Inauguration Day USA: Progress Begins Again For The LGBT+ Community

Stories from Americans Living in Iceland, Feeling Relieved.

Since the time I moved to Iceland my experience as a member of the LGBT+ community has been a tale of two roads. On one side, I moved away from the US just as Trump was taking his oath of office. I was happy to be leaving as I saw the storm of hate brewing on the horizon while planning the move. I wasn’t necessarily running away from the storm I saw coming, but was happy to be on my way out the door anyway. It’s suffice to say I never thought Trump would uphold the dignity of the office, nor any of the LGBT+ protections that were fought for in the US over decades. The other road I saw was the new path I began on, life in the progressively queer capital of Reykjavik.

This is the story of these two roads from the perspective of culture in both Iceland and the US during the last 4-5 years. With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inaugurations January 20th comes an overwhelming sigh of relief for an inordinate number of LGBT+ community members all around the world. Now the true work of undoing the last 4 years begins. I originally wrote this piece only from my perspective as a gay American man. I then heard the stories of many, many more LGBT+ Americans living in Iceland and included their voices as well.

-Meet Michael, Your Friendly Neighborhood American-

I was born and raised in New York, moving to Iceland four years ago. In researching the island, I came across troves of information on how LGBT+ friendly Iceland was. The writing was on the wall and it was plain to see that I’d have no problem moving to Reykjavik and being open about my identity as a cis gay man.

In fact, once I arrived I found that it was annoying how little people cared about my sexuality. I was shocked to find most Icelanders just nodded, agreed that yes the sky was blue and continued on with their day as if it didn’t matter to them at all. Conditioned over years in the US to expect conversational turmoil when my sexuality was brought up, I was left dumbfounded to see Icelanders couldn’t at all. In a way, I wanted them to care one way or another to get a rise out of them.

Michael Ryan.

It’s clear why Icelanders didn’t react, Iceland has been defending queer rights since 1996 when the Icelandic parliament Althingi “passed a law recognising the registered partnership between individuals of the same sex (no. 87/1996)”. The same year Althingi “passed amendments to clauses §180 and §233 of the general penal code, relating to discrimination on grounds of nationality, colour, race, religion or sex, adding the words “on grounds of sexual orientation” (for more see www.gayice.is).” This continued in 2006 when same-sex couples gained access to adoption and IVF. Then Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir took office in 2009 as the world’s first openly gay head of state in modern times. By 2010 same-sex marriages were legalized unanimously in parliament. And of course there’s Samtökin ‘78, Iceland’s National Queer Organization founded in 1978. Iceland’s relationship with queer rights has been a short one in the saga of a young nation; Icelanders didn’t have many protections before the cultural wave of LGBT+ acceptance crashed over the island quickly. Just as many other cultural movements in Iceland, this shift happened rapidly because of Iceland’s small population size.

During a typical year, Reykjavik Pride is a huge family-friendly event attended en masse by members of the community and allies from across the nation. Before moving I had heard that even a mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, had shown up to the parade in full drag.

These examples I saw during my move were in stark contrast to the mood coming from the LGBT+ community in the US at the beginning of Trump’s administration. From the very first day, we knew that Trump would potentially cut away at LGBT+ protections and rights. Conversations of overturning the supreme court case that gave the US marriage equality, Obergefell v. Hodges, were discussed.

Mike Pence’s record on LGBT+ anything looked terrifying. In 2000, while running for his congressional seat Pence was quoted saying “congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.” After that, he went on to casually endorse gay conversion therapy by including it in one of three items in his “guide to renewing the American Dream.”

Item 1 of this dream? Gay marriage is in no way the legal equivalent of heterosexual marriage. Item 2 expanded this view to say gays and lesbians weren’t even minorities that could be discriminated against like women or people of color. Really queen, are we a figment of your imagination? The third item made it clear, with Pence suggesting that federal dollars should be funneled away from ‘those who spread HIV’ and funneled toward assistance to change “sexual behavior.”

