Zoom out to choose another location
Iceland is an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has a population of about 320,000. The capital and largest city is Reykjavik, with the surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the country being home to two-thirds of the national population. Iceland is volcanic activity and geothermal (geology). The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterised by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many river flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.
The settlement of Iceland began in AD 874 when Norwegian people settled on the island. Over the following centuries, people of Norsemen and Gaels origin settled in Iceland. From 1262 to 1918 it was part of the Norwegian and later the Denmark monarchies. Until the 20th century, the Icelanders relied largely on fisheries and agriculture. In 1994, the nation became party to an agreement that established the European Economic Area, thus allowing it to diversify from fishing to economic and financial services.
Iceland has a free market economy with relatively low taxes while maintaining a Nordic model providing universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. In recent years, Iceland has been one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world.
Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Norse heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse (particularly from Western Norway) and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic language, a North Germanic languages, is closely related to Faroese language and some Norwegian dialects. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Cuisine of Iceland, Icelandic poetry, and the medieval Sagas of Icelanders.