Strætó Reports 3,493 Passenger Complaints in 2023

public transportation iceland

Last year, 3,493 complaints were filed against Strætó buses, averaging almost ten per day. Most were related to driver behaviour and bus conditions.

Drivers using smartphones among the complaints

A total of 3,493 complaints were filed against Strætó buses last year, averaging nearly ten per day, according to a summary presented at the company’s board meeting this March, Mbl.is reports.

Most complaints were due to driver behaviour and driving conditions, such as buses not stopping at stops, arriving too early, too late, or not at all. Additionally, there were complaints about buses not waiting for passengers, drivers using smartphones, and the condition of the buses being subpar. A total of 17 accidents involving passengers were recorded last year, with a total of 152 damages to buses.

Jóhannes S. Rúnarsson, Strætó’s director, told Morgunblaðið that there are around 600,000 bus trips per year, which means that complaints are made about less than 1% of these trips.

Read More: In Focus: Traffic Safety

As noted in a recent article in Iceland Review, January of 2024 was the deadliest month in terms of traffic deaths in Iceland’s history. Six people lost their lives in car accidents: one in an accident near the town of Vík in South Iceland, two on Grindavíkurvegur road on the Reykjanes peninsula, two near Skaftafell in South Iceland, and one in Hvalfjörður in West Iceland. Such a rate of fatal accidents had not been seen since record keeping began some 50 years ago.

A Profitable 2023 for Icelandair Despite Q4 Challenges

Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX

Icelandair rebounded from years of losses to an ISK 1.5 billion [$11 million / €10 million] profit in 2023, with passenger numbers up 17% and plans for expanded flight service in 2024 despite fourth-quarter challenges.

A profit after a series of challenging years

In a report on its Q4 and 12-month 2023 performance, Icelandair revealed that the airline earned a profit of ISK 1.5 billion ISK in 2023 [$11 million / €10 million] in 2023, which is a significant turnaround from last year when the airline experienced a loss of ISK 800 million [$5.9 million / €5.4 million]. As noted by RÚV, Icelandair had previously reported losses since 2017. 

“It is an important milestone to report a profit after taxes for the entire year after challenging recent years. Revenue generation was very strong this year, and we successfully met the high demand across all our markets, especially from North America to Iceland,” Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, told RÚV yesterday. He is positive about the outlook.

“The market to Iceland is rebounding following recent events, with Iceland remaining a sought-after destination. We are also seeing a higher proportion of bookings across the Atlantic than before. Our flight schedule for 2024 will be about 11% larger than in 2023, with 57 destinations, including three new ones – Pittsburgh, Halifax, and Vágar in the Faroe Islands,” Bogi Nils stated. 

The number of passengers flying with Icelandair was 4.3 million in 2023, an increase of 17% since last year. Seat utilisation for passengers within Iceland in 2023 also increased by 2%. The airline’s liquidity position amounted to ISK 44 billion ($323 million / €297 million) at the end of the year.

Fourth-quarter performance marred by geological unrest

Icelandair’s announcement highlighted that seismic activities, volcanic eruptions, and air traffic controllers’ strikes significantly impacted the airline’s fourth-quarter performance: “Following the news that the town of Grindavík was evacuated due to anticipated volcanic eruptions, bookings dropped significantly.” 

Mbl.is reported that shares in Icelandair had fallen by 6.9% during the first trades on NASDAQ Iceland this morning.

16% Year-On-Year Growth in Overnight Tourism Stays for 2023

Tourists walk carefully during extreme weather in Reykjavík

In 2023, overnight stays in Iceland increased by 16% year-on-year, with Icelanders accounting for 22% of these stays. Looking ahead, 2024 is forecasted to be a record-breaking year for tourism, potentially surpassing the previous peak in 2018.

Icelanders accounted for 22% of overnight stays

According to initial figures for overnight stays in 2023, there were nearly 10 million overnight stays at all types of registered accommodations, compared to 8.5 million in 2022, representing a 16% increase year-on-year, Statistics Iceland reports

Overnight stays by Icelanders accounted for about 22% of all stays, or approximately 2.1 million, which is a 9% increase from the previous year. Overnight stays by foreign tourists were about 78% of all stays, or around 7.8 million compared to 6.6 million the year before.

In 2023, there were about 6.6 million overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses, and 3.4 million in other types of registered accommodations (apartment rentals, holiday homes, campgrounds, etc.). The total number of hotel stays was about 5.3 million, a 12% increase from the previous year. As noted by Statistics Iceland, all regions of the country saw an increase in overnight hotel stays.