“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

For most Americans, this seemed controversial, just as controversial as it was when the case was settled and marriage for same-sex couples was legalized in the US in 2015. By then most of the US and much of the developed western world had come around to the idea that LGBT+ people were discriminated against in some way and deserved at least partial protection under the law. I’m confident that Pence and his religious chums weren’t happy the day same-sex couples married across the US under Obama’s watch. After all, in their view, sexuality or gender identity is not something predefined, something you’re incapable of changing. To them, it’s simply a deviant behavior that can be eradicated with enough work.

Photo / Unsplash

Once working with Trump, LGBT+ issues only hit Pence’s radar if he and his administration were attacking them, not defending them. The list of these actions is extensive; in a mere four years, the 45th president managed to roll back decades of advocacy work and true legislation protecting our livelihoods.

In the run-up to the 2020 election, primary candidate and openly gay man Pete Buttigieg said it best when he poised VP Pence with a religious quandary: “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” said Buttigieg. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” This growing religious fanatacism against the queer community is what kept me from returning to the US. Although I came from socially liberal New York, I had lived in the south and knew the culture of right leaning extremists well.

In September of 2019, I was elated to see the outpouring of rainbow flags and bracelets that appeared when Pence visited Iceland to meet with President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who both mentioned LGBT+ rights as one of their priorities. The two also wore rainbow bracelets as a casual defiant message to Pence’s agenda.

The most not-so-subtle message during Pence’s visit to Iceland was when computer company Advania decided the day of his visit was a great day to celebrate diversity and changed their flags out in support. Ægir Már Þórisson, the CEO of Advania, explained Why is this day different from other days? We support the fight for gay rights every day, not just some days.” Other companies along the Borgatún financial district then followed suit.

Jóhann Ásgeirsson.

When asked about Pence’s visit Jenna Gottlieb, an ally of the community from New York, said “I felt like it was a nice gesture. It showed Iceland’s tolerance, and celebration of its LGBTQ+ citizens. I felt sick that Mike Pence was on Icelandic soil, but at least he was met with rainbows.” Other Americans in Iceland took it a bit further: “Mike Pence is a despicable human being who deserves no respect. I would have been happy if the Prime Minister spat in his face,” says Björn Jóhann Ólafsson, a gay American from South Carolina. All of this animosity culminated in a protest forming outside of Icelandic Parliment against his visit.

Even during their week before leaving the White House the Trump administration used their final minutes to roll back protections in health and welfare programs run by the US Department of Health and Human Services. During his four years in office the Don took radical action against the LGBT+ community despite his personal views of the community being more progressive than his party. In short, his supporters and fellow Republicans pushed his stance on the issue further than he even cared personally. The Human Rights Campaign kept a full timeline of the administrations hateful actions with the first being the removal of all LGBT+ issues from the White House website on their first day in office in 2017.

The Biden administration is playing the same game now, only in reverse. On January 20th the White House contact from was changed to have a drop down menu for pronoun selection. This is among a host of actions the new administration took on day one and two to reverse Trump and Pence’s work.

Björn Jóhann Ólafsson says he felt forms of anxiety, stress, and anger during the Trump administration because of his sexuality or identity: “Trump repeatedly targeted courts to legalize discrimination against gay people. One case (argued in November 2020) hasn’t been released, but with the Republican majority SCOTUS, it is very likely that legal discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation will appear once the court rules. I don’t feel that I will be able to have a family in the United States due to this,” says Björn. The main question in the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case is if LGBT+ families should have the same rights to adopt.

Sæþór Benjamin Randalsson.

Sæþór Benjamin Randalsson, a gay man living in Iceland for 14 years, sees it differently. In his opinion the traditional democrats are part of the problem. “Watching the mass delusion that [Trump] was responsible for queer-phobia that relates to the entire superstructure of the US society, which Biden, Pelosi, Obama, and the Clintons have far more to do with. Watching Trump get the blame alone was infuriating, it means we don’t collectively understand the fight we are in and can be distracted by propaganda. Trump should have been laughed off the stage in 2016, alongside with Hillary Clinton who argued against gay marriage in front of congress in pearls and a hammed up southern accent,” says Sæþór. “The man who built a trans mecca in Vermont in the 80’s and never hesitated to advocate for our rights should have been the nominee, and he would have won the general,“ hey says, speaking of Bernie Sanders.

Other queer Americans in Iceland say the descrimination varies between countries. Derek T. Allen, a gay man from Washington state, mentions “with regards to my sexual orientation, I’ve faced much less discrimination, harassment, etc. here in Iceland than in the US. That being said though, I feel like discrimination is actually quite visible in the LGBT+ community itself here in Iceland, more so than in the part of the community that I was mostly surrounded by in the US. As a gay man of color, I feel that especially little time is taken to understand these identities in Iceland and that gay white men here have a tendency to brush our issues under the rug or even just straight up gaslight us when these things are brought to their attention. Not to say that this doesn’t happen in the US (it does as well), but there are at least enough gay men of color around so that you can find a listening ear. There are hardly any of us here though, and that makes finding a listening ear much more difficult.”

Andie Sophia Fontaine.

Descrimination takes many different shapes and forms. For trans members of both the US community and Icelandic community, it’s even harder. Andie Sophia Fontaine from Baltimore, Maryland says “taking into account that things vary from state to state, I feel far more comfortable being openly trans and gay in Iceland than I would in the US. Not just because Iceland has legal protections for us in place that are still being debated in the US, either. Socially, transphobic violence is extremely rare in Iceland, with most of the transphobia happening on rather low-key, subtle levels. That needs to be fought against, too, but the most rabid transphobes in Iceland are not in a position of power.” Andie Sophia elaborates, “in a broad sense, life is indeed easier for an LGBT person in Iceland than the US. This depends, however, on where in each country we’re talking about. A queer person in San Francisco, for example, might have an easier time of it than if they lived in a smaller town or village in Iceland.”

“No, I find most [people in Iceland] don’t care. I’m treated very normally, and I believe that is related to two things: activist efforts and a lack of wealthy sociopaths making homophobia their wedge issue here like they do stateside,” says Sæþór. People in Iceland just don’t have the cultural stomach for prejudice in politics; “Homophobia in the USA was created and inflamed, it isn’t natural. That same tactic doesn’t work here. A good example was Sigmundur Davíð trying to oppose a trans law change and everyone groaning because it was so ignorant for the Icelandic social market, no one took the bait in numbers for it to be a useful political foil.”

An overwhelming feeling most everyone from the US in the group has is survivor’s guilt. For many it’s difficult to watch the US take actions against the community when they have LGBT+ friends and family back home experiencing it. Andie Sophia explains “I still have many queer friends in the US and I was stressed and worried for them. The policies of the US President, for better or worse, legitimises policy positions in other countries too, so that was a worry as well.”

Nicola van Kuilenburg.

For Nicola van Kuilenburg it came to taking legal action against the Trump era descrimination. When asked about anxiety, stress, and anger during the Trump administration Nicola pointed out that “as the parent of a trans kid that was forced to become an ACLU client in order to be themselves at school after the Title IX guidelines were pulled back in 2017, yes. Absolutely.” The reality for many trans Americans is that taking action in court is one of the only resorts left. The Department of Education has recently claimed Title IX protections didn’t apply to LGBT+ students. Defending the everyday rights of trans kids and adults in the US often requires more than protest; it takes organizations fundraising to support legal counsel and defense from many different sectors of the US government.

