The Presidency At A Crossroads

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Iceland is one of the few nations in Europe that holds general elections to choose a president who is basically…

A Time Of Confusion

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In part I of this series, ‘Iceland and the rest of the world,’ I traced the history of Iceland from…

Iceland And The Rest Of The World

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For many centuries Iceland was a colony of Denmark. Due to its isolation, it was largely neglected until the nineteenth…

Harpa As A Symbol Of Iceland’s Recovery

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Iceland was recently described as a success story of the economic crisis in a Financial Times article. Just free from…

The Long Political Journey Of Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

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President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has decided—after insinuating in his New Year’s Address that he would not run and then dodging…

AGENTS OF WORLD DOMINATION?

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 A Chinese gentleman wants to buy a big tract of land in the Northeast, and a central weakness of Icelandic…

ZOMBIE POLITICS

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The political debate in Iceland has gotten horribly stale and repetitive. In some places Iceland is held up as being…

A VIEW FROM THE CHURCH TOWER

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A few weeks ago I was wandering around Skóla-vörðu-holt where Hallgrímskirkja—the large church dedicated to the poet and psalmist Hallgrímur…

THE TRAGIC STORY OF SÆVAR CIESIELSKI

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Sævar Ciesielski died in Copenhagen on July 13, of accidental causes. He was nothing less than Iceland’s most famous felon….

Will 101 Reykjavík Ever Reclaim Its River?

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Lækjargata is one of the main streets of downtown Reykjavík, lying alongside Reykjavík’s pond, Tjörnin, through the centre of town…

A Beautiful, Mysterious Garden

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When I was a boy I lived close to the Old Cemetery (“Gamli kirkjugarðurinn”), which is just up the hill…

THE PEN WIELDER, THE POET AND THE ROGUE

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On June 17, Jón Sigurðsson will be the man of the day. This is Iceland’s ‘Independence Day’ with festivities all…

A CIVIL (COD) WAR?

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Many people find the subject impossibly boring, but it is always simmering under the surface of Icelandic society. Many do…

THE MASTER BUILDER, THE MINISTER AND THE CHURCH WE USED TO THINK WAS UGLY

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The idea of building a church on the hill called Skólavörðuholt was first broached as early as 1916. Architect Guðjón…

The Troubled History Of The Harp

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For many centuries Iceland was a country without music. There were no musical instruments; dancing was banned by the church,…

CRIME, CRISES AND NORDIC DEPRESSION

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The local literary scene is now in the throes of the Nordic crime novel. Admittedly the ancient Icelandic sagas tell…

The Amazing Political Acrobat

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For many generations of Icelanders there hasn’t been a time when Iceland’s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, wasn’t around in some…

Another Year Has Passed: Where Are We Now?

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In October 2008, on the eve of the economic crash, then Prime Minister Geir Haarde appeared on television and gave…

Low Voter Turnout, Mixed Messages

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On November 27, Icelanders partook in an unprecedented election when the nation voted representatives for a Constitutional Assembly that will…

Adieu Eva Joly

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Eva Joly shocked some of her admirers in Iceland when she said a few weeks ago that Iceland should join…

The Failure Of Icelandic Politics

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Here is a famous quote by Harold Wilson: “A week is a long time in politics”. At the time of…

Iceland Two Years After the Crash

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Iceland has gone through several phases since the crash of October 2008, when the country’s banking system collapsed in the…

Sitting Here in Limbo

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The political situation in Iceland, now that autumn will soon be upon us, can best be described as a sort…

Hello, Is Anybody Out There?

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Later this June—this autumn at the latest—Iceland is set to become a full candidate for membership of the European Union….