Let’s dive into “10 Remarkable and Unusual Facts About Iceland”, a country known for its stunning landscapes and unique culture.
1. Contrary to popular belief, Norsemen were not the first humans to set foot on the Icelandic shores. That honor belongs to the Irish monks, known as the Papar, who ventured to the remote island before any others.
2. Amid the busy landscapes of cities worldwide, the familiar glow of the McDonald’s golden arches is conspicuously absent in Iceland. Following the Icelandic financial crisis of 2008-2011 and escalating import tariffs, McDonald’s exited the country in October 2009, never to return.
3. Iceland’s unique approach to fostering social interaction involved prohibiting TV broadcasts on Thursdays until 1987. This encouraged people to spend more time socializing, leading many Icelanders born before that year to jest that they were likely conceived on a Thursday.
4. In a testament to Iceland’s exceptional ecological niche, it stands as the only country devoid of mosquitoes. However, it does host blood-sucking insects known as Midges that display similar behaviors.
5. During the Cold War, a controversial move by the Icelandic government sought to restrict black American soldiers’ stationing on the island. The aim was to protect Icelandic women and maintain national homogeneity. This ban was only lifted in the late 1960s following US military pressure.
6. An astounding 70% of Icelanders are members of Costco, a remarkable statistic considering there is only one Costco branch in the entire country.
7. Reykjavík, the capital city, exhibits a unique kindness towards its feathered residents. A section of the city’s downtown pond is heated with hot water to provide birds with a consistent swimming area, even during the frosty winter months.
8. Iceland witnessed a powerful display of female solidarity on October 24, 1975, when 90% of its female population went on strike to demand equal rights. This collective action played a pivotal role in paving the way for Iceland’s first female president, who won the election in 1980.
9. The genetic tapestry of Iceland’s settlers is quite interesting. So many Irish women were taken captive by the Vikings that by the time they colonized Iceland, the population’s genetics were roughly 50% Irish.
10. Astonishingly, Iceland is home to Europe’s largest banana plantation. Taking advantage of geothermal energy, the country heats greenhouses allowing for the cultivation of tropical fruits such as bananas.