In Iceland the fight isn’t too different but life for trans and non-binary folk got a bit easier in 2019 when a gender determination law was passed alowing a third gender marker on official documents. Instead of “M” or “F” for passports, drivers licenses, etc. Icelanders are now able to have “X” for non-binary. Although the community Trans Iceland was overjoyed that the legislation was finally passed, it took the National Registry nearly a year and a half to actually put the law into practice. Then changing this gender marker on official documents comes at the cost of 9.000 kr for anyone applying. Trans Iceland is reasonably against the fee sharing on their Facebook page that “Trans Ísland urges the National Registry of Iceland to abolish this fee as soon as possible. An inquiry has been sent to the Association ’78 and we are awaiting an assessment. If the fee is not abolished, Trans Ísland encourages trans people who cannot afford to change their gender in the National Registry to contact Trans Ísland. We will meet people and ensure that trans people can access this change unhindered.” Trans Iceland later updated with another post detailing a reply from the National Registry deferring the responsibility for charging a fee at all to the Treasury. If anything, the process from protest to final implementation shows how complex, difficult, and time consuming it can be to change legislation in favor of LGBT+ folk.

-So, What’s an American to do?-

One action the Americans living in Iceland can still take part in is elections. And boy, oh boy did we feel strongly about voting in the 2016 and 2020 elections! In the Facebook group for US Citizens, a feverous amount of posts brewed surrounding the election, voter registration deadlines, and mail-in-ballot procedures. Everything from whether a pencil or pen could be used on an absentee ballot was scrutinized as most members of the group wanted their vote counted correctly with dire passion.

Among a massive disinformation campaign (from Trump himself) surrounding the legitimacy of the 2020 election and ballots via post, Yankees living in Iceland even went to the lengths of sending ballots using DHL instead of Posturinn, paying exorbitant costs to track their envelopes and ensure their arrival.

Kolbeinn Dalrymple.

Since the votes rolled in on November 3rd, and 4th… and 5th… celebration broke out among the LGBT+ community worldwide. Many queer Americans living in Iceland mentioned they weren’t ecstatic about Biden’s win, but they’re definitely more content than with another four years of Trump. Kolbeinn Dalrymple, a Virginian living here for eight years mentions “I voted for Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 primaries because of ambitious, social democratic policies. He was also decades ahead of the Democratic Party on LGBT issues. Economic and social issues are deeply connected and I felt he was the only candidate to understand that genuinely.”

Other Americans agree with Bernie’s progessive stances; “I did vote in 2020 in both the Primaries and the General Election. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Primaries as I felt that he was more “for the people” than the others. I am okay with Biden winning, as he isn’t Trump and I can appreciate that he has a historic Vice President. That said though, I am still going to be quite critical of Biden as I am of all politicians. I especially hope that all of the social justice virtue signaling isn’t just for show,” says Derek T. Allen.

After January 6th’s riot at the Capitol building and the death of 5 people, Biden has a lot of work to “restore the soul of the nation.” It’s no small feat. Certainly even before LGBT+ protections everyone wants the Covid pandemic addressed in a comprehensive way so the world can return to some state of normalcy. Biden didn’t waste any time during his first week, signing a total 30 executive orders tackling the pandemic, climate change, racial injustice, and yes, us queers.

To start there was talk from Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken who proposed undoing a host of Trump era policies to promote queer and transgender rights not only in the United States but abroad, pledging to allow embassies to fly rainbow flags again. Hopefully this means a rainbow flag will fly outside the freshly constructed US Embassy on Suðurlandsbraut in Reykjavik.

Then there was the appointment of Dr. Rachel Levine to Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, the first time a transgender person snagged a high ranking position in a presidential administration. Hell, even potential Transportation Secratary Pete Buttigeig took a moment at his confirmation hearing to shoutout his husband Chasten. The cultural tone surrounding all LGBT+ topics from one administration to another has shifted dramatically.