Moderate increase expected in 2024

In a letter published on December 31, 2023, Bjarnheiður Hallsdóttir, Chairperson of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF), noted that forecasts predict a moderate increase in tourists in 2024. If these predictions hold, 2024 will set a new record in tourism in Iceland, exceeding the previous record from 2018.

“The year that has just concluded was predominantly positive for the Icelandic tourism industry. It seemed poised to become the first year since 2018 without major disruptions to the sector’s operations, a much-needed respite after the challenges of the preceding years. However, towards the year’s end, seismic events in Reykjanes cast a shadow over this progress. As a result, demand fell, and tourism companies in the vicinity of the seismic activity had to temporarily shut down.”

Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson Named 2023 Sportsperson of the Year

Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson named 2023 Icelandic Sportsperson of the year

At an award ceremony last night, handballer Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson was named 2023 Sportsperson of the Year for his achievements with SC Magdeburg and the Icelandic national team. Aside from being chosen Best Player in the German Bundesliga, Gísli Þorgeir also played a pivotal role in SC Magdeburg’s 2022-2023 EHF Champions League win.

Sportsperson of the Year

Handball player Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson, who plays for the German team SC Magdeburg and the Icelandic national handball team, was named the 2023 Icelandic Sportsperson of the Year at an award ceremony held last night by the Association of Sports Journalists.

This is the first time that Gísli has received the award and the third consecutive year that a handball player has been honoured with the title, Vísir reports. Gísli’s teammate at SC Magdeburg and on the national team, Ómar Ingi Magnússon, was previously honoured with the title for two consecutive years (in 2021 and 2022).

A cut above the rest

In the selection, Gísli received 500 points, 128 points more than swimmer Anton Svein McKee, who came in second place. Football player Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir finished third with 326 points. The three were a cut above the rest as far as rankings are concerned.

As noted by Vísir, Gísli enjoyed an outstanding year with SC Magdeburg. He was named Best Player of the German Bundesliga and Most Valuable Player of the 2022-2023 EHF Champions League final weekend, which SC Magdeburg won. Gísli scored six goals in the final against Kielce, despite having dislocated his shoulder in the semifinal against Barcelona the day before. He was also the seventh-highest scorer in the Champions League with 87 goals.

Additionally, Gísli played a key role in the Icelandic national team, which finished 12th at the World Championship in Poland and Sweden.

Sportsperson of the Year Rankings:

  1. Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson, handball, 500 points
  2. Anton Sveinn McKee, swimming, 372 points
  3. Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, football, 326 points
  4. Andrea Kolbeinsdóttir, athletics, 101 points
  5. Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir, football, 94 points
  6. Elvar Már Friðriksson, basketball, 93 points
  7. Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, football, 73 points
  8. Sóley Margrét Jónsdóttir, powerlifting, 69 points
  9. Thelma Aðalsteinsdóttir, gymnastics, 53 points
  10. Snæfríður Sól Jórunnardóttir, swimming, 47 points

2023 in Review: Culture

Diljá Pétursdóttir iceland eurovision

As the year draws to a close, Iceland Review brings you a summary of the biggest stories in community, culture, and nature in 2023. Here are some of the biggest culture-related stories from the year.

Laufey Sets New Jazz Standard

It’s been a big year for Icelandic musician Laufey. In September, Laufey’s sophomore album, Bewitched, set a record for the most streams in the jazz category on Spotify on its day of release, accumulating 5.7 million streams. The previous record was held by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s 2021 album Love for Sale, which received 1.1 million streams on its first day. Bewitched features the British Philharmonic Orchestra on two of its tracks and consists mostly of original compositions, along with one cover song.

On November 10, Laufey released two Christmas songs in collaboration with Norah Jones, a cover of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and an original composition entitled Better Than Snow. Both of the songs were recorded in a single take.

 On the same day that the duets with Norah Jones were released, Laufey announced to the crowd at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, that she had received her first Grammy nomination (for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album): “I especially love Austin now because this will forever be the city where I found out that I received a Grammy nomination,” Laufey remarked.

Laufey is the artistic mononym of Icelander Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir. A former cello soloist and talent show finalist, Laufey graduated from Berklee College of Music. She released her debut EP, Typical of Me, in 2021.

