Are Icelanders Friendly?

The Enchanting Charm of Icelandic Hospitality

When one thinks of Iceland, images of staggering glaciers, formidable volcanoes, and the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights often come to mind. However, beyond these awe-inspiring sights, there lies a question in the minds of many prospective travellers: Are the people of this dramatic land as inviting as its picturesque views?

Iceland’s deep-seated Viking history might lead some to conjure images of fierce warriors, hinting at a possible aloofness. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. While the Vikings were undoubtedly brave explorers and settlers, they were also a community-oriented lot. They established the Althing, the world's oldest continuing parliamentary institution, back in 930 AD. This act of early governance itself was an endorsement of discussion, community, and harmony.

Picture of Lögberg, Thingvellir Iceland
Lögberg at Þingvellir.

Iceland's Commitment to Community

Jump to the present day, and the Icelandic commitment to the community is as alive as ever. Dive into the literary world, and you'll find that Icelanders are amongst the most prolific readers and writers. One might even joke that authoring a book is a rite of passage here! This literary inclination isn't just about weaving tales of fantasy but reveals a deep desire to connect, share, and understand varied human experiences.

Modern-day Icelandic hospitality can be seen (and felt) in their cherished communal activities. The ubiquitous geothermal pools aren't just venues for relaxation but are lively hubs of social interaction. Here, generational divides blur, stories flow freely, and the warmth isn’t just limited to the water.

Language, too, reflects Iceland's close-knit community spirit. Their dedication to preserving Icelandic, a language that has changed little from Old Norse, showcases not just pride in their heritage but a commitment to continuity and shared identity. Imagine a place where the echoes of the past seamlessly merge with the present, fostering a deep sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Picture of Snorralaug in Reykholt, oldest geothermal pool in Iceland
The poet, historian and lawmaker Snorri Sturluson even had a geothermal pool at his settlement in Reykholt where it is still visible

Kaldar Hendur, Hlýtt hjarta

Which translates to "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" encapsulates the Icelandic spirit perfectly

But what truly puts the seal on the friendly nature of Icelanders? Perhaps, it's their open embrace of change while staying rooted in tradition. A nation that elected the world's first female president in a democratic setup, Iceland constantly pushes boundaries, encouraging inclusivity and progressive thought.

In conclusion, while Iceland's natural vistas are undeniably magnetic, it's the warmth, openness, and friendliness of its people that truly enchant visitors. As the Icelandic proverb goes, "Þar sem hjartað er, standa fætur" – "Where the heart is, the feet will go." In the heart of Iceland, you'll find a welcoming embrace that feels like home.