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In Focus: A brief chronology of the Reykjanes eruptions

litli-hrútur reykjanes

800 years of quiet Prior to 2021, it had been almost 800 years since a volcanic eruption had occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland. Between 1211 and 1240, a series of eruptions, referred to as the Reykjanes Fires, took place during a heightened period of volcanic activity that began around 950. 2021 Fagradalsfjall […]

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In Focus: The Króna and the Euro

icelandic króna isk

The Icelandic króna was introduced as currency when Iceland gained its sovereignty from Denmark in 1918, with the first coins issued in 1922. At the time, one Icelandic króna was equal to one Danish krone. Today, the Icelandic króna has been devalued to such a degree that you’d need 2,000 of the original króna for […]

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In Focus: The 2023 Women’s Strike

women's strike 2023

On October 24, 2023, thousands of people swarmed Arnarhóll hill in downtown Reykjavík, holding protesting signs, babies, and each other’s hands, turning the city centre into a historic spectacle. Iceland’s seventh Women’s Strike (Kvennaverkfall) had a much larger turnout than expected, with the crowd spilling out across Hverfisgata and Lækjargata streets. An estimated 70,000 to […]

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In Focus: Bjarni Benediktsson

bjarni benediktsson

A snap press conference On Monday, October 10, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson called a snap press conference. The call came on the heels of an opinion authored by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that concluded that the Minister of Finance’s role in the ongoing privatisation process of the Íslandsbanki bank – which had been nationalised following the 2008 […]

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In Focus: Cruise Ships

cruise ship iceland

Small town Iceland isn’t what it used to be. During the peak summer season, some of Iceland’s coastal communities are bustling with cruise ship tourists, overwhelming local residents many times over. For some, these tourists represent an injection of cosmopolitan vitality into otherwise small, sleepy towns. For others, they represent the noise, pollution, and crowds […]

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In Focus: Asylum Seeker Evictions

asylum iceland

New legislation on immigration passed in Iceland’s Parliament last spring states that asylum seekers whose asylum applications have received a final rejection will be stripped of essential services unless they consent to deportation. As a result, dozens of asylum seekers unable to leave the country for reasons personal or political are being stripped of housing […]

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In Focus: Municipal Development

kerlingafjöll highland base

This summer, a new luxury hotel in Iceland opened for travellers. In addition to providing “deluxe rooms and luxury suites for lavish explorers,” the hotel also has a sleek, modern bistro with seating for 80, a luxury spa bath, and “alpine-style seating” with views of the surroundings. However, travellers from the capital area may have […]

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In Focus: Police Powers

police iceland

Regularly ranked as one of the most peaceful places in the world, Reykjavík visitors were greeted by rather unusual sights this May. Police officers armed with submachine guns prowled the streets, helicopters hovered overhead, and surveillance cameras kept their silent watch over downtown. Though security measures had been heightened for the Council of Europe Summit […]

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In Focus: Opioid Crisis

opioid crisis iceland

In April of this year, National Broadcaster RÚV reported that social media had “been abuzz with rumours” concerning the inordinate number of drug-related deaths in 2023 in Iceland. Some of those rumours claimed that 15 people had died from addiction-related problems over the preceding two weeks; others that there had been 35 addiction-related deaths since […]

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In Focus: Iceland’s Ferries

iceland ferry

This spring, the ferry Sæfari will be out of commission for maintenance, in drydock from at least March 20 until May 15. Sæfari services Grímsey, an island 40 km [25 mi] north of the mainland, bisected by the Arctic Circle. The 50-some residents of Grímsey are dependent on the ferry, not just for getting to […]

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