Iceland might be small but it sure is bursting with creatives. One proof of that is street wear brand INKLAW – who have announced collaborations with two big international companies last two weeks, IKEA and Cintamani.
The Cintamani collaboration is launching tomorrow with a clothing line named INKLAW X CINTAMANI. The collection consist of various pieces of outdoor clothing that have had a INKLAW makeover. The outcome is fresh and exciting and it is safe to say that it is not every day that an established outdoor brand and a hip-hop influenced streetwear brand collaborate. So, if you are currently located in Reykjavík we strongly advise you to check this out. INKLAW X CINTAMANI can be found at the Cintamani store in Bankastræti 7 and they are launching tomorrow at 17.00.
INKLAW was established in 2014 and focuses on creating minimalistic and effortless pieces that are unique and easily recognizable at the same time. The brand was started by friends Róbert and Guðjón at the tender age of 19. Feeling frustrated by the limited selection in streetwear in tiny Iceland they took matters into their own hands and taught themselves to sow via YouTube. Anton and Christopher joined the duo turning it into a fully-fledged quartet. With their design studio based downtown Reykjavík the boys keep producing eye catching and effortless pieces. The last we saw from them was their outstanding collection “The Statement” that premiered at Reykjavík Fashion Festival last March. Their fashion show caused quite a stir, grabbing local and global attention. And it was at Reykjavík Fashion Festival where the conversation about collaboration between INKLAW and Cintamani started.
INKLAW X IKEA
As stated above, the INKLAW boys also collaborated with the beloved Swedish furniture maker IKEA. And as you might have guessed the idea of the collaboration was kindled when fashion brand Balenciaga released a bag that looked quite similar to the famous blue IKEA bag. Everyone knows the blue Frakta, mazingly sturdy and comes in handy in all sorts of situations. So naturally, there was a lot of global attention and notoriety when the Balenciaga bag dropped. Marketing stunt or not… it definitely sparked people’s imagination and since the release of the bag in late April, many individuals and brands started remixing and making their own designs from the blue bag. INKLAW is one of those who got intrigued by the trend.
The brand sells their pieces on their online store and they have reached customers in over 60 countries and dressed some of the world’s biggest celebrities. Global pop star Justin Bieber has been seen sporting their pieces on multiple occasions, on and off stage. American electro house musician and DJ Steve Aoki is also a fan and so is model Coca Rocha. INKLAW has also proven popular with various football players and the list of renowned fans of the streetwear brand just keeps growing and growing.
So, this surprising fashion moment of the Frakta IKEA bag grabbed attention all over, including the attention of Icelandic streetwear stars INKLAW. Seeming like a unlikely combo chief executive Anton Sigfússon says that collaborating with such a big company was what sparked the excitement (not to mention how different the product range is…). “We contacted the Icelandic branch and got a positive answer almost immediately. We then started putting down ideas and developing them. Then we just decided to go for it.” The outcome is among other things a jacket sown entirely out of the blue tote bag.
Niceland particularly likes the joggers and matching sweater. Imagine diving into a plate of Swedish meatballs at your local IKEA in that outfit. And to show the products in action (and in their natural environment) the boys took a trip to the store after hours capturing the essence of the collection in a video accessable in the player above.
It is safe to say that the future is bright for INKLAW and we are excited to watch what they get up to next!
It does not matter where in the world you come from, naming a child is serious business. New parents are sure to feel the pressure and responsibility that comes with deciding what a person should be called for the rest of their life. And all before that nameless person can even hold their head up without support, let alone express emotion when being called some new age hippy name.
In Iceland one could imagine the whole process is a lot less stressful seeing that we have our own committee taking part in the big decision. The committee is called Mannanafnanefnd (dare you to say the fast three times!) or Icelandic Naming committee. Their job is described as follows on their webpage: “The Icelandic Naming committee maintains an official register of approved Icelandic given names and is the governing body of introduction of new given names into the culture of Iceland. The Personal Names Register is available to the public. In many cases parents use the database as a guide when choosing a name. If the name they have in mind is not in the register they can fill out a special form and request whether the name will be considered allowable by law. If the committee rules positively on a request the name will be added to the Personal Names Register. The register is stored and maintained at Registers Iceland and is accessible through the national portal Ísland.is.”
