Where can I watch webcams from Iceland?

Tjörnin Reykjavík Pond

The recent eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula have certainly increased the interest in webcams from Iceland, and now viewers throughout the world can watch the eruptions live as they unfold.

Beyond the volcanic eruptions, however, there are many reasons why travellers and residents alike may want to check out a webcam. They can provide real-time information on weather conditions, give you a new perspective on a potential vacation destination, or just make for some interesting people-watching. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most interesting webcams in Iceland.

Webcams from Iceland

National broadcaster RÚV operates several webcams. At the moment, most of them cover the ongoing eruption near Grindavík. Below is an embedded mosaic, which allows you to view all of the perspectives of the eruption.

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration also operates many webcams. You can find a list of webcams broken down by region, in addition to a live map that has links to all of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration’s webcams. This is an especially useful resource if you plan on travelling and want to check road and weather conditions.

Live from Iceland also has a large collection of webcams, with everything from the recent volcanic eruptions, Perlan in Reykjavík, Þingvellir National Park, Akureyri, and more.

Travellers to the Westfjords will also find Snerpa especially helpful. The Westfjords-based company currently has live webcams in 15 locations throughout the Westfjords, including Ísafjörður, Dynjandi, Súðavík, and Þingeyri. The Westfjords can have especially unpredictable weather conditions for Iceland, so this is an excellent resource.

The Icelandic Met Office operates several webcams, including from the roof of its Reykjavík offices and more remote areas, such as the highland, Mývatn, and even the volcanic island Surtsey.

Many port authorities throughout Iceland operate webcams. Fans of boats, shipping, and everything maritime may find these of interest! Most harbours have a webcam, including the Faxaflói harbour in Reykjavík, the Kópavogur harbour, and Hafnarfjörður harbour.

Many municipalities also operate webcams, from large towns to small villages. The municipality of Fjarðabyggð in the East Fjords has webcams in many of its settlements, for example, as do many towns on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The town of Akureyri also operates a webcam, in addition to webcams near the ski slopes.

Many park areas and popular nature destinations also have webcams, such as Vatnajökull National Park. The iconic Kirkjufell mountain also has a webcam, so you can time the weather for your next photo shoot, or watch the northern lights glitter over this famous landmark.

The hardware store Byko also has a webcam in their Selfoss location so viewers can stay up-to-date with a pair of ravens that nest there, Hrefna and Hrafn.

Additionally, bird watchers may also enjoy this live webcam from the harbour in Borgarfjörður Eystri, East Iceland. It’s a popular spot for puffins to nest, so it’s one of your best chances to see the iconic bird if you can’t make the trip to see them!

Civil Ceremonies Surpass Church Weddings for First Time in Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja lutheran church in Iceland

In 2023, more Icelanders were married by officiants at the offices of the District Commissioner (43%) than by priests belonging to the National Church (33.9%), according to Registers Iceland. This is the first time that marriages conducted by District Commissioners outnumbered those performed by the National Church.

2,095 individuals married via District Magistrate

In 2023, of the 4,870 individuals who entered into marriage according to Registers Iceland, 43% (2,095) were married by the offices of the District Commissioner, surpassing the 33.9% (1,650) who were married by the National Church. This is the first time in history that the number of marriages conducted at the offices of District Commissioners outnumbers that of the National Church. Additionally, 12% of marriages were conducted by other religious groups, and 11% of individuals chose to marry abroad.

Regional data also reveals that per 1,000 residents, East Iceland saw the highest number of marriages, followed by Northwest and Northeast Iceland.

(The data used in the report were derived from marriage registrations in the national registry; marriages involving an individual without a national ID number [kennitala] were not included in the statistics.)

Briefly concerning marriage in Iceland

As noted on Registers Iceland, authorised marriage officiants in Iceland include district commissioners, priests of the national church, and heads of registered religious and secular philosophical organisations (lífsskoðunarfélög). If a marriage ceremony is conducted at the offices of the district commissioner, a fee of ISK 11,000 [$78 / €73] is charged. The specific district commissioner’s office where the marriage takes place determines where the payment should be made.

