Iceland

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 0.3
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 93%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.3%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 103,000


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Icelanders96 %
Danish1 %
Swedish 0.5 %
Other 2.5 %



Main Cities Population
Reykjavík 115 420
Kopavogur 27 536
Hafnarfjordur 23 674
Akureyrí 16 534
Gardabaer 9 529
Keflavík 8 155



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Reykjavik (GMT).



Languages
Official language: Icelandic
Most of the Icelanders can speak English and Danish, English being commonly used as the business language.

Free translation tools

Tranexp
Free English-Icelandic-English translator of texts and web pages





Religion
Religious practises : Protestants 96%
Atheists 15%
Catholics 1%
Others 1.5%.


Political context

Iceland is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Iceland (official name: Republic of Iceland) remains outside the European Union; and though the country has no armed forces it is a member of NATO.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. President’s role is largely ceremonial. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed as the Prime Minister by the President for a four year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Prime Minister also appoints the Cabinet.
The legislature in Iceland is unicameral. The Parliament consists of 63 seats, its members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament directly but can recommend the same to the President. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament.The people of Iceland enjoy considerable political rights.
The country’s judiciary is independent. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1944 which has been amended many times. The legal system is based on system civil law system originating from Danish law. Iceland has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Icelandic is the judicial language used in Iceland.
Iceland is ruled by law. The country’s judicial system guarantees equal treatment to foreign nationals. Iceland is one of the least corrupt nations in the world.


Major political parties

Iceland has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.The major political parties in the country are:
- IP (Independence Party) – centre-right conservative political party, opposes joining of EU;
- PP (Progressive Party) - an agrarian and liberal political party;
- Alliance – a social-democratic party, based on alliance of People's Alliance (PA), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Women's List;
- LGM (Left-Green Movement) – advocates traditional socialistic values, feminism and environmentalism;
- LP (Liberal Party) – a liberal party, opposes joining of EU & Iraq war.


Major political leaders

President: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since August 1996, latest re-election in June 2004) – non-partisan
Prime Minister: Geir H. HAARDE (since June 2006) – IP, running coalition government with PP


Next political election dates

Presidential: June 2008 Parliamentary: May 2011




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Iceland 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 836 871 ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
- Reykjavik: Museums and galleries
- Geysir: geysers
- Skaftafell: the national park and its glacier, the biggest in Europe
- Snaefellsjokull: the volcanic glacier
- Isafjordur: the cultural business centre
- Gullfoss: similar waterfalls to the Niagara's

For more information about tourism in Iceland , check out the following web site(s) :
Icelandic Tourist Board



Food


Traditional dishes
The Icelandic food is the result of a natural environment, completely protected from pollution. Seafood of an exceptional quality, excellent dairy products, reindeer meat, mushrooms and berrys, as well as the famous Icelandic lamb can be found. For some years, the Icelandic chefs have been bringing the art of turning the natural resources of the country into a real gastronomy combining the delicious raw materials with the best international culinary tendencies.
Among Icelandic culinary specialties:
The Rjomalögho fiskisupa: shellfish soup with cream.
The Svioa: barbecued lamb fillet with a (hot) spicy sauce.
Finally, it is impossible to leave Iceland without sampling any freshly fished seafood such as salmon, or haddock, among others.


Last modified on December 2006

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