Iceland is a Nordic European East, located where the North Atlantic meets the Arctic Ocean on the mid-Atlantic back. The country has 331,310 inhabitants and an area of ​​103,000 km², making it Europe's thinnest populated country. The country's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which, together with the surrounding areas of the south-western part of the country, is home to two thirds of the country's population.
Iceland is volcanic and geothermal active. The interior of the country consists mainly of an altitude of sand and lava, mountains and glaciers, from which a number of glacial streams run towards the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is heated by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite the location relatively high north up to the northern polar circle.
According to the Landnámabók, Iceland was settled in 874 when the Norwegian chief Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent settler. Others had visited the island earlier and had overwintered. During the next centuries, people of Nordic people settled in Iceland, to which they brought slaves of Gaelic origin. Iceland was from 1262 to 1918 part of Norway first and later Denmark. The country became independent in 1918, first as a kingdom and from 1944 as a republic. Until the 20th century, Icelanders were primarily engaged in fisheries and agriculture, and the country was then one of the poorest and least developed in the world. Industrialization of the fishing industry and assistance from the Marshall Plan after World War II resulted in strong growth in the economy, and by the end of the 20th century one of the richest and most developed in the world. In 1994, the country became a member of the EEA, which enabled an expansion of the economy especially in the financial field. A very expansive economic policy and risky investments meant that Iceland was particularly hit by the international financial crisis in 2008, where the banks of the country collapsed systematically, causing significant social turmoil. Iceland is a member of the UN, EFTA and NATO; Among the members of the latter organization, Iceland is the country with the smallest population and the only one who has no permanent army.
Iceland has a market-based economy with relatively low corporation taxes compared to other OECD countries, while retaining a welfare society by Scandinavian model with the right to publicly funded healthcare and education at all levels. In 2011, Iceland was No. 14 on the Worldwide Human Development Index and it was the fourth most productive country in the world. inhabitant. There is a lot of focus on gender equality in Iceland, and in the Global Gender Gap Report 2012, Iceland is at the top sharply pursued by Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Icelandic culture is based on the Nordic heritage. Most Icelanders descend from Nordic or Gaelic settlers. Icelandic is a Germanic language of the West Nordic branch and is closely related to Faroese and certain Western Norwegian dialects. Contributing to the definition of Icelandic culture are areas such as Icelandic cuisine, poetry and the medieval Icelandic sagas.