First Lady of Iceland Hired by Promote Iceland

Promote Iceland

Two months after lamenting the prop-like role of first ladies (and spouses of world-leaders), First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid has joined the payroll of Promote Iceland (Íslandsstofa), Vísir reports. She is the first spouse of a sitting president to occupy a salaried position in Iceland.

Promote Iceland is a public-private partnership established to improve the competitiveness of Icelandic companies in foreign markets and to stimulate economic growth through increased export.

“I will be a kind of spokesperson, you could say, for Iceland generally, but for tourism, innovation, and equal rights in the country, as well. I will be promoting Iceland in events organised by Promote Iceland,” Reid stated.

Director of Promote Iceland, Pétur Óskarsson, stated that Reid will be a great addition to the team. The company is currently restructuring its operations, with additional emphasis being placed on the organisation of events abroad. “Over the past few years, Eliza has collaborated with us on similar projects,” Óskarsson stated. “When we were planning ahead for the future, we realised that she could be of great assistance. We solicited her aid and she agreed.”

Eliza will accompany Promote Iceland to select events in North America and Europe, as she has done in the past. “The events of the coming year will be planned with her in mind.” Reid will not be a full-time employee of Promote Iceland but as a contractor. “We will, of course, be paying her for her services.” According to Vísir, Reid will be paid approximately ISK 500,000 per month.

As previously noted, this is the first time that a sitting president’s spouse will be a salaried employee of an Icelandic company. Dorrit Moussaieff attended to the affairs of her and her father’s London-based company – during the presidency of her husband, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

“I am not my husband’s handbag.”

In September of this year, Reid shared an article from the Guardian titled “The G7 was the final straw – world leaders’ wives should refuse to travel with their spouses,” on her public Facebook-page, saying the author’s words struck a chord. In her post, Reid lamented the fact that independent, intelligent women were “reduced to props for their husbands’ political agendas.” In October, Reid also published an op-ed in the New York Times, describing the perils of navigating the role of First Lady in 2019.

Eliza Jean Reid is the Canadian-born current First Lady of Iceland since 2016 and co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat. Before her appointment as First Lady, she was a freelance writer for multiple Icelandic magazines and editor of the Icelandair Stopover from 2012 to 2016.

Trick-Or-Treating Map Includes Over 200 Reykjavík Homes

Over 200 addresses have been added to a custom-made trick-or-treating Google Map. Two Facebook groups have led the charge in organising the Halloween tradition among locals.

Inspired by the Facebook group Hrekkjavaka í 107 & 101 Vesturbær (Halloween in 107 & 101 West Reykjavík), Jonas Moody – who is originally from the US – founded the group Hrekkjavaka í 101 (Halloween in 101) last year. The group aims to help organise Halloween for kids in downtown Reykjavík. Those interested can request to join the group and sign up to have their homes designated on a custom Google Map. Families can then use the map when taking their kids trick-or-treating. The official trick-or-treat window is open between 17 and 19 today.

Last year, Moody modernised the trick-or-treat initiative by introducing the custom Google Map, which the group Hrekkjavaka í 107 & 101 Vesturbær has since adopted (the two maps have since been consolidated).

“Trick-or-treating is difficult in Iceland because it isn’t a well-established tradition; you can’t really go house to house,” Moody says. “There was some pushback against Halloween in Iceland, initially. But not so much anymore. Icelanders love dressing up. Icelanders are a candy-loving people. It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”

Moody plans on updating the map for the final time at 14 o’clock today: “Icelanders don’t want to commit until the very last moment. Last year, 15 or so houses were added to the map just before 13 o’clock.”

Halloween is an annual celebration observed on October 31st and tracing its roots to ancient Celtic harvest festivals. Although Halloween has not been traditionally observed in Iceland – Icelanders have only relatively recently adopted the tradition from America – Terry Gunnell, professor of sociology at the University of Iceland, has argued that a heathen festival similar to Halloween was observed in pre-Christian Iceland; during this so-called Winter Nights Festival, Icelanders worshipped female wights (vættir, i.e. supernatural beings) that were, in Gunnell’s words: “terrible, blood-thirsty, and heavily armed.”

As Iceland Review reported last year, carving pumpkins for Halloween is also becoming a growing trend in Iceland.

Tax Authorities to Investigate Influencers

The tax authorities have requested information regarding the 2018 income of influencers, Viðskiptablaðið reports. The law stipulates that all income, regardless of its source, is to be filed.

The Directorate of Internal Revenue (RSK) has sent a letter to influencers and collaborating businesses requesting additional information regarding their financial transactions. Earlier this year, the tax authorities published a special guideline for influencers, which stated, among other things, that companies doing business with influencers must account for transactions “of any kind.”

Remunerations to influencers vary. In some cases, intermediaries connect influencers with businesses that offer monetary payments for their services; in other cases, businesses deal directly with influencers, often offering free products, trips abroad, use of vehicles, or discounts in exchange for the influencer generating interest among followers. Sometimes, such products and benefits are handed over unconditionally. In such cases, however, RSK stipulates that it is, “to be assumed that such a transaction involves the expectation that influencers advertise the product with their followers.”

This year’s Personal Income Issue (Tekjublaðið) of Frjáls Verslun magazine (Free Trade) included information on 25 individuals designated as influencers. Monthly income among influencers varied from ISK 93,000 per month to almost ISK 1.5 million. Median income was approximately ISK 330,000. Income is calculated based on income tax, not on capital income.

Besides the Directorate of Internal Revenue, the Consumer Agency has also been scrutinising influencers of late. The Consumer Agency regularly reprimands influencers for ignoring the standards for disclosure and transparency.

According to Merriam Webster, an influencer is a “person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.”