32 Interesting facts about Iceland may blow your mind

Interesting facts about Iceland

In the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is a Nordic island country that is the most sparsely populated in Europe. The capital of this country is Reykjavik and also this is largest city here. Over two-thirds of the country’s population resides in Reykjavik and its surrounding southwest areas of the country. Now the question is what the geography of Iceland is. The answer to this question is with its central volcanic plateau erupting almost every day. The country is the only mid-Atlantic ridge part that rises above sea level. The plateau’s interior consists of lava fields, glaciers, sands and mountains, and several glacial rivers flowing through the lowlands to the sea.

Interesting facts about Iceland
Illustration of Iceland flag

Iceland has high latitude and is just outside the Arctic Circle but has a temperate climate and is usually warmed by the Gulf Stream. Most of the country’s islands have a polar climate, and due to its high latitude and marine influence, the summers are usually chilly. Compared to other OECD countries, along with the highest trade union membership globally, the country has a market economy with very low taxes. The nation’s Scandinavian heritage funds the Icelandic culture, and most of the Icelanders are the descendants of Gaelic and Norse settlers.

Interesting facts about Iceland:

About 60% of the Icelandic population resides in Reykjavik’s capital city

Despite its small size, Reykjavik is home to more than half of the residents of Iceland. It is the most northern capital city around the globe. The city is quirky and colourful and full of restaurants, bars, cafes, and museums. The city is extremely walkable and is a perfect destination to explore on foot.

The last place on the earth to be settled by humans

The country was discovered by accident about 1,100 years ago by Vikings from Norway. It is known as the youngest landmass of the earth.

The most eco-friendly country in the world

Almost all the electricity is produced using renewable energy sources. Hence, it is ranked as the most eco-friendly country in the whole world. In 2014, Reykjavik, the capital city, won the Nordic nature and environment prize. This city is working towards a goal of being a carbon-neutral city by 2040.

11% of the country is covered by glaciers

One of the interesting facts about Iceland is that the glaciers are one of the country’s main attractions, and about 11% of the country is covered by them. The country is home to 269 named glaciers and has Europe’s largest glacier called Vatnajokull. Vatnajokull is about three times the size of Luxembourg and Rhode Island.

The national colours of Iceland

There are three national colours of Iceland, and they are red, white and blue, which also appear on the country’s national flag. These three colours represent the elements that the land is made up of, such as the volcanic fire is represented by red, snow by white and the ocean is represented by the colour blue.

Northern lights

From September to march, the northern lights can be seen in Iceland. To witness the spectacular view of the Aurora Borealis, September to March is the best time to visit the country for this natural light show. Aurora Borealis is an incredible natural occurrence created due to the interaction of the solar particles with the atmosphere in the earth’s magnetic field.

Handball-the national sport of Iceland

Handball is the national sport of Iceland which is played between two teams, each consisting of seven players inside a rectangular field. This game’s objective is to score by driving the ball into the opposing team’s net. The duration of this game is 60 minutes, and the team with the most scores wins the game.

The Icelandic horse

In Iceland’s history, the Icelandic horse has played an important part, and this Icelandic horse is the only horse breed in Iceland. Known for their muscular bodies and the ability to grow short hair hairs in summers and long hair in winter, the Icelandic horses are one of the purest breeds in the whole world. But what are Icelandic horses used for is a general question. Known for their friendly and curious nature, these horses are used for general horse riding.

The country with the longest workweeks in Europe

One of the interesting facts about Iceland is that on average, the people of Iceland work about 45 hours a week, which is the longest workweek a country, has in entire Europe.

Outdoor swims in hot springs all around the year

In various shapes and sizes, the hot springs are found all around the country. And this outdoor bathing experience in volcanically heated pools can be traced back to Viking times.

Until 1989, beer was banned in the country

After a referendum vote by the population, the country went through a prohibition of beer which started in 1915 and ended in 1989. By commemorating the end of the 74-year beer ban, the country celebrates its beer day on March 1st.

Use of patronymic naming system

The patronymic naming system was followed throughout the Nordic region. Still, now only Iceland follows the norm meaning there is no family name in the country and is one of the cool facts about Iceland. And hence almost all the Icelanders name always end in the son of or daughter of.

interesting facts about iceland

Country with more than 100 volcanoes

Iceland is a country with more than 100 volcanoes, and most of them are active. Most of Iceland is covered with lava fields, all thanks to the constant volcanic activity in the country. But the question is why Iceland has volcanoes. The sole answer to this question lies beneath the surface. Iceland is located on a mantle plume, and here the magma is especially close to the surface, and hence the land formed in the spot is in the middle of the ocean and not along the tectonic ridges.

