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The Country of Iceland is famous for a variety of reasons. Plus, with a name like that, it might be imagined that all of the water there is cold or in a solid form, but no; Iceland has hot and cold water. It's a highly geological place, and geothermal springs produce hot pools, a great tourist attraction, amongst the snowy landscape. If Iceland was further South, some folks would think it was Atlantis. It's an expanding island astride either side of the mid-atlantic ridge, with one half being pulled towards Europe and the other side being pulled towards America.

Iceland is not overcrowded, having a population of about a third of a million people, on a country which is comparatively large for its population size.

Unofficial ambassador Bjork seems to do quite a lot of good for the reputation of the place!

The Icelandic phone book has all the people listed by their first names! There's a good reason for this, besides being sociable as if everyone knows each-other on first-name terms. In Iceland, the naming tradition is not to have a "first name" and a "family name" like in the UK, but instead, a person has their first name, and then the name of their mother/father as their second name, with "s" and then "-son" or "-dottir" on the end according to their gender. Hence, Magnus Magnusson = Magnus, son of Magnus, and Bjork Gudmundsdottir = Bjork, daughter of Gudmund. You can see the way the naming system works. (also see single name and real name).

Iceland is also famous for standing apart from the rest of the world and being different. Things don't have to be done the "normal" way in which things are assumed to be in the UK and the USA. You can see a hint of this in Lazy Town, which is not Reykjavík on a quiet day, but a children's TV show that's a notable Icelandic export.

Iceland has not always seen eye-to-eye with Britain, on such matters as the Cod War and the Credit Crunch, but Britain also has a problem with snow. Even a few inches of snow in Britain can bring the country grinding to a halt. Also, British railways have been known to be stopped because of "the wrong kind of snow", whereas in Iceland there is no problem with the railways. That's because there are no railways in Iceland.

There's an airline, Iceland Express, which is a notable Icelandic Airline featured here. Also, Nordic Visitor is a travel agency for tours of Iceland and other places in the North.

The Icelandic language has developed in a quite different way to most world languages in the modern times. Whereas French has tended to ossify by committee forbidding the inclusion of foreign words, English has expanded and adopted new words from many different languages, and Icelandic has been deliberately expanded by careful thought. When a new word is needed, for example when some new invention gets into common use, instead of a foreign word being adopted, a thoughtful Icelandic linguist creates a new Icelandic word for it, in keeping with the country's traditions.

Beliefs in Iceland have been less controlled and homogenised by monotheism than in most countries. In Iceland, there are still plenty of people who believe in the Huldufolk (hidden people), or Elves. Civil engineering is planned taking this into account, in a similar way to that in which Feng Shui is taken into account in the Far East.

In 2011, the people of Iceland had a democratic referendum to decide whether the country should pay back its debts to the UK and the Netherlands. The people voted not to pay the debts back. This now produces some interesting situations, for example who's going to lend the country any more money ever?

If you'd like to visit Iceland, there are some helpful travel contacts here.

A few Iceland links include...Island of Iceland




Icelandic Market

Note that http://www.iceland.com/ was NOT a real site when last examined, as the links were mostly irrelevant pseudo-search results, suggesting the domain has become victim to cybersquatters.

The .is domain registry has problems of exclusivity, so it's a much underused resource despite its obvious potential. This is so much of a problem that even Björk is not www.bjork.is !

A special WELL DONE to the Mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr for making a public display of support for dissident punk band Pussy Riot who were jailed in Moscow for saying things which the President of Russia didn't like. This sets a good example of non-stuffiness, which politicians around the world could learn from. Maybe there is hope yet!

Another Well Done to Iceland for having real GMT all year round, with no silly daylight saving time!

* Image, Map of Iceland, copyright-free, acquired from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Iceland.svg

Not to be confused with Iceland.co.uk which is a British frozen food supermarket which also sells fridges and freezers.

The country of Iceland is one of a small number of countries still involved with killing whales. Shameful. Note: You don't see any whalemeat in Iceland Frozen Food supermarket freezers. It's the country that's doing it; not the shop!