NEWS

Panama Papers Iceland Scandal Isn't The Most Interesting Thing About The Country

They have an app to check you're not too related to your date.

05/04/2016 13:33

The leak of the Panama Papers has once again thrust Iceland into the spotlight over its leaders, financial institutions and possible political shenanigans.

Thousands of protestors gathered outside the country's parliament on Monday after the country’s prime minister was linked to the unfolding scandal.

While attention has turned northwards, HuffPost UK thought this would be the ideal time to take a look at all the other things that make Iceland one of the most interesting places on Earth.

 

  • 1 The Population
    Thorvaldur Kristmundsson/AP
    Iceland only has a population of 323,002 (2013 data).

    That's less than Bristol (428,100). So when 8,000 people gather at a protest, although that figure might seem small it's actually pretty massive on a per-capita basis at 2.4% of the total population.

    For comparison, The 2009 G20 protests in London attracted 0.004% (although the phenomenally successful Iraq ant-war march in 2003 was attended by 4.5% of the population),
  • 2 The Dating Scene
    Wolfgang Kaehler via Getty Images
    A tiny population does have its pitfalls. Take dating for example.

    Because of historically low immigration, Iceland has very little genetic diversity meaning there's a good chance you're related - at least distantly - to a lot of fellow Icelanders.

    To combat this precarious situation there is actually an app that will tell you how related you are to a prospective date.

    This is not made up.
  • 3 The Penis Museum
    HALLDOR KOLBEINS via Getty Images
    Not ones to go with convention, Iceland has its own museum dedicated solely to the penis.

    The Icelandic Phallological Museum displays all manner phallic specimens, mostly whales due to their local abundance.

    There are no human examples - yet. Visitors can peruse the three or for signed papers from human donors promising to gift their penises after their demise.

    Would be a bit weird if they did it before...
  • 4 The Music
    Sigur Ros and Bjork are but two of the incredible music acts to come out of Iceland which, despite their differences in style, all share a distinctive sound that can only truly be appreciated after you've visited the stark and beautiful landscape from which it originates.

    One artist who isn't as big in the UK as he deserves to be is Ásgeir.

    So have a listen and change that.
  • 5 The Food
    EMMANUEL DUNAND via Getty Images
    It's true, if you want to eat some of the most unusual (in other words, disgusting) then feast away on such Icelandic delicacies such as putrified shark meat (ammonia since you ask).

    Yet speak to a local and they'll most likely steer you away from such things and instead point you in the direction of their incredible smoked lamb, skyr yoghurt and fish and chips that will rival any chippy in the UK.
  • 6 The Football Team
    Tom Dulat via Getty Images
    This year is a biggie for the Icelandic Football team - they have never reached the European Cup Finals, but thanks to the likes of Eidur Gudjohnsen, they will be heading to France this summer to compete.

    By all accounts Iceland will be very quiet at the time as most of the population say they're going over to watch.

    And don't think you'll be immune to their charms for long if the great British tradition of gunning for the underdog is anything to go by.
  • 7 The Language
    Werner Forman via Getty Images
    Icelandic is often ranked the most difficult language to learn for English speakers.

    Remember that time newsreaders struggled to pronounce the name of a volcano that was disrupting international flights?

    Just like its people, the country's language has had little influence from outside sources for centuries so while it is related to Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian (all pretty difficult already), it also retains archaic features from Old Norse.

    As an example, the the word geirvarta (nipple) can be directly translated as "spear-wart".
  • 8 The Horses
    ullstein bild via Getty Images
    The Icelandic horse is a very unique, very small and very hardy little beast - you have to be to survive those winters.

    Iceland has very strict laws to keep the breed intact so it is the only type in the country to prevent cross-breeding.

    This also works the other way however, so if an animal is taken abroad to compete it is not allowed back in.

    :(
  • 9 The Landscape
    Roc Canals Photography via Getty Images
    Yeah, we're going to need a few more pics for this one.
  • 10

    Tag who you'd explore with! Iceland. By @calsnape #TravelAwesome

    A photo posted by @travelawesome on

  • 11

    #iceland

    A photo posted by @chrisdyork on

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