Are Icelanders Alcoholics who Believe in Elves? Skip to content

Are Icelanders Alcoholics who Believe in Elves?

On a recent show David Letterman claimed that he knew two things about Iceland: Icelanders have the highest rate of alcoholism in the world and 90 percent of the population believes in elves.

Pretty terrible people, eh?

This is an all too common picture of Icelanders and sometimes they themselves contribute to myths of that type. Both are actually false.

On a list of alcohol consumption per capita Iceland is number 75, well below the United States, which is in 48th place.

Repeated surveys show that a minority of Icelanders believes that elves exist, but practically all Icelanders tell children stories about trolls, elves and the Yule Lads. That does not mean that all people believe in such beings, they are just part of our folklore which we cherish.

We do, however, have a prime minister who believes that foreign food can change the behavior of whole nations.

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