Facts about Iceland

Islandsk landskap
Photographer
Karin Beate Nøsterud/norden.org
Iceland, the volcanic island in the north Atlantic is famous for its hot springs and dramatic scenery.

Iceland is two and a half times the size of Denmark, but only a little over 1% of the land is fit for growing crops. Most of the landscape consists of big lava fields and glaciers. More than half of the population of 356,991 live in and around the capital, Reykjavík.

Iceland is a republic with a directly elected president. The president formally nominates the prime minister. The Althing (Alþingi) is the parliament and supreme authority in Iceland.

Although Iceland is not an EU member, it is a signatory to the EEA Agreement, so is part of the European Economic Area. Iceland is a member of NATO.

Fish and fishery products are still the country’s main source of income, followed by aluminium and ferrosilicon exports. In recent years, growth has been recorded in sectors such as biotechnology, software and tourism.

GDP per capita is EUR 41,200 (2020)

Total area: 103,492 km2

Ice caps and glaciers: 10,500 km2

Lakes and rivers: 2,656 km2

Ice-free area: 92,692 km2

Arable land, market gardens and orchards: 1,290 km2

Forests: 1,907 km2

Largest lake: Þingvallavatn 82 km2

Coastline: 6,088 km

Highest point: Hvannadalshnúkur 2,110 m

Average temperature in Reykjavík (2018): 5.1° C (maximum 23.5 °C, minimum -9.0 °C)

Precipitation in Reykjavik (2007): 890 mm

Population in 2020: 364,134

Population of the capital in 2016: 216,878 inhabitants in Reykjavík (local authority) (1)

National day: 17 June (Independence Day, 17 June 1944)

Form of government: Republic

Parliament: Althing (Alþingi) (63 seats)

EU membership: No

EEA membership: Since 1 January 1994

NATO membership: Since 4 April 1949

Head of state: President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson

Head of government: Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Currency: Icelandic krona (ISK)

Official website: www.iceland.is

Official language: Icelandic

1) Reykjavik, Kópavogur, Seltjarnarnes, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður, Mosfellsbær, Kjósarhreppur and Álftanes