by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late
9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest
functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930.
Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by
Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated
the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next
quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to
Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874
and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity,
income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.
Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an
extensive welfare system, low unemployment, and remarkably even
distribution of income. In the absence of other natural resources
(except for abundant hydrothermal and geothermal power), the economy
depends heavily on the fishing industry, providing 70% of export
earnings and employing 12% of the work force. The economy remains
sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to drops in world prices
for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and
ferrosilicon. The center-right government plans to continue its
policies of reducing the budget and current account deficits, limiting
foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and
fishing policies, diversifying the economy, and privatizing state-owned
industries. The government remains opposed to EU membership, primarily
because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing
resources. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing
and service industries in the last decade, and new developments in
software production, biotechnology, and financial services are taking
place. The tourism sector is also expanding, with the recent trends in
ecotourism and whale watching. Growth has been remarkably steady over
the past five years at 4%-5%
Jan 1 - New Year's Day
Mar 24* - Maundy Thursday
Mar 25* - Good Friday
Mar 28* - Easter Monday
Apr 21* - First Day of Summer
May 1 - Labour Day
May 5* - Ascension
May 16* - Whit Monday
Jun 17 - National Day (Proclamation of the Republic
Aug 1* - Commerce Day
Dec 24-26 - Christmas Day
Dec 31 - New Year's Eve (from noon)
Ps: These festivals' dates (*) given above are approximations which are subject to change every new year.
Country Code: 354
Outgoing International Code: 00
of Invest in Iceland Agency with information about investors guide,
economic information, regional information, target sectors and
Trade Council of Iceland
site of Trade Council of Iceland with Icelandic export companies and
directory and information about business in Iceland.
Daily news from Iceland.
CIA - The World Factbook - Iceland
website indicates a wide range of detail information about Iceland by
introducing under 8 different fields as its geography, people,
government, economy, communications, transportation, military,
The Embassy of Iceland in Washington D.C.
covers wealthy information ranging from country profile, culture,
travel, business and economy, foreign policy and many useful links.
Iceland export Directory
version of trade directory providing easy access to Iceland export
companies, information on them and links to websites related to
Icelandic businesses and affairs.
is available to find out Iceland's general outlook on the issues of its
social and business profile, passport/visa, money, accommodation,
government, duty free, health and so forth.
Iceland Country Commercial Guide
country commercial reports are prepared annually that basically offers
a comprehensive outlook at Iceland's commercial environments by using
economic, political, and market analysis.