Power Outage: Diljá Misses Out on Eurovision Finals

Earlier this year, Diljá Pétursdóttir was chosen to represent Iceland in the 67th annual Eurovision Song Contest. Diljá, a long-time Eurovision fan, went on to perform her energetic ballad, aptly named Power (co-written by Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson), during the second semi-final night of the Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Liverpool on May 11, and ten entries advanced to the final. Despite Diljá’s performance receiving favourable reviews from Icelanders, she did not advance to the finals.

Read More: Power Player (Brief Profile of Diljá Pétursdóttir in Iceland Review)

Diljá spoke to Eurovision commentator Sigurður Gunnarsson for the National Broadcaster (RÚV) following her performance. Despite failing to qualify, she was pleased with her performance: “It went amazingly well.”

Icelandic Lamb Receives Protected Status

In March, the European Commission approved the first-ever Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) from Iceland for Icelandic lamb (ice. Íslenskt lambakjöt). The product name is applied to the meat from purebred Icelandic lambs, which have been born, raised, and slaughtered on the island of Iceland. The designation is the same type granted to champagne and means that no product that does not fulfil the above conditions can be labelled as Icelandic lamb.

Read More: Labour of Love (A Profile of a Young Farmer)

“Sheep farming has a long and rich cultural tradition in Iceland,” a notice from the European Commission read. “The characteristics of ‘Íslenskt lambakjöt’ first and foremost consists [sic] of a high degree of tenderness and gamey taste, due to the fact that lambs roam freely in demarcated wild rangelands and grow in the wild, natural surroundings of Iceland, where they feed on grass and other plants. The long tradition of sheep farming passing down generations on the island has led to high standards of flock management and grazing methods.”

Trouble at the Opera

On Saturday, March 3, the Icelandic Opera premiered its production of Madame Butterfly, authored by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and first performed publicly in 1904. Three days after the premiere, Laura Liu, a Chinese-American violinist for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, published a post on Facebook in which she accused individuals involved in the production of yellowface (i.e. where a non-Asian performer uses makeup to make their skin look yellow in order to portray an Asian character). Liu shared pictures of the performers, who were shown wearing makeup, including painted-on black eyebrows and black wigs: 

“Are we bringing yellowface back, Iceland?” Liu asked. “Furthermore, Madame Butterfly is Japanese. Those are Chinese characters. ‘All look [the] same,’ right? It’s disturbing to have to repeat this: yellowing up is the same as blacking up. When you wear another race as your costume that’s called dehumanisation. Do better.”

On March 9, Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdóttir, Director of the Icelandic Opera, addressed accusations of racism and cultural appropriation in an interview with the radio programme Reykjavík Síðdegis. 

Steinunn iterated some of the points made by her colleague Michiel Dijkema: “I was very clear about not using yellowface in this production,” Steinunn stated, adding that the producers had taken “different routes” to make the production believable, Kabuki makeup, for example.

When asked what she made of the accusations, Steinunn replied: “We celebrate this discussion and listen with an open mind to these different perspectives.”

On Saturday, March 11, Steinunn Birna was interviewed by the nightly news, in which she stated that a few minor changes would be made: “We had a good meeting yesterday with the performers, and the director, where we listened to their experience. We decided that we would tone down the makeup. Even though we believed that we had not been guilty of yellowface, we decided to remove painted-on, slanted eyebrows and wigs, for such a thing would not serve to detract from the overall performance. There are two guidelines that I follow: that my people feel good, and making a good show even better. 

Háskólabíó Movie Theatre Shuttered

The Icelandic company Sena cancelled its contract for the operation of a cinema in the Háskólabíó theatre as as of July 1 of this year. Konstantín Mikaelsson, Manager of Sena’s Film Division, told the media that Sena’s decision was informed by increased consumer demands for facilities and declining attendance.

Sena has managed the operation of Háskólabíó since 2007, but Háskólbíó’s history stretches back to the year 1961. During the first decades, the theatre featured a single large auditorium. Smaller auditoriums were later added. The building was the main concert hall of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra for years until the Harpa Music and Conference Hall was put into use in 2011.

In addition to film screenings, Háskólabíó has been the venue for university classes, concerts, and various events. In June, Guðmundur R. Jónsson, Director of Administration of the University of Iceland, told the media that the university would likely continue to use the building for concerts, conferences, meetings, and teaching.

2023 in Review: Community

Kvennafrídagurinn - kvenna verkfall Arnarhóll Women's strike

As the year draws to a close, Iceland Review brings you a summary of the biggest stories in community, culture, and nature in 2023. Here are some of the political, economic, and social interest stories that most affected Icelandic communities this year.

