Looking back on 2008 II: What is an Icelander?

What is an Icelander?

A viking? A workaholic? An elf?

A bookworm? A strongman? A beauty queen?

A musician? A poet? A person of the sea?

All nations have stereotypes that are either promoted within their country or those outside it.

The French think of themselves as bon vivants, the Americans call them lazy.

The Americans think of themselves as leaders of the world, the French think they are bullies.

Latin Americans think they have more passion than anyone else. Nobody is supposed to be more hardworking than Asians.

Invariably foreigners are struck by an encounter with an extravagant German or a lazy Japanese. They don’t conform to the image.

In many ways the characteristics of a nation help it find its way as a whole. You emphasize the qualities you want to be associated with.

In Iceland Björk is revered as she is an original that portrays the best in our culture. So are Sigur Ros and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Hard-working, poetic, strong and beautiful (have you seen Eidur play ball?).

In the last eight years Icelanders have worked hard at creating a new image which finally was revealed to the world in 2008.

An Icelander is the guy who buys the biggest SUV on credit, then parks in the handicapped spot.


And there is nothing more Icelandic than this police car…


Photos from here


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