|Population:||128,793 (January 1, 2019)|
|Population density:||464.79 inhabitants / km²|
|Mayor:||Dagur B. Eggertsson|
Reykjavík [ ˈreiːcaˌviːk ] is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital in the world ( latitude 64 ° 08 'N, 269 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle ). The city forms the municipality of Reykjavíkurborg (Icelandic city of Reykjavík ) with some rural areas and several islands . Reykjavíkurborg is by far the largest municipality in the municipality association Höfuðborgarsvæðið (lit .: the capital area or the capital area ), which comprises seven more municipalities . At the end of 2010, a total of 202,341 people lived in this densely populated community.
The name Reykjavík is the Icelandic word for "smoke bay"; it probably stems from the vapors from the hot springs in the area and is attributed to a misunderstanding by the first settler Ingólfur Arnarson . The city is the oldest permanent settlement in the country. Although the first settlers populated the country as early as 870 AD, the area grew only very slowly and was not officially declared a city until 1786.
Reykjavík is the largest city in Iceland with 128,793 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019); about 37.3% of the total population of the country live here. In the Metropolitan Region Reykjavík live more than 200,000 people. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean , more precisely on Faxaflói Bay below the approximately 900 meter high mountain Esja .
Is where most of the faculties in the city university of the country and various other universities, theaters, museums and cultural institutions as well as a deep-water port . In the middle of the city is a small lake called Tjörnin . This lake is also one of the largest breeding grounds for water birds in southwest Iceland.
Reykjavík is located in the southwest of the island at the foot of the Reykjanesskagi peninsula , but the sparsely populated suburbs extend far to the south and east. The zone of plate tectonic shift that crosses Iceland from southwest to northeast also crosses this peninsula. That is why there are more frequent earthquakes , although they are mostly of low magnitude.
The city's coastline is characterized by (pen) islands, caves and straits. During the last ice age (up to about 10,000 years ago) parts of today's urban area were covered by glaciers , other parts were below the waterline. In the warm periods and at the end of the Ice Age, some of today's hills (such as Öskjuhlíð) were islands. The hills Öskjuhlíð and Skólavörðuholt are former shield volcanoes that were active during the warmer periods of the Ice Age. At 914 meters, the Esja is the highest mountain in the area.
The largest river that crosses Reykjavík is called Elliðaár , it is not navigable and is known for its abundance of salmon . The Heiðmörk nature reserve is located south and south-west of the capital .
Only slightly away from the Arctic Circle, Reykjavík only receives four hours of sunlight on the shortest days of the year. In summer the nights are as bright as they are during the day.
Reykjavík is in the sub-polar climate zone. Due to its location directly on the coast and close to the Gulf Stream , however, the city's climate has a significant maritime character. This results in a relatively small temperature difference between the individual seasons with comparatively mild winters and cool summers. Annual mean temperatures have fluctuated between 3 ° C and 6.5 ° C since the beginning of the 20th century.
In winter, temperatures rise just above freezing point on average during the day and drop just below freezing at night. Temperatures below −10 ° C are rarely measured, despite the location just below the Arctic Circle. The lowest temperature ever recorded is −24.5 ° C (on January 21, 1918).
In summer, daytime temperatures reach around 15 ° C, while at night it usually cools to below 10 ° C. Warm days with values above 20 ° C are only registered sporadically. The highest temperature ever recorded is 25.7 ° C (on July 30, 2008).
Precipitation (0.1 mm and more) falls on an average of 148 days a year. The potential evaporation reaches 400 mm per year. The total annual sunshine duration is around 1,250–1,300 hours. With an average of just over 6 hours per day, May is the sunniest month of the year, while December and January do not even have an average of 1 hour of sunshine per day.
Places with a similar climate are Tórshavn ( Faroe Islands ) and Dutch Harbor ( Alaska ) in the northern hemisphere and Ushuaia ( Argentina ) and Stanley ( Falkland Islands ) in the southern hemisphere .
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Reykjavík
Reykjavík is divided into ten boroughs ( hverfi ):
|5||Háaleiti and Bústaðir||4.3||13,755|
|10||Grafarholt og Úlfarsárdalur||22.5||5,416|
|-||Græni Trefillinn 1)||144.2||-|
1) Green belt (hinterland of Reykjavík)
In the official statistics of Iceland, Reykjavík and the capital city Reykjavíkurborg are shown as a further subdivision of the Hverfi 31 statistical districts.