 

Wage battle

This year started out tense for the labour movement, with Efling Union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) in a wage negotiation deadlock. One-third of all labour contracts in Iceland had expired in the fall of 2022, and while most trade unions were able to reach compromises with SA in the form of shorter-term contracts, Efling Union, the country’s second-largest, held out.

In February, Efling workers voted to strike, leading to the temporary closure of several hotels and shortages of fuel at the pumps. At the height of strike actions in late February, some 2,000 Efling members were on strike. SA responded by proposing a lockout against Efling workers, which was approved in a members’ vote on February 22. Such a lockout would affect all members of Efling, around 21,000 in total, neither allowing them to show up to work, receive a wage, or accrue benefits and leave.

On March 1, the lockout was later postponed after temporarily-appointed state mediator Ástráður Haraldsson submitted a mediating proposal to SA and Efling. Efling members then voted in favour of the proposals, bringing months of tension to an end. The approved agreement is only valid until January 2024, however, and negotiations for the next one have not gotten off to a good start.

Read more about the Efling and SA collective agreement negotiations.

 

Police powers

Iceland is regularly ranked as one of the most peaceful places in the world. However, in May 2023, residents of the capital were greeted by rather unusual sights. Police officers armed with submachine guns prowled the streets, helicopters hovered overhead, and surveillance cameras kept their silent watch over downtown. These security measures were due to the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavík, but not all of them were destined to pack up and leave alongside the private jets of world leaders. It was reported that Icelandic police would keep the additional weapons imported for the summit.

Unfortunately, 2022 proved to be a particularly violent year for Iceland, with a high-profile knife attack in a downtown Reykjavík club, a thwarted domestic terrorism plot, and four homicides (higher than the annual average of two, but not as many as in 2000, when Iceland reported a record six murders). In the wake of this violent year, Justice Minister Jón Gunnarsson declared a “war on organised crime,” the keystone of which is a sweeping package of reforms that includes provisions for increased police funding, pre-emptive search warrants, and better-armed police. For Iceland, a nation where police officers still do not carry firearms on their person, the changes are novel.

They have also not been introduced without pushback. The Icelandic Bar Association submitted many comments on the Justice Minister’s bill that would increase Icelandic police’s powers to monitor people whoa re not suspected of crimes. Later that same month, the Parliamentary Ombudsman published a legal opinion stating that Jón Gunnarsson was guilty of a lack of consultation with the cabinet when he signed an amendment to regulations, authorising Icelandic police to carry electroshock weapons. This issue in particular triggered a failed vote of no confidence in Parliament.

Read more about police powers in Iceland.

 

Regulations on asylum seekers

In the spring of 2023, after several failed attempts and harsh criticism from human rights groups, Iceland’s Parliament passed new legislation that tightens restrictions on asylum seekers. The most significant change is that people whose asylum applications have received a final rejection are now stripped of essential services unless they consent to deportation. As a result, dozens of asylum seekers unable to leave the country for reasons personal or political are being stripped of housing and services, leaving many of them on the streets.

When the legislation took effect, municipal and state authorities could not agree on who was responsible for providing for the group’s basic needs. Now it appears that municipalities will provide basic services to the group, but the state will ultimately foot the bill, in a system more costly to taxpayers than the one it has replaced. Iceland’s Justice Minister Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir has proposed erecting detention centres for asylum seekers and stated she will introduce a bill to that effect in early 2024.

Icelandic authorities have been criticised for the deportation of many asylum seekers this year as well, and how such deportations have been handled. The country deported 180 Venezuelans back to their home country in November, where they received a cold welcome. A disabled asylum seeker left Iceland with his family this month after a ruling that his family members would be deported.

Read more about the eviction of asylum seekers from state-subsidised housing in Iceland.

 

Bjarni Benediktsson resigns

On October 10, 2023, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson called a snap press conference. The call came on the heels of an opinion authored by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that concluded that the Minister of Finance’s role in the ongoing privatisation of Íslandsbanki bank – which had been nationalised following the 2008 banking collapse – had not conformed to state guidelines.

The official opinion of the Ombudsman stated: “In light of the fact that a company owned by the Finance Minister’s father was among the buyers in the sale of the state’s 22.5% share of the Íslandsbanki bank, sold in March 2022, the Minister was unfit to approve of a proposal made by Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) to go ahead with the sale.”

