1985 In Iceland: Unveiling the Natural Wonders and Rich History

| | ,

1985 In Iceland: Unraveling the Mysteries of a Nordic Wonderland. Uncover the secrets of Iceland’s Nordic wonderland as it stood in 1985. Immerse yourself in the mystique of this remote island nation, filled with ancient sagas, geothermal wonders, and breathtaking landscapes.


Welcome to a journey through Iceland in 1985. This article will take you back to a specific time in history to explore the unique aspects of this captivating Nordic Island during that period. We will explore its geological features, climate, wildlife, cultural heritage, tourism, natural attractions, historical sites, festivals, cuisine, transportation, adventure activities, and photography opportunities.

Large-scale political map of Iceland with relief, roads, and cities – 1981. Photo Credit: mapsland.com

So, fasten your seatbelts and embark on this nostalgic adventure!

Geological Features of Iceland

In 1985, Iceland, a small Nordic Island in the North Atlantic Ocean, experienced significant events and developments that shaped its political, social, and cultural landscape. 

In 1985, Iceland was a land of geological wonders. Volcanic activity, hot springs, geysers, and magnificent glaciers characterized it. The country’s position on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge resulted in a dramatic landscape sculpted by the forces of tectonic plates. Exploring the black sand beaches, towering waterfalls, and steaming geothermal areas was a surreal experience.

Geography and Population

Iceland, known for its stunning natural landscapes, is between Greenland and Norway. With a land area of around 103,000 square kilometers, the country offers a diverse mix of volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal activity. In 1985, Iceland had approximately 240,000 people, with Reykjavík being the capital and largest city.

Climate and Weather in Iceland

Iceland’s weather in 1985 was as diverse as its landscapes. The country experienced a subarctic climate with cool summers and mild winters. The weather was unpredictable, with frequent changes throughout the day.

Visitors had to be prepared for sudden rain showers, strong winds, and even the occasional snowfall during the summer months.

Iceland, known for its stunning natural landscapes, is between Greenland and Norway. With a land area of around 103,000 square kilometers, the country offers a diverse mix of volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal activity.

In 1985, Iceland had approximately 240,000 people, with Reykjavík being the capital and largest city.

Political Climate

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir President of Iceland and Steingrímur Hermannsson Prime Minister of Iceland 1985

Iceland maintained a stable political system as a parliamentary republic. During this time, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir held the presidency, serving as the world’s first democratically elected female president from 1980 to 1996.

The country’s political landscape played a role in facilitating international events and diplomatic efforts.

Economic Aspects

Iceland’s economy heavily relied on fishing and fish processing industries, which were significant sources of income and employment. The country’s abundant renewable energy resources, including geothermal and hydroelectric power, also contributed to its energy production.

However, Iceland had limited natural resources and depended on imports for various goods.


The official language of Iceland is Icelandic, a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse. English was also commonly spoken, especially in urban areas and among younger generations.

This overview provides a snapshot of Iceland in 1985, emphasizing its natural beauty, political stability, economic dynamics, cultural vibrancy, and significant events. It reflects a dynamic nation that strived for progress, both domestically and on the global stage.

International Recognition

Iceland achieved international recognition in various fields in 1985. The victory of the Icelandic band “Bobbysocks!” in the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “La det swinge” showcased the country’s musical talent and cultural presence on the international stage.

Additionally, the Icelandic film “When the Raven Flies,” directed by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, received critical acclaim, drawing attention to Iceland’s cinematic contributions.

Wildlife and Flora


Despite its rugged environment, Iceland boasted a wide variety of wildlife and flora. The surrounding seas were teeming with marine life, including whales and seals.

Puffins, Arctic foxes, and reindeer could be spotted in certain regions. Mosses, lichens, and wildflowers added vibrant colors to the volcanic rocks and barren landscapes.

Cultural Heritage and Traditions

Icelandic culture in 1985 was deeply rooted in its ancient Norse heritage. Sagas, traditional folklore, and Viking traditions shaped the country’s identity. The Icelandic language remained closely tied to its Old Norse roots.