Fined for taking to long In Iceland children are normally not named straight after birth as parents want to take some time to get to know the child before naming it. They can’t take too long though as the laws state that a child has to be named six months after its birth, otherwise the parents will be fined.
And when deciding on a name for a child parents must stick to a list of names previously approved by Mannanafnanefnd. But if the name the parents have their eyes on is not on the list not all hope is lost. They can send a request and ask for the name to be approved.
Limit set to three proper names
All is not fair in love and naming though as the committee does have some pretty strict rules. For example, names must be able to be incorporated into the Icelandic language and be declined in accordance to the Icelandic grammar. One condition is also the names are not to embarrass the child so in the past names like Ljótur (Ugly), and Lofthæna (Luft Hen) have been declined. Examples of other names Mannanafnanefnd has declined are Engifer (Ginger), Grimmi (Cruel), Járnsíða (Ironside) and Ofur (Super) for boys and Gull (Gold), Hel (Death) and Prinsessa (Princess) for girls. Also, children cannot have more than three proper names and gender-inappropriate names are normally not allowed.
Of course, this system and its set of rules is not approved by everyone and some have fought authorities. An example that made international headlines is the case of Blær Bjarkardóttir, a 15-year-old. The word Blær is a male word and was therefore not permitted as a name for a girl. The case was taken to the capital’s District Court. Blær won the case and was at 15 granted the right to legally use the name she had been given.
Why is everyone son or dóttir? Icelandic names differ from most current Western family name systems by ending in the suffix –son (“son”) or –dóttir (“daughter”)? That is because in Iceland the name systems are patronymic and occasionally matronymic. Meaning that the surnames indicate the father, sometimes the mother, of the person but not the historic family heritage like in most other countries. Complicated? Relax, we have a diagram.
So, if a couple named Jón and Guðrún have a daughter they decide to name Sigríður her surname will be Jónsdóttir. Jón and Guðrún could also decide for her surname to be matronymic. Then it would be Guðrúnardóttir. There also is the possibility to use both parent’s names as a surname. Anna’s name then being Anna Guðrúnardóttir Jónsdóttir.
Family names on the other hand are not that common, they exist but are mainly inherited. Before the year 1925 it was legal to just casually adopt family names. The most famous example of that practice being Nobel Prize-winning author Halldór Kiljan Laxness born Halldór Guðjónsson. Now adopting family names is not allowed and a person must have a legal right through inheritance to do it. A bit of a bummer really, otherwise all of us here would have the family name Niceland.
Now that summer is just around the corner and travellers rush to experience Icelandic nature and it’s magnetic surroundings we feel it is our duty to write about how the traffic works in our beautiful country. Driving in Iceland is so much different than elsewhere. There are few “unspoken” rules that Icelanders know through their parents, driving teachers and experience by traveling in all possible conditions. The country road traffic is dangerous if not followed by these set of rules. This is common sense for most of us but yet, almost every time we Icelanders talk about the traffic and how foreigners act in it, we are surprised by how little they know about it and what is absolutely vital to be safe on the roads. We quite often hear of accidents that could have been prevented just by informing all of you travelers, so we decided to take the matter into our own hands. Here we list 10 things to keep in mind while driving on the roads in Iceland. We urge you to explore this concept better by asking habitants about their advices. Or travelers that have visited and know what it is like driving in our country. What you can expect and not and most importantly how you can protect yourself and others from harm.
The law – of course we do not need to address this part but we are going to anyway. You will need an actual real driver license and please, please… do NOT take this for granted by getting it online and pass by driving a virtual reality car. That is in no way going to prepare you to driving in Iceland. No way. ☺ Consider yourself warned.
Your phone is not to be used while driving. Period. But of course our dear reader, you know all of this.
