As a US citizen, can I bring my guns and cars over?

While the most difficult part of bringing a car over from the states is shipping, importing guns is more complicated. Icelandic legislation requires gun owners to hold a firearms permit, unless the weapon has been permanently deactivated by a gunsmith.
To own a gun in Iceland, you must be at least 20 years old with no criminal record. You must pass a mental and physical health check and get recommendations from two people to attend a course on guns, gun safety, and gun and hunting laws. After passing a written test, you’re issued a permit for smaller shotguns and rifles. For larger rifles (up to 30 calibres) and semi-automatic shotguns, you must wait an additional year.
It’s prohibitedto import automatic or semi-automatic handguns to Iceland; automatic or semi-automatic rifles; automatic shotguns; and semi-automatic or manually loaded multi-cartridge shotguns with chambers for more than two cartridges, unless the weapon has been modified to comply with these conditions. Importing firearms without a manufacturer’s serial number is prohibited, but this condition can be waived when a firearm has a collectible value. Collector permits can be issued for the possession of collectible firearms with historical value.
As for cars, all imported vehicles must be cleared through customs and examined in an accredited inspection facility, and finally registered with the Icelandic Transport Authority.

You may also find the more recent Ask Iceland Review on importing guns to Iceland to be useful!

“We don’t want Laugavegur to become a restaurant street”

Reykjavík walking district laugavegur

City officials and restaurateurs are at odds about whether the ongoing expansion of the downtown shopping and dining district is actually good for businesses long-term, Vísir reports. On one hand, officials say that more shops and restaurants have opened in the last 18 months than closed. On the other, local restaurateurs point to the recent closure of several long-running downtown restaurants of note, saying that the influx of restaurants is overwhelming the market. But city officials say they will not be setting a cap on the number of restaurants that open in the area.

Among the Reykjavík restaurants that have closed recently are Dill—previously the only restaurant in Iceland with a Michelin star—as well as its sister restaurant (the aptly named Systir) and Óstabúðin, a cheese and charcuterie shop that also operated a popular café. The latter shuttered only this week, and in an interview about the closure, owner Jóhann Jónsson remarked that the business environment in downtown Reykjavík has become particularly difficult because so many restaurants are entering the market. Restaurant owners have to contend with competition not just from other sit-down venues, he said, but also food trucks.

Jóhann also noted that there are 35,000 seats for diners in downtown Reykjavík alone. For perspective, per Statistics Iceland, the population of Iceland was 360,390 at the end of the second quarter of 2019. So currently, just under 10% of the population could sit down for dinner in downtown Reykjavík at the same time.


“This is about protecting shopping downtown”

Many restaurant owners have spoken out in recent months to say that the city is issuing too many permits for restaurants in downtown Reykjavík. According to Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, the chair of the city’s Planning and Transportation Board, there is only a quota in place to control the number of shops that are allowed to be on specific downtown streets.

“In reality, this is about protecting shopping downtown because we think that’s important,” she said. “Restaurants are allowed to come in when the quota of shops has been filled on those streets. That’s where the oversight comes in. We don’t want Laugavegur to become a restaurant street—that would be monotonous and it would lose its draw. That’s why we want to keep the stores there.”

As the number of tourists have increased on Laugavegur, more opportunities have been made for stores to open on the main street and, as a result, more restaurants were given permission to open as well. However, this increase in restaurants has mostly occurred on side streets that cross Laugavegur, or in nearby neighborhoods such as in the area around Hlemmur, the former bus station turned food hall, and Grandi, a former warehouse district near the waterfront on the west side of town.

Sigurborg Ósk says that downtown expansion is happening quickly, and that demand is driving the number of restaurants that want, and are being given, permits to open. “Downtown has really gotten a lot bigger in recent years and in the future, it will reach all the way up to Suðurlandsbraut.” (Laugavegur becomes Suðurlandsbraut east of Kringlumýrabraut and runs along Laugardalur on the east side of Reykjavík.)

“There is a certain market prevailing here and if there is demand for more restaurants, then more restaurants will open,” Sigurborg Ósk continued. “I think it would be very unusual for us, as the government, to directly intervene in that.”


“Downtown is booming like never before”

Sigurborg Ósk says that downtown is the most sought-out area in Reykjavík. It is responding to an international trend, she says, wherein people opt not to go to large shopping centers, but rather focus on downtown districts where they can experience the everyday life of a place and local food culture.

“It’s safe to say that there are more places opening than closing and downtown is booming like never before.”