According to the land register , Reykjavík was founded by Ingólfur Arnarson , one of the first settlers in Iceland. As is customary with the Vikings , he had settled where the pillars of his high seat that had been thrown into the sea had washed ashore. Archaeological excavations have now shown that in the 9th century - first traces point to the year 870 - Vikings from Norway and Celtic immigrants settled in this area.
Until the 18th century the place consisted of only a few courtyards and was of little importance.
Skúli Magnússon , now known as the “father of the city” , who from 1749 worked as a governor based in Bessastaðir , is responsible for the upswing of the place. He made sure that the first industrial companies (mainly wool processing) settled here, much to the annoyance of the Danish monopolists. The Danes' restrictive trade and industrial policy was only relaxed after the Laki disaster of 1783. At first, mainly fish processing companies and shipyards settled here.
In 1786 the town, which now has around 200 inhabitants, was granted town charter. The name Kaupstaður shows that the emphasis was on trade. As a result, the city was one of the six places that received special trading rights after the partial abolition of the Danish trade monopoly in the same year.
The increasing importance of the city is also evident from other facts: at the end of the 18th century the bishopric and the important Latin school were moved from Skálholt to Reykjavík.
Traveling Icelanders brought to Iceland in the first half of the century the ideas of national identity and independence, which were very widespread in mainland Europe at the time, and they quickly gained a foothold there. Reykjavík became the intellectual center of the country and the rise of Iceland as an independent nation was combined with the rise of the city. In 1845 the parliament, the Althing , moved to Reykjavík. At that time, however, it had no real political power, but only had an advisory role in relation to the Danish throne. Nevertheless, from now on Reykjavík was the capital of the country. It was not until 1874 that the Alþingi received limited legislative rights. The country now had its own constitution , but was still dependent on Denmark .
20th century and present
Step by step, Iceland was able to establish itself as an independent nation by the middle of the 20th century: in 1904, a large part of the executive was transferred to Reykjavík under a Minister for Iceland. On December 1, 1918, Iceland was declared a kingdom, but it was still under the Danish crown. Reykjavík was now officially the capital of the country. The number of inhabitants had increased accordingly in the meantime (see: Demographic development).
In 1912 it was decided to build a new port. In 2002 this was recognized as the most outstanding Icelandic engineering achievement of the decade 1911–1920. As part of the construction of the port, the Reykjavík narrow-gauge port railway was set up in 1913 .
In the 1920s and 1930s, the city initially prospered due to the profitable production of stockfish and fish exports in general. Later, however, she too suffered from the economic depression (compare, for example, some of Halldór Laxness ' novels ). The boom came with the Second World War and the occupation first by the British, then by the Americans (compare, for example, some novels by Einar Kárason ). However, Iceland officially declared itself neutral.
The Americans helped build the large civilian airport in Keflavík and in return received the right to permanently station troops nearby. They also created many jobs. This triggered the rural exodus , which continues to this day, and a massive influx of people into the capital region.
On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed in Þingvellir . Reykjavík became the capital of the now independent country. The seat of the Icelandic Prime Minister is here, that of the President, who, like in Germany, only has a representative function, in Bessastaðir in the Reykjavík suburb of Álftanes . This office was held for the first time by a woman, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir , from 1980 to 1996 .
From the 1950s onwards, living conditions improved rapidly. The influx continued unabated, while more and more industrial companies settled in Reykjavík and, on the other hand, the need for labor in the countryside fell due to improved agricultural technology.
In 1972 the World Chess Championship, known as the match of the century , took place in Reykjavík between the US challenger Bobby Fischer and the Soviet titleholder Boris Spasski . Reykjavík was once again in the interests of world politics when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met at the Höfði guest house from October 10 to 12, 1986 for a summit meeting .
In addition, the city has played an important role in the technology sector since the 1990s .
Until the beginning of the economic crisis in autumn 2008, Reykjavík was considered an up-and-coming city with a very lively art and music scene, which also continued to flourish in the artistic field. While writers and visual artists such as Einar Jónsson and Ásmundur Sveinsson made a name for themselves internationally at the beginning and in the middle of the 20th century , today it is the pop musician Björk and the members of the band Sigur Rós who have become known worldwide.
In addition to the aforementioned economic crisis, there was a banking and financial crisis in Iceland . All three major commercial banks collapsed when they had difficulty refinancing their short-term debt. Your business model was obviously too risky or unsustainable. In relation to the size of its economy, Iceland's banking collapse is the largest in economic history. The Icelandic krona (the currency of Iceland) lost value considerably (=> imports are more expensive; exports are boosted), foreign exchange transactions were practically interrupted for weeks. This also brought a temporary construction boom to an abrupt end.
