, as in Icelandic conditions this is the most convenient way to travel. Some Icelanders even have small planes for local use. The main transport artery is the Ring Road with a length of 1339 km, connecting almost all the settlements of the island. It is, in fact, a classic ring road.

Cities of Iceland
The capital of the country is Reykjavik (202 thousand inhabitants - with suburbs), the seat of parliament and government, the financial, cultural and business center of Iceland.

Other large cities: Kopavogur (33,045 people), Hafnarfjordur (28,085 people), Akureyri (17,770 people), Husavik, Seydisfjordur, Akranes.

The most important ports are Reykjavik, Akureyri, Grundarfjordur, Hafnarfjordur.


Administrative division

Sisla do not have local self-government bodies, the central authority in sisla is represented by sislamans (sýslumaður).

The representative body of the capital is the civil government (borgarstjórn), elected by the population; the executive body of the capital is the civic council (borgarráð), consisting of the civic headman (borgarstjóri) and civic councillors, elected by the civic council.

Representative bodies of cities - city boards (bæjarstjórn), elected by the population; The executive bodies of the cities are city councils (bæjarráð), consisting of the city headman (bæjarstjóri) and city councilors, elected by the city boards.

The representative bodies of the communes are communal boards (sveitarstjórn), elected by the population; The executive bodies of the communes are communal councils (sveitarráð), consisting of a communal headman (sveitarstjóri) and communal councillors, elected by communal boards.


Legal system

Iceland is part of the Scandinavian system of law, belonging to the Romano-Germanic family. The civil law system is based on Danish law and does not fall entirely under the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

The highest court is the Supreme Court (Haestirettur); judges are appointed for life by the Minister of Justice, the courts of first instance are eight county courts (Héraðsdómar).

In addition, there are special courts for maritime, labor and religious matters.


Political structure

The head of state is the president (Forseti), who is elected in direct general elections for a term of 4 years. On June 26, 2016, an independent candidate, history professor Gvydni Johannesson, won the election.

President Olavur Ragnar Grimsson was elected on June 29, 1996, on June 29, 2000 he remained for a second term due to the absence of other candidates; On June 26, 2004, he was elected for a third term, and in 2008 he automatically remained for a fourth term, again, due to the absence of other candidates; in 2012 he was elected for a fifth term. The executive body - the State Government (Ríkisstjórn) - consists of the Prime Minister (Forsætisráðherrar) and Ministers (ráðherrar); currently consists of representatives of two parties - the Independence Party and the Progressive Party. The prime minister is approved by the president following the results of parliamentary elections after consultations with the leaders of the party factions in Althing. Bjarni Benediktsson has been Prime Minister since January 11, 2017. Iceland is a member of the Nordic Council (since 1952), the UN (since 1946), NATO (since 1949) and EFTA (since 1970).

The legislature is a unicameral parliament (Althingi, Alþingi), which has been in force since 930 (63 members (Þingmaður, tingmans; members are directly elected for 4 years); from among their members they elect the President of the Althingi (Forseti Alþingis). Until 1991, the Althingi was bicameral • Parliament can pass a vote of no confidence in the government.

The constitution of the Republic of Iceland was adopted in 1920. Later, significant changes were made to it - in 1944 and 1991. June 17 (the day the Constitution was adopted) is considered Icelandic Independence Day. On November 27, 2010, elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in Iceland.


Political parties

A feature of Iceland was that, until 2006, the financing of political parties was not limited by law in any way, except for the ban on receiving foreign donations, introduced in 1978. In 2006, a special law established state and municipal funding for parties that showed certain results in elections, the maximum size of membership fees, a ban on anonymous and foreign donations, and also severely limited the receipt of income from business activities by parties (sales of party paraphernalia, lottery tickets, paid events). Also, the law of 2006 limits the expenses of one candidate for the election campaign and provides for mandatory accounting reports for both parties and candidates[66]. At the same time, the 2006 law does not apply to presidential candidates.

"Independence Party" (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn, PN) - conservative, eurosceptic;
The Right-Green People's Party (Hægri Grænir flokkur fólksins) is a right-wing libertarian, Eurosceptic party.

"Progressive Party" (Framsóknarflokkurinn, PP) - liberal agrarian;
"Renaissance" (Viðreisn) - right-liberal environmental;
"Dawn is an organization of justice, honesty and democracy" (Dögun - stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði) - populist.

