Among the noteworthy occurrences in Iceland this week, you’ll find news of pools, palm trees, sunshine and ice skates. Get ready for some hot and cold news from this week in Iceland.
Looking to keep warm in Iceland? Try a hot spring tour
The 28th of January saw the yearly ‘Day of Sun’ in the town of Siglufjörður on the northern coast of Iceland. This festival celebrates the first day in 74 days the town sees the sun. As the sleeping fishing town is so far north and surrounded by mountains, the sun doesn’t reach it for over two months.
To celebrate, school children wear yellow and sing songs about the sun. It has also become a tradition for The National Association of People With Disabilities in Iceland to sell pancakes to raise funds on this day. Unfortunately, the day was very cloudy this year so Siglufjörður didn’t actually see much of the sun.
Iceland’s First Outdoor Palm Trees
The most hotly debated issue this week was an art installation which is planned for Vogabyggð, a soon to be constructed neighbourhood in Reykjavík.
The installation – which hasn’t been put up, since the neighbourhood doesn’t exist yet – is by the German conceptual artist Karin Sander. The installation is described as two illuminated, heated, glass columns which contain palm trees. We assume there’s two of them so they don’t get lonely so far from their natural habitat.
The installation was chosen by the City Council but many people have expressed concern about the project. The art installation is considered too expensive and some doubt it’ll work out as planned. No botanists or gardeners were on the panel that chose the artwork.
Temperatures have been very low in Iceland this week, going as far down as -27°C. Icelanders often boast about our seemingly endless supply of hot water, but it turns out it might not be as abundant as we’d like to think.
This week Reykjavík Energy’s Utilities department sent out an appeal to the residents of Reykjavík to use less hot water during the current cold spell. People seem to have responded to the plea and hot water consumption in Reykjavík is decreasing again.
Some swimming pools across the country have had to close partially or fully. The pools in Hella, Laugaland and Hvolsvöllur had to close and the pool in Þorlákshöfn was partially closed. Vesturbæjarlaug in Reykjavík closed a wading pool and a few hot tubs in order to keep the main pool and showers warm.
Swimming and enjoying hot tubs are a big part of many Icelander’s day to day life, which means further closures would cause a disturbance to many people’s routine.
See also: The Best Swimming Pools in Reykjavík
Ice Skating on Reykjavík City Pond
It is a longstanding tradition for residents of Reykjavík to go ice skating on the pond by City Hall when it freezes over. You can also sometimes see students from neighbouring schools playing football on the pond when it freezes.
The City has now cleared the snow off part of the pond for a skating rink on Reykjavík City Pond. This is great news for the local skating enthusiasts and ice hockey teams.
In Animal News:
The following animals made the news this week in Iceland.
See also: Wildlife and Animals in Iceland
- Lambs: Two lambs were born unusually early on a farm in Skagafjörður in Northern Iceland. Most sheep birth their lambs in spring. This is the third year in a row this farmer gets lambs in January. The mother of the lambs roamed free this summer and autumn, as Icelandic sheep do, and must have come across a ram sometime in September.
- Seals: The grey seal population off the coast of Iceland has increased in numbers. This means that they’ve moved further away from being endangered, they’ve even moved to a different category according to the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.
- Dogs: Former first lady Dorrit Moussaieff is looking for a new German Sheep Dog to call her own. Her beloved canine companion, Sámur, passed away recently and she’s looking to replace him. She has plans to get the deceased dog cloned but says she cannot wait that long for a new pup in her life.