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Culture

Feature of the Week: Stars of the Night

Every weekend the legendary Reykjavík nightlife turns the main street Laugavegur into a hedonistic harbor for a troubled nation. The cafés switch off their espresso machines and turn on the disco balls as the party takes over any ground available, raging on till morning as people dance their...

Feature of the Week: A Feast of Theater

Vigdís Jakobsdóttir, Head of Education at the National Theater of Iceland in Reykjavík, grew up in the West Fjords. It is perhaps fitting, then, that over the past few years she has been shepherding and cultivating a project that is fulfilling those theatrical opportunities for today’s young people...

Feature of the Week: In Reykjavík

The “In Reykjavík” section of the print edition of Iceland Review introduces readers to the coolest places and latest trends in Iceland’s capital. In the first issue of 2009, Reykjavík’s Little Christmas Shop and the Krummi clothes hangers by designer Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir were featured, in...

Feature of the Week: Escaping Reykjavík

The ghosts of depression may be grinding Reykjavík to a halt, with companies going bankrupt, construction at a standstill and high unemployment. But in many of the small fishing villages along Iceland’s coast, life goes on as usual and there is hardly any recession. Moreover, the future looks...

Feature of the Week: The New Wave

An architectural gem situated in the vanishing marshlands of Reykjavík’s Tjörnin pond, the Nordic House, a cultural center and link between Iceland and the other Nordic countries, was designed by the Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto in 1963. Now the center is undergoing a serious cultural...

Feature of the Week: In Reykjavík

Strip a nation of its financial stability, its currency and its good name, and you’ll find a sad nation indeed. But deprive a Nordic country of its IKEA, and you’ll see what desperation means. While the de facto palace of Icelandic consumerism hasn’t shut its doors, the nation was dealt a crippling...

Feature of the Week: Hjaltalín

“Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll sounds cool but it just doesn’t suit us,” says Högni Egilsson, lead singer, composer and occasional lyricist for Iceland’s latest musical sensation, Hjaltalín. Winners of Most Promising Newcomer and Best Songwriter (for Egilsson) at this year’s Icelandic Music Awards,...

Feature of the Week: Coffee Talk – A History of Iceland’s Oldest Café

A Dutch proverb says that coffee has two virtues: it’s wet and warm. Mokka Kaffi has been exploring the brew for fifty years, implying that this prodigious drink may, in fact, be a bit more nuanced. Guest writer, Aina Fuller , sits down with owner Gudný Gudjónsdóttir, to see how she has taken...

Feature of the Week: Óli’s Adventures

Óli G. has exhibited his work since 1973 but didn’t manage to sustain a family with his art. He worked at the post office, as a journalist and a fisherman. It was not until he nearly lost his life in the Barents Sea that he decided to devote his life entirely to his art. One might say that the...

Feature of the Week: Out in the Cold

Homelessness is on the increase in Iceland’s capital area. The one shelter created to address the needs of these unlucky citizens sits on one of the nicest streets in the center of downtown. From outside, the building on Thingholtsstraeti 25 is unremarkable and few neighbors are even aware of the...

Feature of the Week: The Dangers of Ólöf Arnalds

IR staff writer Tobias Munthe sits down with Icelandic songbird Ólöf Arnalds to discuss the pleasures and terrors of performing live, motherhood, botched school recitals and playing well with others. Although Arnalds has been on the local music scene for several years, the release of her debut...

Feature of the Week: Petri Nation – Part 2

It’s an epidemic. Iceland’s renown as the poster nation for a progressive, sustainable future is spreading. With a booming independent music scene and a growing reputation as a northern outpost for social experimentation, Iceland is staking out territory on the cultural front. Hrefna Rósa Saetran’s...

Feature of the Week: Petri Nation – Part 1

It’s an epidemic. Iceland’s renown as the poster nation for a progressive, sustainable future is spreading. With a booming independent music scene and a growing reputation as a northern outpost for social experimentation, Iceland is staking out territory on the cultural front. Founded in 2003,...

Feature of the Week: Confessions of a Pop Nerd

From entertaining the masses when the handball team comes home to sashaying atop a pink semi truck for Reykjavík’s Gay Pride parade, entertainer Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson drolly describes himself as “Iceland’s biggest pop star icon if there ever was one.” His most recent album has sold 15,000 copies...

Feature of the Week: A Quiet Revolution

Civic leaders from St Petersburg to Istanbul are lending their ears to tiny Iceland for a lesson in how to raise their children. The Youth in Europe drug prevention program, the brainchild of Icelandic researchers and practitioners, has already been adopted by 20 cities throughout Europe... and...

Feature of the Week: Savor the Stink

Meet Eirny Sigurdardóttir, the one-woman dynamo behind Búrid cheese shop. Atlantica staff writer Jonas Moody speaks to Iceland’s Dairy Queen about the foodie revolution she’s staging, to open the nation’s mind and mouth—one stinky cheese at a time.

Feature of the Week: Objects in the Mirror Are Closer than They Appear

I’m driving against the morning commuter rush on my way out to the suburbs to meet 28-year-old Ingunn Pétursdóttir, one of 12 Icelandic women (and growing) banded together by an uncommon thread: trucks. They are not truck dispatchers, truck-stop waitresses, or truckers’ girlfriends. They are...

Feature of the Week: Magnús Opus

The Reykjavík City Theater is rapidly becoming the talk of the town—tickets are selling like never before, there’s a fabulous line-up for the new season and among artists it’s becoming the place to see and be seen. Tobias Munthe sat down with the man behind it all, RCT’s new Artistic Director...

Feature of the Week: The Christmas Cure

As the smoke cloud clears and the smell abates enough to become pleasant, a past world emerges through the open door. The scene inside the smoke house could have been 500 years ago and, just maybe, 500 years in the future as well. The legs of lamb smoking gently within are almost as culturally...

Feature of the Week: Queen of the Horse Carnival

As the Executive Manager of the biannual National Horse Show ( held in Hella in south Iceland last summer ), Jóna Fanney Fridriksdóttir is responsible for the biggest outdoor sports festival in Iceland. She is the former mayor of the village of Blönduós in Húnavatnssýsla district and runs a horse-...

Feature of the Week: Hoop Dreams under the Glacier

The normally placid seaside town of Stykkishólmur is home to just over one thousand souls. In late April, more than 600 of them crammed into the local gym to cheer on their basketball team in the season’s most important game; for only the third time in its 56-year history, Snaefell had made it to...

Feature of the Week: The Passion of Jón Gnarr

Elvis Costello once sang that it is a dangerous game that comedy plays. Sometimes it tells you the truth and sometimes it delays it. He could have been singing about Iceland’s rebel comic artist Jón Gnarr. From his radio show, to his art projects, his acting turns in movies and the well-received...

Feature of the Week: Making a Killing

It’s in the papers – crime is on the rise and there’s reason to be scared. As paranoia and xenophobia are on the up, fear’s selling like never before and the Icelandic reading public’s appetite for murder and mayhem has never been keener. This trend looks like more than a passing fad. The Icelandic...

Feature of the Week: Cover Girl Uncovered

Ingibjörg Björnsdóttir, then nine years old, was just scrambling down from her patient horse when the photographer approached her. She was meant to lead her sister and brother around the meadow on their farm on the south coast of Iceland, but the balding man with the massive camera was persistent...

Feature of the Week: A Family Holds Firm

Little has changed in the Hofsá valley in the five hundred odd years since Árni Brandsson and his wife Úlfheidur bought land there in 1532. They were surely unaware, as they made their way up this most beautiful of valleys, that their arrival heralded a dynasty that would occupy their farm,...

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