1. Stopping cars in the middle of the road
Number ONE reason for this article. Is this pretty little fact that we do so understand why travellers do, but pretty please! This is crazy. While travelling in Iceland you will experience nature like never before. It will make you want to stop the car every now and then and just observe, be present, adore every little detail about how the horses act in the breathtaking sunset for example.
Now, this is the most dangerous thing you could ever do! Do not do it! The roads are small but the traffic can be very fast and unpredictable. If you stop the car in the middle of the road, even for just few seconds, you are seriously inviting danger home. Find a spot where you can park the car properly from the road. You can never know how fast the next car is driving and we promise you, that you cannot put proper evaluation on it how safe it will be. Be smart and be safe. We want you to experience nature not our hospitals.
We are pretty safe when it comes to speed here. On highway one the speed limit is around 90 km/h. Most of us drive around 100 but everything above that will get you a ticket. There is no need to rush but consider this. If you are uncertain of how fast you need to go, stay on the right side of the road, so the ones that are in a “hurry” can get past. Driving slow is very dangerous here and that is especially when driving the main road, while travelling. So keep in mind how fast you are going and try to make it easy for everyone. The roads are small and look different than most of others countries main roads, that will make you think of them differently and do not underestimate the danger of them.
3. “All of the lights!”
At all times keep the lights on! This is taught and kept by law. We never know how or when the weather will change in Iceland and this makes it easier to locate other cars and specially in difficult weather conditions.
So please make sure that every light works properly before driving. And use the turning signal. Always!
4. The gravel roads
Driving in Iceland can be difficult at times, mainly because of the Icelandic weather. There is SO much of untouched nature that Icelanders strive to preserve that results in roads that are not quite well obtained and maybe just a little scary due to their sizes in the middle of the mountain, with very little or even no safety “net” to keep you from driving right down it. Most of them are not well maintained. Some have endless holes in them that will make you go crazy after driving in them for an hour or so, some are so small that you think that how in the world two lanes can fit into that small area (some are not, but we manage) and others include crazy highs and lows where you need to trust your instinct for your life, now we are of course being a little sarcastic but really, we have all experienced this at some point when driving in conditions like this. If there is one thing we recommend, keep an extra tire in the trunk, drive slowly and do not, absolutely never think at one point you know it all. Even after a 10 day trip. We are always careful driving here and that is because we know how little it takes to mess up and end up in a ditch somewhere.
Not to scare you though, we do this all year and we are still here. But there is a need to address this issue about the Icelandic country roads for a very good reason! We want you guys safe! So consider yourself warned, go prepared.
Oh! Our lovely sheeps! We love them. Especially their adorable little offsprings.
Please do not think that you should run them over in case of an dilemma. Not because we think of them so fondly, no because it is more dangerous for you to hit them than driving off road. Just be aware of your surroundings. Drive really slow or even stop the car if you can drive to the side of it safely when you see a group of them appear near the road. Those adorable creatures are so stupid sometimes that it can be a hilarious experience just to watch them cope with the traffic. They could decide to try to outrun you or even chicken dare you. Don’t be weak and give in! It is dangerous! So stay focused. Be safe.
This is the one thing that so many of us (Icelanders) talk about and find difficult to cope with. We need to address this. In case there are two lanes in same direction,then the left lane is for the ones that drive faster than the others. If you need to overtake, use the turning signal and give the drivers some time to notice it. Be sure that you can see the traffic that is coming towards you well, do not practice this when driving upwards or “bent” roads. Have a clear view, and do it safely.
On the other hand, if you notice someone behind you preparing to overtake. Slow a little bit down and even notify him by using the “stefnuljós” to the right. Do not try to prevent the driver for doing this for some reason by stepping on the speed pedal or moving towards the middle of the road. That is a very dangerous act.
You will see a lot of them on the high roads. Be aware and respectful. If you need to notify a cyclist of your presence do it gently please, so you won´t cause them to fall off or something worse.
We have a lot of one lane bridges in Iceland. We have this unspoken rule of slowing down when we notice the warning signs, just be aware, do not stop the car in the middle of them or try to be the first one driving over. Mutual respect is the best and just relax.
