Study Icelandic / Libraries

The language spoken in Iceland is simply called Icelandic. It’s closely related to the other Nordic languages. The Nordic languages are made of two categories: North Germanic and Finno-Ugric. The North Germanic category of languages includes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic. The Finno-Ugric category includes only Finnish. Icelandic is the only one that closely resembles old Norse which was spoken by the Vikings.


Icelandic is quite a conservative language not having changed much since Iceland’s settlement. It has a reputation for being difficult to learn.


Some of the options people have to study Icelandic are listed below.

Longer courses and online studying

Icelandic Online 
Programme run by the University of Iceland. Basics of Icelandic and a good introduction to the language.


Lóa language school

The school was established in 2020. It operates online only and all the material and approach to student care and communication is created with the online space as learning environment in mind.


The University of Iceland 
The University of Iceland offers more intensive courses for those who want to master the Icelandic language by offering a full BA programme in Icelandic as a second language, and a shorter practical Icelandic for International Students course.


The University of Akureyri
The University of Akureyri offers a 6ECTS course every semester in Icelandic for its international degree seeking students and exchange students. The focus is on giving students a comprehensive insight into the Icelandic language, especially written and spoken Icelandic. 


Mímir Símenntun 
Mímir is a learning centre offering courses in beginners, intermediate and advanced level Icelandic for foreigners throughout the year.


Símey is a lifelong learning center and umbrella organisation promoting adult education and lifelong learning in the Akureyri region – North Iceland. 

Summer courses

University of Iceland – The Árni Mangússon Institue
The Árni Magnússon Institute organises an international summer course in modern Icelandic and Icelandic culture in July every year. Open to all but it primarily directed towards university students of languages and literature.


University of Iceland and University of Minnesota
This joint course is offered to students in North America. It consists of three weeks taught at UoM and three weeks tuition at the University of Iceland. It is also run by the Árni Magnússon Institute. 


University of Iceland and Nordkurs
This summer school ordinarily runs in June and is open to Nordic students. It is a 4 week course focusing on Icelandic language and culture, also run by the Árni Magnússon Institute. 


Snorri Programme
This course is for young people of Icelandic descent living in North America. Students will learn Icelandic language, and about Iceland’s history and culture as well as connecting and strengthening ties with relatives in Iceland. 


The University Centre of the Westfjords
The University Center of the Westjfords hold a number of summer schools in Ísafjörður and Núpur, of varying lengths and intensities.

  • Beginners A1-A2 is a three week course designed to meet the needs of students who want to learn Icelandic and experience life in a small Icelandic town. 
  • Crash Course A1 is a one week course in Ísafjörður held three times a year, in winter, spring and summer. It is designed for students who want a short, intense instruction in Icelandic language before going on to study In Iceland. 
  • Intermediate A2-B1 is a two week course is designed for students who already have a basic knowledge of Icelandic and wish to improve it.
  • Advanced B2 – are two one week courses which emphasis special advanced Icelandic skills which students can combine and take both courses if they wish, or just choose one. These courses are designed for prior learners of Icelandic.

Libraries & archives

Anyone can access books and other materials from public library collections with a library card. The libraries’s websites include information on library cards, fees and lending rules.


Individuals who are blind or visually impaired and cannot use printed materials can try out audio books and Braille materials at the Library for the Blind.


Most primary and secondary schools and universities have their own library, which is intended to be used by staff and students.


The National Library/University Library is a research library, the national library and the library for the University of Iceland. The library is open to anyone aged 18 and older, as well as to children accompanied by an adult. Many institutions and companies have a dedicated library for their employees.


The National Archives and the district archive offices around the country store documents pertaining to the rights of the state, the municipalities and the public. Anyone who requests it can be granted access to the archives. Exceptions include materials that pertain to the public interest or the protection of personal and private information.


Here below you can find web sites of libraries and extensive archives:


Reykjavik City Library 

National Archives of Iceland 

The National and University Library of Iceland 

Gegnir.is Library System

Hvar.is, access portal to electronic databases and e-journals


Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy