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Fun facts about Iceland

The People     Harpan

Out of a population numbering more than 360.000, half live in the capital Reykjavík and its neighboring towns in the southwest. Icelandic woman are famous for the beauty and we have had 3 miss worlds so far! But the men are ugly and here you often see a long leg blond beauty with a little fat ugly guy.  Icelanders are also very happy, at least they think so, and we also hold the world record for using Prozac and other related drugs for depression.

The people of Iceland are very peaceful and friendly. Back in time we use to split each other down from the head to the balls with big Swords or Axes but we quit that last year.

Weird facts

In February 2009, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the world’s first openly lesbian head of government. (I know what you think, not that kind of lesbian as we think of them)

Beer was banned nationwide until 1989. The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20, the highest in Europe, and alcohol can only be purchased in very expensive state-owned Vínbúð, or in licensed bars, restaurants and hotels (what´s  the matter with this people!)  veturinn 2008 039

The ancient Icelandic cuisine features such gruesome dishes as súrsaðir hrútspungar (boiled and cured ram’s testicles), hákarl (putrescent shark meat), lundabaggi (sheep’s loins cured in lactic acid), and svið (singed sheep’s head). Whale and seal meat is also traditionally consumed.

65% of Icelandic children were born outside marriage – the highest rate of bastards in the world.

Iceland is said to have the world’s highest number of writers, authors and artists per capita. There is hardly anyone who doesn’t write or make art.

The eccentric pop star Bjork hails from Iceland, also the two worlds famous Of Monsters and Men, Sigurrós and Kaleo

In 1980, Icelanders elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir as the world’s first female head of state.

Iceland has about 130 volcanic mountains. Among them, 18 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland 1100 years ago.

Many Icelanders believe in elves.  Certain roads have been re-routed to avoid disturbing areas where elves are thought to live. We at Fishing Iceland think that our manager Helgi Guðbrandsson is an elf! He’s only 168,5cm high (he says 170 cm and we know that’s crap) and yes, we believe in him;)

The Country       foss-copy

Iceland is an island of 103.000 km2 (39,756 sq.miles), about one-third larger than Scotland or Ireland. Its highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, rises to 2.119 m and over 11 per cent of the country is covered by glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest in Europe.

Keflavík International Airport is located about 50 km from the capital Reykjavik.  The highland interior is uninhabited (and uninhabitable), and most centres of population are situated on the coast.


Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hot spot of volcanic and geothermal activity: 30 post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries, and natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating.  Rivers, too, are harnessed to provide inexpensive hydroelectric power.


Iceland was settled by Nordic people in the 9th century – tradition says that the first permanent settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who made his home where Reykjavík now stands.  The Icelanders still speak the language of the Vikings, although modern Icelandic has undergone changes of pronunciation and, of course, of vocabulary! Iceland is alone in upholding another Norse tradtion, i.e. the custom of using patronymics rather than surnames; and Icelander´s Christian name is followed by his or her father´s name and the suffix -son or -dóttir, e.g. Guðrún Pétursdóttir (Guðrún, daughter of Pétur). Members of a family can therefore have many different “surnames”, which sometimes causes confusion to foreigners!


In 930, the Icelandic settlers founded one of the world´s first parliament, the Old Commonwealth Age, described in the classic Icelandic Sagas, lasted until 1262, when Iceland lost its independence, and in 1944 the present republic was founded.  The country is governed by the Althing (parliament), whose 63 members are elected every four years.  Every  four years elections are also held for the presidency; President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was elected in June 1996 to be succeed  by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, and was re-elected in June 2000.  The head of state plays no part in day-to-day politics.


Life expectancy, at 81.3 years for women and 76.4 for men, is one of the highest in the world, and a comprehensive state health-care system aims to keep it that way.


Who doesn’t like the tasty rotten shark, sour ram testicles or sheep head, Skyr with cream and flatkaka with smoked lamb. I’m talking about the real stuff.  Its fantastic to eat all this and drink alot of  brennivín (an Icelandic akvavit)