9. “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a “moment”
We have all kinds of weather conditions, if you are lucky you get to experience all of them! Be prepared, read the weather report, ask the front desk at your hotel what you would need to pack for the trip ahead to be safe and use all the above “rules” to follow. This is going to help you to enjoy our country better.
10. Driving outside the road (“Utanvegaakstur” – try to pronounce that, learn it, respect it.)
We love that you love nature, that you want to experience it like never before, take in all the energy that you could possibly experience. But we want the Icelandic nature to be like this forever. Don’t drive where there are no roads, respect our nature, embrace it and it will reward you in a beautiful way. Karma has its way with things. One more thing, the elves don’t like it when you mess with their homes. Ask any habitat and they will give you better understanding of this.
If you read the whole thing, THANK YOU! We appreciate it and consider yourself an serious world class traveller! We look forward to being your friend here in Iceland! And we hope that your trip here will open your eyes to a new, magical, beautiful world that we call Iceland.
We talked to Jónas Heiðarr Guðnason the head bartender at Apotek which is one of Iceland’s most prestigious bars. Jónas studied bartending in London and has been successful in bar tending competitions in Iceland. He even took home the award for the best cocktail at Food & fun last year. We asked him to give us his choice for the best bars located in Reykjavík.
Geiri Smart is located at the bottom floor of Hilton Canopy Reykjavik. They serve really good drinks in a super comfortable atmosphere. The place is very stylish but has a really interesting look to it. It kind of feels like going to visit your grandma but at the same time everything is really modernly decorated. On top of that the bartenders there are fun, creative and really know their cocktails.
Kol is a restaurant/bar that has been doing really innovative things with their cocktails recently and have been picking up trends in the global cocktail scene rapidly. The food there is also amazing.
Slippbarinn can be found at the ground floor of Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Marina. It has been one of the leading bars in the Icelandic cocktail scene for quite a while now. They are unafraid to try new things with their drinks and change up their cocktail menu. As an example they are currently experimenting with serving cocktails from a slushee machine.
And of course I can’t do this list without mentioning my own bar at Apótek restaurant. We have a great lounge for people that want to enjoy our cocktails. We only use high quality spirits and a lot of our ingredients are homemade. A lot our custom cocktails/ingredients are made in collaboration with the expert chefs in the kitchen. The place has a really cozy interior and a great vibe to it.
The central highland is one of Iceland’s greatest treasures containing volcanoes, glaciers, voluminous rivers and waterfalls. Such vast, unpopulated areas where nature alone rules, are hard to come by these days. We Icelanders are in a rare position to stand guard of this treasure, before it’s lost.
We interviewed the assistant of the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources and former project manager of the Hálendið project.
People often get worried about access when there is talk about a national park. The public’s right to enjoy the nature and recreational activities while gaining informative instructions about nature and wildlife will be guaranteed. One of the fundamental bases of a Highland National park will be an understanding of the necessity for all visitors to respect the central highland and treat it in a responsible and suitable manner.
Making the Central Highland a national park will provide a much better protection of nature and maintaining it. Although it’s vital that nature conversion groups, tourist companies and local authorities all have to play an active part in the administration of the national park.
We spoke with Steinar Kaldal, assistant of the Minister of environmental and Naturla resources, and former project manager of the Hálendið project and asked him about his favourite places on the highland and the best way to inform tourists on how to preserve the highlands. He also told us a story about the effect that the Icelandic nature has on tourists.
“There are so many beautiful places on the central highland, for example just driving up Sprengisandssveg, there is the amazing Kistufell and there you truly are in the center of the highlands. 360 degree view over the highlands. You see Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.”
“The Highland project doesn’t focus on tourists. The main goal is to protect nature.”
“I remember one time when I brought a man from Japan up to the center highlands, he was getting more agitated as we got higher. Then at one point he told us to stop the car instantly, we thought he was going to puke or something, but he just started to running around. The nature overwhelmed him, he was used to being in big cities and having a lot of people around him all the time. He had never seen anything as vast and unpopulated in his life.”
