Central Bank of Iceland governor Ásgeir Jónsson

A Króna for Your Thoughts

To some, he is the face of the financial bubble as the chief economist of Kaupþing, ahead of the 2008 financial crash. To others, he is the perfect man to shape the Icelandic economy, with his expertise in monetary policy. The new man at the helm of the Central Bank of Iceland is Governor Ásgeir Jónsson.

Benjamin Hardman

White Out / Benjamin Hardman

“I heard some people talk about Iceland in a student kitchen in London one night. That is the first time that I can ever remember hearing about it, which is mind-blowing to me. How can I never have seen anything about this place before 2013? That’s so strange.”

Icelandic sheepdog

A New Leash On Life

I’m on my way to meet a national pageant winner, who after a thorough examination by a qualified judge was selected as the most beautiful in all the land. The pageant winner is perhaps not quite what you would expect, however.
Firstly, he’s male. Secondly, he’s three years old. Thirdly, he’s covered in a thick coat of luxurious fur.
His name is Einir, and he’s an Icelandic sheepdog.

Áramótaskaup 2019

Laugh Out the Old:
Iceland’s New Year’s Eve Comedy Tradition

Icelandic New Year’s Eve parties are notorious for their ill-advised combination of copious quantities of alcohol and ample access to explosives. Yet amidst the pollution and chaos of the night, every party has a distinct, hour-long lull. The reason is the TV comedy special Áramótaskaupið, which has satirised the top news stories of the year with skits and songs since its debut on radio in the 1940s.

Surfing in Iceland

Riders on the Storm

Glassy. Stoked. Gnarly. Shred. Rip it. Sun-bleached surfing vocabulary seems out of place on the Snæfellsnes peninsula on this cold and windy morning. It’s a rich part of the vocabulary of Czech brothers Lukas and Filip Polach who came to Iceland for the thrill of surfing – chasing the perfect wave.

fireworks pollution

In Focus: No Smoke Without Fireworks

Reykjavík’s New Year’s Eve fireworks tradition results in much pollution, yet it’s also the primary source of funding for the country’s search and rescue teams.

Krot og Krass

Writing on the Wall

Travelling through the small towns of Iceland, amidst the formidable mountains and tempestuous seas, you might come across a stark black and white mural. Made of hard lines and indecipherable squiggles, its symbols still suggest a hidden meaning. There’s purpose to every squiggle, intent behind every tangled knot on the wall. Ask a local about the wall and if you look friendly, they might take the time to explain to you the story behind it, the ancient script detailing the concise history that inspired the work of art, perhaps based in the town’s long history. While the paint’s only just dried, the mural is based on centuries of tradition, folk art, and local culture. In fact, it’s the work of the duo Krot og Krass (roughly translated as Doodle and Scrawl).

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.

Neskaupstaður

Little Moscow: Norðfjörður

Welcome to Norðfjörður. This beautiful fjord is home to 1,469 people, but its history differs from many of the small towns that dot the fjords of Iceland. For 50-odd years, socialists controlled the town of Neskaupstaður in Norðfjörður. Or, as some would call it – Little Moscow. Today, signs of the townspeople’s leftist ways might seem like they have been methodically removed. But, if you look closely, they’re hidden in plain sight.