Secret Solstice May Relocate Amidst Nonpayment Complaints

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1555062230097{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]The Secret Solstice music festival owes the City of Reykjavík a total of ISK 42.5 million ($354,000/€314,000), RÚV reports, a debt that the capital’s district commissioner has unsuccessfully attempted to recover four times already. The news comes amidst multiple complaints from previous headliners and performers who say they still have not been paid for taking part in previous years’ festivals. Nevertheless, representatives for Secret Solstice insist that this year’s event will go on as planned – with or without the city’s involvement – and will be the “biggest and best yet.”

Performers say they haven’t been paid

Secret Solstice has been held annually in Reykjavík since 2014. In that time, festival attendance has gone from 8,000 attendees in the first year to upwards of 15,000 in 2018. The festival has hosted dozens of big name international acts such as Bonnie Tyler, Deftones, FKA Twigs, Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Radiohead, and the Wu Tang Clan, among others. This year’s headliners include Black Eyed Peas, Patti Smith, Pussy Riot, and Robert Plant. However, although Solstice Productions, the company that previously managed the festival put on an additional large concert with Guns ‘N Roses only last year, it seems that numerous Secret Solstice performers have yet to be paid.

Metal band Slayer, who headlined in 2018, is reportedly suing the festival organisers for only having received partial payment; the band says it is still owed ISK 16 million ($133,000/€118,000). The Icelandic feminist rap collective Reykjavíkurdætur has also recently blasted the festival, saying that not only were they not paid for last year’s festival, but they’ve also been invited this year to perform for free.

Representatives for Secret Solstice have stated that the festival was sold to a new company, Live Events, and as such, is not responsible for settling previous festival debts incurred by Solstice Productions. Live Events is registered to Guðmundur Hreiðarsson Viborg, an economist who resides in the Canary Islands. “The alleged debt has absolutely nothing to do with Live Events, as the company was not involved with previous festivals,” read a statement issued by Secret Solstice lawyers.

Relocation under discussion

Secret Solstice has a contract with the City of Reykjavík that should allow it to hold the festival in a large park in Laugardalur neighbourhood every summer until 2020. This location has proved controversial, as residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have complained about festivalgoers’ persistent drug use as well as organisers leaving the festival grounds strewn with garbage after the end of the event.

Organisers have pledged to address these complaints but may not be able to reconcile with the city so easily. In light of its outstanding debt, in fact, the City of Reykjavík has stated that permits will not be issued for the 2019 event unless ISK 11.6 million [$96,699; € 85,788] of its debt is paid by April 1, 2019.

As such, Secret Solstice seems to be considering other options for festival locations. RÚV reports that representatives for the festival met with the mayor of the Ölfus municipality in South Iceland on Wednesday about the possibility of hosting the event there. According to an announcement made the same day, negotiations are underway with Fákasel, a restaurant and horse park located about half an hour outside of Reykjavík, to possibly stage the event on their spacious property.

Ölfus mayor Elliði Vignisson noted that a festival of Secret Solstice’s size is perhaps better suited to being held in a less populous area. And while nothing has been decided for certain about the relocation, he’s open to the idea: “You should never say no until you’ve first said maybe.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

One Third of Requests to Scatter Ashes Come From Foreigners

Foreigners who don’t live in Iceland make up a third of those who request to have their ashes scattered in the country or in the ocean around it, RÚV reports. Applications for permission to scatter ashes in Iceland have more than doubled from 2013 – 2018.

There have been a total of 158 requests to scatter ashes in the last six years, 53 of which came from individuals with foreign citizenship who did not reside in Iceland while alive. Two applications were rejected in 2013, but no applications have been rejected since. Application numbers have increased fairly steadily, although not entirely consistently: there were 18 applications in 2013, but only 13 in 2015, then 36 in 2017, and 38 in 2018.

These statistics were published in Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen’s reply to an inquiry from Left-Green MP Andrés Ingi Jónsson about cremations and burials in Iceland. Cremation has become increasingly prevalent in Iceland. Over a quarter of Icelanders who died in 2013 and 2014 were cremated. According to Icelandic law, ashes may be scattered in the sea or over uninhabited land; ashes cannot be scattered in inhabited areas, areas that are likely to be developed for habitation, or lakes. Scattering sites must be well away from main roadways and only on private land if a special permit has been obtained. Ashes may be scattered on mountains, but not near popular hiking trails.

“Each application is evaluated individually and the [scattering area] is examined on a map, if need be,” explained Sigríður in her reply. “Applicants are even asked to provide data on the proposed scattering site and information is obtained from people who are familiar with the area.”