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Culture & Identity of Iceland

Introduction

In the cold, dark winter months of Iceland, it's best to be in the company of others and the people know this well as over 90% of the people in Iceland live in a city. Of course with a short growing season the agriculture in the country is sparse at best as most jobs are found in the cities.

An overwhelming percentage of jobs in Iceland are in the services sector and many people have somewhat regular daily schedules. Most people work from about 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm. Likewise, most children attend school from about 8:00 am to about 3:30 pm.

Evenings and weekends (Saturday-Sunday) are often times spent with family at home or with friends. Most evenings people tend to stay in, but during the summer months and on weekends, especially during the long summer days, people like to get outside to enjoy the long days. This can be playing sports, enjoying nature, walking around town, shopping, or heading out to a museum or other activity; the key is getting out of the house when it's nice enough to.

Many people enjoy going out for a drink, dinner, or dancing as well, especially in the capital, where the scene is quite active. Of course going out is a personal preference and how the people spend their free time varies greatly.

Identity

Icelanders generally identify as being Icelandic, but this is a relatively recent creation. As a land under foreign occupation for centuries, nationalist feelings and an independent identity are relatively recent. Since nationalist movements began in the 1800s, what it means to be Icelandic has been developing. For the most parts, this identity is based on the people's ethnicity, history, culture, and language, but nationality also plays a minor role as there is no consensus on what is included in this identity.

This page was last updated: November, 2013