36 Engrossing Facts about Iceland

One of the most special things about Iceland is its nature. Iceland has everything from volcanoes to geysers. Icelandic nature is so diverse and beautiful that it has inspired and influenced people for years. So here are 36 interesting facts about this beautiful country.

  1. Iceland is a country as well as an island. It is situated northwest of the United Kingdom and Norway. While the country is bordered by the Greenland Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. The country is called by three names Islandia(Latin), meaning Icelandic, Snæland in a poetic way, Insula Gardari meaning “Island of Garðar.”
  3. The settlers first called the country snow-land and were later called ‘Butter land’ because the grass was so rich it seemed to drip butter.
  4. The fast-food chain giant McDonald’s closed its operation in the country in 2009. So the company decided to preserve its last french fries and burger and was kept in a sealed showcase. People can see it decomposing on a live feed.
  5. On August 30th, 2014, the country recorded over 1100 earthquakes.
  6. Iceland is the only country on the planet to have no mosquitoes.
  7. Iceland is the cleanest country on the entire planet. The country is also known to be the safest country in the world.
  8. The Alþingi (parliament (Icelandic) and anglicized as Althingi or Althing) is the national parliament of Iceland. It is the oldest surviving parliament in the world.
  9. In Iceland, somewhere around 67 percent of babies are born to parents who are not married.
  10. Beer was prohibited in the country from 1915 until it was allowed on March 1st, 1989. Now the legalization date, i.e., March 1st, is celebrated as “beer day” throughout the country.
  11. There are 40 active volcanic systems in the country, out of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in AD 874. Out of these 30 volcanic systems, the most volatile is Grímsvötn.
  12. About 0.46% of the total land of Iceland is covered with forests making it one of the least forest-covered country in the world.
  13. Iceland comes on the third spot in terms of coffee consumption per capita after Norway and Finland. The second most popular drink is Coca-Cola.
  14. The first democratically elected female president was from Iceland, named Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.
  15. She was elected in 1980 and became the longest-serving non-hereditary female head of state, and served 16 years.
  16. Iceland was the last country to be inhabited by humans in entire Europe.
  17. The country was the first to legalize clinical abortion.
  18. In Iceland, police do not regularly carry firearms with them.
  19. There’s a law in Iceland according to which it is illegal to pay less to females than males. The law was passed to enforce equality among women and males.
  20. Unlike the other Nordic countries, Iceland never formalized a system of family names. First names should not be previously used and must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee before being used.
  21. Iceland became the 8th country to legalize same-sex marriage. Their parliament approved this law in 2010.
  22. Iceland is one of the few countries that organize a gay pride parade every year.
  23. The country has won the miss world title 3 times.
  24. The Vatnajökull glacier is the biggest glacier in-country as well as in Europe. It covers an area of roughly between 8100 sq. km to 8300 sq. km and is about 1000 m thick at its thickest point.
  25. 60% of the total population lives in the capital city of Reykjavík.
  26. Electricity in the country is produced entirely from renewable energy resources. 70% of total electricity is made from hydroelectricity, 30% for geothermal power plants, and less than 0.2% of electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
  27. The country has no public railway system at all. However, in the 2000s, there was a proposal for building a light railway system, but nothing has been done so far.
  28. Team handball is the national game of the country.
  29. Gyrfalcon is the national bird of Iceland.
  30. Mt. Hvannadalshnjúkur is the highest mountain peak in the country, with an elevation of 2,110 meters(6920 ft).
  31. The five main exports of Iceland are Raw Aluminium ($2.25 Billion), Fish Fillets ($977 Million), Non-fillet Frozen Fish ($395 Million), Processed Fish ($293 Million), and Passenger and Cargo Ships ($273 Million).
  32. The five main imports of Iceland Refined Petroleum ($837 Million), Aluminium Oxide ($766 Million), Cars ($505 Million), Carbon-based Electronics ($405 Million), and Planes, Helicopters, and/or Spacecraft ($332 Million).
  33. The total agricultural land is about 18.67%. While only 1.21% is arable land.
  34. Keldur Hall is the oldest building in the country, which was built in the 11th century.
  35. According to Icelanders United States was first discovered by Iceland before Christopher Columbus did.
  36. The country was the first in the world to form an all-female political party.

  • CAPITAL CITY: Reykjavík
  • POPULATION: 3.64 lakhs
  • LARGEST CITY: Reykjavík
  • GDP NOMINAL: 2,587.85 crores USD
  • GDP RANK: 108th
  • CURRENCY: Icelandic króna
  • FOUNDED: 17 June 1944
  • FATHER OF THE NATION: Jón Sigurðsson
  • TOTAL AREA: 103,000 km2
  • AREA RANK: 106th worldwide
  • CONTINENT: Europe
  • ARMY RANK: Nil
  • LITERACY RATE: 99 Percent
  • PER CAPITA INCOME: 61,170 PPP dollars (2019)


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