Start A Petition

Iceland - Surprisingly Nice

World  (tags: Iceland, people, places, travel )

- 1506 days ago -
Iceland is one of the few countries left in the world that can offer its visitors the modern community that we have adapted too, while still letting each person stare into the beautiful unknown of unspoiled nature.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B (276)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 6:46 pm
Map Credit" Go Europe

Iceland is one of the few countries left in the world that can offer its visitors the modern community that we have adapted too, while still letting each person stare into the beautiful unknown of unspoiled nature. Some of the most amazing scenery lies in this northern country and it holds an experience that has to be seen to be believed. Many of us know some of what Iceland has to offer, but here are five things that may surprise you.

--5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) The concept of a given last name is different here then the rest of the world. A persons last name consist of their father first name plus son if their male or dottir if their female. This changes many things, such as the names in a phone book are alphabetical by first name, women keep their last name after marriage, and referring to someone as Mr. and Mrs. is not a practice they use.

2) Clean water is something that the world strives for, but Iceland gets clean water much easier. The rainfall is vast and the water is so clean and pure it is pumped to the city without any need for treatment. Chlorination is simply not used.

3) The climate in Iceland is surprisingly more mild then many of the northern states in the U.S, averaging 31 degrees F or 1 degree C during the middle of winter. This climate also gives Iceland some of the greenest lands in the northern world, but very little of this beautiful green land is in the form of trees.

4) Iceland also has some of the most unique nights and days due to the fact of its location just south of the Arctic Circle. During the warmer months it never gets darker than twilight. Two days are especially unique; one is December 21, which only has 4 hours of daylight. The other day, June 21, has only three hours of darkness.

5) War is a non factor in Iceland and the country has no Navy or Army, but is protected by a coast guard. This may contribute to the fact that Icelanders are ranked as the most happy of the European citizens.

Scandinavian sailors discovered Iceland in the mid-ninth century, and the first settler recognized in the literary-historical tradition, Ingólfur Arnason, arrived in 874. The book of settlements ( Landnámabók ), which contains information on four hundred settlers, was compiled in the twelfth century. The story set down there and repeated to this day is that a Norse Viking named Flóki sailed to Iceland, but spent so much energy hunting and fishing that he did not lay up hay for his livestock, which died in the winter, and had to return. He then gave the island its unpromising name.

Among the settlers and the slaves the Scandinavians brought were people of Irish as well as Norse descent; Icelanders still debate the relative weight of the Norse and Irish contributions to their culture and biology. Some date a distinctive sense of "Icelandicness" to the writing of the First Grammatical Treatise in the twelfth century. The first document was a recording of laws in 1117. Many copies and versions of legal books were produced. Compilations of law were called Grágas ("gray goose" or "wild goose").

In 930, a General Assembly was established, and in 1000, Iceland became Christian by a decision of the General Assembly. In 1262–1264, Iceland was incorporated into Norway; in 1380, when Norway came under Danish rule, Iceland went along; and on 17 June 1944, Iceland became an independent republic, though it had gained sovereignty in 1918 and had been largely autonomous since 1904.

Location and Geography.
Iceland is an island in the north Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and Norway just south of the Arctic Circle. It covers 63,860 square miles (103,000 square kilometers), of which about 620 are cultivated, 12,400 are used for grazing, 7,500 are covered by glaciers, 1,900 are covered by lakes, and 41,500 are covered by lava, sands, and other wastelands. The Gulf Stream moderates the climate. The capital is Reykjavík.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life.
The writer Halldor Laxness once observed that "life is salt fish." During some of the events inspired by the romantic folkloric revival, people consume brennivín, an alcoholic beverage called "black death," along with fermented shark meat and smoked lamb, which is served at festive occasions. Icelanders are famous for the amount of coffee they drink and the amount of sugar they consume.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions.
For homecomings and family gatherings, there is usually a sumptuous spread of cakes and pastries, including crullers and thin pancakes rolled around whipped cream.

Basic Economy.
The major occupations in 1991 were agriculture, fishing, and fish processing. The main industries were building, commerce, transportation and communications, finance and insurance, and the public sector. Fish and fish products are the major export item. While dairy products and meat are locally produced, grain products are imported. Some vegetables are produced in greenhouses, and some potatoes are locally produced. Other food is imported, along with many consumer goods. In 1993, consumer goods accounted for 37.2 percent of imports, intermediate goods 28 percent, fuels 8 percent, and investment goods 25.8 percent.

Political Life

Iceland has a multiparty parliamentary system, and there is a written constitution. Presidents are elected for four-year terms by direct popular vote but serve a parliamentary function and do not head a separate executive branch. The parliament is called Althingi after the medieval general assembly. It has sixty three members elected by popular vote for four-year terms. Each party puts forward a list of candidates, and people vote for parties, not candidates. The seats in the parliament are then distributed to parties according to the placement of people in their lists. Thus, elections have more to do with policies and positions on issues than with personalities.

