Iceland Country Overview

Iceland Country Overview

People – population

Iceland has a population of over 340,000. About two thirds of them live in the greater Reykjavik area. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with an average of around three people per square kilometer. Most of the population lives in the lowland plains in the south and southwest and on a narrow strip of the coast. 94 percent of the population consists of a mixture of the descendants of the Nordic and Celtic settlers.

Language

Icelandic is the national language. It belongs to the North Germanic languages ​​and is rooted in Old Norwegian.

Letters like C, Q, W and Z are not used. The language has two letters of its own for this: Ð / ð and Þ / þ. As in English, they are pronounced with a hard or soft “Th”.

Although Icelandic is the national language, English and Danish are widely spoken.

Language course

Among the multitude of language courses, I recommend multimedia language courses because you learn very quickly with this method. The following link provides you with a professional language course with which you can learn Icelandic quickly and easily:

  • Icelandic language course

Religion

The state religious in Iceland is Evangelical Lutheran. But there is also a Catholic Church and a few other religious communities.

Culture

Literature and music have a centuries-old tradition in Iceland. It is not for nothing that Icelanders say about their country: “Half of the residents reads, the other half writes”. Still more books are written, bought and of course read per capita in Iceland than anywhere else in the world. All children and young people receive a sound musical education. It is therefore not surprising that over 80% of children and young people play an instrument.

Education

In the upbringing, a lot of emphasis is placed on developing independent work. Children are given a lot of responsibility from an early age. They are also motivated to be independent.

From the age of 2 to 6, children can be sent to kindergarten. Schooling is compulsory from the age of 6. The primary school (Grunnskóli) goes from the 1st to the 10th grade. The lessons are very practical. Much emphasis is placed on subjects such as crafts, art, music and cooking.

In Iceland, nobody can sit down or fail. There are also no special schools. If there are pupils with learning difficulties, additional staff will be provided to help the pupil. Furthermore, there are no grades in the first four years. An assessment of the performance takes place only from the 5th grade onwards.

Compulsory schooling ends after the 10th grade. The pupils then have the choice to go to high school (Menntaskóli or Framhaldsskóli) or to a vocational school (Verkmenntaskóli). Nobody is prevented from going to high school. Pupils with poorer grades only have to do one year of qualification for the grammar school.

After graduating from high school, you can study at one of the universities. Older students are encouraged to do charitable work for the community during the holidays. You can say that Icelandic children are very happy, balanced, well brought up and well educated.

Public Holidays in Iceland

Fixed holidays

  • New Year * 01.01.
  • The first of May (The Workers’ Day) * 01.05.
  • National holiday (N) * 17.06.
  • Christmas Eve (from noon) 24.12.
  • Christmas Day * 25.12.
  • Second Christmas Day 26.12.
  • New Year’s Eve (from noon) 31.12.

Moving Holidays

  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday (* flag halfway up)
  • Easter (Sunday and Monday after) *
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost Sunday and Monday *

Other holidays:

The third Thursday in April: The first day of summer * (N)
The first Monday in August: The commercial holiday (N)

N = special national holidays for Iceland
* = days on which the flag is hoisted. In addition, the flag is also hoisted on December 1st (Independence Day) and on the President’s birthday.

Climate and Weather

Iceland has a coastal climate. Due to the Gulf Stream and the warm currents from the Gulf of Mexico, Iceland has a relatively mild climate for its location. However, the climate is also determined by the east polar currents of Greenland. Visit themakeupexplorer for Top 10 Sights in Iceland.

In summer there is uninterrupted daylight for two to three months. But then you have the shortest day in December with only 4 hours of daylight. There are frequent storms in winter. There are also storms inland – albeit sandstorms. You can rarely expect snowfall. By and large, the weather is changeable all year round.

In summer the temperatures in Reykjavik fluctuate between 10 ° C and a little more than 15 ° C and in winter temperatures between -3 ° C and 4 ° C. In some areas, temperatures rise to over 20 ° C in summer. In the interior, however, it is significantly cooler. Around 2000 millimeters of precipitation are measured each year. It rains the least in early summer.

Vegetation

The vegetation on Iceland is not exactly rich in species. Extensive forest areas with birch, mountain ash and willow can be found at Lögurinn Lake in East Iceland and in the Þórsmörk Valley. Various herbs and one type of orchid – the northern cuckoo flower – are widespread. The nutrient-rich basaltic lava found on the island provides an ideal place for thick carpets of moss and lichens.

Lush vegetation can only be found on the edge of warm springs and streams, if the soil allows it. Thanks to the geothermal energy and the naturally heated water, even bananas, vines and various cut flowers grow – but only in greenhouses.

Wildlife

Those who love animals are in the right place in Iceland. The seal banks in the north of the island are very popular. Seals and seals are often found on the coasts or in waters close to the coast. You can also see many different species of whales. These include the minke whale, blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale, and porpoise. Dolphins also frolic around the island. Around 270 species of fish live in the numerous waters around and on Iceland. In addition to whales, dolphins, seals and seals, there are also halibut, cod, saithe, redfish and haddock, shrimp and mussels in the sea. The inland waters offer habitat for eels, trout, salmon and sticklebacks, among other things.

The arctic fox and Icelandic horses are indispensable. About 3,000 reindeer also live in the eastern highlands of the island. Farm animals are sheep that can roam freely on the island all summer long. They don’t come back to their owners until autumn.

The variety of birds on the island is enormous. In the interior of the country you can find red thrushes, ptarmigan, black-tailed godwit, oystercatchers and hawks. The Mývatn (area in the north) is known for its diversity of ducks – 15 species live and breed there. Countless sea birds cavort on the coastal areas. We only want to highlight the pretty northern gannet. The world’s largest colony of this bird species can be found on Eldey Island in southwest Iceland. The puffin has become something of a national symbol of Iceland, with several million pairs. Those who want to visit the largest puffin colonies will find them on the Westman Islands and on the cliffs of Látrabjarg in the West Fjords.

Iceland Country Overview