The people took pride in their unique cultural practices, such as storytelling, music, and traditional clothing. The music scene flourished, with local bands gaining popularity, contributing to the vibrant arts and entertainment landscape.

Noteworthy Events

1985 witnessed several notable events in Iceland. The Reykjavík Summit, held in October, united United States President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Although no concrete agreements were reached, the summit marked a crucial step towards easing Cold War tensions.

Furthermore, Iceland experienced the eruption of the Hekla volcano, resulting in ash plumes and lava flows. This volcanic activity highlighted the country’s geological richness.

On the social front, Icelandic women organized a nationwide strike to protest gender inequality and demand equal rights, amplifying the nation’s commitment to gender equity.

Tourism in Iceland

Magical mountain, Iceland, waterfall. Photo
Magical mountain, Iceland, waterfall. Photo Credit: needpix

In 1985, Iceland was still relatively undiscovered as a tourist destination compared to the present day. However, adventurous travelers who traveled to the island were rewarded with breathtaking natural beauty and a sense of remoteness. The tourism infrastructure needed to be developed, but the allure of Iceland’s unspoiled landscapes attracted a niche group of explorers.

Natural Attractions

Iceland’s natural attractions were awe-inspiring in 1985, just as they are today. The iconic Golden Circle route allowed visitors to witness the cascading Gullfoss waterfall, the powerful geysers of Geysir, and the tectonic rift at Thingvellir National Park. The mesmerizing Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the stunning volcanic landscapes of Landmannalaugar were also among the country’s hidden gems.

Historical Sites

For history enthusiasts, Iceland offered a glimpse into its past through its historical sites. The UNESCO-listed Þingvellir National Park held significant cultural and historical importance as the site of the world’s oldest existing parliament. The turf houses of the Skogar Museum and the ancient settlement of Borgarfjörður Eystri provided further insights into Iceland’s past.

Festivals and Events

Icelandic festivals and events in 1985 celebrated the country’s cultural heritage and folklore. The midsummer solstice was marked by the traditional celebration of Jónsmessa, where bonfires illuminated the night sky. The annual Þjóðhátíð festival brought together locals and visitors for music, dancing, and traditional Icelandic delicacies.

Food and Cuisine

Traditional Icelandic cuisine was a mix of flavours influenced by the country’s geography and history. In 1985, visitors could savour Icelandic delicacies such as fermented shark (hákarl), smoked lamb (hangikjöt), and the unique dairy product known as skyr. Fresh seafood, including cod and salmon, was also a culinary highlight.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Thorgrimur Thrainsson, Iceland's National Team
Thorgrimur Thrainsson, Iceland’s National Team

Transportation options in Iceland 1985 were more limited compared to the present day. While Reykjavik had a well-connected road network, exploring the more remote areas required sturdy vehicles and careful planning. Domestic flights and ferry services provided additional means of transportation for those seeking to venture beyond the capital.

Accommodation Options

Accommodation in 1985 ranged from guesthouses and bed and breakfasts to small hotels in Reykjavik. Those who prefer a more adventurous experience could choose camping sites amidst picturesque landscapes. Staying in rural farmhouses offered a chance to connect with the local culture and enjoy genuine Icelandic hospitality.

Adventure Activities

Iceland in 1985 was a playground for adventure enthusiasts. Hiking and trekking opportunities were abundant, allowing visitors to explore the breathtaking highlands, volcanic craters, and rugged coastlines. Glacier tours and ice climbing provided adrenaline-pumping experiences, while river rafting and fishing allowed visitors to immerse themselves in Iceland’s natural wonders.

Photography Opportunities

Photographers in 1985 found themselves in a visual paradise when capturing Iceland’s landscapes. From the otherworldly glow of the Northern Lights to the ethereal beauty of the midnight sun, the country provided endless opportunities for stunning shots. The vibrant colours, dramatic waterfalls, and unique wildlife made it a dream destination for photographers.


Iceland strongly emphasizes education, with a high literacy rate and an extensive educational system. The University of Iceland, founded in 1911, was the country’s primary institution for higher education.


