Iceland. The general election in May became a success for
the state-carrying Independence Party, which during its 16
years in power led Iceland from being a small fishing nation to a
country with strong economy and international financial
players. At the same time, the government's toughest
opponent won the Left – Green votes on its criticism of the
construction of the huge power plant Kárahnjúkar and an
accompanying aluminum smelter.
The business-friendly Independence Party took more than a
third of the vote and passed with a couple of seats to 24.
The centrist coalition partner The Progress Party instead
lost 5 seats and stayed at 7. The opposition went ahead by
the Left-Green almost doubled its size in Everything 9
mandate. The Social Democratic Alliance lost two seats and
stayed at 18, while the Liberal Party retained its four
CountryAAH, the Progress Party left the government and instead
negotiated the Independence Party and the Alliance, a new
coalition that gained a majority with 42 of the 63
parliamentary seats. Geir Haarde's independence party
continued as prime minister, while Alliance leader Ingibjörg
Sólrún Gisladóttir became new foreign minister.
The Institute of Marine Research in Reykjavík noted in
June that the cod population around Iceland has reached a
historically low level. The institute therefore recommended
a reduction in the catch ratio for cod from 193,000 to
130,000 tonnes for the coming fishing season from 1
September. Despite harsh criticism from the fisheries
industry, Fisheries Minister Einar K. Guđfinnsson chose to
follow the recommendation.
Since the US decided in 2006 to withdraw its fighter
aircraft from Iceland, the country has been without military
defense. In April, an agreement was signed with Norway
which, in collaboration with NATO, assumed new
responsibility for I's military security and rescue
operations. In August, two Norwegian fighter planes and one
reconnaissance aircraft arrived at the Keflavík air base,
and the mission began with a major military exercise under
NATO auspices with participants from five countries
including trained counter-terrorism.
In August, Iceland decided to discontinue commercial whaling
due to unprofitable. The year before the permit was granted
for hunting, but the demand was weak and the whalers did not
use the entire quota.
In September, Iceland had the lowest unemployment rate of 19
years. Only 0.8 percent of the labor force was registered as
In March, a new law came into force that made it legal to
sell and buy sexual services but illegal for a third party
to profit from prostitution. According to the police,
prostitution increased and it became more difficult to
investigate illegal activities in connection with
prostitution, contrary to what the legislators had hoped.
Iceland's contemporary history
Iceland's contemporary history is the story from around
2000 until today. From the 1980s Iceland was one of the
richest and most developed countries in the world, but in
2008 the country's banking system collapsed, leading to
strong political turmoil. The country underwent a severe
economic recession, with three banks collapsing, which ended
Iceland's President from 2016 is Guđni Thorlacius
Iceland - Reykjavík
Reykjavík, capital of Iceland; 127,220 residents (2018), with suburbs 225,210
residents. Reykjavík, located on the southwestern coast of the island, is
Iceland's cultural and economic center as well as the main place for Icelandic
fishing and fishing exports. Most of Reykjavik's professionals are employed in
various service industries and industries. The latter traditionally mainly
includes fish processing companies, freezer series, fish canning and fish oil
factories, other food industry and shipyards, but also graphic industry,
mechanical engineering, textile and clothing companies and construction.
Artificial fertilizers and aluminum are also manufactured in the metropolitan
Reykjavík is furthermore the country's transport center, and around the port
about 66 percent of the country's exports and 75 percent of imports. The city is
also the starting point for bus, boat and air routes to all the most important
places in Iceland. The country's second largest airport, which is the starting
point for domestic flights, is close to the city center, while the international
airport is at Keflavík, 45 km southwest of the city.
In Reykjavík there are also universities (founded in 1911), national library,
national museum, Árni Magnusson's house with the Arnamagnæan manuscripts and the
house of the Nordic countries. In 2000, Reykjavík was named the European Capital
One of Reykjavík's oldest buildings is the market town buildings from the end
of the 18th century, which consisted of low, board-covered half-timbered houses.
In the middle of the 19th century, public buildings were added, such as the
Latin school (1844–46, Jørgen Hansen Koch), the cathedral (remodeled 1847–48 by
LA Winstrup), and Alltingshuset (1880–81, Ferdinand Meldahl). Wooden two-storey
houses, also clad with corrugated sheet metal, became commonplace. After a fire
in 1915, wooden houses in the center of Reykjavík were banned, and construction
in concrete took off. Modern urban planning ideas (the horticultural city) were
advocated in 1916 and became fundamental to Reykjavík's development in the
following decades. Reykjavík first received its first general plan in 1962.
Among newer buildings, The National Theater (1928–50, Guðjón Samúelsson), the
Nordic House (1968, Alvar Aalto) and the City Hall (1988–92, Margrét
Hardardóttir and Steve Christer).
At archaeological excavations in Reykjavík, remains have been found after a
farmhouse buried at a volcano eruption 898 AD. The yard is believed to have been
built somewhat earlier. From the 9th century there are further traces of farm
buildings, ironwork and bronze crafts. Several charcoal-fourteen dates suggest
that settlement began just before the Viking Age, but most researchers hold to
the younger dating.
In 1752, a textile manufacturing facility was built around which an urban
area grew. This received city rights in 1786 (300 residents), became the seat of
the administration about 1800, for everything in 1845 and for the government in
1904. After 1870, fishing expanded greatly and the population increased (12,000
residents in 1910). Through the 1913-17 port construction, Reykjavík became the
center for the country's communications and foreign trade. Extension of district
heating from hot springs began in 1930. After the Second World War, many
residents lived in slum barracks, abandoned by Allied occupation troops.
However, the housing shortage has mainly been resolved through major suburban
buildings after 1960. Today, over half of Iceland's population lives in Greater