Funny facts about Iceland
There are many Interesting and Funny Facts About Iceland which could be separated into categories, here are just a few samples. But there is much more.
The People of Iceland
- Most Icelanders do not have a family name (such as Johnson, Smith, etc). Instead children have a given name and then father’s name + son or father’s name + daughter.
Thus: Jon has a son named Thor Jonsson and a daughter named Hafdis Jonsdottir. Thor Jonsson has a son named Bjarni Thorsson and a daughter named Frida Thorsdottir. And so forth, the children of Hafdis Jonsdottir will carry the name of their father but she won't because Icelandic women don’t take the husband’s name when they marry.
- Because they don’t have surnames, Icelanders are listed in the telephone directory alphabetically by first name.
- Because they don’t have surnames, it is not appropriate to call an Icelander by Mr. or Ms. Almost all Icelanders use the first name with everyone, including the president of Iceland.
- Icelanders rank near the top of world nations in the per capita rate of connection to the Internet.
- Iceland has no army, navy, or air force. It does have a Coast Guard.
Icelandic Language and culture
- The Icelandic language is unique, the English word geyser comes from Icelandic, Geysir is the name of a famous geyser in Iceland (which,
sadly, no longer erupts). Icelanders speak the Icelandic language, which is used only in Iceland and among Icelandic expatriates chiefly in Scandinavia and North
- Icelandic is very similar to old Norwegian of about 1,000 years ago.
- There are only about 320,000 Icelanders in the country. About two thirds of them live in the capital Reykjavik and its suburbs.
- According to Icelandic folklore there are 13 santa clause-like trolls who come by during christmas and give small presents to children which they leave in their windows at night.
- roads in Iceland have been moved because they lie too close to large rocks and boulders which are the homes of Icelandic elves.
- Icelandic water is so clean and pure that it is piped into the city and to the kitchen taps in the home without any treatment (no chlorination needed).
- Icelandic homes do not need a water heater or a furnace for heating. Steam and hot water are piped into the city from natural geysers and hot springs for use in homes and buildings.
- Because of its bountiful water supply and many rivers, Iceland has vast reserves of hydroelectric power.
- Electricity is so inexpensive that aluminum ore (bauxite) is shipped in to the country, made into aluminum, and the aluminum ingots are shipped out again. (Smelting aluminum requires vast amounts of electricity.)
- The weather in Iceland is not as cold as you might think. (Winter is a lot colder in Minnesota than it is in Iceland!) The climate is relatively mild because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream. Average winter daytime temperature in Reykjavik is 31 degrees F. (1 degrees C.)
- Iceland is very green, because there is so much water and the climate is mild. (There are not many trees however.) People like to say that Iceland should be named Greenland and Greenland should be named Iceland.
- Iceland lies just south of the Arctic Circle. Winter nights and summer days are long. On December 21 in the capital, the sun rises at 11:30 a.m. and
sets at 3:30 p.m. On June 21 the sun sets about midnight and rises at 3:00 a.m. It never gets darker than twilight at night during the late spring and early summer.
Hvannadalshnjukur is the tallest mountain in Iceland, 2119 m, Vatnajokull is the largest glacier, 8300 km2, Þjorsa the longest river, 230 km.
Iceland is an island of 103.000 km2 (39,756 sq.miles), with an average height of 500 m above sea level. Its highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, rises to 2.119 m and over 11 per cent of the country is covered by glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest in Europe.
When traveling in Iceland you need to be aware of the ever changing weather conditions in Iceland. Iceland weather is typically better than the geological location would imply but there are many things to consider about the weather in Iceland.
Iceland's Scandinavian-type social-market economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. The economy is heavily dependent upon fishing. Despite effort to diversify, particularly into the travel industry, seafood exports continue to account for nearly three-quarters of merchandise exports and approximately half of all foreign exchange earnings.
Icelandic is the national language and is believed to have changed very little from the original tongue spoken by the Norse settlers.
The population of Iceland is about 306,000, growing at the rate of 0,74% per year. About 20,7% of people are under 20 years old, and life expectancy is 80,7 years. Most Icelanders (81%) belong to the National Lutheran Church of Iceland.