Approval of your name

One of the fun facts about Iceland is that there is a naming committee in Iceland that has a list of approved given names along with the banned names. He must first seek permission from this naming committee to name his child with a name not in the approved naming list.

the population of Iceland is less than Arlington, Texas

The population of Iceland, according to the population data released in 2020, is just 364,134. The immigrants form about 15.2% of the entire Icelander population, and the single largest immigrant group is made up of the people born in Poland.

The first parliament of Europe

The first parliament of Europe is located in the country’s pingvellir national park. Back in the year 930, the first parliament met in that area, and now it is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. The Althing open-air assembly settled laws and disputes for two weeks each year there, and it continued till 1798.

No McDonald in Iceland

One of the fun facts about Iceland is that it is the only country throughout Europe with no McDonald franchise. This American fast-food franchise had operated four locations in the country, but in the year 2009, the last one closed.

It is a physical boundary between Europe and America

The country lies in the mid-Atlantic ridges. It is thus the only place where the effects of both the major tectonic plates drifting apart can be seen. The North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates meet each other at the Thingvellir national park.

Iceland has its currency

This Country uses the Icelandic krona instead of the Euro. By far, it is the second smallest country to have its currency and monetary policy after Seychelles.

Country with its fjords:

One of the Iceland facts is that its coastline has more than 100 fjords that pierce it into two main groups. One of them is located in the northwest, while the other is located on the country’s east coast.

Country with no standing army

One of the weird facts about Iceland is that in Iceland, the violent crimes are very low despite the popularity of Nordic noir. It is the only NATO country with no air force, navy and standing army. But the country has a national coastguard, air defence system, and the crisis response unit (ICRU), but they don’t carry arms.

Country with no forests

The country was formed due to harsh phenomena such as glaciers and volcanoes. When Vikings arrived, they cut down almost all the native trees. Reforestation is attempted in the country today, but you will still notice the lack of forests in Iceland.

Preserved language

One of the interesting facts about Iceland is that with its very close resemblance to Norwegian and Danish languages, the Icelandic language remains unique in its way. The Icelandic language has remained very close to its original roots, unlike other languages that have changed over the period.

Country with weird cuisine

The weird facts about Iceland is that apart from dried fish, whales, and puffin, the country’s food culture includes fermented sharks, pickled ram’s testicles and sheep’s heads. Some of these dishes can be found in any restaurant in the country.

Commercial whaling

One of the major Iceland fact is that the main industry of the country is fishing. It is one of the few countries in the world that still allows commercial whaling, which is quite controversial and has created tensions between peaceful countries and various other nations.

A nation of book lovers

Iceland has a high proportion of published authors and a holiday tradition involving books. About 1 in 10 people publish a book. While in most parts of the world, the day before Christmas is called Christmas Eve, but in Iceland, the day is used to exchange books as gifts between the family members and the evening is spent reading them.

Economy of Iceland

The country has an economic freedom score of 77.4, which makes it the 11th freest in the 2021 index. There are three pillars of Iceland’s economy, and they are tourism, fishing and aluminium smelting. As we know it is a small country. So people here heavily realy on fisheries. But with advanced communication system and globalization tourism of this country has improved a lot. The country also has a grateful store house of Aluminum for generating a good foreign exchange.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland

Why did Iceland have a volcano erupt? And the answer to this question is due to the combination of mid-Atlantic ridge activity and hotspot activity, and the volcanic eruption is much more common in the country compared to other nations. About every 5-10 years, the eruption occurs and primarily consists of tephra and basaltic lava.

Interesting facts about Iceland
Kirkjufell at sunrise in Iceland Beautiful landscape.

Elves and trolls

One of the fun facts about Iceland is that more than 50% of the Icelandic population believes in elves and trolls. Several amusing stories and legends are there regarding these creatures.

Country with no mosquitoes

The island is free from mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies like snakes and poisonous spiders. But the country has biting midges like sand flies, whose biting can sometimes be even worse than the bite of a mosquito.

Reykjavik once had a comedian as its mayor

The comedian Jon Gnarr in the year 2010, as a joke ran for mayor and surprisingly won the position. He eventually served the position for 4 years and in-between also went back to some of his campaign promises for example adding a polar bear to a local zoo.

Let your babies sleep outside even in freezing temperature

In Nordic countries, it is pretty common for parents to let their babies sleep outside even in freezing temperatures. The parents believe that with abundant of fresh air, the babies sleeps better and helps in staying healthy and this is one of the cool facts about Iceland.

Conclusion:

Iceland has become a very popular travel destination over the past few years, the land of fire and ice. This island is marked with several dramatic landscapes such as volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, lava fields, and massive glaciers such as Vatnajokull and Snaefellsjokull are protected in national parks. The country has several characteristics ranging from its magnificent glaciers to epic natural nighttime displays, along with its thundering waterfalls, making this island a unique place on earth.

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