Árborg Announces Overhaul of Aging Stokkseyri Pool

The public pool in Stokkseyri is in need of repairs

The swimming pool in Stokkseyri, a small town in South Iceland, is in poor condition, requiring extensive repairs to the pool’s basin. According to the Árborg municipality’s website, it is necessary to replace all sides of the pool, as well as the bottom and liner,

Clear that extensive repairs are needed

This summer, as part of the municipality’s austerity measures, Árborg decided to keep the Stokkseyri swimming pool closed this winter, from November until March of next year. In a news update on its website yesterday, Árborg revealed that the pool basin, after 31 years of use, was in a state of disrepair. The municipality also published images depicting the pool’s condition.

Read More: Pooling Together (Iceland’s Unique Swimming Pool Culture)

“It’s clear that more extensive repairs are needed for the Stokkseyri swimming pool’s basin, as all sides of the pool along with the bottom and liner need replacement. Additionally, the hot tubs will be painted, and maintenance of other aspects of the pool’s grounds and building will be considered. Work has begun, but due to the extent of the damage, it’s uncertain when the repairs will be completed,” the municipality’s website notes.

The Stokkseyri swimming pool complex includes an eighteen-metre outdoor pool, a wading pool, and two hot tubs.

The public pool in Stokkseyri

Reykjavík Delays School Start for Teens in Sleep Health Initiative

Reykjavík City Council has approved a three-year pilot project, starting in autumn 2024, to delay school start times for teenagers, Vísir reports. The initiative is the result of two studies led by Dr Erla Björnsdóttir on teen sleep duration.

Mental well-being on the decline

Following two studies on the sleep duration of teenagers in Reykjavík City primary schools, led by Dr Erla Björnsdóttir, the city council of Reykjavík has approved a three-year pilot project to delay the start of the school day for adolescents.

Beginning in the autumn of 2024, the school day for teenagers will start no earlier than 8:50 AM. Each school will be free to choose how best to adapt to this change, having the option of beginning the day later than 8:50 AM if it suits their school’s schedule.

Read More: Mad World, on Iceland’s Mental Health Crisis

In a statement from the City of Reykjavík, it was noted that despite increased awareness of the importance of sleep, many teenagers still do not get enough. Moreover, the number of those not sleeping sufficiently is growing annually.

“At the same time as more teenagers are sleeping too little, studies show that their mental well-being is deteriorating. It is clear that there are significant connections between sleep and mental health,” the statement notes.

As noted by Vísir, a working group was established to propose the implementation and details of this delay, leading to the decision described above.

Read More: Stop All the Clocks, on the too-fast Icelandic clock

Westman Islands Company Turns to Seawater Purifiers Amid Crisis


After an Emergency Phase was declared in the Westman Islands due to a damaged drinking water pipeline, VSV, a local fishing company, has purchased three containers for seawater purification. VSV plans to use one container for its needs and has offered the others to another local company and the municipality of the Westman Islands.

Emergency Phase declared

At the end of last month, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management declared an Emergency Phase in the Westman Islands after the only drinking water pipeline that runs from the mainland to the Westman Islands was damaged beyond repair. While the pipe is still fully functional, it could break at any moment, leaving Heimaey island’s 4,523 inhabitants without water. The pipe was damaged on November 17 when the trawler Huginn VE unintentionally dropped an anchor on it, which then got stuck on the pipe.

As noted on VSV’s website yesterday, the fishing company has secured the purchase of three containers capable of converting seawater into drinking water. The first container is expected to arrive in the country between Christmas and New Year, with the remaining two arriving early next year.

The press release further notes that since the company only needs one container to meet its own needs, Ísfélagið, another fishing company based in the Westman Islands, and the municipality of the Westman Islands have been offered to buy the other two. Each container and its equipment cost approximately ISK 100 million [$718,000 / €666,000], and it is relatively simple to connect the equipment to the municipal or company water systems.

Green light from Africa

Willum Andersen, VSV’s Technical Operations Manager, revealed that their quest for water purification equipment began after the pipeline was damaged. “We initiated an extensive search for seawater filtration technology, a method prevalent in Florida, USA, the Arabian Peninsula, and many African countries. Despite contacting about 40 global manufacturers, production times ranged from 20 to 40 weeks, too long for our urgent needs,” Willum is quoted as saying on the company’s website. 

In a fortunate turn of events, VSV discovered a Dutch company ready to ship three containers to an African client. These clients were amenable to postponing their order, allowing VSV to step in. “We received approval from the African party midweek, leading to our signing purchase agreements today. Each container, including equipment and delivery to our location, costs between ISK 90-100 million [$718,000 / €666,000], plus installation expenses. Setting up the necessary connections for water production is a quick process,” Willum confirmed. 

VSV’s website details the technology: seawater, drawn from boreholes, undergoes intensive filtration, producing crystal clear, contaminant-free water. Each container can generate approximately 600 tonnes of water daily, totalling 1,800 tonnes if all are used together. This capacity can largely meet the water demands of the Westman Islands’ households and businesses. Additionally, the container’s electric pumps are energy-efficient and cost-effective to operate, VSV maintains.

Deep North Episode 55: Christmas Craftsman

laufabrauð christmas iceland

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, families and friends in Iceland come together to make the traditional fried and decorated wafer known as laufabrauð (leaf bread). Rolled out thin, decorated, and fried, the preparation of these treats is an event that brings together families, often with multiple generations taking part. But you won’t find Laufabrauðsdagur (Leaf Bread Day) on any official calendar, as each family chooses their own date. Still, for Icelanders, it’s as much a part of the holiday season as Christmas itself.

But unknown even to many Icelanders, much of this tradition now rests in the hands of one craftsman, the last craftsman in Iceland to make the distinctive roller that so many use to make laufabrauð. A stone’s throw from Reykjavík, in the shadow of Esja mountain, his small workshop is keeping a beloved tradition alive.

Read the story here.