At the press conference, Bjarni announced his decision to step down as Minister of Finance, despite his “own views, reasons, and understanding” of the Ombudsman’s opinion. Only six ministers have ever resigned from office following criticism or protest since the Republic of Iceland was established in 1944. However, the historic act was somewhat tempered when it was later announced that Bjarni would “switch seats” with Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir to become Minister for Foreign Affairs while Þórdís took the position of Finance Minister. Þórdís has announced that she will move forward with selling the remainder of Íslandsbanki.

Read more about Bjarni Benediktsson.

 

Persistent inflation

As elsewhere in the world, 2023 has been marked by persistent inflation and a significant increase in the cost of living in Iceland. In an attempt to curb inflation, the Central Bank of Iceland continued raising interest rates throughout the first three quarters, to a height of 9.25% for the key interest rate. In October and November, however, it decided to keep that rate unchanged, citing economic uncertainty.

In June, Iceland’s government introduced measures to counter inflation, involving a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. The measures have yet to show a significant impact, as inflation remains high. In November, it had measured 8% over the past 12 months and risen by 0.1% in the previous month.

Food prices have risen amid inflation, with the price of perishable good rising 12.2% year over year, significantly above inflation. When the króna appreciated mid-year, the Minister of Culture and Business Affairs sought clarification from major grocery chains on why prices had not fallen. Iceland ranks third globally when terms of food prices, trailing only Norway and Switzerland.

The rising interest rates have significantly impacted the housing market and put many families in a tight spot.

 

Women’s strike draws huge crowds

On October 24, 2023, women and non-binary people in Iceland held a strike in support of gender equality that drew historic crowds. Inspired by the original 1975 “Women’s Day Off,” the aim of the protest was twofold: to call for the eradication of gender-based violence and rectifying the undervaluation of female-dominated professions.

Public gatherings were held across the country, and in Reykjavík the turnout exceeded expectations. Chief Superintendent of Reykjavík Metropolitan Police Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson estimated that between 70,000-100,000 people attended the event on Arnarhóll hill in the city centre.

While Women’s Strikes have been held in Iceland from time to time over the last several decades, this event was only the second full-day strike of its kind, the first one being the original historic protest in 1975. This year, even Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir walked off the job and attended the protest. The news about the Women’s Strike in Iceland spread fast around the globe, with international media outlets reporting on the event, including the New York Times, BBC, and the Guardian.

Read more about the 2023 Women’s Strike.

Women’s Strike Drew Close to a Quarter of Iceland’s Population

Arnarhóll hill women's strike 2023

Yesterday, a protest inspired by the 1975 Icelandic women’s strike took place in downtown Reykjavík. An officer with the Capital Area Police told Vísir that there had “never been such a crowd” gathered on Arnarhóll Hill and nearby streets.

The cause is just; the weather, fantastic

Yesterday, numerous women and non-binary persons in Iceland took the day off in order to participate in a demonstration inspired by the 1975 Icelandic women’s strike. The aim of the protest was twofold: eradicating gender-based violence and rectifying the undervaluation of so-called women’s professions.

Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson, Chief Superintendent of the Capital Region Police – who has overseen many gatherings in downtown Reykjavik over the past decades – told Vísir yesterday that he had never seen such a crowd in central Reykjavík: “There has never been such a crowd around Arnarhóll Hill and in the nearby streets – not even on Culture Night,” Ásgeir Þór stated.

As noted by Vísir, it is difficult to estimate the exact size of yesterday’s crowd. The police, monitoring the proceedings at its control centre with the aid of cameras, speculated that the number of demonstrators might have reached a six-figure number.

“Probably around 70,000-100,000 people,” Ásgeir Þór told Vísir. “We expected a large turnout, but this exceeded all expectations. After all, the cause is just, and the weather was, of course, fantastic.”

Record Attendance Expected at This Year’s Reykjavík Bear Festival

Reykjavík Bear Festival

The annual Reykjavík Bear Festival, hosted in association with the National Queer Organisation, has sold out, doubling last year’s ticket sales. The event promotes diversity and body positivity within the bear community.

Celebrating diversity and promoting body positivity

The annual Reykjavík Bear Festival, organised by the non-profit Bears of Iceland, is set to run from August 31 to September 3, attracting a record number of attendees. Hosted in association with the National Queer Organisation of Iceland (Samtökin ’78), the festival has sold twice as many tickets as last year and has been sold out since June.

