ICELANDIC PEOPLE AND CULTURE
As a whole, Icelandic people are very open and progressive, creative and self-reliant. They are highly educated, well-read and they share a deep love for arts and music. Like anyone else, Icelandic people like to have fun. They work hard and play hard and love sharing their country with visitors. In general are Icelanders very helpful. The standard of living in Iceland is among the highest in the world. Although they are technically advanced and modern in outlook, many people are justly proud of the cultural heritage of Norse mythology and the Icelandic sagas.
ORIGIN OF THE ICELANDERS
Icelandic language and culture today reflects the predominantly Norse origin of the early population, but there is also evidence of Celtic blood and heritage. Although the first settlers of Iceland are supposed to have been Irish monks or hermits, they left the island when the heathen Vikings arrived the late 9th century. Most of the evidence indicates that of the first permanent settlers came from Norway and from parts of the British Isles where Viking settlements had been established and Scandinavian settlers had become partly assimilated into the Celtic population; they would also have been accompanied by Celtic slaves.
According to The Book of Settlements (Landnámabók), Ingólfur Arnarson was the first permanent settler of Iceland, establishing himself there in 874.
The Icelandic language is one of the main characteristics of this proud nation. It belongs to the group of the North Germanic languages and is still closely similar to the language that the settlers brought with them in the ninth and tenth centuries (Old Norse).The Icelandic literature and sagas of the thirteenth century can still be read by modern Icelandic speakers with little difficulty. English is widely understood and spoken, especially among the younger generation, and many people have a working knowledge of Danish, German or other languages as well.
Medieval Icelandic literature is probably Iceland's most significant contribution to world culture, especially the sagas, a unique genre of realistic secular prose narratives dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Modern Icelandic literature has also gained international attention, not least since 1955, when the great novelist Halldór Laxness won the Nobel Prize. Today, authors such as Thor Vilhjálmsson, Einar Kárason, Arnaldur Indriðarson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and others are available to an international audience in translation.
The established religion in Iceland is Lutheran.