In civil marriage ceremonies, it is not necessary to exchange rings. Guests may be brought along, subject to the capacity of the premises at each location. The district commissioner’s office can usually provide witnesses for the ceremony, if requested.

According to Icelandic legislation, prospective spouses must be at least 18 years old, must be legally competent, and must have concluded any financial settlements, divorces, or estate distributions if they were previously married. Additionally, one prospective spouse cannot be a descendant of the other, and they must not be siblings. The same applies to stepparents and stepchildren unless the adoption has been legally annulled.

Extended Breaks Threaten Learning, Says Union Chair

iceland education

The Chair of the Teachers’ Union warns of educational setbacks due to the rising trend of extended school breaks for students. A high teacher turnover rate calls for better support and improved working conditions to retain educators.

Extended breaks becoming more common

In an interview with RÚV published today, Magnús Þór Jónsson, Chairperson of the Iceland Teachers’ Union (Kennarasamband Íslands), maintains that extended school breaks for compulsory schoolchildren (primary school) can strain both the children and their educational progress; it is now more common for parents to take children out of school for several weeks. He emphasised the importance of children continuing their studies during such breaks.

“Increased instances of students missing school for weeks underscore the importance of maintaining continuous educational engagement,” Magnús Þór stated, adding that modern technology makes it possible for students to maintain studies and contact with schools from anywhere in the world, although that responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents and students.

Read More: Iceland’s School System Explained

School principals may report significant school absences due to family travels to child protection authorities if it affects the child’s education.

Magnús Þór also noted a similar trend among upper secondary school students, where such breaks could delay their graduation. “Secondary school has been condensed and involves significant effort,” he remarked. “If you’re aiming to graduate in three years, we’re expecting students to work overtime every week, so any break of a week or more means a lot of stress and hard work.”

A Trend of Early Departures Among Teachers

As noted by RÚV, a recent survey indicated that over a quarter of kindergarten and elementary school teachers do not foresee staying on in their positions in five years’ time. In this regard, Magnús Þór highlighted the importance of better supporting newly graduated teachers to help them settle into their roles. “We are seeing a number of teaching students who only stay briefly,” he observed.

Magnús Þór stressed the necessity of creating a better work environment for teachers to prevent dropouts from the profession. He noted that it’s becoming more common for teachers to leave their positions after only a year or two.

“We’re seeing people come into the profession, work for one to two years, and then leave, and this is a new development,” he stated. “It’s not enough just to increase the number of teacher students if they don’t stay in the job. We need to ensure that the environment is welcoming and that we better support our newcomers.”

Magnús Þór also stressed the importance of improving the framework of the teaching profession. The complex makeup of student groups at all educational levels requires more support: “The biggest task is better integrating students arriving from abroad. We need greater support in that regard.”

Interacting with parents can be challenging as students have diverse needs and challenges, and student groups are larger than before.

Financial Hurdles and Land Shortages Stifle Housing Growth

Miðborg Reykjavíkur - tekið úr byggingakrana

The Housing and Construction Authority (HSM) reports that new apartment construction has decreased by 9.3% compared to last year, and only 56% of the estimated housing need will be met next year. The CEO of a local construction company has attributed the shortfall in housing to governmental inaction, high financing costs, and insufficient land availability.

Only 56% of housing needs met

As noted in a recent report by the Housing and Construction Authority (HSM), construction has commenced on 9.3% fewer apartments compared to the same period last year. The scope of new projects has also contracted by a third year-on-year while the number of apartments is at the same stage of progress as they were a year ago. Furthermore, HSM expects 3,020 fully completed apartments this year and 2,768 apartments next year, which would only meet 56% of the estimated housing need.

In an interview with the evening news on Stöð 2 yesterday, Gylfi Gíslason, the CEO of the construction company Jáverk, traced this state of affairs to governmental inaction in matters of housing; high financing costs and a lack of land availability were slowing down construction.

As noted by Gylfi – and substantiated by HSM’s recent report – it is necessary to build twice as much as is currently being done to meet housing needs, and, due to this, significant price increases are expected soon. Indeed, HMS has for several months highlighted that not enough is being built in the country relative to population growth, Vísir notes. Gylfi added that this situation was anticipated.

