This category is only visible under subscription. You can purchase one here. If you have one please login

In Focus: Iceland’s Equal Pay Legislation

equal pay legislation

Iceland’s new equal pay legislation has been making international headlines. While people have been quick to comment, either praising Iceland as a feminist utopia or condemning the naïve attempt to fix a complicated problem, the case of equal pay legislation and Iceland’s gender wage gap deserves some closer attention.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

“Comedy is My Only Plan”

Stand-up comedian Ari Eldjárn

For a few days at the end of December, the most popular event in Reykjavík was Ari Eldjárn’s Áramótaskop. The year-in-review stand-up comedy show was a hit with audiences, and despite the limited time frame, a few days between Christmas and the New Year, Ari put on several sold-out shows in one of the biggest […]

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Kaldrananes

Kaldrananes - Bjarnarfirði Ströndum

Bjarnarfjörður á Ströndum is about as far off the beaten path as you can imagine. On sunny summer days, the area is full of life. Year-round residences turned summer houses fill up with vacationing city folk, and there’s a steady traffic of tourists on their way to the Strandir trails. During winter, however, the roads are impassable, and most of the houses are empty. Kaldrananes, an isolated farm, whose name in Icelandic implies chilliness and inhospitality, is one of the few farms occupied all year round.

The shortest day of the year is an important one for the inhabitants of Kaldrananes. Two houses stand on the grounds along with a sheepcote, an old church, and a large, decaying freezing plant, ambitiously built shortly after WWII but only in use for a few years. One of the houses is empty; its only use is as a vacation home. The owners don’t live in the area, and the place can be rented through Airbnb. In the other house, Ingi and Birna are awaiting the arrival of their daughter, Alda, who’s joining them for one of the most important tasks of the year. It’s time for the sheep’s mating season to commence.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

“The Earth Ripped Apart”

1973, eldgosið í Heymaey, Vestmannaeyjum. Gosið í fullum gangi, gosefni þeytast upp úr gígnum á Eldfelli. Í forgunni eru tvö íbúðarhús.

It is a cold January night, 23rd day of the month, and most of the inhabitants of Heimaey are already sleeping. The radiogrammer Hjálmar Guðnason had asked his friend Ólafur Granz to accompany him on his daily midnight walk. The two friends were the first to spot the eruption. A 1600-metre long volcanic fissure had opened up on the east side of Heimaey, only 200 metres away from Hjálmar and Ólafur. It was a literal wall of fire, that would come to engulf a large portion of the island in the coming months. They alerted police instantly, and the sceptic policemen were in no hurry to make their way to the scene of what they believed to be a prank call. Once they witnessed the eruption, they wasted no time. Tephra and ash spread around the island in a matter of minutes, while the townspeople rushed to evacuate the island. When the dust settled, the eruption had destroyed over 400 buildings, and to this day, the island still has fewer residents than before the eruption.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Mental Nutrition

Superfoods can nourish both body and soul as Thelma Björk Jónsdóttir is well aware. The multitasker is both an acclaimed yoga teacher as well as a fashion designer. She spearheads the Slökun í borg (Relax in the city) project, which aims to discover calm in everyday life’s strife.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

The Spirit of Exploration

whisky barrels

There are some very good reasons not to make whisky in Iceland. Small local market, a law in place that prohibits advertising alcohol, a tradition for drinking vodka and a local type of barley deemed useless for alcohol distillation. Instead of leaving it altogether to Scotland, Ireland and the usual suspects, family-owned Eimverk Distillery accepted this multifaceted challenge and is now making a micro-batch whisky with some impressive results.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Filmmaking is an Obstacle Race

Director Ísold Uggadóttir

Funding a director’s first full-length film is difficult anywhere in the world, but Iceland is also a small market for cinema. According to recent statistics, fewer women have directed films in the past ten years, than they did thirty or forty years ago, even though more movies are being made. Film making is a long process with many twists and turns along the way. Despite all of this, Ísold Uggadóttir not only completed her first full-length film, which she wrote and directed but also won Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Competition category. From there, she has taken her film to several film festivals around the world.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Looking Back: The Fateful Year of 1918

Some years in history are simply more important than others. 1918 is carved into the history annals of Iceland, and rightly so. It proved to be a year of change as the nation took its first step from being an underdeveloped colony to today’s developed country. A century later, we look back on a year of the Great Winter of Frost, the Spanish Flu, the Katla volcanic eruption, and Iceland’s sovereignty.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

To Hell: At Sigur Rós’ Norður og Niður Festival

An Icelandic artist is standing on a makeshift stage in Harpa concert hall and conference centre. Clad in a poncho and Gandalf hat, he has been given the task of introducing indie choir Kórus on stage as a part of the opening ceremony of Norður og niður (“to Hell”), Sigur Rós’ music festival held last December at Harpa. The thing is, the artist can’t see the choir, standing patiently in the staircase opposite him (perhaps they’re obscured by his enormous hat?), so he fumbles on with the introduction in English so broken that at one point someone is heard asking “What the hell is he talking about?” What the hell, indeed! Norður og Niður literally translates as “north and down”, but more colloquially it might be translated as “to hell” or even “go to hell”.

Eventually, the host sees the choir waving and nervously introduces them twice more, further confusing everyone. Luckily, he has been blessed with a most amiable crowd of Sigur Rós fans and music-loving introverts, so whatever dismay we may be feeling as a result of the opening ceremony’s incoherence, we’re silently internalising it while listening to the ethereal Kórus and drinking patented Sigur Rós beer. For some people, this might be hell, but for lovers of the Sigur Róss unique quirk and charm, it’s quite the opposite.

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading