Áslaug Ellen G Yngvadóttir
Fun Facts About Iceland
Iceland is a small and young country. In the year 1900, the population of Iceland was 80.000, in 1950, the population grew to 140.000 and today Iceland has a population of 330.000 people. Before it was quite rough place to live, we didn’t have much heating or electricity, or much to eat. So we did everything we could to get by. Now however, we use geothermal power and hydroelectricity so we have very warm houses (so visiting Iceland in winter is not so bad!). Our economy also got much better in the years after World War II…with a bit of a dip in 2008
- We have the largest glacier in Europe. It is called Vatnajökull or Watery Glacier. It covers roughly 8% of Iceland. The glacier is also home to one of the largest stratovolcanoes in Europe called Öræfajökull and placed on top is Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur. It’s a roughly 12-14 hour hike to get to the top and back, on clear days, it’s divine! Furthermore, deep inside the glacier lie Grímsvötn, that erupt every 3-4 years. On the edge of the North East side is Bárðabunga, that erupted in 2015 (google for amazing images).
- Now you’ve probably figured out that Iceland is very volcanically active.
- We have the lowest child mortality in the world and some of the highest life expectancies as well. This is because we are trying to make up for the lack of people, by keeping everybody alive as long as possible.
- We have the first democratically elected female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and also the first openly gay prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Iceland is the most gender equal country in the world according to the Global Gender Gap Index. Although we’re the best, there’s still work to do!
- We have the oldest parliament in the world, founded in 930 at the beautiful site, Þingvellir, which hopefully you will get a chance to see on your visit to Iceland.
- You’ll notice that most of us have last names that end in ”son” and ”dóttir” meaning ”son” and ”daughter”. F.x. Þórgnýsson or Þórgnýsdóttir, meaning Son of Þórgnýr or Daughter of Þórgnýr. Some people have last names, that were perhaps passed down to them by Danish Businessmen coming to Iceland for commerce in the 1800, but that is much more rare.
- We love Eurovision. The furthest we have gotten is second place, twice. Both performances were by female singers: Selma Björnsdóttir (All out of luck) and Jóhanna Guðrún (Is it True?). You can find this on Youtube.
- We are the first country to officially recognise Palestine as a state.
- Most of the Icelandic population lives in the greater Reykjavík Area – or roughly 200.000 out of the 330.000 that we have.
- We have had a total of 6 presidents since the beginning of having presidents (1944 when were no longer a part of the Danish throne). In fact, at the time of writing, only 2 days have passed since we elected a new president for the first time in 20 years! People born 1995 had never known another president than Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, until yesterday when the results were in, and Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, a history professor at the University of Iceland, has now been elected. What a time to be alive!
- One of the best things about Iceland is the drinking-water. Tap water is delicious. MMM
- A common name for children is ”Glacier”, or in Icelandic ”Jökull”. It is also very common to name children after types of trees despite the fact that in Iceland, we barely have trees.
Would you name your child after huge blocks of ice? We would!