The Republic of Iceland

Thursday, 5 January 2012 - 01:47 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Reykjavík - Hotel Borg built in 1930 by architect Guðjón Samúelsson © TommyBee

Reykjavík – Hotel Borg built in 1930 by architect Guðjón Samúelsson © TommyBee

Iceland is a European island country in the north Atlantic Ocean on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2 (39,769 sq mi). The capital and the largest city is Reykjavík, with the surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the country being home to two-thirds of the country’s population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterised by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.

According to Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in AD 874 when the chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent Norse settler on the island. Others had visited the island earlier and stayed over winter. Over the following centuries, Norsemen settled Iceland, bringing with them slaves of Gaelic origin. From 1262 to 1918 Iceland was part of the Norwegian and later the Danish monarchies. Until the 20th century, the Icelandic population relied largely on fisheries and agriculture. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Aid brought prosperity in the years after World War II. In 1994, Iceland became party to the European Economic Area, which made it possible for the economy to diversify into economic and financial services.

View of Reykjavík from the tower of Hallgrímskirkja © Andreas Tille Vík í Mýrdal © Bromr Typical Icelandic Road sign, showing the way to lots of farms and villages © Jutta234 Reykjavík © Jóhann Heiðar Árnaso Parliament Building in Reykjavík © Tomi Lake Skorradalsvatn © Reykholt Icelandic Sheep © Jutta234 Gullfoss Falls © Andreas Tille Bolungavík - Traditional fisherboat © TommyBee Iceland Krona Coins © Central Bank of Iceland Reykjavík - Hotel Borg built in 1930 by architect Guðjón Samúelsson © TommyBee
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Typical Icelandic Road sign, showing the way to lots of farms and villages © Jutta234
Iceland has a free market economy with relatively low taxes compared to other OECD countries, while maintaining a Nordic welfare system providing universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. In recent years, Iceland has been one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 2010, it was ranked as the 17th most developed country in the world by the United Nations’ Human Development Index, and the fourth most productive country per capita. In 2008, political unrest occurred as the nation’s entire banking system systematically failed.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation’s Norse heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse (particularly from Western Norway) and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is closely related to Faroese and some West Norwegian dialects. The country’s cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, poetry, and the medieval Icelanders’ sagas. Currently, Iceland has the smallest population among NATO members and is the only one with no standing army.

Read more on inspiredbyiceland.com, VisitIceland.com, Gateway to Iceland, Wikitravel Iceland and Wikipedia Iceland. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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