“Land is needed to build houses, and the cost of capital has been too expensive due to interest rates. Furthermore, a decision was made, over a year ago, and without prior warning, to increase taxation – vis-a-vis a reduction in the VAT refund on new buildings. All of this has had an impact. In the long term, we just need a greatly increased supply of land,” Gylfi remarked.

Asked about the government’s actions over the past months regarding the situation, Gylfi replied that little had happened: “An increased supply of land has not yet materialised. Interest rates are at their highest. Everyone in this market predicted it would be like this. Perhaps it is only now becoming a reality.”

When asked if government action was coming too late, Gylfi replied thusly: “Yes, yes. Or maybe we just want it this way. That’s quite possible. There was a desire to reduce economic overheating. It was criticised that this was happening on both the supply and demand sides. It was done, and I believe that these consequences are becoming visible if these forecasts prove correct,” Gylfi concluded.

Residential property prices risen by 5.2%

As noted in a recent article on the HMS website, over the past twelve months, residential property prices have risen by 5.2%, with the annual increase reaching 5.7% in February.

The new residential price index rose by 0.8% month-on-month in March, compared to a 1.9% increase in February. Since the start of the year, residential prices have been rising faster in rural areas than in the capital region.

In March, single-family homes in the capital region increased by 1.1% month-on-month and have now risen by 4.6% over the last twelve months. Multi-family homes in the capital region increased by 0.6% month-on-month and have risen by 4.9% over the past twelve months.

New Arena Needed for Iceland’s 2031 Handball Host Role

Iceland crowd

Iceland is set to co-host the 2031 Handball World Championship with Denmark and Norway. Iceland’s ability to host hinges on the completion of a new national arena by 2031, without which it would have to withdraw, a spokesperson for the Icelandic Handball Federation has noted.

A new national arena a prerequisite

As noted by IR yesterday, Iceland will host the 2031 Handball World Championship along with Denmark and Norway. A new National Arena is deemed essential for Iceland to be able to host the event.

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Róbert Geir Gíslason, General Manager of the Icelandic Handball Federation (HSÍ), noted that Iceland would have to withdraw from hosting the tournament in the event that the new national arena was not completed in time.

“We know the arena is currently in the tendering process. Regarding the design, we are promised that it will be ready by 2028 or 2029. We fully trust that this timeline will hold,” he observed. When asked if there was a contingency plan if the new national arena failed to materialise, Róbert responded that Iceland would have to withdraw its participation.

As noted by RÚV, the government has committed to erecting a new arena by 2028 or 2029. In September 2023, the completion was scheduled for late 2026, but that date has now been pushed back.

“I believe that if we do not have a national arena – if it’s not ready by 2031 – we will somehow have to withdraw. It’s clear. It is an absolute prerequisite for us to meet the tournament’s minimum requirements. The national arena is what we need to meet those,” Róbert explained.

A total of 21 games to be played in Iceland

Iceland will host two groups during the group stages of the tournament along with hosting an intermediate round. RÚV notes that 21 games in total will be played in Laugardalur, Reykjavík, with Iceland playing eight games at home if everything goes as planned. The other six groups will be played in Norway and Denmark, and three intermediate rounds will be played in these countries as well.

“We didn’t have the option to host this alone,” Róbert explained. “We will host two groups and one intermediate round here. So we are getting eight nations here, or seven including us. That’s big enough for us for now.”

As noted by RÚV, Iceland has previously hosted a major tournament, namely the 1995 World Championship. Thirty-six years will thus have passed since Iceland last hosted a World Championship by the time the 2031 World Championship comes around. Róbert observed that being chosen to host the event was a significant recognition for Iceland as a sporting nation.

“We are very proud. This is great news and a significant recognition for us as a sporting nation. A great acknowledgement of the work of HSÍ and the clubs across the country.”

HSÍ has been working on the project with the government and the Icelandic Tourism Board.

“This has been a long process and we are very grateful to the government and the Icelandic Tourism Board for their help. It has been a lot of work both for them and us, in close cooperation with Denmark and Norway.”