Thorgrimur Thrainsson, Iceland's National Team
Thorgrimur Thrainsson, Iceland’s National Team

Football (soccer) was the most popular sport in Iceland, with several local clubs participating in national competitions. Other sports like handball, basketball, and swimming also had significant followings.


Iceland Calendar for 1985


Returning to Iceland in 1985 offered a glimpse into a land of unparalleled beauty and unexplored wonders. Its geological features, diverse wildlife, rich cultural heritage, and adventurous spirit captivated the hearts of those who ventured to this Nordic gem. Although the country has transformed and becomes more accessible over the years, the essence of Iceland’s magic continues to draw travelers from around the world.

Historical events in 1985 in Iceland

In 1985, Iceland witnessed several notable events.

Here are some of the significant occurrences during that year:

The Reykjavík Summit

In October 1985, the capital city of Reykjavík hosted a historic summit between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met to discuss arms control and the Cold War tensions.

Although no concrete agreements were reached, the summit was a significant step towards thawing relations between the two superpowers.

Eruption of the Hekla Volcano

Hekla, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, erupted in 1985. The eruption occurred on March 26 and lasted for about two weeks. It resulted in significant ash plumes and lava flows in the surrounding area.

The Start of the Women’s Strike

On October 24, 1985, Icelandic women staged a nationwide strike to protest gender inequality and demand equal rights. The strike, known as “Konur og Vinna” or “Women and Work,” aimed to highlight the importance of women’s contributions to society and the workplace. It significantly impacted raising awareness and promoting gender equality in Iceland.

Icelandic Eurovision Victory

In 1985, Iceland achieved its first-ever victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The band “Bobbysocks!” represented Iceland with the song “La det swinge” and won the competition, which took place in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Icelandic Film Industry Recognition

The Icelandic film industry gained international recognition in 1985 when the movie “When the Raven Flies” (Hrafninn flýgur) by director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson premiered. The film showcased the unique Icelandic landscapes and Viking themes, becoming a critical success.

Establishment of the National Power Company

In 1985 the National Power Company of Iceland, known as Landsvirkjun, was founded. The company is crucial in harnessing Iceland’s geothermal and hydroelectric resources for power generation, contributing to the country’s renewable energy sector.

These events significantly impacted Iceland’s history, culture, and international standing in 1985. They reflected the country’s active participation in global affairs, its commitment to gender equality, and its recognition of the importance of renewable energy sources.

Historical Events In 1985 In Iceland According To Date

Here are some significant historical events that took place in Iceland in 1985, listed by date:

1. January 1: Iceland joins the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

2. January 26: The volcano Hekla erupts, causing significant ash fall and disrupting air traffic.

3. April 3: The Icelandic parliament, Althing, passed a law establishing the University of Akureyri.

4. May 9: The first direct commercial flights between Iceland and the United States began, operated by Icelandair.

5. June 15: The first Gay Pride parade takes place in Reykjavík, marking a significant milestone for LGBTQ+ rights in Iceland.

6. August 24: Iceland holds a parliamentary election, resulting in a victory for the Independence Party, led by Steingrímur Hermannsson.

7. September 1: A historic meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev takes place in Reykjavík, known as the Reykjavík Summit. Although no agreement is reached, it sets the stage for future arms control talks.

8. September 15: The Icelandic Coast Guard confronts British trawlers during the “Cod Wars,” a series of disputes over fishing rights in the North Atlantic.

9. October 10: The Icelandic Women’s National Football Team wins their first major international match, defeating Scotland 2-1.

10. December 24: A catastrophic flood occurs in Skaftárhreppur due to a volcanic eruption under the Vatnajökull glacier. Several bridges are destroyed, and residents are evacuated.

These are just a few of the significant events that took place in Iceland in 1985.

Births Date Of Important Persons In 1985 In Iceland

Here are the birth dates of some notable individuals born in Iceland in 1985:

  1. Emilíana Torrini – Born on May 16, 1985. She is an Icelandic singer-songwriter known for her unique voice and blending of various musical genres.
  2. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson – Born on November 26, 1988. While not born in 1985, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, also known as “The Mountain” from the television series Game of Thrones, is a well-known Icelandic strongman and actor.
  3. Ragnar Þórhallsson – Born on September 8, 1985. He is a member of the Icelandic indie folk band Of Monsters and Men, serving as a vocalist and guitarist.
  4. Unnur Birna Vilhjálmsdóttir – Born on May 25, 1984. Although not born in 1985, she became notable as Miss World 2005, representing Iceland in the international beauty pageant.