Open to all regardless of gender identity, the event aims to celebrate diversity and promote body positivity. “Leave body shaming at the door,” a press release from Bears of Iceland reads. The festival emphasises bear-community values such as empathy, solidarity, and joie de vivre. “Bears usually have one thing in common: they are sweet, cheerful, funny, and kind to their neighbours,” the press release notes.

The four-day festival lineup includes a Blue Lagoon visit, a Golden Circle tour, brunch, and nightly parties. Friday features a top-off event at Gaukurinn in downtown Reykjavík, while Saturday’s main party is set at Sunset Bar in the Reykjavík EDITION hotel. Entertainment includes DJ Mighty Bear’s fusion of queer culture and futuristic sounds; Spain’s DJ Neo Scott; and France’s DJ Joff.

Founded in 2019, Bears of Iceland hosts various events year-round to increase visibility and camaraderie within the bear community.

A bear is a subcultural term used primarily by gay men, referring to a subset of men who embrace and subvert traditional masculinity and defy the stereotypes typically applied to gay men.

Large Turnout Expected for Reykjavík’s Annual Culture Night

Arnarhóll

Reykjavík’s annual Culture Night will be held this Saturday, August 19. Organisers expect a large turnout, and attendees are encouraged to ride their bikes or take the bus to the city centre, RÚV reports.

Visitors urged to bike or take the bus

Reykjavík’s 28th annual Culture Night will be held tomorrow, Saturday, August 19. This year’s programme will feature concerts, workshops, art exhibitions, and more, before culminating in the annual fireworks display at 11 PM (click here for more information on the programme). Meteorologists expect good visibility.

As always, attendees are urged to bike or take the bus to the city centre. As noted by RÚV, while past bus rides on Culture Night have been free – standard fares will apply this year. During the festivities, buses will depart with increased frequency on routes 1-6, 11-15.

After 10.30 PM, all buses will reroute to Sæbraut (near the Sun Voyager sculpture), from where passengers will be ferried home for free following the fireworks. Reykjavík’s nighttime bus service will commence at 1 AM.

Limited parking space

Those who intend to drive to the city centre should be mindful of limited parking space. Drivers are encouraged to park in Laugardalur or Borgartún and use the free Strætó shuttle service from the Laugardalshöll arena (with stops at Borgartún and Hlemmur en route to the Hallgrímskirkja church).

See below map for details on street closures and key locations.

Menningarnótt 2023

Major streets including Hverfisgata, Laugavegur, Sóleyjargata, Skothúsvegur, and Geirsgata will close from 7 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, with Sæbraut being partially closed, as well.

The Reykjavík Marathon, which will be ongoing from 8 AM to 4 PM, will also affect traffic, starting today at 4 PM (see the marathon website for details).

Westman Islands the Guest of Honour

The guest of honour at this year’s Culture Night will be the Westman Islands, with representatives from the archipelago hosting an entertainment programme at Reykjavík City Hall. Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson and Mayor of the Westman Islands Íris Róbertsdóttir will hold a joint press conference at the Hljómskálagarðurinn Park at 11 AM on Saturday.

The concert at Arnarhóll will begin at 19.30 PM. Flóni, Aron Can, Diljá, Una Torfa, HAM, Klara Elias will take the stage. Ragga Gísla will close the concert, joined by Valdimar, GDRN, and Mugison.

8.9% Increase in Foreign Nationals Living in Iceland

pedestrian street Laugavegur Reykjavík

70,307 foreign nationals were registered as residents in Iceland as of July 1, which is an increase of 5,722 persons since December 1 of last year (or 8.9%). Iceland’s total population as of July 1 was 393,955.

Greatest Relative Increase Among Palestinians, Belarusians

According to Registers Iceland, 70,307 foreign nationals were registered as residents in Iceland as of July 1. This marks an increase of 5,722 people (8.9%) since December 1 of last year.

Significant population increases were noted among Polish, Ukrainian, and Romanian nationals. The Ukrainian resident count rose by 43.4% (982 individuals), now totalling 3,247; the number of Romanian residents in Iceland increased by 14.7% (534 individuals), standing at 4,157; and Polish residents, the largest foreign national group, grew by 7.2% (1,677 individuals), reaching a total of 24,973.

As noted by Registers Iceland, the most significant relative growth among foreign nationals was seen among Belarusian citizens, with a 46.7% rise, or 14 individuals. Palestinian nationals increased by 39.4%, or by 122 individuals.

During the same period, the Icelandic citizen count saw a minor increase of 1,062, or 0.3%. Iceland’s total population as of July 1 was 393,955.