Facts and Statistics

Iceland is an island of 103.000 km2 which is about 39,756 sq.miles. It was settled by Nordic people in the 9th century. Iceland has an average height of 500 m above sea level. Iceland's highest peak is called Hvannadalshnjukur, it forms a part of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajokull (Water-glacier) and rises to a hight of 2.119 m above sea level. In fact over 11 per cent of the Iceland is covered by it's huge glaciers. Iceland sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is a hot spot of volcanic and geothermal activity: 30 post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries and these raw natural forces are still shaping Iceland today. Natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating. Rivers, too, are harnessed to provide inexpensive hydroelectric power. Iceland is therefore a leading force in the development eco-friendly machinery and techniques used to produce geothermal energy and other renewable energy resources. The population numbers just over 300.000 people over half of them chose to live in the capital of Iceland Reykjavík and its neighbouring towns in the southwest region of Iceland as the highland interior is uninhabited and in fact largely uninhabitable. Most towns and villages are therefore situated on the coast and enjoy a close relationship with the sea. Icelanders still speak the language of the Vikings, although modern Icelandic has undergone changes of pronunciation and, of course, of vocabulary. Iceland is alone in upholding another Norse tradition, i.e. the custom of using patronymics rather than surnames; and Icelander´s Christian name is followed by his or her father´s name and the suffix -son or -dóttir, e.g. Guðrún Pétursdóttir (Guðrún, daughter of Pétur). Members of a family can therefore have at least three different "surnames", which sometimes causes confusion to foreigners. The average life expectancy of 81.3 years for women and 76.4 for men, is one of the highest in the world, and a comprehensive state health-care system aims to keep it that way. Keflavík International Airport is located about 50 km from the capital. Icelanders use the comma instead of the decimal sign for integers, i.e. 12,000 means 12, not twelve thousand, whereas 12 000 or 12.000 means twelve thousand. Icelanders use both the 24 and 12 hour system, speaking the 12 hour system and using the 24 hour system for writing. Icelanders do not use PM/AM to indicate morning and afternoon. In Icelandic, "half ten" ("hálf tíu") means half past nine (9:30). Dates can be seen abbreviated in a number of ways, but the order is always DAY-MONTH-YEAR; 12.7.08, 120708, or 12/07/08 is equivalent to July 12, 2008. Icelandic calendars also indicate the number of the week 1 through 52. Iceland uses the metric system only. There is limited knowledge of Imperial or US measurements. In Iceland there is no concept of a ground floor as e.g. in the UK. Instead, the entrance level of a building is called the first floor ("jarðhæð"), like in the US. Levels are then counted 1, 2, 3 etc. Foreign television programmes and films are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Icelandic.

Geographical statistics of Iceland

Hvannadalshnjukur is the tallest mountain in Iceland, 2119 m, Vatnajokull is the largest glacier, 8300 km2, Þjorsa the longest river, 230 km.

Geography of Iceland

Iceland is an island of 103.000 km2 (39,756 sq.miles), with an average height of 500 m above sea level.  Its highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, rises to 2.119 m and over 11 per cent of the country is covered by glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest in Europe.

Iceland Weather

When traveling in Iceland you need to be aware of the ever changing weather conditions in Iceland. Iceland weather is typically better than the geological location would imply but there are many things to consider about the weather in Iceland.

Icelandic Economy

Iceland's Scandinavian-type social-market economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. The economy is heavily dependent upon fishing. Despite effort to diversify, particularly into the travel industry, seafood exports continue to account for nearly three-quarters of merchandise exports and approximately half of all foreign exchange earnings. 

The Icelandic language

Icelandic is the national language and is believed to have changed very little from the original tongue spoken by the Norse settlers.

The Icelandic Nation

The population of Iceland is about 306,000, growing at the rate of 0,74% per year. About  20,7% of people are under 20 years old, and life expectancy is 80,7 years. Most Icelanders (81%) belong to the National  Lutheran Church of Iceland.