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And Now For Something Completely Different

April 4, 2018

kirkjufell-12x7

And Now For Something Completely Different

April 4, 2018

All countries have their set of weird customs and laws. Iceland is no exception to that rule, and for example, it was legal to kill Basques on sight between 1616 and 2015. But, of course, it is illegal to kill someone so that law was a bit of an oxymoron. In Selfoss, it was unlawful to whistle or sing outside between 1939 and 2007!

Mjólkurbúð - Milk Store

Between 1910 and 1977, you could only buy milk in one of the state-owned Milk stores. They were originally opened due to increased demand for cleanliness regarding agricultural produce.

People complained about the stores through the years in open letters sent to newspapers. The most common complaints were that the shop assistants were rude or did not do their job well, the stores' opening hours were not good and that sometimes there was no milk to be had in the stores!

On 1 February 1977, the last Mjólkurbúð was closed.

Imitation beer was banned as well as regular beer!

As we have told you before, beer was banned in Iceland between 1915 and 1989. What we have not told you about is what Icelanders drank instead of beer.

You could buy as much as you wanted of strong alcoholic drinks like vodka and gin, or wine in one of the few state-owned liqueur stores. If you wished to buy beer, the only thing you could get was Pilsner, with 2.25% alcohol (which incidentally is the only “beer” you can buy in convenience stores here, do not be fooled!). However, in the early 1980s, Icelanders had started to travel more and gotten to know the beer culture of Europe better. The first ever tavern to open in Iceland was Gaukur á Stöng in downtown Reykjavík, and there the bartenders started blending Pilsners with vodka or whiskey to make a so-called imitation beer which alcohol content was roughly 5%.

This abomination (according to most) quickly became a popular drink, and other bars started making their version of this “beer”. Icelanders in the know, all agreed the imitation beer was far from as good as the real thing, and then in 1985, the government of Iceland decided to ban the imitation beer as well! Apparently, people had complained, and it was decided that the uncleanliness around bars were due to this imitation beer and thus it was banned.

Dogs are forbidden

Strictly speaking, it is forbidden to own dogs in Iceland. In 1971, a complete ban on dogs was enforced in Reykjavík, but 13 years later the rules were changed, and people could own dogs if they and the dog met a few conditions. The rules have changed even more since then, but you always need to get permission from the municipality and pay a registration fee. If you live in an apartment block, you need to get permission from 2/3 of the inhabitants to be allowed to keep a dog (or a cat) there if you have a common entryway.

Leave your shoes at the door

Ok, this is not strictly a law, but Icelanders do not take well to people barging into their houses in their shoes. We all leave our shoes by the front door. All flats and houses have a designated area by the front door where you take off your coat, hats, scarves, gloves and shoes. We find it perplexing when people are used to walking inside wearing their outdoors shoes.

kirkjufell-12x7

The RE blog

Húsavík
Hrekkjavaka
Into the Glacier
Fjaðrárgljúfur
Hestur
Þór
Loki
valholl
Reykjavík
kirkjufell-12x7
Fastelavnsbolle 3 -ubt-
iStock-825267104
Golden-Circle-and-Fontana-Steam-bath

Six places to see in Iceland

As probably everyone knows, there are quite a few beautiful places to see in Iceland. However, it can be hard to find a place to start. If you want to look at something different to the Golden Circle, which we totally recommend and say everyone should visit, we have made a short list of beautiful places to see in Iceland.

Read more
kirkjufell-12x7

And Now For Something Completely Different

April 4, 2018

kirkjufell-12x7

And Now For Something Completely Different

April 4, 2018

All countries have their set of weird customs and laws. Iceland is no exception to that rule, and for example, it was legal to kill Basques on sight between 1616 and 2015. But, of course, it is illegal to kill someone so that law was a bit of an oxymoron. In Selfoss, it was unlawful to whistle or sing outside between 1939 and 2007!

Mjólkurbúð - Milk Store

Between 1910 and 1977, you could only buy milk in one of the state-owned Milk stores. They were originally opened due to increased demand for cleanliness regarding agricultural produce.

People complained about the stores through the years in open letters sent to newspapers. The most common complaints were that the shop assistants were rude or did not do their job well, the stores' opening hours were not good and that sometimes there was no milk to be had in the stores!

On 1 February 1977, the last Mjólkurbúð was closed.

Imitation beer was banned as well as regular beer!

As we have told you before, beer was banned in Iceland between 1915 and 1989. What we have not told you about is what Icelanders drank instead of beer.

You could buy as much as you wanted of strong alcoholic drinks like vodka and gin, or wine in one of the few state-owned liqueur stores. If you wished to buy beer, the only thing you could get was Pilsner, with 2.25% alcohol (which incidentally is the only “beer” you can buy in convenience stores here, do not be fooled!). However, in the early 1980s, Icelanders had started to travel more and gotten to know the beer culture of Europe better. The first ever tavern to open in Iceland was Gaukur á Stöng in downtown Reykjavík, and there the bartenders started blending Pilsners with vodka or whiskey to make a so-called imitation beer which alcohol content was roughly 5%.

This abomination (according to most) quickly became a popular drink, and other bars started making their version of this “beer”. Icelanders in the know, all agreed the imitation beer was far from as good as the real thing, and then in 1985, the government of Iceland decided to ban the imitation beer as well! Apparently, people had complained, and it was decided that the uncleanliness around bars were due to this imitation beer and thus it was banned.

Dogs are forbidden

Strictly speaking, it is forbidden to own dogs in Iceland. In 1971, a complete ban on dogs was enforced in Reykjavík, but 13 years later the rules were changed, and people could own dogs if they and the dog met a few conditions. The rules have changed even more since then, but you always need to get permission from the municipality and pay a registration fee. If you live in an apartment block, you need to get permission from 2/3 of the inhabitants to be allowed to keep a dog (or a cat) there if you have a common entryway.

Leave your shoes at the door

Ok, this is not strictly a law, but Icelanders do not take well to people barging into their houses in their shoes. We all leave our shoes by the front door. All flats and houses have a designated area by the front door where you take off your coat, hats, scarves, gloves and shoes. We find it perplexing when people are used to walking inside wearing their outdoors shoes.

The RE blog

Húsavík
Hrekkjavaka
Into the Glacier
Fjaðrárgljúfur
Hestur
Þór
Loki
valholl
Reykjavík
kirkjufell-12x7
Fastelavnsbolle 3 -ubt-
iStock-825267104
Golden-Circle-and-Fontana-Steam-bath

Six places to see in Iceland

As probably everyone knows, there are quite a few beautiful places to see in Iceland. However, it can be hard to find a place to start. If you want to look at something different to the Golden Circle, which we totally recommend and say everyone should visit, we have made a short list of beautiful places to see in Iceland.

Read more