Iceland: Home of Alien Tamers, Princesses, and Ghost Hunters - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland: Home of Alien Tamers, Princesses, and Ghost Hunters

Published August 4, 2010

While getting your name and number listed in the telephone book isn’t many people’s idea of a fun time, many Icelanders have seen the comedic value in being able to list any job title you like in the directory.
RÚV reports that 16 Icelanders are in the phone book with the job title “astronaut”, and even one who’s an “alien tamer”. There are also 15 cowboys, and 22 “útrásarvíkingar” (literally “outvasion Vikings”, a term for the venture capitalists of Iceland’s economic heyday), although none of the aforementioned útrásarvíkingar are known to be connected to high finance.
There are also apparently a number of nobles living in Iceland, as there are 21 registered princesses. There are also supermen and, on the more creative side, hen whisperers (surprisingly, there are a few of these). Some have also taken it upon themselves to list their job title as “former badass”.
RÚV suspected that many of these people are not who they claim to be, and called one of Iceland’s 11 listed ghost hunters to ask if they were prepared to hunt some ghosts for them. The party in question declined.
Guðrún María Guðmundsdóttir, the editor of the phone book, told RÚV that in the past few years people have been allowed to register non-traditional job titles. There are limits, however. You won’t find any “gleðikonur” (literally “women of pleasure”, which should have obvious connotations), nor will you find any “handrukkarar” (debt collectors for drug dealers who often use violence to extract payment). Lion tamers and numerous other fantasy jobs can be found, though.


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