That Fat Is Just Melting Off You, Ladies!

Helga Páley Friðþjófsdóttir

Bergþóra Snæbjörnsdóttir (b. 1985) lives and works in Reykjavík, Iceland. She made her literary debut in 2011 with Daloon Days, a collection of poetry. Her latest novel is Dust – Cult of the Good Looking, which came out in October 2023 to critical acclaim. It received the Icelandic Booksellers’ Prize and was one of the best-selling […]

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Unearthing Spirit

Antonía Berg, Icelandic ceramicist

“Ceramics and clay are things that have been with humans since the beginning of time,” Antonía Berg casually explains to me as we sit in her studio Flæði, located in Reykjavík’s creative hub hafnar.haus. According to many religions and folk beliefs around the world, clay had another, even more pivotal role: it was the origin of human […]

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How do I pay my speeding ticket in Iceland?

South Coast driving, speeding ticket

It’s a beautiful summer day, and you’re travelling around Iceland on the ring road—life is good! Until your mind slowly starts wandering away, inspired by the wild landscapes. Suddenly, your foot gets a bit heavy on the gas pedal, and it’s too late—you’ve already been caught by a speeding camera. Many visitors and residents have been through this exact scenario.

But what should you do now that you’ve been caught speeding in Iceland? 

Hefty fines for speeding

When driving in Iceland, it is important to keep track of the varying speed limits. Generally, the speed limit on the ring road and other “highways” is 90 km/h (55 mph); on gravel roads 80 km/h (50 mph); and in populated areas, it is 50 km/h (31 mph). The limits can always vary depending on the road, season and sharp turns. Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of signage while you are driving to avoid unnecessary fines.

There are stationary speeding cameras all around the country, which are usually indicated by signage beforehand. Nevertheless, sometimes there are even hidden cameras or even police cars pulled over on the side of the road to catch naughty speeders! Read more about driving in Iceland here.

The latest trend in Iceland is automated monitoring of drivers’ average speed. In the tunnel Hvalfjarðargang, on the way from Reykjavík to Borgarnes, you can find such a system, which basically takes a photo of you when you enter the tunnel and calculates when you should come out again. If you speed and arrive earlier than calculated, you will be fined.

The fines associated with speeding can be quite hefty in Iceland. Check out this calculator by the Icelandic police, to know the exact fees. Also, note that additional fines can be imposed if you are driving a bus, other heavy vehicles over 3.5t or when towing a trailer.

Here are a few examples of fines:

  • Driving 41km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (80-90 km/hour)
    • ISK 130,000 – 150,000 (€ 864-1,000 / $ 930-1,070)
  • Driving 36km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (50-60 km/hour)
    • ISK 65,000 – 80,000 (€ 432-530 / $ 465-572)
  • Driving 26km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (30-35 km/hour)
    • ISK 40,000  (€ 266 / $ 286)

How to pay the fine

If you were speeding in a rental car, the rental company will forward your personal information upon request to the police (as required by law). Rental companies often charge an extra service fee for this procedure. If you are living in Iceland, you will be contacted directly by the police. 

The Icelandic police will then email you a speeding ticket with different payment options. You can either pay via direct bank transfer to the specified account number, online via the official traffic management website or if you are still in Iceland, at local post offices.

If you pay within a certain time period, you can expect to decrease the total amount by 25%. The same goes if you are caught by police officers on the road – if you pay the ticket on the spot, you can knock down the fine by 25%. Usually, police officers have a card reader with them on patrol, so you can just pay the fine with your credit card.

Iceland President Cancels Ukraine Trip

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson cancelled a visit to Ukraine over safety concerns. The trip was scheduled for Easter Sunday, Mbl.is reports.

Security concerns

Among the events scheduled for President Guðni’s visit were a meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, followed by a ceremony for the two year anniversary of the Bucha massacre when Russian troops invaded the city. The president was to attend a conference following the ceremony.

Due to security concerns, the Ukrainian government cancelled the event. In the last few days, Russian troops have increased the number of missile and drone strikes, affecting energy infrastructure.

Presidential election coming up

President Guðni is enjoying his last few months in office, with a presidential election set for June 1. In his New Year’s Day address on January 1, he announced that he would not run again after two terms in office, totalling eight years.

Among the candidates are Baldur Þórhallsson, professor of political science, and Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO of B Team, while comedian Jón Gnarr is expected to announce today whether or not he will run. Among other rumoured candidates is Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

Deep North Episode 68: White Sahara

kerlingarfjöll highland base

Kerlingarfjöll is one of the gems of the Icelandic highland. Even in the summer, the rugged highland roads leading out to these mountains are difficult to navigate. And in the winter, it’s nearly inaccessible. We went on an exclusive winter expedition to this amazing area to learn more about it, and pick up some cross-country skiing as well.

Read the article here.

Watch our short documentary on Kerlingarfjöll here.

Minister to Face Vote of No Confidence

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir

Svandís Svarsdóttir, minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, will face a vote of no confidence next week when Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, reconvenes after Easter break. Chairperson of the People’s Party, Inga Sæland, has announced that she will file the motion, Vísir reports.

Svandís returns from sick leave tomorrow. She announced on her Facebook page that she is feeling good following treatment for breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in January.

Previous motion withdrawn

Svandís was set to face a motion of no confidence when she went on sick leave in January, but Inga withdrew the motion in light of the circumstances. The Alþingi Ombudsman had concluded that Svandís’ decision last summer to temporarily stop whaling had not been in accordance with law. The CEO of Hvalur, Iceland’s only whale hunting company, had threatened to sue for damages due to last year’s shortened whaling season. She’s also faced criticism from MPs of the Independence Party, a government coalition partner of her party, the Left-Green Movement.

Controversial whaling decision

“The vote of no confidence is still pending, we’re just waiting for her to be present to defend it,” Inga said. She’s said that her motion is a result of Svandís breaking the law and has nothing to do with whaling as a practice, adding that Svandís had overreached when she temporarily stopped whaling.

The hunting of whales in Iceland remains a controversial practice and is the subject of protest both domestically and abroad.

Eruption Cycle Near Grindavík Could End Soon

gígur, crater, eruption, eldgos

The current volcanic eruption in Sundhnúkagígar could mark the end of a string of eruptions in the area near Grindavík, despite now being in its third week and still chugging along.

The eruption began on March 16 and activity remains in two craters in the area, with steady lava flow and no immediate signs of the eruption ending, according to an Mbl.is report. More of the activity is ongoing in the larger of the two craters. Some gas pollution could be detected in Grindavík and Hafnir today.

Magma flowing from deep

However, there are signs that this might be the final eruption in the cycle of volcanic activity which began at the end of last year. Þor­vald­ur Þórðar­son, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, told Mbl.is this weekend that activity in Sundhnúkagígar might be coming to a close.

The shallower magma chamber in the area, situated under Svartsengi near the tourist destination Blue Lagoon, which has been closed since the current eruption started, is no longer receiving magma from the eruption, Þorvaldur explains. Therefore, magma from the deeper magma chamber in the area is flowing to the surface. “This could chug on for the next few days,” he said Saturday. “We’re not talking about the eruption ending in the next few hours.”

Activity elsewhere still possible

“I believe that when this eruption stops the activity in Sundhnúkagígar will end,” Þorvaldur added. “That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be activity elsewhere. Since this is coming from the deeper magma chamber and crustal uplift has stopped, the process we’ve seen since November 10 is ending. In my estimation, this activity has been connected to magma flowing from the deeper chamber to the shallower one.”