Among many of the wonderful eccentricities of Iceland are the names of the Icelandic people. The Icelandic naming system is unlike any other in the world. To create surnames, Icelanders take the first name of their fathers, and then add son for males and dóttir for females to show possession. For instance, if your father’s first name is Paul, and you are his son, then your last name is Paulsson. If you are his daughter, then your last name is now Paulsdóttir. Fun, right? Try it for yourself. My Icelandic last name is Samuelsdóttir.
Not only that, but strict rules regulate name selection. All new first and middle names must be approved by the Icelandic government, so there’s little chance of ever meeting a Gagasson or Gagasdóttir when visiting this island nation.
But there are plenty of other reasons to visit Iceland, a country that is quickly becoming a hot international travel destination. First and foremost are the worldviews of its people. It’s a land that sounds like it could be frozen in time, yet it’s remarkably progressive. Approximately 85 percent of the country’s energy comes from green sources, thanks to an abundance of hydrothermal and geothermal energy pools. Additionally, the nation has one of the lowest incidences of violent crimes around the globe, keeping in line with its peaceful and accepting perspectives.
Iceland is also a nature lover’s paradise, where hiking, skiing, and exploring abound. To top it off, guests can glimpse breathtaking views of the Northern Lights. While it is chilly, it’s not nearly as cold as its name suggests, with temperatures that range from an average of 28 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to a high around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Ruled by Denmark until it declared its independence in 1944, Iceland is known for both its fire and ice — glaciers and ice fields coexist with volcanoes and lava flows. While parts of Iceland are considered Arctic tundra, other areas are more like temperate European countries. I personally love it all.
This land of incredible contrasts, full of youthful and unique people, is now a must-visit destination for any son or dóttir. And that includes you!