In Focus

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In Focus

In Focus: Upcoming Parliamentary Elections

Icelanders will head to the voting booths on September 25, where individuals from the country’s various parties will vie for 63 seats from the country’s six constituencies: the Northwest (8), Northeast (10), South (10), Southwest (13), Reykjavík South (11), and Reykjavík North (11). The elections could mark the first time that women gain a majority […]

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Central Bank
In Focus

Muddying the Waters—the Debate Over Special Interest in Iceland

“By and large controlled by special interest.” In a recent interview with Stundin, Ásgeir Jónsson, Governor of Iceland’s Central Bank, stated that Iceland was “by and large, controlled by special interest” and that “quarrelling with them was no laughing matter.” Ásgeir’s comments were in part inspired by an ongoing dispute between the Central Bank and […]

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In Focus

In Focus: The Geology Of the Reykjanes Peninsula

If you’re anywhere near Reykjavík, you’ve most definitely felt an earthquake or two in the past weeks. Since Wednesday, February 24, an earthquake swarm has been rocking the southwest corner of Iceland with thousands of small to mid-sized earthquakes, the largest one measuring M5.7. At the time of writing, geology experts are certain that there’s […]

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In Focus

In Focus: Iceland’s Housing Market

For many years, Iceland’s housing market has been characterised by sharply rising prices. Many may have expected the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recession to change that trend, but throughout 2020, real estate prices continued to rise. Perhaps even more unexpected, considering those rising prices and a worse economic outlook, a record number of sales took […]

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In Focus

In Focus: Iceland’s Cabinet

Iceland is currently governed by Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s cabinet, made up of six men and five women from three different parties – the Left-Green Movement, the Independence Party, and the Progressive Party. All of the cabinet members also serve as members of parliament except Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

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In Focus

In Focus: Where is Iceland’s Updated Constitution?

Between 2010 and 2012, Iceland “crowdsourced” a new constitution which was handed over to Parliament. A national referendum followed, where a majority voted for the document to be used as a foundation for constitutional reform. Yet it was never adopted. Fast forward nearly a decade: a group of activists is fighting for the “new constitution” […]

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COVID-19 Iceland
In Focus

In Focus: How Iceland’s Experts Are Tackling COVID-19

Iceland’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on February 28 in an Icelandic man in his 40s returning from Italy. The number of cases rose steadily until April 5, after which it started dropping as rapidly as it had shot up. In a matter of weeks, the country had managed to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, […]

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sale of state-owned Icelandic banks
Business

In Focus: Sale of State-Owned Banks

For years, Iceland’s government considered selling 25-50% of Íslandsbanki bank, currently fully owned by the State Treasury. Reducing state ownership of financial institutions was a turnaround in Iceland’s financial policy that had been in development for years. With memories of the banking collapse still strong in the minds of the public, many were opposed to […]

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avalanche barriers
In Focus

In Focus: Avalanche Barriers

On January 14, 2020, three large avalanches fell in quick succession in the Westfjords of Iceland. One avalanche fell in Súgandafjörður, directly across from Suðureyri, causing a tidal wave to strike the town that, ultimately, did little damage. The other two fell in Flateyri, causing more significant destruction. The timing of the avalanches was noteworthy. […]

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In Focus

In Focus: Municipal Mergers

It’s Monday morning. Katrín wakes up and gets her daughter ready for school. After dropping her off, she heads to the local library, where she does freelance work. On her way there, she notices the progress in the apartment housing being built across the street: she’s renting now but has put a down payment on an apartment there. During her lunch break, Katrín drives out of town for a walk at her favourite hiking spot. Since it was designated as a protected area several years ago, it’s been getting more popular. She works until 5.00pm. Her daughter participates in an after-school program until then. After picking her up, they head to the local pool for a bit of fun before dinner. One organisation has had a hand in every aspect of Katrín’s day, as well as her daughter’s: her local council.

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Landmannalaugar
In Focus

In Focus: Proposed Highland National Park

The Icelandic highland is one of the largest uninhabited, uncultivated areas in Europe. Almost all of Iceland’s population lives near the coastline, owing both to the barrenness and the coldness of the highland, and to Iceland’s fishing-based economy. The government is now planning to designate the entirety of the Icelandic highland as a national park, which would make it one of the largest national parks in the world, covering 30% of the country. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

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