20 (More) Questions about Iceland – Answers!

Skútustaðahreppur, in northern Iceland [Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

Are you an Iceland expert? See how well you did with the second quiz about the country!


1) What does “vatn” mean in the word “Vatnajökull”, the name of Iceland’s largest glacier?

a) “Power”
b) “God”
c) “Water”
d) “Ice”

2) In which of the following countries has Iceland not established an embassy?

a) Australia
b) China
c) Japan
d) United States

A bus in Reykjavík advertising the 100th anniversary of electrical power in Iceland [Photo by Mingming Shi]

3) In which year did electricity become available in Iceland?

a) 1891
b) 1903
c) 1921
d) 1936

Iceland celebrated the centenary of its electric power this year.

[Photo by Mingming Shi]

4) Where is this famous puffin statue (pictured above) located? 

a) Akureyri  
b) Egilsstaðir
c) Mývatn
d) Heimaey

It is hard to miss this huge statue at the harbour in Heimaey, the main island within the Westman Islands!

5) Who was the first president of Iceland?

a) Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
b) Sveinn Björnsson
c) Friðrik Sophusson
d) Davið Oddsson

Sveinn Björnsson was the first President of Iceland, serving from 1944 to 1952. Davið Oddsson used to be the Prime Minister of the country from 1991 to 2004. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was the fifth president of Iceland, serving from 1996 to 2016. Friðrik Sophusson is a local politician and former finance minister.

6) Please identify which letter is not used in the Icelandic language.

a) þ 
b) á 
c) ö 
d) ø

7) Iceland was a founding member of which one of these international organisations? 

a) United Nations
b) League of Nations
c) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
d) European Union

Iceland is a founding member of NATO, but not of the United Nations, even though it was an early addition (in 1946). Iceland was not yet independent during the time of the League of Nations, and is not a member of the European Union, (although the country does have many cooperation agreements with the EU).

8) Which of the following international brands does not have a brick and mortar store in Iceland?

a) H&M
b) Uniqlo
c) Ikea
d) Costco

9) What is the Icelandic name for the country’s famous “Blue Lagoon”?

a) Bláa lónið
b) Bláfjöll
c) Bláskógabyggð
d) Bláklukka

10) How many cities are there in Iceland?

a) 1
b) 7
c) 11
d) 15

There is only one official city in Iceland, namely its capital, Reykjavík (population 132,000).

11) Which of the following activities cannot be done in the Reykjavík’s main shopping street, Laugavegur? 

a) Find a stuffed polar bear toy
b) Enjoy Vietnamese cuisine
c) Try local spirits
d) Go swimming at the Laugardalslaug pool 

Laugardalslaug swimming pool is not on this street, even though their names look similar!

12) Which location in Iceland was not used for locational filming of the series ‘Game of Thrones’?

a) Þingvellir national park
b) Hallormsstaðaskógur national forest
c) Þórsmörk mountain ridge
d) Grjótagjá hot springs

Many parts of Iceland were used in the filming of this series, (after all, winter was coming!), but not the Hallormsstaðaskógur region.

13) What is the name of the first female Prime Minister of Iceland?

a) Mette Frederiksen
b) Mingming Shi
c) Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
d) Katrín Jakobsdóttir

(Although thank you to anyone who guessed b) !)

1 króna coin [Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

14) What is the marine animal pictured on the Iceland one króna coin? 

a) salmon
b) cod
c) halibut
d) lumpfish

15) What is the English translation of Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík? 

a) “Windstorm”
b) “Northern Lights”
c) “Bay of Smoke”
d) “High Waves”

The name comes from the steam from geothermal vents which Viking explorers witnessed in the area.

16) Which character in “The Simpsons” was raised in Iceland?

a) Jeff
b) Carl
c) Lenny
d) Moe

Carl Carlson was raised in Iceland, although Lenny and Moe (along with Homer) had visited the country.

17) In which Icelandic town does the United States maintain its military presence?

a) Keflavík
b) Selfoss
c) Höfn
d) Húsavík

The United States military maintained a naval air station in Keflavík until 2006, but recently US forces have used the facilities for various Arctic operations.

Not the real Yule Cat! [Photo by Mingming Shi]

18) Which of the following activities does Jólakötturinn (the Icelandic Christmas Cat) do at Christmas, according to Icelandic legend?

a) Brings gifts to the poor and homeless
b) Eats people without new clothes
c) Rescues lost puffins on glaciers
d) Flies (to catch falcons) and swims (to catch fish)

Surprised?

19) Which following statements about Iceland’s Surtsey Island is incorrect?

a) It appeared from an undersea volcano eruption in the 1960s
b) It is open for tourism
c) It is the second largest island of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) archipelago
d) It is a World Heritage Site, recognised by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

Due to the island’s newness, and delicate ecosystem, only approved scientific personnel are permitted to visit Surtsey at present.

20) Which street does Reykjavík’s famous Hallgrímskirkja Church face?

a) Skólavörðustígur
b) Hallgrímstorg
c) Eiríksgata
d) Bergþórugata


Gleðileg jól!