Fun Facts about Iceland
Take a look at some fun and interesting facts about Iceland!
1. Beer was banned in Iceland until the end of the 1980’s
The ban came into effect in 1915 and wasn’t lifted until March 1st 1989. March 1st has since become a national holiday known as Beer Day!
2. The first Fire and Plague Insurance was issued in Iceland
In 1151 the world’s very first insurance policy covering fire and plague was drawn up in Iceland.
3. Icelanders must get approval to name their babies
As Icelandic names follow a patronymic system, any first names which haven’t been used in Iceland before must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee (so naming a child Apple or Hashtag is probably a bit of a no-no).
4. The Star of Free Willy Retired to Iceland
Keiko, the killer whale who starred in the hit movie ‘Free Willy’, was first captured in Iceland in 1979. After spending a significant amount of time in an amusement park in Mexico City (and becoming a film star) Keiko was returned to Iceland for his retirement in 1998.
5. In the 1400’s the Icelandic people used dried fish as currency
Way back before the Icelandic Krona came into use in the 1870’s Iceland used dried fish as currency. You had to be careful if you got peckish though, back then your pocket full of snacks was actually a pocket full of money…
6. When the Lakagicar Volcano Erupted it killed 1/5 of the Icelandic population
The volcano erupted in 1783 and led to such a severe famine that roughly 10,000 people (around 20 percent of the population at the time) died.
7. Iceland imported rabbits from Spain
According to some sources, European rabbits (which were not originally native to Iceland) were imported into the nation from Spain in 1976. Shortly after their arrival the rabbits began to compete with the local puffin population for burrow-space and have since bred in such large numbers that they are becoming problematic.
8. Iceland has no Santa Claus
Instead of one jolly bearded man to look up to at Christmas Iceland has thirteen, the ‘Yule Lads’, all with distinctive personalities and attributes. Although the Yule Lads were originally presented as naughty little pranksters, their role in Icelandic folklore has become more benevolent over the years.