Culture

A Little Book about Icelandic Elves. Because I had to.

March 30, 2015

If there is one thing about the Icelanders that the foreign media LOVES to chew on it is the fact that we all supposedly believe in elves. And if there is one thing that irks just as many of us here, is the way that elf belief is misrepresented to serve as click bait. These endless articles have become […]

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The ones that got away

May 19, 2014

One of my favourite columnists, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, writes a brilliant piece in Fréttablaðið today called “Á Íslendingaslóðum” which may be loosely translated as “Where the Icelanders Are”. It begins: The old [Icelandic] folk stories tend to begin with a man who is chasing sheep up on some mountain. He gets lost, winds up in a fog and […]

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Mirror mirror on the wall, what is the ugliest word of all

November 13, 2013

A few weeks ago, the Department of Humanities at the University of Iceland launched a contest to find the most beautiful word in the Icelandic language. [And in case you’re experiencing a deja vu moment right now – yes, this is something that is periodically done here in the Land of the Nice. We Icelanders […]

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The dreaded requirement of showering naked

November 5, 2013

There was a pretty interesting report the other day on RÚV about the thing that tourists to Iceland dread the most on coming here: having to get naked in the shower before entering any of our numerous swimming pools. Here in Iceland we are so used to showering naked among strangers at the swimming pool […]

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On Netflix, iTunes and Iceland’s cultural isolation

October 28, 2013

Here’s an interesting situation: an Icelandic telecommunications company (Tal) has started offering a new premium service that basically consists of assigning the customer a foreign IP number, which gives him or her access to streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. Technically this is illegal. You see, most of these services, like iTunes, Amazon, and presumably […]

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On the amazing survival of the Icelanders in centuries past

August 7, 2013

There has been some discussion in Iceland lately about the alleged “classlessness” in this country throughout the ages. A ridiculous assertion at best, since everyone who knows the first thing about Icelandic history knows that the class system was alive and thriving in centuries past. Granted, there was extreme poverty, so the majority of the […]

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Maístjarnan

May 1, 2012

It’s May 1, International Workers Day, sometimes called “the real labour day”. Here in Iceland, this is a day when most places that employ workers are closed, and there are marches and rallies held in Reykjavík to demonstrate unity and demand good labour conditions. The “workers day off” maxim has been stretched to the limit […]

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