Population development (Reykjavíkurborg municipality)
More than 200,000 people live in the Reykjavík metropolitan area . Five of the Icelandic municipalities are in the capital region: Garðabær : 16,299 inhabitants, Hafnarfjörður : 29,799 inhabitants, Kópavogur : 36,975 inhabitants, Mosfellsbær : 11,463 inhabitants and Seltjarnarnes : 4664 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019)
Culture and sights
The National Museum ( Þjóðminjasafn )
It has existed since 1863, in the current building since 1955. On display are valuable works of art and collectibles of Icelandic culture such as jewelry, weapons, church art and everyday objects. Of particular note are a bronze statuette of the god Þór , a silver Thor Hammer (Þórshamar) and the richly decorated with carvings church door Valþjófsstaður.
Museum of Iceland's Cultural Heritage (Þjóðmenningarhúsið)
The museum house, built in the years 1906-09, was a refuge of Icelandic cultural treasures from the beginning. This house housed the National Library, the National Museum, the National Manuscript Collection and the Natural History Museum. When these museums moved into their own buildings over the years, the government decided to completely renovate the house with the aim of placing it under a preservation order and preserving its historical value. In 2000 the house got its new purpose. With its National Manuscript Collection, numerous exhibitions and various cultural events, it is an important arena for Icelandic culture and heritage.
The National Gallery (Listasafn)
The National Gallery is located on Lake Tjörnin. The older part was built as an ice house in 1916–1917 to preserve fish there. The modern new building was built in 1980–1988.
The gallery is in a semi-annual basis excerpts from their comprehensive about 5,000 works of art collection with an emphasis on Icelandic artists (for example, numerous works of painters Ásgrímur Jónsson and Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval ). In addition, there are often thematically-oriented changing exhibitions.
The museum in Flókagata is on the edge of a small park (Miklatún) and is mainly dedicated to the work of the painter Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885–1972). However, there are also changing exhibitions, such as modern installation artists , in the adjoining rooms .
Einar Jónsson Museum
The museum of the Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson is right in front of Hallgrimskirkja . The building is very reminiscent of the 1930s. A sculpture garden is also attached to the museum, in which the figures are hidden behind flowers and bushes.
Árni Magnússon manuscript collection
The scholar Árni Magnússon (who is also in the novel Iceland bell of Halldór Laxness occurs) had thousands of ancient documents, in the 17th century medieval manuscripts collected and other historical texts and by Denmark brought. After years of quarreling, the Danes returned this evidence of old Icelandic culture in 1971. They are kept in this collection and some of them are presented to the public in a small exhibition room. The treasures of the collection include the Flateyjarbók (see also: Breiðafjörður ) and the Codex Regius .
The large open-air museum is located in the Árbær district, just outside the center . Around 30 town houses and peat huts from the 19th century with matching interiors can be viewed here. The museum guards wear the costumes of the time. Sometimes you can also watch craftsmen at work.
Photography Museum (Ljósmyndasafn)
On the top floor of the Grófarhús, which also houses the city library, photography exhibitions of national and international artists change several times a year.
- Ásgrímur Jónsson Museum (collection of paintings)
- Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum (modern sculptures)
- Medical history museum "Nesstofa" in the neighboring municipality of Seltjarnarnes
- The Living Art Museum
- Natural history museum
- modern sculpture garden on the beach in the suburb of Reykjavík-Víkur
- The Icelandic Phallological Museum , one of the few of its kind in the world, moved back to Reykjavík after moving to Húsavík in 2004–2011 .
Cathedral and University
The church was built at the end of the 18th century when the bishopric was moved from Skálholt to Reykjavík. When it was inaugurated in 1796, all of the town's residents still fit into the actually rather small church. After the renovation in 1847, which gave the church its current appearance, a baptismal font by the Icelandic-Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen was installed in it .
The university building of the Háskóli Íslands , which was inaugurated in 1940, is also worth seeing .
In addition to these older buildings in Reykjavík, there are also numerous interesting buildings of more modern architecture . The city's modern church buildings are particularly striking. The Hallgrímskirkja is also one of the tallest buildings in the country. From its position on a hill it overlooks the city center.
The Hallgrímskirkja also Lutheran, with its striking tower, the city is regarded as landmark. A lift leads to the 74.5 m high tower and next to Öskjuhlíð there is the best view over the city and often as far as Snæfellsjökull . It was named after the poet and Protestant pastor Hallgrímur Pétursson . The building was designed by the Icelandic architect Guðjón Samúelsson . It took over 40 years (from 1943) before the church was consecrated in 1986.
