Popular Flea Market Seeks New Home

Kolaportið

Reykjavík authorities are looking for a new space to house long-time flea market Kolaportið. The popular weekend attraction has been located in the Tollhúsið building in downtown for 30 years, but will soon make way for the Iceland University of the Arts, according to a notice from Reykjavík authorities.

Kolaportið was first opened on April 8, 1989 in the parking garage under the Central Bank of Iceland on Arnarhóll hill in downtown Reykjavík. Its name, which roughly translates to The Coal Yard, is derived from that location and its history. Five years later, the market was moved to Tollhúsið on Tryggvagata, which previously served as the customs office for the downtown harbour.

Search for a new location

The City Executive Council decided Thursday to launch market research for a new location, with the goal of soliciting new ideas and information from interested parties. The city will advertise in the hopes that owners of fitting properties will be encouraged to reach out.

The design studio m / studio_ was tasked with analysing the requirements for a new flea market. The current location is 2,250 square feet, but 1,200 would be considered a small sized space. “We look at examples from abroad and put forward ideas of some Reykjavík locations that could be exciting to pursue and analyse them based on our requirements,” the analysis reads.

Importance of public markets

The analysis goes on to emphasise the importance of public markets for city life, as they are a meeting place for people with different social and cultural backgrounds. They will therefore need to represent the diversity of their society so everyone can have a reason to visit and feel welcome.

Other important factors are the experience of tourists, product diversity that can both be predictable and surprising, low-cost rent for stalls, organisation of various events, good location and an accessible space, which is suitable, memorable, attractive and has a good flow.

Reykjavík University Opts Not to Drop Tuition Fees

Reykjavík University

Reykjavík University will keep charging their students tuition fees, despite a government policy change that offers independent universities full state funding if they abolish them. The university’s board expects an ISK 1.2 Billion [$8.7 Million, €8 Million] drop in operating income if it were to discontinue tuition fees, Viðskiptablaðið reports.

Arts university dropping fees

Last week, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir announced that independent universities will be offered full state funding if they abolish tuition fees. Public universities, in contrast, only charge a lower registration fee. The Iceland University of the Arts announced right away that it would be dropping tuition fees, starting fall semester 2024. The other two independent universities are Bifröst University and Reykjavík University. These universities have received 60 to 80% of the public funding they would’ve received if they were public universities.

The student union of Reykjavík University had already announced that it supported retaining tuition fees. “It is the estimation of the students that it would be impossible to maintain the uniqueness of Reykjavík University with the cutbacks that the school would face with this change,” President of Reykjavík University Ragnhildur Helgadóttir said. “The ministry expects the loss of income for Reykjavík University to be ISK 1.2 Billion per year if we choose this path. The board and administrators of the school agree on this estimate.”

Students’ choice

Ragnhildur went on to say that other schools would face cutbacks as well. “It’s important to note that total university funding is not being increased, but only divided differently. This means that the total income of universities would drop by over ISK 3 Billion [$21.7 Million, €20.1 Million] if all universities accepted this offer.”

About 3,500 students attend Reykjavík University and pay approximately ISK 288,000 [$2,100, €1,9oo] in tuition fees per semester. “The students are mostly studying the same subjects available in other universities, but choose to study with us even though we charge tuition fees,” Ragnhildur said. “We want to keep offering them this choice.”

Icelander Wanted by Interpol in Cocaine Case

Pétur Jökull Jónasson, wanted by Interpol

Interpol has posted a wanted person notice for Icelander Pétur Jökull Jónasson. He is suspected of attempting to smuggle 99.25 kilos of cocaine from Brazil to Iceland. The Reykjavík Metropolitan Police asked Interpol to post the notice, RÚV reports.

Largest cocaine case in Iceland’s history

The case Pétur Jökull is suspected of being involved with was deemed Iceland’s largest ever cocaine case and tried in Icelandic courts last year. Four defendants were sentenced to six to ten years in prison. The cocaine was discovered in the Netherlands after a tip from Icelandic law enforcement and hidden in tree trunks en route from Brazil to Iceland. An attorney for one of the defendants claimed that they were only pawns in a large chain.

Grímur Grímsson, chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, confirmed that Pétur Jökull is suspected of involvement, but did not go into detail. No other people are suspected in the case.

A long track record

Pétur Jökull has been convicted three times by Icelandic courts. He was sentenced to pay a fine in 2007 for possession of illegal drugs. In 2010, he was sentenced to three years in prison for smuggling 1.6 kilos of cocaine from Spain to Iceland. A year later he received a five month sentence for robbery.

Pétur Jökull was also the keyboard player for the short-lived pop band Dr. Mister & Mr. Handsome.