Mag
Articles
A Trip to an Eco-Village

A Trip to an Eco-Village

Published May 31, 2007

An hour’s drive to the East of Reykjavík is the community of Sólheimar with around fifty houses, home to roughly one hundred persons. Sólheimar is the first intentional community in Iceland and the first Icelandic community to be a member of the Global Eco-Village Network. It was also the first place in the Nordic countries to cultivate food bio-dynamically.

A young woman, Sesselja, who had a vision to treat handicapped people in better ways than cattle, founded the community in 1930. Drawing from Rudolf’s Steiner ideas and her own on how a human society should function, she started organic growing, allowed mentally handicapped children (or idiots as they were then called) to associate with “normal children”, and in the process upset a great number of people. Today the community is fairly accepted, although some minor disputes seem to flare up every now and again, mostly evolving around the spending of money, as always seems to be the case about disputes.

In the community there are a few local run workplaces, a candle factory, organic nursery, arts and crafts store, coffeehouse and a small hotel. Handicapped or not, both work side by side in these workplaces, which are open to the public in the summertime. Sólheimar has a well thought out environmental policy under the motto: “We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrowed it from our children.” One of the goals the Sólheimar community strives to achieve is to create a self-sustained society, relying on organic production and harmony between humans and nature. In 2002 a completely self sustained house was built at Sólheimar, Sesseljuhús, which houses an educational environmental center, with the house itself being the biggest part – a blueprint of sorts for buildings that are built without having a negative impact on the environment.

A visit to Sólheimar is a highly recommended affair. It is a unique place and one that gives a hint of a different future than ever expanding, smog filled, detached cities. Check it out. www.solheimar.is, www.sesseljuhus.is



Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Dyngjujökull Glacier Photo Gallery

by

On August 21, photographer Axel Sigurðarson flew over Dyngjökull glacier in a two-seater airplane through Mýflug Air. He didn’t see any volcanic eruption, but snapped some gorgeous shots for us—check them out below. See more Eruption Iceland stories.

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

“They Are A Gruesome Lot”

by

It is thought that the first cats touched Icelandic soil in the tenth century, accompanied by human settlers. Those first Icelandic cats did not leave much of a mark on history. Though cats appear in Nordic mythology and Icelandic folklore, our furry friends are seldom mentioned in Icelandic historical chronicles, sagas or other ancient literature. A notable exception to this is ‘Vatnsdæla saga’ (‘The Saga Of The People Of Vatnsdalur’), a thirteenth century family chronicle about Ingimundur the Old, the first settler in Vatnsdalur valley in northern Iceland, and his offspring. In one chapter, Ingimundur’s two sons, Þorsteinn and Jökull,

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

In A Class By ItsELF

by

Reykjavík’s Elfschool is an institution of learning unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Nestled on the second floor of a nondescript building in the commercial neighbourhood Skeifan, this one-of-a-kind school purports to teach “everything that is known about elves and hidden people,” according to its founder and headmaster, Magnús Skarphéðinsson. For 26 years, Magnús has taught students about where elves live, what they think of humans, and told stories from those people—“witnesses,” as he calls them—who have seen, heard, or made contact with the invisible world. Perhaps more reminiscent of the education you might receive from listening to a great-grandmother’s stories

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

It Was My Way, And The Highway

by

On the Álftanes peninsula, a good ten kilometres from downtown Reykjavík, lies a unique lava field called Gálgahraun. The towns of Hafnarfjörður, Álftanes and Garðabær were all built around the 8,000-year-old lava, which is on the Nature Conservation Register and was immortalised on canvas by celebrated Icelandic artist Jóhannes S. Kjarval. Gálgahraun was widely considered to be one of the few spots of unspoilt nature left in the greater metropolitan area, but it isn’t any more, as a big highway that cuts the field in two is currently under construction. The road is being built to accommodate the people of

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

News In Brief Early August

by

A whole new angle on the ever-brewing Ministry of the Interior scandal came to light when it was reported that Interior Minister Hanna Birna had contacted then-Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, in person and by phone, in part to ask if police could be trusted with ministry files, and when their investigations would end. Cue media maelstrom, replete with Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson formally requesting the minister explain herself. At the time of writing, the Ombudsman is still waiting for a final answer from Hanna Birna, who had until August 15 to respond. Former Prime Minister Geir

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Hidden People: They’re Just Like Us (Kind Of)

by

When foreign media outlets report on Iceland and need to add a little local colour, they will invariably throw in a quick, ironical side note about the country’s pervasive belief in elves, or Hidden People. The tone is generally one of indulgence with just a dash of condescension, the written equivalent of patting a small child on the head when she introduces her invisible friend Mister Bob Big Jeans. Although many academic studies and informal surveys alike have concluded that a not insignificant portion of the Icelandic population “will not deny the existence of elves,” as Terry Gunnell, a leading

Show Me More!