+354 is the dialing code for Iceland.
Iceland in the North Atlantic is the island of sagas, volcanoes and glaciers. But in 2008, the country also became the epitome of the fragility of the modern loan economy as one of the world’s richest societies plunged into deep crisis. Since then, Iceland has recovered and fishing and tourism are today the foundation of the economy.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Iceland, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Iceland forms a northern part of the Atlantic Central Ridge, a volcanic mountain range that runs from north to south on the bottom of the Atlantic. From Iceland to Greenland in the west it is just under 30 km, and the Faroe Islands are just over 40 km to the southeast.
The land is roughly the same size as Lapland. Iceland’s shattered bedrock is made up of basalt, tough and younger layers of lava. In the south, the coast is flat, while it is often steep and torn apart by fjords and surrounded by small islands. The hinterland consists of a high plateau with some higher mountain peaks.
Just over a tenth of Iceland’s surface is covered by ice in the form of glaciers, glaciers. Vatnajökull is Europe’s largest glacier. Iceland has plenty of rivers, waterfalls and lakes. Mývatn is a famous bird lake. In some watercourses, violent floods, so-called glaciers, occur when ice and water masses are released from the glaciers, sometimes due to volcanic eruptions.
The Icelandic landscape is almost treeless with grasslands, mountain moors and marshes. Nowadays, only remnants of ancient forests of mountain birch are left. Sweat farming and logging have caused soil erosion, and in the interior there are large desert-like areas of gravel and rock where no plants can grow.
|Cultivated land||18.7 %|
|Land area||103000 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||1.21 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||94.1 %|
|Death rate||6.28 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||85.22 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||80.81 years|
|Birth rate||13.91 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||2.06 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||12430 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||16842 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||96.5 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||113 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||745 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||3.8% of the workforce|
|GDP||46100 per resident|
|Primary occupations||4.8 %|
|Secondary profession||22.2 %|
|Tertiary professions||73 %|
Iceland lies on the intersection of two continental plates that slowly move in each direction, releasing the redness of magma from the earth’s mantle. Earthquakes are common, really difficult occur every 80 to 100 years. Of the country’s many volcanoes, some 30 are still active. In the last few centuries, an average outbreak has occurred every five years. In 2010 and 2011, the volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn erupted, which spread ash clouds across much of Europe.
Sometimes the consequences are disastrous. In 1783, Lakagígar spewed out more lava than any other volcano in the world in historical times, and the poisonous gases and ash clouds caused the growth and famine of Iceland. Other well-known Icelandic volcanoes are Hekla, Katla, Krafla and Askja. Hekla is known in Sweden as Häcklefjäll, which in medieval folk belief was a supposed decline to hell. During a violent volcanic eruption on the seabed southwest of Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) in 1963, a brand new island, Surtsey, rose from the sea.
There are also hundreds of hot springs in Iceland. The vapors can be seen among other things at Reykjavík, which gave the capital its name, “Rökviken”. There are also geysers and springs with boiling mud and sulfur.
Iceland is just south of the Arctic Circle, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, the country has a relatively mild climate with cool summers and not too cold winters.
Most ports are ice-free year-round. Some years, drift ice from Greenland causes severe temperature reductions. A constant flow of low pressure from the west gives windy and windy weather. Southeast Iceland receives the most rain, while the north coast is drier.
For about a hundred years, Iceland’s glaciers have been melting. There are examples of land areas that have been covered for almost 500 years but are now visible. Vatnajökull (see Geography) melts faster than other glaciers, and its kilometer-thick ice cover is estimated to shrink by one meter per year.
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
103 020 km2 (2018)
Swedish –1 hour
Capital with number of residents
Reykjavik 118 200
Other major cities
Kópavogur 31 200, Hafnarfjordur 26 500, Akureyri 17 900 (2012)
Hvannadalshnúkur (in Öraefajökull, 2110 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Reykjavik 97 mm (Oct), 41 mm (June)
Average / day
Reykjavik 11 °C (July), 1 °C (Jan)
Yet another new law on Icesave
Iceland agrees with the Netherlands and the UK on a new agreement on the Icesave debt. By lowering the interest rate, the Icelandic state’s payment liability is reduced.
Haarde is facing national law
A parliamentary commission recommends that former Prime Minister Geir Haarde and three of his ministers be brought to justice for serious negligence that contributed to the Icelandic banking crisis. The Commission is divided politically and the fight threatens to crack the government when the Socialist Prime Minister declares a party mate innocent. Everything votes to only put Haarde before national law. Other designated ministers are acquitted.
Clear sign for EU negotiations
At a summit within the Union, the European Commission gives clear signs of negotiations with Iceland on membership.
Volcanic eruptions impede air traffic
The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (see Geography) blocks Europe’s air traffic during a period.
Seven people are appointed in the investigation of the banking crisis
A public inquiry into the causes of the Icelandic banking crisis has been ongoing since 2008 and is now complete. Seven leading politicians and civil servants receive harsh criticism for “extremely serious negligence”. A parliamentary committee is commissioned to decide whether to bring the seven persons to trial in the so-called national court (national court). Among the people criticized are former Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson, former Prime Minister Geir Haarde and former Finance Minister Árni M. Mathiesen.
No to the Icesave law in the referendum
Prime Minister Sigurðardóttir calls on Icelanders to boycott the referendum, which she believes is meaningless. However, six out of ten voters go to the polls, and over 93 percent say no to the law. Only 1.8 percent support the yes side.
The president stops the Icesave law
President Grímsson vetoes the new Icesave law after nearly a quarter of all eligible Icelanders signed a call for the president to stop the law and to hold a referendum on the issue. The parliament decides that a referendum will be held in March.