As the ink dries on this article the Biden administration is not only allowing trans people back into the military but they’re seeking out those affected by the Trump ban to re-examine and offer support. Biden signed the order saying “what I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform and essentially restoring the situation that used to be before, where transgender personnel — if qualified in every other way — can serve their government in the United States military.” In a statement Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley resoundedI fully support the President’s direction that all transgender individuals who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination.”

-So, We’re Good Now? Can we go back?-

All of Biden’s work points in the right direction. However, many Americans in Iceland see a mountain to climb and much more progress to be made beyond reversing the decisions made by the old administration. They also believe more work is needed here in Iceland.

When asked if the US was even salvageable after the attack on the Capitol, Jóhann Valdimar Ásgeirsson wasn’t so optimistic: “I feel a race war is coming. It will take a lot of time to fix what [Trump] did.”

Sæþór Benjamin Randalsson agrees: “It would have been a great time to realize that it’s capitalism as a system at the root of the US’s shitty human rights. It’s wealthy politicians who lie for votes, whether that’s “I’ll bring back coal jobs” for the red team, or “I’m about human rights” from the blue team. Had Sanders gotten the nomination and then won, I’d say yes it’s salvageable. With Biden as president? absolutely not. He will hasten its demise by providing no relief to normal people but flooding companies with money,” says Sæþór. “The possible recovery is completely outside the lane of electoralism and involves street action and revolution – against the biden/harris administration and against the Pelosi/schumer/McConnells of the senate and house,” he continues.

Derek T. Allen was a bit more sanguine saying “of course the US is salvageable! We all need to work together and take care of one another. It’s not quite that simple, but it’s a start, at least.”

Overwhelmingly many in the group are still worried about queer friends and family stateside. Andie Sophia Fontaine clarified that she “still has many queer friends in the US, and I was stressed and worried for them. And the policies of the US President, for better or worse, legitimises policy positions in other countries.”

Gina Wright, a lesbian from Buffalo, NY, a grees: “My wife is Spanish with dual Spanish/Icelandic citizenship. We were married in the US, and worried that our marriage would be de-legitimized [during Trump’s presidency]. We had a back up plan to get married here. I have 3 gay siblings in the US and I really was worried about their rights as well.”

When asked the most important question, if they would ever move back to the US, most Americans said they preferred island life. Björn Jóhann Ólafsson won’t be returning any time soon: “My American family has made it clear that I am an outsider to them. The most radical members of my family are avowed fascists and the moderates tell me to hush whenever I speak up for myself.” After all, even if Biden changes the highest office he can’t change our families.

For many, it’s simply a matter of safety; Sæþór explains “I stay away because of the violence. Iceland is the safest nation in the world. The US has a rape in it’s prisons every 2 minutes, a weekly school shooting, a black man is murdered by the police every day, and every week there is a mass shooting.”

I have to agree. After four years in Iceland, I don’t see myself going home. Not only am I established with work and family here, but I quite like living in a nation where being queer is as normal as the sky is blue.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Nasdaq

         

        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

        Blue Lagoon
        - a world of wonder

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        Whales of Iceland
        - larger than life

        Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

        Landsbankinn
        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        Aurora Reykjavik
        - northern lights center

          Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

          Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

          The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

          Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

          Contact Aurora

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            Dohop
            - get inspired

            Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

            Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

            More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

            VSÓ Ráðgjöf

               

              VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

              Macland
              - for all your Apple needs

              From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

              Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
              For all your Apple needs. We are here.

              Ísey skyr
              - once tasted never forgotten

              Our Story
              Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

              For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

              Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
              This is our secret and you are in on it

              You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

              Núðluskálin
              - noodle bar

              Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

              All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
              We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
              Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

              Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

              Seatours
              - adventure cruise

              Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
              and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

              The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

              600x400-seatours-tasting

              This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

              600x400-seatours

              The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

              Birds, possible to spot:
              -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
              -eider ducks
              -shags
              -kittiwakes
              -fulmars
              -white-tailed eagle

              The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
              Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

              Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

              Contact Us


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              Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.