"Social Democratic Alliance" (Samfylkingin, SDA) - social democratic;
Bright Future (Isl. Björt framtíð) is left-liberal and is in alliance with Jon Gnarr's anarcho-surrealist Best Party (Besti flokkurinn).

Pirate Party of Iceland (Píratar, PPI) - pirate;
Left-green movement (Vinstrihreyfingin - grænt framboð, LZD) - eco-socialist;
Rainbow (Regnboginn) - eco-socialist, eurosceptic;
The Icelandic Popular Front (Alþýðufylkingin) is a left-wing party.

The largest trade union center is the Federation of Icelandic Trade Unions (Alþýðusamband Íslands), uniting 104.5 thousand people.



Previously, Iceland was almost entirely a monoculture country - the main source of income was fishing and fish processing (32% of the industry in 2001).

In recent years, however, there has been an intensive diversification of industry based on cheap renewable energy (mainly geothermal sources that form the country's hydropower).

The Icelandic government has announced a massive program to build aluminum smelters.

Biotechnologies, tourism, banking business, and information technologies are also actively developing.

In terms of the employment structure, Iceland belongs to the industrialized countries: 7.8% are employed in agriculture, 22.6% in industry, and 69.6% of the working population in the service sector.

The global financial crisis of 2008 also affected Iceland. The rate of the Icelandic krone fell by 60%, the stock market fell very strongly. Serious problems began in the country's banking system - the country was actually on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2009, the country's real GDP fell by 6.8%, which was due to a 50% drop in the total number of investments in such sectors of the economy as construction and services. The crisis that took place significantly affected the situation on the labor market, as the unemployment rate reached a record 9.4%. As of 2016, the average salary in Iceland is 617,000 kr (€4551.18 gross) and 428,000 kr (€3156.78 net) per month.



Tourism in Iceland accounted for 5.9% of GDP in 2009, which corresponds to the employment of 5.35 thousand people in this industry. In 2010, the number of visitors to the country was at the level of 495 thousand, and in 2000 - 200 thousand arrivals. The main tourist flows come from the UK, Germany and the USA. Iceland is not a member of the European Union. But at the same time, the country is a member of the Schengen Agreement.


Armed forces

Iceland does not have a regular armed forces, so government spending on defense is symbolic - 0.1% of the republic's budget in 2005. Of the paramilitary structures, there is a coast guard (BOHR). There are no other armed formations in peacetime.

The defense of the country is carried out by NATO. Iceland was one of the first (April 4, 1949) to join NATO, despite massive protests. In the city of Keflavik, not far from the capital, there was an air base of the North Atlantic Alliance (since September 30, 2006, the base ceased to function, but the infrastructure remained).

According to Forbes magazine, Iceland is ranked 1st in the world for peacefulness (2011).



The population of Iceland is more than 350 thousand inhabitants (as of 2018). According to the World Bank and Icelandic statistics, the birth rate in Iceland fell to an all-time low in 2017, but the birth rate on the island is still 30-40% higher than the number of deaths. Population growth is also provided by immigrants, who are becoming more and more in the territory of the state - 11% of the total population in 2017.

Of the total number of residents, 16% are employed in agriculture, 21% in fishing, 18% in industry and crafts, 25% in trade and transport, 10% in other areas.



The level of migration out of the country is also very low; even though many Icelanders go to study in countries such as the UK, Norway and others, they almost always return to their homeland. However, Iceland has a very high level of internal migration. Many Icelanders move from small fishing villages and tiny towns to Reykjavik and the surrounding area in the hope of better jobs and housing. The government is trying to fight this, as many villages and even cities that have existed for many years are being abandoned this way. Recently, this trend has stopped. The largest diaspora of Icelanders is in Canada - about 100 thousand people, most of all - in Manitoba and British Columbia. About 50,000 people of Icelandic origin live in the United States.



The only state language of Iceland - Icelandic - is part of the Germanic branch (Scandinavian languages) of the Indo-European language family. Among the Germanic languages, it is today the most archaic and most similar to Old Norse; for many years there has been a policy of language purism in Iceland. It is the mother tongue of most Icelanders. There are few dialectal differences.