When people think of Iceland, the first thing that comes to mind is snow and cold weather. That´s why golfing is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about activities in Iceland. There are about 65 golf courses in Iceland so the variety is enough. Golfing is an amazing way to experience the beautiful landscape that Iceland has to offer. Due to Iceland´s northern location there are almost 24 hours of sunlight during June and July. This makes it possible to enjoy midnight golfing, which is completely another experience.
We decided to pick three golf courses worth playing, which combine the best of Icelandic nature and offer high quality golfing experience.
Brautarholt Golf Course
Brautarholt Golf Course is located only a 30 minutes away from Reykjavík. It has spectacular view over Reykjavík, the Atlantic Ocean and the mountain Esja. This high quality nine-hole golf course is located in a remarkable nature. It has the biggest greens in Iceland which are known for their high quality. This golf course made it into Golf Digest´s top 100 list of best golf courses in Scandinavia and was actually the only nine hole golf course on that list.
Vestman Island Golf Course
Vestmannaeyjar Golf course is located on an island south of Iceland. It has a reputation for having one of the best greens in Iceland. Because of the landscape it offers many great challenges for example teeing off against a backdrop of volcanic walls. It is extremely difficult because of changing wind directions and unpredictable weather. The course plays well with its surroundings and lets you play across and over the sea.
Kiðjaberg Golf Course
Kiðjaberg golf course is located in the southern part of Iceland. In English the course is called White River Golf Course. It is located between the river Hvítá (White River) and the lake Hestavatn. It is known for its exceptionally beautiful surroundings.
The Icelandic history preserves many interesting sagas about the vikings who are said to have settled the country from the Norse kingdom of mainland Europe in the 8th century.
In the ancient Icelandic language the word “viking” translates to “pirate, a man who conducts sea warfare” which indicates that those people may not have been very friendly. Most of the Icelandic sagas also include ruthless stories about people killing each other.
Let’s take a brief look at the history of the Icelandic vikings in the following video.
Archaeologists in Iceland have excavated many archaeological things such as weapons, and other artifacts which they trace back to the Viking age. If you’re interested you can see most of them by visiting the National Museum of Iceland which is located in Reykjavík.
From the National Museum of Iceland. Photos by TripAdvisor.
Most of the people in the Viking age lived in turf houses which are still standing today in multiple places in the country, some of them have been under constant monitoring and maintenance to preserve the culture of ancient times.
In Iceland, you can find many different entertainment activities related to the Viking age like the restaurant Fjörukráin or Viking Village, where the theme of the place is the Viking age. It’s located at Hafnarfjörður, there you can enjoy modern food while getting entertained by the waiters who sing ancient folk songs.
Theatre is also actively creating shows about the Icelandic viking sagas where they are performed as a comedy act. Like the show Icelandic sagas which is performed regularly throughout the year at the venue Harpa.
The show Icelandic sagas performed at Harpa. Photos by TripAdvisor.
Icelanders love to brag about their uniqueness. If you end up in a conversation about politics in Iceland, you most likely will hear one of these politicians name-dropped.
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir – President of Iceland from 1980 – 1996
History was made in 1st of August 1980 when Vigdís Finnbogadóttir became the first woman in the world to be democratically elected president. Since then Vigdís has been an important role model for women all around the world and an iconic symbol in the movement towards gender equality.
Her values state that education is important, women are equal to men and last but not least that your visions can turn into reality.
Jón Gnarr – Mayor of Reykjavík from 2010 – 2014
Jón Gnarr surprised the Icelandic nation when he ran as the mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. Being one of Iceland´s most renowned comedians and reputable actors, no one thought he was serious until his political party, the Best Party, won the elections. He formed the Best Party with several other people, who also had no background in politics. Among their promises during their campaign were bringing a polar bear in Reykjavík Park and Zoo, building a Disneyland in Reykjavík, a drug-free parliament by 2020 and free towels in all swimming pools.
One of his most famous acts as a mayor was when he first appeared as a drag-queen in Reykjavík Pride 2010. He continued to participate in the festival through his term, dressed in a different drag each time.
