Little Mersausage Meets Tragic Fate

The Little Mersausage statue that’s stood in Tjörnin pond since late October met a tragic fate on Thursday, Vísir reports. Reykjavíkers woke to find that the artwork—which has divided opinions, to say the least—had been decapitated. It is as yet unclear if The Little Mersausage came to this end during an unusually strong wind, or if vandals are behind the damage.

The sculpture was installed as part of the Cycle Music and Art Festival and raised some eyebrows for its resemblance to a phallus. But while Artist Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir acknowledged the similarity, she said it wasn’t the original point of the work, which, among other things, was meant to celebrate Iceland’s 100-year anniversary as a sovereign nation.

The Mersausage also struck a pose similar to that of the famous sculpture of H.C. Andersen’s Little Mermaid, which is famously perched alongside a Copenhagen waterway, and coincidentally, has been beheaded a number of times herself. Icelandic artist Nína Sæmundsson also sculpted her own bronze version of the Danish sculpture, which has been a resident of Tjörnin pond since 2014.

Bjarni Brynjólfsson, the City of Reykjavík’s public relation officer, had no comment on the damage, as he’d only just seen that The Mersausage was no longer standing in the pond when he was contacted by Vísir.

See pictures of the damage here.

 

In Focus: Wage War

The banking collapse of 2008 took its toll on the Icelandic nation, both financially and emotionally. Icelanders came together in protest, yet perhaps surprisingly, without the leadership of their unions. Now, ten years later, Icelandic unions are fighting for the rights of their members. With many wage agreements expiring at the end of this year, […]

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I’m an experienced driver familiar with driving on ice and snow. I want to see the northern lights, but is it safe to drive in winter?

winter tires reykjavík

It’s possible to drive safely in Iceland in winter and your experience with driving on ice and snow will come in handy, but be aware that ice and snow are only part of the risk – wind can also affect driving conditions adversely. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to drive without stress.

Firstly, always check the road conditions and weather forecast before you head out. Depending on these, you might want to adjust your route or the time you start your journey. Icelandic weather is temperamental and can change quickly. If you do get stuck in a snowstorm, slow down and increase your braking distance. Secondly, plan most of your journey so that most of the driving is done in daylight, which can be scarce during wintertime. Another important thing to think about is the kind of car you want to rent. In winter, we recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle, both for safety and comfort. If you’re driving out of the city during winter, don’t get the smallest car available: focus on your safety over the price. You will have a chance to see the northern lights between mid-August and mid-April. We understand that you’re excited to see them, but don’t get distracted while driving. Don’t stop in the middle of the road: find a safe parking spot at a designated area. Finally, get some local advice about your planned route. Some roads in Iceland are known to be difficult to drive in certain conditions or wind directions. If you feel insecure about driving yourself, booking one of the many organised tours with certified tour operators is the safer option.

Icelanders’ Religious Affiliation Diversifies

The number of Icelanders registered as members of the National Church has gone down in the last twelve months, while there has been an increase in followers of Ethical Humanism, Ásatrú, and Islam. This according to the most recent data Icelanders’ religious affiliation, which was recently released by the country’s national register.

Iceland’s National (Lutheran) Church has seen a decrease in membership of just around 1%, or 2,419 people. The highest increases have been for the Catholic church (up by 512 registrants; an increase of 3.8%) and The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (up by 536, or 23.5%). Around 400 people officially joined Ásatrú, a Norse pagan religion, which is an increase of 9.9%.

The largest increase was among registered Muslims in Iceland. This year, there was an 122.1% increase, or 105 newly registered members, for a total of 191.

The largest decrease was seen among followers of Zuism, an ancient Sumerian religion, which went down by 306 members, or 15.8%.

There was also an overall increase among those who wanted to officially register as unaffiliated with any religious or philosophical organization. There was an increase of 2,221 people in this category, or 9.9%.

Ski Season Starts Early

ski slopes

Ski season in Iceland kicked off earlier this week with the opening of the Dalvík ski slope in North Iceland, RÚV reports. Thanks to huge amounts of snowfall in a short amount of time, several other ski areas will also be able to open earlier than expected, although they will only be partially open at first.

The Dalvík ski area on Böggvisstaðafjall mountain opened on Tuesday, although employees were only able to open part of the slopes to begin with. The area is equipped with snow cannons for snowmaking, however, so they expect that the entire ski area will open in the coming days.

Likewise, a part of the ski area at Hlíðarfjall, just outside of Akureyri will open on Saturday morning. To begin with, there will be four of seven lifts open, while staff work to make extra snow to use in slope formation around the other three lifts.

The Skarðsdal slope in Siglufjörður will also open on Saturday. This area hasn’t gotten as much snow as the other two, but there is still enough there to open the slopes at this time.

Almost Half of Centre and People’s Parties Supporters Would Vote For Them Again

Almost half of Icelanders who voted for the Centre and People’s Parties in the last parliamentary election would do so again if another election were held now. This is among the results of a new survey conducted by the research organisation Maskína, which wanted to track voter perceptions following the recent Klaustur Tapes scandal.

Maskína first asked participants what party they voted for in the last election and whether they would vote for that party again if another election were held today. Their findings showed that 48.8% of voters who voted for the Centre Party and 59.3% of voters who voted for the People’s Party – the two parties embroiled in the scandal – would vote for these parties again.

In their discussion of the results, Maskína notes that it’s interesting that almost the same percentage of voters who voted for the Left-Greens, or 60.7%, would do so again, “…and it needn’t be pointed out that no MP from that party was at Klaustur on the night in question.” The highest percentages of repeat voters were found among supporters of the Pirate Party (84%), the Independence Party (84.7%), and the Reform Party (92.3%).

When voters who’ve withdrawn their support from the People’s Party were asked what party they would vote for if another election was held today, just under 15% said they’d vote for the Pirate Party, 11% for the Reform Party, and 7.4% for the Progressive Party. Interestingly, the largest percentage of former Centre Party voters, or 16.3%, said they would switch their allegiances to the People’s Party, followed by the Independence Party, at 11.6%.

When these hypothetical votes were tabulated from these survey results, it became clear that neither the Centre Party nor the People’s Party would be able to get a representative into parliament if another election were held today. Instead, the Social Democrats would earn the highest percentage of votes, or 19.7%, followed by the Independence Party (19.3%), the Left-Greens (14.9%), the Pirates (14.9%), Reform (13.4%), and the Progressives (8.8%).

Neither the Centres nor the People’s Parties would break 5% support if another vote were held today: The Centre Party would only earn 4.6% of the vote, and the People’s Party 4.4%.

Maskína’s survey was conducted from November 30 to December 3, 2018 and included 1,311 respondents 18 years and older from around the country.