The main denomination of Iceland is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, which became official in 1540 (when Iceland belonged to Denmark), it is professed by 69.9% of the total population of the country. 3.8% of the population professes Catholicism, 2.9% consider themselves parishioners of the Free Church of Reykjavik, 2% - to the Free Church of Hafnarfjordur, 1.1% - to supporters of Icelandic paganism, 1% - to other Lutheran congregations, 4% - to other confessions. 6.1% do not identify themselves with any religion, 9.2% did not answer.

The results of a survey published in early 2016 show that less than half of Icelanders consider themselves religious and more than 40% of young people consider themselves atheists. Religion is more widespread outside of Reykjavik: 56.2% of the surveyed residents of the capital identified themselves as Christians, while in the rest of the country the share of Christians is 77-90%. The survey also showed a difference in the religiosity of generations: none of the young people surveyed (under 25 years old) believe in the biblical story of the creation of the Earth.



On December 24, Iceland celebrates Yule, the pagan holiday of mid-winter. It lasts 12 nights, starting on the night before the winter solstice. Celebration traditions are similar to those of Christmas. Coniferous trees are brought into the house, gifts and contests are prepared, branches of evergreen trees are decorated with toys and garlands. Gifts are piled under the Yule tree.

June 17 - Icelandic Independence Day (day of the proclamation of the republic). Parades are held on this day, and one of the characters of the festivities is the Lady of the Mountain, personifying the image of Iceland.

Since 1935, the 50-kilometer ski marathon Fossavatn[en] has been held in Iceland, and in 2014 it was included in the Worldloppet federation.

In 2016, the Iceland national football team participated in the 2016 European Football Championship in France. In 1/8, the Icelanders beat the England national football team with a score of 2: 1 and achieved the best result in the history of Icelandic football. In the quarterfinals, the Icelandic team lost to the hosts - the French team - with a score of 5: 2.

In 2018, the Icelandic team took part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, becoming the smallest country in terms of population in the World Cups, surpassing the previous record set by the Trinidad and Tobago team earlier in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. At the World Cup, the Icelandic team played a draw with the Argentina national team.

Icelandic culture is rooted in Old Norse traditions. The most famous classical literary works are considered to be sagas - prose epics written during the settlement of the island. The most famous is the Elder Edda (1222-1225). An Icelandic translation of the Bible was published in the 14th century. Probably the most famous Icelandic writer of recent times is the novelist and essayist Halldor Kiljan Laksness, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955, and who, before receiving it, was nominated for this award as many as 7 times in a row - from 1948 to 1954. Also, one of The most important and famous Icelandic writers are Gunnar Gunnarsson, who was also repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and, in particular, was nominated for it in the same year that Halldor Kiljan Lakness received it.

Of modern writers, Hallgrimur Helgason, the author of the novels Hella (1990) and 101 Reykjavik (1996), stands out. In addition to Helgason, Einar Karason and his work "Storm" can be called a notable writer. The book was nominated for the Nordic Council Prize, the Icelandic Literature Prize and has been translated into several languages, including Russian.

National melodies (Isl. tvisöngur) have been known since 1001. The most famous composer of the 19th century is Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson (1847-1927), author of the Icelandic national anthem. The most famous composers of the 20th century are Jón Leifs (1899–1968) and Paul Isolfsson (1897–1974).

In 1925, the Reykjavik Orchestra was organized, and in 1980, the Icelandic Opera.

Since 1990, Reykjavik has been the venue for the major annual jazz festival, the Reykjavik Jazz Festival.

At the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, such performers as the singer Björk, the blues-rock quartet Kaleo, the post-rock band Sigur Rós, the instrumentalist Oulavur Arnalds, Múm, the pop singer Johanna, the band GusGus and a number of others gained fame. Vocalist Eirikur Höikson, quite famous in the world of heavy music, represented Iceland three times at the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1986, 1991 and 2007).

In 2019, Hatari represented Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in tenth place, wowing audiences with their unconventional performance and causing the Palestinian flag incident during the announcement of the voting results.

Icelandic cinema is distinguished by its approach to reflecting reality. Among the directors are Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and his work "Children of Nature", Balthazar Kormakur ("101 Reykjavik", "White Night Wedding"), Arni Olafur Asgeirsson, Dagur Kari ("Noah - White Crow"). Footage from Iceland was also shown in the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The TV series Fortitude was also filmed in Iceland.

