things that make the news in Iceland: baby names, sassy ladies, and Bieber

I’ve been buried in finals season for the past several weeks, so I’ve neglected my important duty of reporting the most amusing and puzzling of things that make the news in Iceland. So let’s start catching up, shall we?


Foreldrar eru farnir að skíra börnin sín eftir Instagram filterum

(Parents have begun naming their children after Instagram filters)

Okay, so this clearly isn’t news from Iceland, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that Icelandic news outlets would pick up this story. As you probably already know, Iceland has a so-called naming committee (Mannanafnanefnd) intended to ensure that Icelandic children are only given names which fit into the language’s declension patterns. There’s no such thing as a gender-neutral first name here, with the famous (infamous?) exception of Blær. Rather, the law actually states that names must be clearly gendered; boys must be given masculine names, girls must be given feminine names (you can search the list of approved names here).

Apparently parents in lands without such naming laws have been influenced by Instagram’s catchy filter names and have begun bestowing them upon babes in arms. Among the most popular? Lux, Ludwig, Amaro, Reyes, Hudson, and Kelvin for boys, and Valencia, Juno, and Willow for girls. The caption on the photo in the article reads: “This likely wouldn’t be approved here in Iceland.”


Drakk óvart malt frá síðustu öld: “Ég hélt ég væri bara svona léleg að blanda”

(Accidentally drank malt from the last century: “I thought I just wasn’t very good at mixing”)

An Icelandic woman accidentally drank a can of malt extract that expired in November 1997, about 18 years ago. Sara and her friends went to a summer house to study for final exams and along the way they stopped to pick up some groceries, including cans of malt and appelsín to blend Iceland’s strange but beloved Christmas ale. Sara made herself a glass and drank it despite noticing a slightly strange taste; she thought she just wasn’t good at finding the right proportion of malt to appelsín. But it later came to light that she had taken a can of malt from the fridge, whereas the new cans were out on the counter. Apparently Sara had a bit of a tummy ache but suffered no serious consequences. She has vowed to be less thrifty in the future and instead just buy the pre-blended jólaöl.

“Feitar” íslenskar stelpur svara fyrir sig: “Good luck getting laid in Iceland”

(“Fat” Icelandic girls fight back: “Good luck getting laid in Iceland”)

So a couple of chauvinistic Austrian guys were interviewed during Airwaves about their experience in Iceland. They took the opportunity to complain that Icelandic women are getting fatter and fatter because they can’t stop eating fast food. The greatest irony is that they were reportedly eating fast food during this interview. Anyway, as you can imagine, this didn’t go over too well. But instead of just denouncing them as sexist pigs (which they clearly are), Icelandic women took a slightly more dramatic, amusing, and effective approach, inundating social media with photos of themselves eating fast food. The whole notion of Iceland being a perfect paradise for women is blown out of proportion, but it is true without a doubt that Icelandic women as a whole stand up for themselves, and usually with quite a sense of humor.

Á von á því að deyja ef Bieber fer úr að ofan í Kórnum

(Expects she will die if Bieber takes his shirt off at Kórinn)

Last but not least, Justin Bieber continues to make headlines here in Iceland, especially since it was announced that he will kick off his next world tour here in Iceland next September. Beliebers around the country celebrated the announcement, which came five years after they marched through downtown Reykjavík, wearing purple (reportedly Bieber’s favorite color), chanting, and singing Bieber songs in a bid to convince the pop star to perform here (yes, this actually happened).

Anyway, Bieber will play at Kórinn in Kópavogur, the same venue where Justin Timberlake played last year.

In this article, die-hard Belieber Heiða Lind Ingólfsdóttir is interviewed. She of course expresses excitement about the concert, but admits she’s frustrated that liking Bieber has seemingly become cool (really? this is news to me). She’s been a “devoted Belieber” (her words) for years. She describes seeing Bieber in concert as the equivalent of someone of her mom’s generation seeing Elvis in concert.

Anyway, the show sold out in half an hour and there are rumors that a second show might be added. In any case, the good news for me is that there will inevitably be a steady stream of Bieber-related headlines to give me something to write about! What a deal!