First Comprehensive Music Policy Approved by Alþingi

Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir

Alþingi has approved the Ministry of Culture and Trade’s bill on music, the first comprehensive policy on the matter in Iceland.

The legislation aims to establish a new music policy for 2030 by strengthening the environment for the creation and performance of music in Iceland, establishing a comprehensive framework for music-related issues, and creating favourable conditions for its creation, promotion, and performance.

The bill is seen as especially important given the role that music has historically played in Icelandic culture and the promotion of Iceland abroad.

Read more: Draft Iceland’s First Comprehensive Music Policy Approved

In a statement, Minister of Culture and Trade Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir said: “These are truly milestones for music in this country. I wish all of our wonderful musicians congratulations and I am truly looking forward to listening to the results of these significant changes. I also want to thank all of the amazing people who worked on the policy-making.”

A key achievement of the bill is the creation of a new centre for music, to be established later this year, and is intended to support all kinds of music activities and export projects for all music genres. In addition, the centre will manage the registration, administration and distribution of Icelandic music.

New sources of funding will also become available under the law, which merges the current Music Fund, the Sound Recording Fund and the Icelandic Music Export Fund. The role of the new fund will be to promote Icelandic music, sound recording and development work in the Icelandic music industry. The fund will promote  Icelandic musicians and their work, both in Iceland and abroad.

Lilja stated further: “I am grateful for the great support that the issue received in the Icelandic Parliament. I also want to thank the good and powerful group of people who have participated in this work. The future of Icelandic music has become even brighter following these changes, which will be enjoyable to follow along the way.”

Swedish Real Estate Company, Heimstaden, to Sell 1,700 Properties

iceland real estate

Swedish Real Estate Company, Heimstaden, is set to sell 1,700 properties as it prepares to exit the Icelandic market. RÚV reports. 

Heimstaden started operating in Iceland some three years ago and currently owns and manages around 1,700 rental apartments in the country. In total, the company owns and manages some 160,000 properties across 10 European nations.

However, in all other nations except for Iceland, pension funds and institutional investors have played large roles investing in Heimstaden.

Read more: Real Estate Market Slows

Gauti Reynisson, Heimstaden’s CEO in Iceland, stated to RÚV that they had been trying to get Icelandic pension funds and investors on board since the beginning.

However, despite some four months of negotiating, no progress has been made.

According to Gauti, even though demand for housing is high, the market conditions for long-term investment are too difficult in Iceland.

Such a large selloff of properties is likely to have a significant impact on the real estate market both in Reykjavík and the rest of the nation. Gauti stated to RÚV that Heimstaden is trying to manage the situation to minimize the impact on renters.

The company plans to start selling the apartments this summer, but Gauti says that they will respect all rental agreements, and people will have the opportunity to rent their apartments until the end of their notice period. Most of Heimstaden’s tenants in Iceland have a 12-month notice period in their contracts.

Delays to and from Keflavík Airport Next Week

Taxis at the airport

Travellers are recommended to expect delays to and from Keflavík Airport next week due to the Council of Europe Summit on May 16 and 17. Getting to the flight gate may take longer than usual as well: RÚV reports that passport control will be tightened and passengers on domestic flights will be searched for weapons. In Reykjavík, a large part of the city centre will be closed to vehicular traffic.

Most of the state heads who will be attending the summit will be travelling by private jet. They will receive police escorts to and from Keflavík Airport, which is expected to cause delays in traffic along Route 41 (Reykjanesbraut). For security reasons, the flying of drones along Route 41 and in the centre of Reykjavík will also be banned from 8:00 AM on May 15 to 12:00 PM on May 18.

Read More: Armed Police and Snipers in Reykjavík for Council of Europe Summit

The periods with the most delays will be on Tuesday next week between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM and from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Wednesday, when leaders will travel to and from the airport with police escorts. As the escorts pass, roads will be closed to the public temporarily, then reopened. Travellers can expect delays to last up to one hour.

The area in light pink below will be closed to motor vehicles, while the area marked in bright pink will be fully closed to the public throughout the summit.

 

Where can I find antiques and collectables from Iceland?

icelandic stamp

From old books to chess memorabilia, stamps, art, and more, there are plenty of interesting things from Iceland to be on the hunt for.

Some years ago, the treasury printed a series of rare 10,000 krónur notes whose serial numbers started with “Z,” rather than the usual “H.” Some collectors were keen to get their hands on these notes, making them more valuable to keep than to spend!

If you’re on the look for collectables and antiques from Iceland, we recommend beginning your search here:

  • safnari.is, an auction site for antiques and collectables. Expect to find rare coins and banknotes, stamps, postcards, books, records and CD’s, and more!
  • bland.is, the Icelandic eBay. It’s not specifically for antiques, but you can find old cameras, audio equipment, board games, and pretty much anything else you can think of!
  • Iceland also has several buy-and-sell Facebook groups. Brask og brall is by far the most popular, with 190,00 members. That’s half of Iceland’s population!
  • Kolaportið, the Reykjvík flea market, also has many antique collectors may be interested in, such as vinyl records, stamps, postcards, books, and art.