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Who Are We?

The Icelandic nation’s identity is built on being a Nordic nation, descendants of Vikings. A nation that for centuries was isolated from other countries. Their homogeneity has been used for political purposes since the fight for independence, to explain Iceland’s uniqueness and justify its right to sovereignty. For some, this homo­geneity is even something to be protected, and the common knowledge of the nation’s origin is the foundation for that belief. But history is never as simple as “common knowledge” suggests.

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Reykjavík Through Its Daughters’ Eyes

A person never travels but halfway. Each time a person visits a foreign country, she is herself that part of the country that exerts the greatest influence over it: Each street, building, and passerby is coloured by a person’s experience, know­ledge, and prejudice – is permeated by her own self. This is why Reykjavík through the Daughters’ eyes is different from Reykjavík through the eyes of others; through their eyes, there is plenty to see.

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Are You Listening?

It’s been more than 40 years since the Bugles sang about the death of the radio star at the hands of video. At the time, people believed that the golden age of radio was ending, and that television would overtake it. Yet radio hung on, not least with the help of music programming. Then the internet came along and changed how we consume music, and people were sure that it was the final nail in radio’s coffin. For decades, we’ve been saying it’s only a matter of time before the last radio listener starts pushing up daisies. To this day, rumours of the radio’s death have proven greatly exagger­ated. Radio isn’t dead, even though there’s a new kid on the block: the podcast. Though it isn’t a new form of media threatening to take over, it is radio in new clothes. Yet the question remains – when one tap of a touchscreen gives us access to all the news, music, and TV we could ever need, why would we still listen to the radio?

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The Summerhouse

In all Swedish real estate listings, there’s a special note about the property’s dis­tance to water. As if people can only endure a brief amount of time on land before re-immersing themselves. I can picture them, sun-browned and sockless in their shoes, pink sweater arms dangling off the shoulders of slick-haired Swedes, striped skirts whipping […]

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No Country for Old Mosquitoes

The Faroe Islands. The Orkney Islands. Jan Mayen. Iceland. These are some of the few places in the world where you won’t find mosquitoes. You sometimes hear that Iceland is the only country in the world utterly devoid of mosquitoes. That’s technically correct as the Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Icelanders often savour victories based on technicalities the most. But the mosquito-free paradise could be coming to an end. Surprisingly, the bug fauna in Iceland is more abundant and more diverse than people believe.

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geldingadalir eruption Reykjanes

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

I buried my grandmother last Tuesday. At her wake, my cousin’s husband Einar Sveinn Jónsson began telling us how he first learned of the eruption. He was hosting a dinner party at his home on the outskirts of Grindavík when his phone rang.

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Katla Netflix

On Dry Land

In 2002, Baltasar Kormákur stood on the red carpet in San Sebastian in Spain. He was dressed in his best suit and smiling at the cameras, having just sold the distribution rights to The Sea to America and the UK. It was the biggest distribution deal that any Icelander had signed for a single movie. He was 36 years old. In demand – and miserable.

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White-tailed Eagle Haförn Hafernir

Eagle Empire

All cultures have myths of large birds carrying children away. In Greek mythology, Zeus takes on the shape of an eagle to kidnap a young boy. The stories often have the same wording no matter their origin. There are not only legends but also historical records of child-stealing eagles. As a child, I’d heard stories of humongous eagles living on high cliffs. They could fly higher and farther than other birds, and in the stories they also stole and ate children. I never saw these magnificent birds with my own eyes as there were only a handful of them left in the country then and no eagle habitats in the region where I grew up. It wasn’t until I was grown that I caught glimpses of frightening creatures gliding high in the heavens over the islands and skerries of Breiðafjörður fjord, their nesting grounds in western Iceland. The sight filled me with awe and fear-tinged excitement but my wish to see such a bird up close was never fulfilled – until last spring.

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What it's like to drown

What It’s Like To Drown

Friðgeir Einarsson has published three books; one novel and two short story collections. He has also attracted attention within the Icelandic performing arts scene as an actor, director, and author with performance groups including 16 Lovers and Kriðpleir. His play Club Romantica was premiered at the Reykjavík City Theatre earlier this year and has received praise from both viewers and critics. What It’s Like to Drown first appeared in his book Ég hef séð svona áður (I’ve Seen This Before) in 2018.

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For Art’s Sake

Akureyri is the largest town outside of the Capital Area but its 18,000 inhabitants still make for a relatively small town in an international context. But a sense of identity can’t be quantified in numbers only and Akureyri has a long and rich culture and history.

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Korriró, Baby

It explained a lot when Snæfríður figured out that there were trolls in her apartment. The discomfort she’d felt over the last few months was vague, but real. Respiratory infections. Chronic fatigue. Panic attacks.             She went online immediately and looked up an exterminator.             The exterminator was more attractive than she’d expected. He had […]

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