Iceland News Review: Counting Birds, Hunting Whales, Corruption And More!

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In this episode of Iceland News Review, we report on some good news for disaster preparedness. Last month’s eruptions near Grindavík has motivated Parliament to set up a special fund to deal with sudden catastrophes, but it may take some time yet before it can be established.

In other news, we report on how fin whale hunters and the government are at odds, corruption in Iceland, the annual bird count, plus weather, road conditions and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Deep North Episode 59: Turf and Rescue

turf house farm iceland

Hannes Lárusson grew up in a cluster of turf houses on the farmstead Austur-Meðalholt in Southwest Iceland.

His ancestors moved there around 1850. The houses they constructed were made with the remnants of the land’s pre-existing houses, which slouched near the marshes when they arrived. The history of the farmstead stretches nearly as far back as the settlement.

In 1965, when he was ten years old, Hannes moved to Reykjavík. He studied visual art and philosophy in Iceland and abroad prior to redirecting his attention to his childhood home in the mid-80s.

By that time, the turf houses of Austur-Meðalholt were abandoned and on the verge of ruin. Although he had observed those houses being mended as a boy, he lacked the know-how to rebuild them himself; and so Hannes and his family enlisted the aid of Jóhannes Arason, a turf master who grew up in the Westfjords’ Gufudalssveit area, and who stayed with them for parts of the summer between 1987 and 1993.

Read the story here.

Iceland News Review: Help For Grindavík, AI, Eurovision And More!

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In this episode of Iceland News Review, we go in-depth on what assistance Grindavík residence will get, the valiant efforts being made to make the town safer and livable again, as well as how the financial recovery package has affected recent collective bargaining negotiations.

Also, a bill that could greatly restrict the use of AI in Iceland, a controversial new twist in Iceland’s possible participation in Eurovision, along with weather, road conditions, and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Deep North Episode 58: Disaster on Dark Seas

ES goðafoss

On the morning of November 20, 1944, a single U-boat cruised silently at periscope depth beneath the rough waves of the North Atlantic, lurking just a few kilometres off the Northwest coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. The lone periscope was virtually invisible in the turbulent grey ocean waters. The German submarine, type VIIC/41, designated U-300, was commanded by 24-year-old Lieutenant Fritz Hein with a crew of 50 men barely out of their teens. Their mission was simple: To attack and destroy Allied vessels off the southwestern tip of Iceland as they approached the Icelandic mainland from North America. The bigger the ship they could sink, the better.

Read the story here.

Iceland News Review: Eruption Near Grindavík, Reykjavík’s New Mayor And More!

INR

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we go in-depth on last Sunday’s eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula and what this could mean for the people of Grindavík. Can they ever return and if not, where will they live? How will the government help them? There’s a lot of options on the table.

Also, Reykjavík has a new mayor with an historic twist; good news for Palestinian children in Iceland; one town stands out as having the highest per capita immigrant population; along with weather, road conditions, and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Deep North Episode 57: Balancing the Scales

escaped farmed fish iceland

On Saturday, October 7, a tractor trundled through the streets of downtown Reykjavík with hundreds of protestors in tow. The procession was headed to Austurvöllur Square in front of Iceland’s Parliament for a demonstration.

Several organisations – including Landvernd (the Icelandic Environment Association) and the Icelandic Wildlife Fund – had organised the event to protest salmon aquaculture in open-net sea pens, an industry that grew more than tenfold in Iceland between 2014 and 2021. During this period, annual production ballooned from nearly 4,000 tonnes of farmed salmon to approximately 45,000 tonnes.

The reason protestors were demonstrating was because the growth of the industry had coincided with what some would call predictable problems. Aside from the potentially negative environmental impacts that salmon farming in open-net pens poses – including pollution from fish waste, uneaten feed, and chemicals or medicines used to treat diseases – Iceland had recently witnessed firsthand two of the industry’s primary risks: the escape of genetically-distinct farmed salmon of Norwegian origin from open-net pens (threatening introgression with wild populations), and the proliferation of diseases and parasites, most notably sea lice.

Read the full story here.

Deep North Episode 55: Christmas Craftsman

laufabrauð christmas iceland

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, families and friends in Iceland come together to make the traditional fried and decorated wafer known as laufabrauð (leaf bread). Rolled out thin, decorated, and fried, the preparation of these treats is an event that brings together families, often with multiple generations taking part. But you won’t find Laufabrauðsdagur (Leaf Bread Day) on any official calendar, as each family chooses their own date. Still, for Icelanders, it’s as much a part of the holiday season as Christmas itself.

But unknown even to many Icelanders, much of this tradition now rests in the hands of one craftsman, the last craftsman in Iceland to make the distinctive roller that so many use to make laufabrauð. A stone’s throw from Reykjavík, in the shadow of Esja mountain, his small workshop is keeping a beloved tradition alive.

Read the story here.

Deep North Episode 53: Reykjanes Update

Lava barrier Reykjanes

For this special episode, we break down the latest developments and give an overview of the situation on the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

What happens to the residents of Grindavík now? What lava barrier is currently built around the power plant Svartsengi, and what about the remaining animals in Grindavík? Tune in and find out.

Since the time of recording, the commercial banks have agreed to waive interest and indexation of mortgages for the next three months. Stay updated.