January news was dominated by the tragic disappearance of Birna Brjánsdóttir and the investigation that followed. Disappearances and murder are rare in Iceland, and the nation followed the case closely as Birna’s body was discovered, an autopsy confirmed murder to be the cause of death, and suspects were arrested. The tragedy shook readers in Iceland and abroad.
There are a number of links on the Birna case at the bottom of this article, as news surrounding the case were prominent in our most read stories.
Readers were excited to hear the manufacturer of Iceland’s infamous SS hot dogs was enlarging their factory in order to produce hot dogs for the US market. Though mouths are watering, the hot dogs are yet to arrive.
Increased seismic activity in Katla volcano led experts to believe an eruption was more likely than usual. The South Iceland Police Department met with travel service companies, encouraging all to reinforce their contingency plans due to the increased risk. Katla has since been relatively quiet.
Amidst a global refugee crisis and not long after controversial border closings in the US, President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson invited 22 Syrian refugees to his home upon their arrival to Iceland. The gesture received widespread support and warmed the hearts of many.
An unfortunate accident took place in the Silfra fissure, at Þingvellir National Park, as a traveler from the United States had a heart attack while snorkeling in the fissure. Since then, stricter security protocols have been put in place for diving in the area.
A record snowfall fell upon citizens of Reykjavík on the 27th of February this year, as the capital was covered under the thickest blanket of snow to fall since 1937! 51 cm (20 in) fell in total, which was just shy of the total record of 55 cm from January 18, 1937. Accompanying this article are beautiful photos, as the snowfall provided us with astounding scenery.
This story was one of the biggest hits in the year in terms of the number of clicks it garnered, rather than the impact of the story. Ed Sheeran managed to slip into a hot spring and burn his foot on his 25-year celebratory birthday trip to Iceland. His advice? “When you have a burn, don’t take the sock off!”
With the strengthening of the currency, the Icelandic króna, Iceland was becoming increasingly expensive. Reports from banks such as Arion Bank and Íslandsbanki highlighted how expensive the country has become.
Iceland was deemed the third happiest nation on earth by the 2017 UN World Happiness Report. This was the second time in a row Iceland has held its position as the third happiest nation. We are still striving to reach the happiness levels of Norway and Denmark, who were in 1st and 2nd place respectively. Meanwhile, it appears we are quite content with our position.
Capital controls, which had been in place since November of 2008, were finally lifted this March. Ever since the financial crash of 2008 hit the country hard, these capital controls have been in place. The change meant that restrictions on individual, companies, and pension funds were finally lifted.
More news stories that covered the Birna case:
Parts #2, #3 and #4 of Year in Review will be posted in the upcoming days.