Deep North - Stories from Iceland

Iceland Review publishes translations of short stories by Icelandic authors.

Deep dives into current events, contemporary issues, and the lesser-seen sides of Icelandic society.

Interviews with artists, scholars, politicians or other notable figures in Iceland.

View Iceland through the lens of some of the country's most accomplished photographers.

Looking back in Iceland's history, at the curious incidents, colourful characters, and heroic deeds that shaped the nation.

Issues

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Shopping malls Iceland

Point of Sale

Reykjavík streetlife is something of an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. In the winter in particular, locals abandon the main street Laugavegur to the droves of travellers, seeking the comfort of home during the dark days. But even during the

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Hörður Kristleifsson @h0rdur

In Full View

Hörður Kristleifsson is a 25-year-old photographer who’s been practising his craft since 2010, when he got his first camera. But

Gunnar Karl Gíslason, head chef at Dill

Chill & Grill, Salt & Sour

In the rhythmic flow of seasons over the stony Icelandic landscape, where the North Atlantic winds carry tales of resilience

Andkristni festival Icelandic Metal

Decades of Darkness

On December 21, the annual black metal festival Andkristni kicked off at the bar and concert venue Gaukurinn in downtown

Ice Guys Icelandic boyband

Melting Hearts

Long in the tooth Jón Jónsson had the idea for Ice Guys in early 2023.  It all began as a

Of the Great Mortality

Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir is a novelist and a journalist living in Reykjavík. Her novels have been translated into many languages,

Icelandic folk dancing, Árbæjarsafn

Keeping in Step

It was a Friday night in Reykjavík, and I was looking for a dance floor. You may expect, dear reader,

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iceland work week

Working It Out

A few years ago, Iceland instituted a four-day work week. It’s gone off without a hitch and everyone’s been happier since. At least that’s the story that has spread through foreign media outlets.  The truth is much more complex. Firstly, it’s not a four-day work week, but a 4.5-day work week. Secondly, it technically only […]

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kerlingafjöll highland base

In Focus: Municipal Development

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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icelandic short fiction

Gerður

Sunna Dís Másdóttir is a member of the Impostor Poets, a women’s poetry collective, with whom she has published the poetry collections Ég er ekki að rétta upp hönd, Ég er fagnaðarsöngur and Nú sker ég netin mín. Their novel Olía (Oil) was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2021. Other members of the […]

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nicotine pouches in iceland

Insecticide – With a Buzz

According to data from the Directorate of Health, 34.2% of Icelanders between the ages of 18 and 69 smoked cigarettes on a daily basis in 1989. In 2022, 23 years later, that percentage had shrunk to an impressive 6.3%. This decline is not, however, so straightforward as it may appear, for the introduction of new […]

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Evrópuráðið Harpa Reykjavík Pólítík

A Matter of State

It’s a cold spring day in Reykjavík and winds buffet optimistic tourists in flip-flops. Above, the sky hangs low, an endless expanse of grey. Normal enough for May. Today, however, bulletproof, black limousines loiter in front of Harpa and reports of cyberattacks filter out of Alþingi. A helicopter belches shimmering-hot wakes of exhaust as it […]

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Give a Man a Fish

It’s just after six in the morning and Guðmundur Geirdal is pouring his first cup of coffee. It’s spring, so the sun has already been up for a couple of hours but a light veiling of clouds means that there’s a fresh snap to the air. Down by the Arnarstapi harbour, the squeaky cries of the seabirds are loud enough to drown out the murmured chatting of the other fishermen preparing their boats for the day.

iceland swimming pool

Pooling Together

The ideal Icelandic hot tub, which takes the shape of a circle, finds its prototype in Reykholt, West Iceland. It’s there, on the historical property of writer, historian, and chieftain Snorri Sturluson, that a wooden doorway, leading from an underground

edda icelandic manuscripts

Open Books

The Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection, located at two institutions in Iceland and Denmark, is on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.  It was established by Árni Magnússon (1663-1730), who travelled widely across Iceland collecting vellum manuscripts and books stretching back to the 12th century. On his deathbed, he bequeathed his collection to the University of Copenhagen […]

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hekla forest project

Of Ashes and Evergreens

We come to the windswept, barren highland for solitude. To be alone, away from it all. The immense openness of Iceland’s landscape is only rivalled by the silence that can be found there, punctuated by sharp winds and distant bird

Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir

The Garden Past the Monsters

Rain and birdsong, friends’ voices chatting and laughing, woodwinds, breathy strings, muted piano, the strumming of an acoustic guitar. That’s the gentle and dreamy world that greets the listener on the opening of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s first solo album How to Start a Garden. Over this inviting soundscape, her voice enters: Signing off and I […]

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Tindastóll Iceland basketball

On the Edge of Glory

By the start of Iceland’s latest basketball season, the northerners of Tindastóll, from Sauðárkrókur (pop. 2,612), had made it to the league finals on four occasions. Four times, they left without a trophy. No other team had made it so

glíma wrestling iceland

From the Archive: The Ancient Art of Glíma

From the archive: In this 1999 article from Iceland Review, Jón Ívarson delves into the history of Icelandic wrestling. Note that this archival content may not necessarily reflect the current editorial standards of Iceland Review. The one truly Icelandic national