Words of Interest: Áfram Ísland!

Words of Interest: Áfram Ísland!

Words by
Photos by
Eunsan Huh

Published July 1, 2016

The Icelandic football team has been front and centre of every sports section lately for their record-setting feat in the Euro Cup. An estimated 20,000 Icelanders are registered in football clubs, making it the most popular sport in the country.

But before soccer took centre stage, the most recognised Icelandic sport was handball. There are fewer registered handball players (around 10,000), but the men’s handball team took home the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics, and the bronze medal in the 2010 European Championship.

Despite their popularity and accomplishments, neither soccer nor handball are the national sport of Iceland. That honour goes to “glíma” or “wrestling”. While not as many people actually partake in “glíma,” it has deep roots in Viking tradition. It came over with the first Norwegian settlers, and according to the Sagas, a man’s physical strength was not only a necessity for survival, but also a source of pride and respect.

unspecified-4

It’s no wonder then that Iceland holds the record for most number of championships won in the World’s Strongest Man competition. Magnús Ver Magnússon and Jón Páll Sigmarsson crushed it in the 90s, claiming four victories each. And who can forget Hafþór Björnsson, “The Mountain” on ‘Game of Thrones’, who, earlier this year, broke a 1000-year-old record for carrying a colossal log weighing 650kg (1433lbs).

#Icelandsmites indeed.

Every Single Word in Icelandic is a pictographic exploration of the Icelandic language. I find an interesting compound word, then deconstruct and illustrate it as icons. The goal is to express how Icelandic can be deadpan literal and unexpectedly poetic at the same time.


Culture
Space In Time: The Reykjavík Museum of Photography

Space In Time: The Reykjavík Museum of Photography

by

I feel like a surfer. Torn between pride and secrecy, wanting desperately to blab about how great my local spot

Culture
The Law Behind Inklaw: Iceland’s Streetwear Domination

The Law Behind Inklaw: Iceland’s Streetwear Domination

by

The boys behind Icelandic streetwear brand Inklaw Clothing share a camaraderie rarely seen in anyone but brothers. They finish each

Culture
Reykjavík Time Capsule: Pétursbúð

Reykjavík Time Capsule: Pétursbúð

by

In the US, there’s a thing called a “bodega”. This refers to a kind of convenient store, usually of the

Culture
Understanding Their Power: Dance Piece ‘GRRRRRRLS’ Hits Maturity

Understanding Their Power: Dance Piece ‘GRRRRRRLS’ Hits Maturity

by

Ásrún Magnúsdóttir sits in a relaxed slouch in a Prikið booth, legs and arms shifting into stretches of repose as

Culture
Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: The Greatest Hits

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: The Greatest Hits

by

Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s most beloved genre-bending fiction writers has written a retelling of Norse Mythology. The slow

Culture
Learning From War: The German Film Festival Tackles Tough Questions

Learning From War: The German Film Festival Tackles Tough Questions

by

If there is any theme to this year’s German film days, it is war. Or rather, the consequences of war.

Show Me More!