We often talk about the insane amount of tourists who have been visiting our shores in the past few years, but it looks like tourists aren’t the only ones interested in coming to Iceland. The Directorate of Labour estimates that around 3,000 people will move to Iceland through various employment agencies this year—twice as many as last year. In addition, 1,000 posted workers will come here by the end of 2017, sent missions of all sorts by European companies. It’s still unclear how many of them will actually stay and for how long, but one thing is certain: the streets and cultural life of Reykjavík will benefit from the meddling of different cultures, as will the limited local gene pool.
Perhaps it was these homesick workers that shoe designer Marta Jónsson was thinking of when she began planning the construction of a Ferris wheel in the Laugardalur neighbourhood. What’s the thing every Londoner misses while away from home? The London Eye, of course. So why not slap a 120 metre wheel in the middle of the Icelandic capital, a city constantly at the mercy of strong winds and heavy storms? If the news had not blown your mind, however, here is the cherry on top: Marta wants the wheel to be heart-shaped. Will it end up being a miracle of physics or a total failure?
Funny news notoriously travels in pairs. Thus, if the Reykjavík Heart Eye had not shocked the public enough, the Minister of Finances certainly gave a powerful contribution. Benedikt Jóhannesson is in fact planning on waging war to tax evaders by taking the 10,000 and 5,000 króna bills away from the market, thus reducing the circulation of cash. Naturally, experts have condemned him and praised him alike. His worst critic, however, called his statement “a PR catastrophe.” You better get your damage control team in check, Benedikt: you still have a long way to go as the Minister of Finances of this icy banana republic.
Benedikt wasn’t the only member of Parliament to be criticised this week. Andri Þór Sturluson from the Pirate Party responded to the arming of Icelandic police by inviting citizens to call the emergency line every time they see an officer with a gun. He was criticised for encouraging people to put the lives of others at great risk by blocking the hotline. Everybody, however, seems to have forgotten that Andri also writes for a local satirical news site, and that provocative statements are his bread and butter. If you can’t make fun of serious things, after all, you’re taking yourself way too seriously.
Something we truly love to joke about, however, is tourists’ tendency to make doodies where they shouldn’t. Icelandic authorities don’t know what to do about these doodies, and encourage tourists not to do it outside of designated areas. We understand that you’ve got to do what you’ve got to doo, but don’t doo onto other people’s houses or kindergartens as you wouldn’t have them doo unto yours. Come on now, let’s make Iceland clean again.