Dramas: "Life in plain sight" (2014).
Thrillers: "Unburied Bones" (2014), a joint film of the USA and Iceland "No Such Thing[en]" (2001).
Series: "Trap / Trap" (2015), "Rock" (2009), "Lava Field" (2014) - series about the investigator Helge; mini-series "The Mystery of Flatey Island" (2018).

Some of the most famous photographers are Ragnar Axelsson, Ari Magg and Laurus Sigurdarson.

National cuisine
Iceland's national dish, haukarl, is quite famous in the rest of Europe and is shark jerky.


mass media
The first Icelandic newspaper appeared in 1848. There are 35 newspapers published in the country, most of which are weekly. Of the five dailies, Morgunblaðið, the press organ of the Independence Party, has the largest circulation. DV and Alpudibladet are very popular.

Until recently, there was only one radio station (in Reykjavik) and three relay stations. Now there are 3 stations in the MW band, 70 in the FM band (including repeaters) and one HF.

Television broadcasting in Iceland began in 1966. There are 14 television stations and 156 repeaters, as well as a television station at the US base in Keflavik.

Iceland's internet domain is .is. There are about 20 Internet providers and more than 200,000 active Internet users in the country.

In 2011, Freedom House ranked Iceland's media as one of the freest in the world.



The first 50 modern schools were established on the island in 1903-1904, and their feature was that teachers went from house to house to advise students. In 1910, compulsory education was introduced for children from 10 to 14 years old. In the future, the period of compulsory education gradually increased: 7 years in 1936, 8 years in 1946, 9 years in 1984, 10 years in 1990. At the beginning of the 2010s, there were 213 schools in the country, of which only 6 were private. Since 1995 - compulsory education from 6 to 16 years. Two foreign languages ​​are now compulsory in schools: Danish from the 6th grade and English from the 7th grade.

February 7, 2013 Borgir Research Center at the University of Akureyri (English) Russian. established the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose main goal is to promote cooperation between Icelandic public and private organizations, institutions, businesses and bodies dealing with Arctic issues.

The science
In 1978, the Icelandic government and the UN University created an international geothermal school, in which specialists from different countries undergo six-month internships, and all expenses for accommodation, travel and meals are covered by the host. The school is popular - in 1979-2003, 300 scientists and engineers from 39 countries of the world took a six-month course.


Foreign policy

Iceland is a member of NATO, the Nordic Council, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the UN and its specialized organizations, as well as the Council of Europe and the European Free Trade Association. It is a member of the Arctic Council and has its own Arctic policy.

Iceland is not a member of the European Union, but is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

Diplomatic relations between Iceland and the USSR were established in September 1943. Iceland was one of the first to recognize the independence of the Baltic states even before the collapse of the USSR. In December 1991, Iceland recognized the Russian Federation as the successor state of the USSR. In 1994, in Moscow, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed the Declaration on the Fundamentals of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Iceland, which determined the main directions of interaction between the parties.

For a number of years, Russia and Iceland could not resolve the problem of cod fishing in a certain area of ​​the Barents Sea. In 1999, a Russian-Norwegian-Icelandic agreement was signed in St. Petersburg on certain aspects of fishing, which resolved the problem of uncontrolled cod fishing by Icelanders in the open part of the Barents Sea.

In 2005, Iceland's trade with Russia amounted to $55 million. Icelandic exports are dominated by fish and fish products, industrial products. Russian exports include oil, oil products, metal, lumber. Among the promising areas of cooperation, experts name geothermal energy, software development (see "EVE Online"), tourism. Negotiations are currently underway between Russian Aluminum and the Icelandic government regarding investment in the Icelandic aluminum industry.

Due to the global economic crisis, which hit Iceland extremely hard, on January 26, 2009, the country's conservative government was forced to resign. In the transitional period until the next elections, the government of the country was headed by the Minister of Social Welfare of Iceland, 66-year-old Johanna Sigurdardottir. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2010.

With the change of power in 2009, the country's foreign policy towards joining the EU also changed. The application from Iceland was submitted in the summer of 2009, but in 2013, due to a change in the ruling party, negotiations were stopped.

In 2015, Iceland refused to join the EU.

On March 12, 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs G. Sveinsson announced that he had sent a letter to the EU, without coordinating with Parliament, a letter formally canceling Iceland's application for accession, however, according to the EU, the application was not formally withdrawn.

Iceland's biggest economic partners are the UK, the US and Germany.