Show Me The Money: 1000 ISK - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Show Me The Money: 1000 ISK

Show Me The Money: 1000 ISK

Published June 18, 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Until the mid-to-late 19th century, most financial transactions in Iceland were conducted in vaðmál (homespun wool). However, since 1922, Iceland has issued its own currency, the króna. Iceland never being the best at economic stability, the króna has lost significant value every decade since, and in 1981 we decided to cut a couple of zeros from it, introducing the current króna.

So, let’s meet the…

1000 króna bill

The man on the 1000 króna bill with the impressive beard was the bishop of Skáholt, Brynjólfur Sveinsson, known for instance translating the New Testament in the 16th century. That, and being an exponent of Old Norse literature, made him an important influence on Icelandic history. But it’s not the only thing his name is associated with—Brynjólfur’s family relationships have raised some eyebrows through the years. For example, he married his second cousin (but hey, it’s Iceland, right?) and their daughter, Ragnheiður, died shortly after getting pregnant with her baby daddy. Cultural works have used the scandalous drama as an inspiration ever since. Forgive me father, for I have sinned…

So, what’s it worth?

1000 króna, which corresponds to €9.09, £7.96 and $10.25, can get you a plate of meatballs at the cheapest restaurant in the Reykjavík region: Ikea. Or you can take the bus from the city centre to the shopping mall Kringlan—but if you’re going to make it back, the only shopping you can do is window shopping. Too depressing? Well, you can get a beer most places for 1000 króna. It might not be enough to get you tipsy, unless you’re a lightweight, but if you ask us, it’s better than the meatballs. Cheers.


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