Leadership and Political Officials.
After elections, the president asks one party, usually the one with the largest number of votes, to form a government of cabinet officers. There has never been a majority in the parliament, and so the governments are coalitions. The real political competition starts after elections, when those elected to the parliament jockey for positions in the new government. If the first party cannot form a coalition, the president will ask another one until a coalition government is formed. Cabinet ministers can sit in the parliament but may not vote unless they have been elected as members. This cabinet stays in power until another government is formed or until there are new elections

Medicine and Health Care

Universal medical care is provided as a right. There is a modern medical system.
Read more:

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 6:47 pm

I really want to see Iceland. Enjoy the trip.

JL A (281)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 7:18 pm
It was fun. The only disappointment was not showing arrival in winter, which I once saw film of where plane had to travel through an ice canyon. Thanks Kit.

Freya H (357)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 9:25 pm
Now if they would just stop slaughtering whales and making whale beer.

Syd H (48)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 12:50 am

When I was there, as part of a general tour through town, my host took me to the dock to show me that on one side they take tourists out to see the whales, and on the other side they bring in the dead whales that have been harvested. I enjoyed my time in Iceland and they have much going for them including a pretty good government but the killing of the whales keeps me from returning. :(

Oh, and it's really cold, and dark in December!

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 7:21 am
Would love to visit one day! Thx Kit 4 the lil trip.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 8:37 am
The name alone makes me shiver.....brrr. Freya also mention a critical point!
My one and only experience there was a stopover at Reykjavik en route to JFK. I remember I was freezing like hell when we had to get off our plane and that one hot dog we were given in the waiting time did nothing at all to warm me up..
Sorry, just not my choice, I'd rather be dropped off in the Sahara and I'd be fine.(Very low blood pressure, like a chicken or duck)

Pat B (356)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 9:00 am
I had an opportunity to visit Iceland (years ago) when I was in the military to go with a squadron on a 'hop', to the Naval Air Station Keflavik. I declined, and it's a decision I regret even today.
Beautiful country, enjoyed the hillsides, the hot springs, and the water stations. Thanks, Kit for this.

Nelson Baker (0)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 9:43 am
No way would I go to Iceland to support their economy, They are a nation of whale killers. Why promote them in with this article?

pam w (139)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 9:48 am
It's on my ''list.'' One of these days....

Travel teaches us many things, Nelson and ONE of those things is that people are NOT their government. Not everyone in Iceland is a ''whale killer''.....perhaps supporting their other industries would reduce dependence on whales.


Jonathan H (0)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 12:41 pm

Birgit W (160)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 12:55 pm
Thanks for sharing Kit.

Betty Kelly (4)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 12:57 pm
Too cold for me to enjoy.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 1:57 pm
Thanks Kit--again.

Nicole W (646)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 4:04 pm
always a pleasure, ty dear Kit

Sheryl G (363)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 5:38 pm
What I like about Iceland is where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver. Iceland’s economy is doing much better than virtually all of the countries which have let the banks push them around. Too cold for my liking but they sure made a hot move on this.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 6:13 pm

I agree with that Sheryl and that is what a government is for.

Debra G (0)
Sunday March 9, 2014, 11:18 pm
They have great textiles - my Icelandic made sweater has kept me more than adequately cozy for the last 8 winters. Had their cowberry liqueur - not bad. But have never heard anyone say anything good about rotten shark.

Inge B (202)
Monday March 10, 2014, 3:11 am
They create amazing music in Iceland


divergent revolution (309)
Monday March 10, 2014, 10:35 am
been there
iceland is green,greenland is white
ty Kit

Kit B (276)
Monday March 10, 2014, 11:35 am

Yes, a bit of advertising to potential settlers by naming Greenland, and avoiding the ice question.

Kamia T (89)
Monday March 10, 2014, 12:29 pm
Wonderful video, thanks. The entire Northeastern part of North America has so many beautiful areas to offer. It's amazing that more tourism doesn't take place there, even if only in the warmer months.

Robert O (12)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 8:30 am
Such an interesting place. I want to visit. Thanks Kit.

MmAway M (505)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 11:54 am
DANG it Kit....Missed this! OK Over Din Din and keeping this for summer!xx TU

Frans B (582)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 4:49 am
amazing amazing ! wow - thanks Kit, I always KNEW it was special in so many ways - but this is stunning...

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 5:00 pm
Iceland looks better every day! ! Freya if I go I'll take care of the whales and could probably convince an honest government as to why!

Sherri G (128)
Tuesday March 18, 2014, 12:01 am
Very Interesting Kit and Dandelion I could not agree more. They don't let the banks push them around and the US shouldn't let banks run this country. Trouble is this country has become the bankers. One thing that disturbs me about Iceland is they kill whales. With that said we torture and kill Whales slowly with sonar and pollution fossil fuel. Thank You Kit Noted.

Melania P (122)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 9:52 am
I´ve seen amazing pics of Iceland, but as long as they kill whales I wouldn´t go.... Thanks!
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in World

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.