Getting Your Goat

icelandic goat háafell farm

Visiting Háafell Goat Farm on a bright and breezy day in late April, the vitality of spring is palpable. The sun casts a warm glow over pastures beginning to green as snow melts from the peaks above. Amidst this lively backdrop, over a dozen new goats born the previous night add to the happy community […]

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Iceland Review: A Short History

iceland review history

Beginnings of Iceland Review

Iceland Review was founded by the Icelandic journalist, editor, and publisher Haraldur J. Hamar, who passed away on January 5, 2023 at the age of 87. Haraldur had founded Iceland Review in the autumn of 1963, along with Heimir Hannesson.

The idea for Iceland Review came from an exciting trip that Haraldur undertook to the United States in 1961. Through the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship Program, Haraldur was invited to the US for a photojournalism tour, seeing everything from the Boeing headquarters in Seattle to the casinos of Las Vegas. During his travels, however, Haraldur realised that the average American had no notion of his homeland. So, upon his return to Iceland, Haraldur felt that there was a need for a publication to introduce and promote Iceland to the world. 

iceland review 1963 cover
The first-ever issue of Iceland Review, from 1963.

In the early days of Iceland Review, the magazine was more geared towards Icelandic business and the promotion of Icelandic trade goods such as fish and wool. However, the magazine had a keen emphasis on Icelandic culture, politics, nature, and more from the very beginning as well. The magazine Atlantica later became part of the publishing operation, along with diverse book publishing in various languages ​​and the publication of newspapers for Icelandic airlines. In 1975, Haraldur began the monthly publication of News From Iceland, distributed widely internationally, and considered the first regular English-language news service from Iceland.

Growing a new audience

Iceland Review continued to grow through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, it came under the editorship of Páll Stéfansson, a highly regarded Icelandic photographer. During his long tenure, which lasted from 1982 – 2017, Páll redefined the magazine with his photography, which heavily featured Iceland’s distinctive nature and landscape. During this time, Iceland Review also continued to print photography books, which played a key role in introducing the country to a broader, international audience. 

A new look

In 2017, the magazine came under new ownership, and with it, a new photographer and editor. Under the editorial leadership of Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir and award-winning press photographer Golli, the magazine developed a deeper interest in the daily lives of Icelanders and Icelandic society. By this time, the Icelandic tourism industry was in full swing, and Iceland no longer needed to be introduced to the world. As tourist information about Iceland became more and more accessible, the magazine shifted its focus away from the most obvious topics, and chose to instead focus on presenting a new and unexpected side of Iceland. During this time, Iceland Review also developed its current aesthetic.

The future of Iceland Review

Iceland Review continues to grow into the future of new media. The print magazine continues to cover a wide range of topics including current events, politics, economics, culture, and tourism in Iceland, while also highlighting the beautiful landscape and the cultural and political life of the nation. The Iceland Review magazine serves as a bridge between Iceland and the international community, offering perspectives on Icelandic life and issues to a global audience.

In recent years, Iceland Review has transitioned primarily to an online platform, reflecting broader trends in media consumption. Our website provides regular news updates, feature articles, and commentary on Icelandic affairs.

While maintaining its magazine’s high standards, Iceland Review also continues to offer more on its digital platforms. Its podcast, Deep North, was launched in 2022 and brings the magazine’s high-quality journalism to an audio format that listeners worldwide can enjoy. Additionally, viewers and listeners can engage with Iceland Review’s high-quality journalism across its social media channels and, most recently, on YouTube.

Iceland Review has played a valuable role in promoting understanding and awareness of Iceland on the global stage, and it continues to be a respected source of news and analysis about the country.

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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Goodbye to the Grind

kaffi valeria kirkjufell grundarfjörður

The oldest known evidence of coffee in Iceland is a letter that Lárus Gottrup, a lawyer in Þingeyri, wrote to Árni Magnússon, a professor and manuscript collector, on November 16, 1703. They had spoken at the Alþingi (national Parliament meeting) that summer, and Árni was upset that his friend had forgotten to send him the […]

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Deep North Episode 63: In Pursuit of Ptarmigan

ptarmigan hunting iceland

It’s 6:00 AM and the obsidian darkness lingers outside my windshield. I arrive in the Kársnes neighbourhood of Kópavogur, park my car, and hop into Kristján Andri Einarsson’s black Jimny. The hunter greets me with a boyish smirk, ready for today’s adventure. He is wearing a camouflage cap on his greying auburn hair. Until this day, I have never gone hunting, nor seen a real gun in my life. All that is about to change.

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Point of Sale

Shopping malls Iceland

Reykjavík streetlife is something of an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. In the winter in particular, locals abandon the main street Laugavegur to the droves of travellers, seeking the comfort of home during the dark days. But even during the shortest days of the season, there are oases in Reykjavík, beacons of light where families […]

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In Full View

Hörður Kristleifsson @h0rdur

Hörður Kristleifsson is a 25-year-old photographer who’s been practising his craft since 2010, when he got his first camera. But things really took off in 2018, when he got his got his first drone. “Since then,” Hörður tells me, “it’s been a passion that’s kept on growing. You just get such a unique perspective with […]

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Chill & Grill, Salt & Sour

Gunnar Karl Gíslason, head chef at Dill

In the rhythmic flow of seasons over the stony Icelandic landscape, where the North Atlantic winds carry tales of resilience and the terrain demands a symbiotic dance with nature, a culinary legacy has emerged – a testament to tenacious farmers, brave fishermen, and the profound respect for the resources that grace their doorsteps. Finding stories […]

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Of the Great Mortality

Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir is a novelist and a journalist living in Reykjavík. Her novels have been translated into many languages, and include the dystopian thriller Island (2016), and The Fires (2020), which foreshadowed the ongoing volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula, published in English by Amazon Crossing in 2023. Her latest novel, DEUS (2023), is […]

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