Customs and traditions

The contact networks between Icelanders are usually dense and a large part of the population know each other. What happens in public life often affects people personally.

Icelandic society is socially equal in comparison with most other countries. Everyone addresses each other with first names. Only the president and the bishop are addressed by title. Good day (good day) or hello are common Icelandic greetings and you take care when you meet.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Iceland, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

The interaction is usually informal and it is not uncommon to spontaneously visit each other without the invitation. At the same time, many people are accustomed to managing themselves in a country with long winters and isolated settlements.

Working life

The culture within the Icelandic business community is usually described as highly targeted and youthful. Young people have a relatively easy career path, breaking down bureaucratic obstacles, hierarchies and conventional thinking.

Business meetings are more focused on making quick decisions than on reaching consensus. One should be prepared for open and straightforward communication, which can sometimes seem insensitive from a Swedish perspective. The relationship with employees can be more severe than in the Swedish business sector – the person who succeeds is well rewarded, the one who fails risks losing his or her position.

Food Culture

“Life is salty fish,” claimed Nobel Prize-winning author Halldór Laxness. He may have been referring to the traditional buffet Thorramatur, which was eaten at the midwinter party (Thorrablót). Then yeast is served shark meat (shark), smoked lamb (hanky meat) and a variety of other fish and meat dishes along with dark rye bread and brandy wine (called the Black Death).

Seafood is number one on the Icelandic menu, but lamb is also popular and is served in many varieties. Smoked mutton is advantageously eaten on thin brine baked on rye. Seasonally, whale or seal meat is available, and puffins are sought after.

Skyr, which is a kind of yogurt made from skim milk and a sourdough-like bacterial culture, is often on the table. Lactic acid meat is also common.


According to Abbreviationfinder, Many Icelanders prefer to dress in jeans and sweaters for everyday wear, but it is customary to dress up on solemn occasions. National costume is often used at holidays. The cool weather means that warm clothes are needed almost year-round.


According to Countryaah, National Day is celebrated on June 17. Easter, Christmas and New Year are great holidays. Christmas is celebrated with both Christian and Old Nordic elements. Thirteen different plots (Grytslickaren, Dörrsmällaren, Korvtjuven and others) are said to come down from the mountain to people’s dwellings, one a day until Christmas Eve. Then they return, one every day until the thirteenth day. At New Year, fires are lit, and around the fire, howls and elves are considered to mix with humans, one of many examples of the place of legends and superstition in Icelandic culture.

Iceland Immigration Statistics



Schools and museums reopened

15th of May

The government is lifting the restrictions introduced in March to try to prevent the spread of the corona virus. Large sections of the community function as usual with schools, hairdressers and museums that are again open while public gatherings with more than 50 people are again allowed. The government explains that it is now considered to have the infection under control since only two new cases of covid-19 were discovered during the past week.


The government launches support packages

April 22

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottír announces that the government will inject an additional SEK 60 billion into the economy. The crisis measures are particularly targeted at small and medium-sized companies that have been affected by the corona crisis. They can get loans directly if they risk going bankrupt or compensated if they have had to cancel their production. Special support will also be given to the unemployed and low-income households.


The spread of corona increases

March 23rd

Nearly 600 people are said to be infected by the corona virus in Iceland and about 6,000 are in home quarantine after living in risk areas abroad. As the spread increases, new stricter rules are introduced. Prohibition is imposed on people gathering with more than 20 people. At the same time, bathhouses, training rooms, entertainment venues, museums, hairdressers are closed. In addition, measures are planned for around SEK 230 billion to support the economy. This includes, among other things, loans to companies, deferral of public contributions, employer contributions and income taxes, increased child allowance, reduced bank tax and more. The package of measures also includes 750 million to support cultural activities and sports associations.

Iceland Culture and Traditions
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