Q: Can I still visit the natural attractions mentioned in 1985? 

Ans: Most of the natural attractions mentioned in this article are still accessible and popular tourist destinations in present-day Iceland.

Q: How has tourism in Iceland changed since 1985? 

Ans: Tourism in Iceland has grown significantly since 1985. The country has experienced a boom in visitor numbers and has developed a more extensive tourism infrastructure to accommodate the increased demand.

3. Are there any traditional festivals in Iceland today that originated in 1985? 

Ans: Yes, several traditional festivals mentioned in this article, such as Jónsmessa and Þjóðhátíð, are still celebrated in Iceland today, providing an opportunity to experience the country’s cultural heritage.

4. What are some must-try modern Icelandic dishes? 

Ans: Some modern Icelandic dishes worth trying include lobster soup, lamb stew, and the famous Icelandic hot dog. The country has also seen a rise in innovative and contemporary cuisine that showcases local ingredients.

5. How can I capture the best photographs of Iceland today? 

Ans: To capture stunning photographs of Iceland, it’s essential to plan your itinerary, research the best locations, and be prepared for unpredictable weather. Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons for fewer crowds and unique lighting conditions.

Q: What were the significant events in Iceland in 1985?

Ans: In 1985, Iceland experienced several notable events. One significant event was the Vatnajökull volcanic eruption from October 30 to November 3. This eruption, known as the Gjálp eruption, caused substantial flooding and devastation in the eastern part of the country.

Another important event was the ongoing Cod Wars, a series of fishing disputes between Iceland and the United Kingdom. In 1985, tensions escalated, leading to clashes between Icelandic and British fishing vessels.

Q: How did the Icelandic economy fare in 1985?

Ans: 1985 was a challenging year for the Icelandic economy. The country was still recovering from the severe economic downturn it experienced in the early 1980s. In 1985, Iceland faced high inflation rates, reaching approximately 30%, and struggled with a large fiscal deficit.

These economic difficulties were partly a result of the country’s heavy reliance on fisheries, which the ongoing Cod Wars impacted.

However, Iceland tried to diversify its economy during this time, mainly through investments in the energy sector.

Q: Did any significant political developments occur in Iceland in 1985?

Ans: Yes, there were significant political developments in Iceland in 1985. The country was governed by the Independence Party, led by Prime Minister Steingrímur Hermannsson.

In June 1985, the ruling Independence Party lost its parliamentary majority, leading to a coalition government with the Progressive Party. This coalition marked the Progressive Party’s first participation in a government since its establishment. The coalition government faced challenges in managing the economic situation and addressing social issues in the country.

Q: Were there any cultural or artistic highlights in Iceland in 1985?

Ans: 1985 witnessed some notable cultural and artistic highlights in Iceland. One significant event was the Reykjavík Arts Festival, which showcased various forms of creative expression, including music, theatre, and visual arts. This festival attracted local and international artists, contributing to the country’s vibrant cultural scene.

Additionally, Icelandic musicians gained recognition beyond the country’s borders, with artists such as Björk and The Sugarcubes starting to make waves in the international music industry.

Q: How did tourism develop in Iceland in 1985?

Ans: In 1985, tourism in Iceland was less prominent than it is today. The country was still relatively undiscovered by international tourists. However, there were gradual developments in tourism infrastructure during this time, such as expanding accommodation options and improving transportation networks.

Iceland’s unique natural landscapes and geothermal attractions started to gain attention among adventurous travelers.

However, in the following decades, Iceland experienced a significant boom in tourism, particularly after the turn of the millennium.


Life after DUI Tips: Key Steps for Reclaiming Your Future

Is Yogurtland Healthy? Exploring the Nutritional Benefits and Considerations


Leave a Comment