Common Practice 005

Icelandic cultural practices









Owen Kelly

Hafdís Björg Hjálmarsdóttir

Vera K Vestmann Kristjánsdóttir



May 28, 2021


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Icelandic culture offers many surprises for an alert visitor: not least in the sheer amount and quality of it.

In this episode Owen Kelly talks with Hafdís Björg Hjálmarsdóttir and Vera K Vestmann Kristjánsdóttir from the School of Business and Science at the University of Akureyri, a city of just less than 20,000 people in the north of Iceland.

They talk about the by-now unique naming convention in Iceland and how it acts as an example of cultural continuity. Akureyri houses a professional theatre, a professional symphony orchestra, and a very active cultural centre. They move on to discuss the reasons for the Icelandic investment in culture, and the participatory nature of cultural activities.

Vera and Hafdís explain how books still form an important part of the fabric of Icelandic life and an essential part of Christmas celebrations.

The web page for this episode contains numerous links to explanatory articles and examples of the nature of cultural funding in Iceland.