What is striking is the similarity to basalt columns , which are implemented in the gray concrete pegs of the basic design of the church facade . The very bright interior of the church has plenty of Gothic style elements. You can see the sky and clouds through the stained glass windows behind the main altar .
Harpa concert hall
The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center is located directly on the harbor. It was inaugurated on August 20, 2011 as part of the Reykjavík Culture Night . On 28,000 m² it offers space for a concert hall with 1,600 seats and further concert and conference rooms. The architecture was carried out by Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið, and the extensive glass façades were designed by Ólafur Elíasson . Harpa is the official seat of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera. In 2013 it was awarded the Mies van der Rohe Prize (European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture).
A particularly striking building is Perlan on Öskjuhlíð hill. A restaurant and shops are located under a glass dome on the city's huge hot water tanks. On the one hand, the tanks supply the city with hot water, and on the other, they replace winter maintenance in large parts of the city, as the streets and sidewalks are heated from here. The building also offers a good view of Reykjavík and the surrounding area. Not far from the building there is an artificial geyser with illustrations of how the artificial and real geysers work, but which are only activated at certain times. The building itself has been home to the Museum of Iceland's Natural Wonders, with an artificial glacier and ice cave, since July 2017. The opening of a planetarium and other exhibitions on Icelandic nature is planned for 2018.
- Reykjavík is home to the Reykjavík Botanical Garden, the largest botanical garden in the country.
- Alþingishúsið : Icelandic Parliament
- Höfði : House where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the Iceland summit in 1986
- National and University Library of Iceland
- Nauthólsvík : geothermal bath
- Ráðhús : Town Hall
- Tjörnin : Lake in Reykjavík
- University of Iceland
- Landakotskirkja : The largest Catholic church in Iceland
- Free Church
- The sculpture " Sun Voyage "
- The annual Iceland Airwaves music festival
- Laugavegur : The main shopping street
- The Menningarnótt cultural festival takes place every year.
Parliament ( Alþingishúsið )
Main building of the University of Iceland
MR , the oldest high school in the country
Stjórnarráðshús, seat of the Prime Minister
Fríkirkjuvegur 11, Thor Jensen's house
Church on Viðey
Economy and Transport
Össur (medical technology), Síminn (Icelandic Telecom), Eimskip (transport), HB Grandi (fishing), Stodir (banking and transport), DeCODE Genetics (pharmaceutical), Íslandsbanki , Icebank , Arion Bank , Landsbanki (banking), Vodafone Iceland , Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Energy), Icelandair Group (travel), Icelandic Group plc. (Food industry), CYREN Iceland (anti-virus programs) and CCP Games (computer games).
Reykjavík is the city with the highest per capita car traffic in the world , so there are some city highways up to six lanes. The ring road No. 1 runs through the outskirts of the city. It extends to the east over the Hellisheiði towards Selfoss and to the northwest towards Akranes and Borgarnes , where it circles the Esja mountain range towering over Reykjavík . The state road to the international airport near Keflavík is currently being expanded to four lanes.
There is no train station as there are no railways on Iceland.
Reykjavík also has an extremely efficient public transport system: a bus system with five decentralized bus stations and one central bus station, the BSÍ , and a domestic airport near Tjörnin . It is the second largest airport in the country and is located within the city, south of the center. Flights from there also go to Greenland and the Faroe Islands . It was built by British forces during World War II on what was then the outskirts of the city. The use of electricity - much cheaper in Iceland - for local public transport is under discussion. Hydrogen is now also being tested as a power source for buses.
Reykjavík is also the starting point for many excursions by land and sea, such as whale watching , which are an important factor in Iceland's economy.
Reykjavík has two seaports, the old port near the city center, which is mainly used by fishermen and cruise ships , and Sundahöfn in the east of the city, the largest cargo port in the country.
The border of the electoral districts Reykjavíkurkjördæmi norður and Reykjavíkurkjördæmi suður runs through Reykjavík . Reykjavík is the seat of parliament (in Alþingishúsið ) and the government. The city is also where the embassies are located. The president is based in the capital region of Reykjavík , in Álftanes .
The city is run by a 15-member council elected for four years by the citizens of Reykjavík who have reached the age of 18. The city council elects the city's mayor , who is usually a council member himself, but does not have to be.
