17 Bizarre Facts About Iceland

Babies are left outside to nap in freezing temperatures.

1. Hot dogs are Iceland’s most popular food and are sold virtually everywhere, including gas stations, roadside stops, and restaurants.

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2. According to a 1998 survey, a majority of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves.

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According to one resident quoted in The Atlantic, “elves can range wildly in size, from a few centimeters to three meters in height. They may live in houses, sometimes with multiple floors, and, if you leave them alone, they’ll generally mind their own business.”

3. Nearly all of Iceland’s heating and electricity needs are served by hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.

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4. Iceland is home to a penis museum — The Icelandic Phallological Museum.

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5. Strip clubs have been banned from Iceland since 2010.

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6. Dog ownership was banned in Reykjavík (Iceland’s capital) until 1984, when the ban was partially lifted.

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The ban was lifted completely in 2006.

7. There are ZERO mosquitoes in Iceland.

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8. Hákarl, or rotten shark, is a national dish of Iceland and is considered a delicacy.

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9. The island nation produces relatively more writers than any other place in the world.

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10. Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is the northernmost city of any sovereign state in the world.

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11. Babies are routinely left outside to nap in freezing temperatures.

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12. For the most part, Icelanders do not have surnames (last names), in the traditional sense.

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Most Icelanders have a last name that consists of their father’s first name with the addition of -dóttir (-daughter) or -son.

13. Iceland prohibited beer consumption until 1989.

Prohibition, like smoking bans, was seen as progressive back in the day.

14. Iceland has the highest swimming pool-to-human ratio in the world.

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15. The country has no standing army.

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16. Iceland’s climate is actually not as cold as many people believe — the average winter temperature is 2°C, or 35°F.

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17. According to the latest World Happiness Report (published by the UN), Iceland is the third-happiest country in the world.

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