Welcome to Iceland, it´s good to live here.
In Iceland, people of various backgrounds live together in peace.
Here below you find some information that is good to know.
Iceland in a nuthsell
Iceland is the second largest island in Europe and it is located in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The island is 103,000 square kilometres and it embraces approximately 200 volcanoes.
Approximately 75% of the land is in more than 200 meters over sea level and a large part is a plateau devoid of vegetation with odd mountains and mountain ranges.
All in all, glaciers in Iceland cover approximately 11,900 square kilometres compared to 1,400 square kilometers of farming land.
In January 2017 the population in Iceland was little over 338.000 people.
In the beginning of the 17th century 50,000 individuals inhabited the island and the population was much more scattered around the country than it is to day.
In the beginning of 2008 the number of immigrants as a proportion of the total population was 6.8% which makes for 21,400 individuals with foreign citizenship residing in Iceland.
In the year 1950, 2,700 foreign citizens resided in Iceland, which makes for 2% of the total population of 141,000 people.
The sea temperature in the south and south west of Iceland is ca 10°C during summertime and 5°C during the winter. In the north and east of Iceland the sea temperature is 5°C during summertime and ca 1-2°C during the winter. Because of a relatively stable sea temperature the air temperature does not differ much between seasons.
The average air temperature in Reykjavík is ca 5°C. In January the average air temperature is ca 0.4°C but 11.2°C in July.
The lowest air temperature in Iceland was recorded in Grímsstaðir in January 1918 when the temperature went below -37°C.
The highest air temperature recorded was ca 30°C in 1939.
It rains often in Iceland and mostly so in the south but not for a long period at a time.
The predominant characteristic of the weather in Iceland is how changeful it is.
Law and order
According to the Icelandic constitution everyone is equal before the law and enjoy human rights regardless of gender, religion, opinions, nationality, race, skin colour, financial status, family, and status in any way. Men and women shall have equal rights in every regard.
The Icelandic police are state police and the Minister of Justice is the chief of all police in the country. There are two court levels, District Courts and the Supreme Court.
Laws and regulations are never exactly the same in any two countries and therefore it is important to get acquainted with the laws in a new country. The information website www.island.is contains in-depth information in Icelandic and English, on the Parliament’s website (www.althingi.is) you can find the Icelandic law collection and on the Cabinet’s website you can find laws and regulations that have been translated to English (www.stjornarrad.is / www.government.is).
In Iceland there are specific laws on the rights of children. Everyone has a legal obligation to call 112 and notify if there is suspicion of physical, mental or sexual violence against children.
Age of competence is 18 in Iceland. At 18 the individual receives legal competence, i.e. financial competence and personal competence, as well as the right to vote. You can get a licence to drive on the day you turn 17 but a person must be 20 years old to buy alcohol.
Everybody who is 18 years old and older can get married and register in a cohabitation, and this also applies to individuals of the same sex. You can get a divorce even if your spouse does not want to. At divorce the assets and debts are usually split evenly between the couple unless there are contracts to the contrary.
According to the law there is joint custody of children at divorce and end of cohabitation unless otherwise agreed. The parents must decide with whom the children shall have legal residence and thereby, in general, a permanent residence. The district commissioner can make a ruling in disputes regarding custody of access to children but if there is dispute regarding custody it must be referred to the courts. If a parent that has sole custody marries again the stepparent also gets custody. If it registers in cohabitation however, the cohabitation parent also gets custody after one whole year in cohabitation.
Speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol are serious offences and are subject to fines, deprivation of drivers’ licences and prison if the offences are repeated. Fines can also affect the granting of Icelandic citizenship.
This information and other statistical information can be found on the Statistics Iceland’s web site: www.statice.is
- Capital: Reykjavík
Official language: Icelandic
- Currency: Icelandic Krona (ISK)
- Rate of exchange – See Central Bank exchange rates
- Time zone: UTC + 0 (no daylight adjustment)
- National website suffix: .is
- Country telephone number: +354
- Population 2017: 338.000
- National Anthem: Lofsöngur
- Political: Democratic with a congressional government
- President: Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
- Prime minister: Katrín Jakobsdóttir
- Governance : Government and municipalities
- Municipalities: 74
- Iceland is a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Nordic Council.
- Iceland was once a part of the Danish kingdom and gained full independence on the 17th of June 1944, becoming the Republic of Iceland. In 1904, Iceland was granted home rule from Denmark and in 1918 it became a fully sovereign state under the Danish king. Before Iceland was ruled by Denmark it was part of the Norwegian kingdom