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir – Politician and former prime minister of Iceland from 2009-2012
In 2009, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became Iceland´s first female prime minister. That’s not all. She also became the first openly gay head of government in the world. She had been a member of Althingi (the Icelandic parliament) since 1978 and when she became the prime minister of Iceland, Forbes listed her as one the 100 most powerful women in the world.
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson – current President of Iceland
Iceland’s favorite and the current president of Iceland. Recent studies show that today Guðni has approval ratings of 97%. Guðni describes himself as unaffiliated with any of Iceland´s political parties. The most unique thing about Guðni is that he truly is a member of Iceland’s community. He takes his children to school himself – on a bicycle. He orders pizza, and picks it up himself. He even showed up on a formal event with an informal beanie called “buff” on his head, which is a common headwear for young children in Iceland. It’s almost impossible not to love him.
Did you know that these movies were filmed in Iceland? Icelandic landscape has been very popular in movies that happen on another planets.
James Bond, Ben Stiller, Jon Snow, Angelina Jolie, Batman. What do all these people have in common? They have all filmed in Iceland. Check out scenes, making of and behind the scenes from movies like Interstellar, Rouge one, Oblivion, Prometheus, Lara Croft and Game of Thrones here.
Just hover your mouse over the map here below and blue bubbles will appear with the locations.
While some countries rely mostly on fossil fuels to make their energy, Iceland relies on 100% renewable energy sources to make their electricity. Hydroelectricity accounts for 73% and the other 27% is geothermal energy. In addition 9 out of every 10 buildings in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy. The cost of geothermal energy for residential heating in Iceland is the lowest in the world. Looking at how Iceland has achieved it’s success is increasingly important in an era where climate change is becoming a more serious problem every day.
The United Nations performed an analysis on Iceland’s success with the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. They analysis resulted in a few learning points for other countries that have access to the resources needed.
Cohesion between municipalities, government and the public
Local empowerment and public engagement
A favorable legal and regulatory framework
Long term planning for renewable energy implementation
Showcasing every step of success to the public
Excluding how local farmers used geothermal pools for washing and bathing, geothermal and hydroelectric resources in Iceland were not taken advantage of for centuries. It wasn’t until the year 1904 that the first hydroelectric power station was built. It was only 9 kW but it was enough to make Hafnarfjörður the first electrically lit town in Iceland. This power station got the ball rolling and in 1915 a lot of homemade mini-hydroelectric power stations made a total of 370 kW of energy. The hydroelectric power plants got bigger and bigger and in 1965 the first big hydroelectric power plant Búrfellsvirkjun was built. In the same year the power company Landsvirkjun was founded which is by far the largest electricity generator in Iceland and one of the ten largest producers of renewable energy in Europe. It is owned by the state of Iceland which means that manipulating resources for power creation is done by democratically elected representatives instead of corporate big shots.
Simultaneous to this hydroelectric plant building process Icelanders started taking advantage of their geothermal resources. The first documented use of geothermal heating came in 1907 when a farmer ran a concrete pipe from a hot spring to his house to get steam for heating. In 1930 the first pipeline was constructed in Iceland’s capital Reykjavík to heat the local hospital, two schools and some nearby houses. The government of Iceland established a geothermal drilling fund that loaned money for research and test drilling in the late 1960’s. In 1969 the first geothermal power station using steam turbines was built in Iceland. Since then 5 more geothermal power stations have been built.
The Blue Lagoon
An interesting side product of the geothermal adaptation came in 1976. A Geothermal power station was built in Svartsengi in Iceland’s southern peninsula. The power station was the first geothermal power station in the world that was both used for electric power generation and hot water production for district heating. The waste water of the plant was supposed to form a stream and run down into the Atlantic. Instead the Sulfur in the water filled up the holes in the nearby lava fields. The hot waste water made what is now known as the Blue Lagoon. A local resident got permission to bathe in the lagoon as a treatment for his psoriasis which paved the way for more people to use the lagoon. Now the Blue Lagoon has become one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland. However most tourists are not aware of the fact that the Blue Lagoon was originally an environmental accident.