Between 1929 and 1978 the Independence Party dominated the council and was able to rule with an absolute majority throughout. From 1978 to 1982 the Citizens' Alliance, the Social Democratic Party and the Progressive Party made up the majority of the council. In 1982 the Independence Party regained an absolute majority and was able to defend it for three terms until 1994. Then the era of their dominance ended for good. It was superseded by the Reykjavíkurlistinn (or R-List), a combination of several parties that won absolute majority in 1994, 1998 and 2002. In the election in May 2006, the Independence Party won seven seats and formed a new majority with the Progressive Party, which got one seat. After controversies about the leading energy company in the city, this cooperation failed in October 2007 and was established by a coalition of the Progress Party (1), the Social Democratic Alliance (4), the Left-Green Movement (2) and the F-List (Liberals and Independents) (1 ) replaced. Another three months later, the chairman of the F-List Ólafur F. Magnússon formed a new majority together with the Independence Party and was elected mayor on January 24, 2008. On August 21, 2008, he was replaced by Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir , who remained in office until the end of the June 2010 electoral term. In the election on May 27, 2010, Besti flokkurinn ( the best party ) , which is considered to be the fun party, immediately won 34.7% of the votes and was the strongest member of the council. Its initiator Jón Gnarr agreed on a coalition with the social democratic alliance and became the new mayor. In the 2014 local elections, Jón Gnarr did not run for re-election; Dagur B. Eggertsson from Allianz became mayor .
- Art Academy of Iceland ( Listaháskóli Íslands )
- University of Iceland ( Háskóli Íslands; it includes the Iceland Kennaraháskoli Íslands University of Education, which was independent until 2008 )
- Reykjavík University ( Háskólinn í Reykjavík )
Reykjavik numerous sports clubs are located, including Fram Reykjavík , Fjölnir Reykjavík , fylkir , KR Reykjavik , Ísknattleiksfélagið Björninn , skautafélag reykjavíkur , Víkingur Reykjavík , Valur Reykjavík , Þróttur Reykjavik , Tennis and Badminton Club of Reykjavik .
The swimming federation, Sundsamband Íslands , has its seat here, as is the ice hockey federation, Íshokkísamband Íslands . Laugardalsvöllur is the city's main stadium; there is also the Valbjarnarvöllur and the Laugardalshöllin .
In 1972, at the height of the Cold War, the World Chess Championship, which was widely recognized in the media, took place in Laugardalshöllin as a duel between defending champion Boris Spasski ( Soviet Union ) and Bobby Fischer ( United States ), which was won by Fischer. In 2005, the organizers arranged for Bobby Fischer, now a stateless person, to move to Reykjavík, where he spent the rest of his life.
- Helsinki ( Finland )
- Kingston upon Hull ( United Kingdom )
- Copenhagen ( Denmark )
- Nuuk ( Greenland )
- Oslo ( Norway )
- Saint Petersburg ( Russia )
- Seattle ( USA )
- Stockholm ( Sweden )
- Tórshavn ( Faroe Islands )
- Vilnius ( Lithuania )
- Winnipeg ( Canada )
sons and daughters of the town
Personalities who have worked on site
- Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir , (1856–1940), journalist, editor, women's rights activist and politician, elected city councilor in 1908
- Guðjón Samúelsson (1887–1950), architect
- Geir Hallgrímsson (1925–1990), politician, Prime Minister of Iceland from 1974 to 1978, Mayor of Reykjavík from 1959 to 1972
- Official website of the city of Reykjavík (Icelandic, English)
- Halldór Eyjólfsson: Höfuðborg á krossgötum. Vöxtur Höfuðborgarsvæðisins frá 1998 til 2010. at skemman.is (Icelandic)
- GISS Surface Temperature Analysis, Station Data: Reykjavik. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (English).
- GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4), Station Data: Reykjavik. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (English).
- Urban nuclei and zip codes
- Útnefndu helstu verkfræðiafrek síðustu aldar , Morgunblaðið , article from April 20, 2002
- Reykjavík becomes a UNESCO Literature , communication dated August 10, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
- Reykjavik designated as UNESCO Creative City of Literature , English, communication of August 4, 2011. Accessed August 21, 2016.
- Julia Bluth: A ray of hope at the polar circle. Designlines, July 1, 2011, accessed March 27, 2014 .
- Press release EU Commission , accessed on April 30, 2013.
- Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir August 21, 2008 ( Memento from June 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
- Overview of the election results of the local elections 2010
- Fun party provides mayor ( Memento from June 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Frankfurter Rundschau from June 5, 2010
- Haukur S. Magnússon: Jón Gnarr is no longer Mayor of Reykjavík ( English ) In: The Reykjavík Grapevine . June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Midnight Run. Retrieved August 10, 2017 .