The fifth annual—and always much-anticipated—Intercultural Day was held in Reykjavík on Saturday.
As in past years, the festival began with a parade—this year headed by a Chinese dragon—from Hallgrímskirkja church through the city’s streets and down to City Hall where a sort of exhibition/market introducing immigrant groups and related associations was held. Meanwhile, live music and dance performances kept the crowds entertained at Tjarnarbíó and Hafnarhús.
Intercultural Day is an opportunity for foreigners and Icelanders to celebrate multiculturalism in Iceland, as project manager at the Reykjavík Human Rights Office, Jóna Vigdís Kristinsdóttir, told mbl.is.
“Some people think the festival is just for foreigners, but it is for everyone. It is also an opportunity for groups to connect with one another, to present themselves and see others,” she explained.
According to the latest figures, there are around 25,926 foreigners living in Iceland (this number includes foreigners who have been granted Icelandic citizenship). That’s out of a total population of 321,857, so roughly 8 percent.
But, this doesn’t show the full picture. The number of individuals with an Icelandic background, but born abroad, totals 5,688 while second generation immigrants number 3,204 and those born in Iceland to one foreign parent equal 11,073. Conversely, individuals born abroad to one foreign parent number 3,820.
Today, roughly one in 12 people living in Iceland are foreign born compared to one in 18 seven years ago and one in 50 back in 1996, 17 years ago.
Essentially, Iceland is becoming more diverse. Iceland’s population has certainly changed over the years and like many other countries in Europe is a multicultural society with its citizens representing over 140 nations, as Saturday demonstrated so well.
Text & Photos: Zoë Robert – firstname.lastname@example.org