Good Question (PS)



I was in Latvia last week. On Saturday night I was checking the World Wide Web for news from home at my hotel.

What? I thought. Who owns Iceland? Can you just close tourist sites, world renowned wonders in Iceland if you personally own the piece of the land where they are located?

So you can close them off to Jews or persons of color if you do not like them? Or perhaps to socialists, communists or specially people with flat feet?

Óskar Magnússon did. He closed off Kerið, a small and beautiful volcanic crater lake in south Iceland, to two prime ministers who wanted to look at it.

Our own PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Wen Jiabao of China.

Óskar Magnússon is the publisher of the small right-wing newspaper Morgunblaðið and spokesperson for the group of people who bought Kerið a couple of years ago.

He said that in banning the PMs to visit Kerið, he was thinking about protecting nature first. But what contributed to his decision was that he dislikes the government of China and the current left-wing government of Iceland.


Can we in the future have signs at Kerið stating that no people from the left wing of politics are allowed to look at it?

What about other places that are privately owned?

Will the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon be closed off to tourists coming from Swaziland and Switzerland in the future? Or to tourists from the Vatican because they do not have the right religion? What about homosexuals, or photographers?

I was in a state of chock, I had always thought that all people were welcome to our republic, to see and feel nature without restrictions.

That has been the case in Iceland through centuries. We have welcomed all—except the Turks who came as pirates in 1627 and raided the Westman Islands, killed 34 people and capturing more than 400.

Later they were sold at a slave marked in Algiers, which at the time was part of the great Ottoman Empire.

That was long time ago.

Who owns Iceland?

Good question.

Páll Stefánsson – [email protected]

P.S. Last night, after I wrote this column, I heard on the ten o’clock news that what Óskar did is illegal, that according to the law here in Iceland you cannot prevent people from enjoying nature. Good news. And Óskar is a lawyer himself.

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.