Municipalities of Iceland

Lower-level municipality map of Iceland

The municipalities of Iceland are local administrative areas in Iceland that provide a number of services to their inhabitants such as kindergartens, elementary schools, waste management, social services, public housing, public transportation, services to senior citizens and handicapped people. They also govern zoning and can voluntarily take on additional functions if they have the budget for it. The autonomy of municipalities over their own matters is guaranteed by the Icelandic constitution.

HistoryEdit

The origin of the municipalities can be traced back to the commonwealth period in the 10th century when rural communities were organized into communes (hreppar) with the main purpose of providing help for the poorest individuals in society. When urbanization began in Iceland during the 18th and 19th centuries, several independent townships (kaupstaðir) were created. The role of municipalities was further formalized during the 20th century and by the end of the century there was no longer any official distinction between urban and rural municipalities.

The trend in recent years has been to transfer more functions and power from the state to the municipalities. This has called for larger municipalities. The government encourages municipalities to merge but has taken a different approach to the issue than governments in other Nordic countries where forced amalgamation is regularly carried out (such as the municipal reform in Denmark that took effect in 2007). Instead, the process is voluntary. Municipalities negotiate possible mergers among themselves, and any merger must first receive approval from the relevant municipality's constituent voting electorate in a referendum. A similar approach is used by the Faroese government. However, municipalities having a population of below 50 may be forced to merge.

The number of municipalities peaked in the mid-20th century. There were 229 of them in 1950.[1] By 1995, their number had been reduced to 170. In the year 2000, only 124 municipalities remained in Iceland, and since 2018 there are 72.

GovernmentEdit

The municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are directly elected every four years. Municipal elections were last held on 26 May 2018. The sizes of these councils vary from five members in the smallest municipalities to fifteen in the largest one. Most municipalities except for the very small ones hire an executive manager who may or may not be a member of the municipal council. These managers are usually referred to as mayors (bæjarstjóri/borgarstjóri) in the mostly urban municipalities but "municipal manager" (sveitarstjóri) in the rural or mixed municipalities. It is common for these executive managers to be professionally hired and politically independent.

List of municipalitiesEdit

Vernacular name Official name Region LAU code Population[2]
(2019Q4)
Area
(in km2)
Mayor Party
Reykjavík Reykjavíkurborg Höfuðborgarsvæðið 0000 131,220 274.19 Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson Social Democratic Alliance
Kópavogur Kópavogsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1000 37,970 79.99 Ármann Kristinn Ólafsson Independence Party
Seltjarnarnes Seltjarnarnesbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1100 4,720 2.11 Ásgerður Halldórsdóttir Independence Party
Garðabær Garðabær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1300 16,920 75.46 Gunnar Einarsson Independence Party
Hafnarfjörður Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1400 30,000 144.07 Haraldur L. Haraldsson Independent
Mosfellsbær Mosfellsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1604 12,070 186.16 Haraldur Sverrisson Independence Party
Kjósarhreppur Kjósarhreppur Höfuðborgarsvæðið 1606 250 284.08 Guðný Guðrún Ívarsdóttir Independent
Reykjanesbær Reykjanesbær Suðurnes 2000 19,430 144.48 Kjartan Már Kjartansson Independent
Grindavíkurbær Grindavíkurbær Suðurnes 2300 3,520 423.46 Róbert Ragnarsson Independent
Suðurnesjabær Suðurnesjabær Suðurnes 2505 3,590 82.46 Magnús Stefánsson Independent
Vogar Sveitarfélagið Vogar Suðurnes 2506 1,310 164.4 Ásgeir Eiríksson Independent
Akranes Akraneskaupstaður Vesturland 3000 7,540 8.57 Regína Ásvaldsdóttir Independent
Skorradalshreppur Skorradalshreppur Vesturland 3506 70 215.8 Árni Hjörleifsson Independent
Hvalfjarðarsveit Hvalfjarðarsveit Vesturland 3511 630 481.06 Björgvin Helgason Independent
Borgarbyggð Borgarbyggð Vesturland 3609 3,860 4926.85 Björn Bjarki Þorsteinsson Independence Party
Grundarfjarðarbær Grundarfjarðarbær Vesturland 3709 880 149.08 Eyþór Garðarsson None
Helgafellssveit Helgafellssveit Vesturland 3710 70 242.94 Sif Matthíasdóttir Independent
Stykkishólmur Stykkishólmsbær Vesturland 3711 1,210 10.53 Sturla Böðvarsson Independence Party
Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Vesturland 3713 120 383.51 Eggert Kjartansson Independent
Snæfellsbær Snæfellsbær Vesturland 3714 1,670 682.04 Kristinn Jónasson Independent
Dalabyggð Dalabyggð Vesturland 3811 640 2426.88 Jóhannes Haukur Hauksson Independent
Bolungarvík Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður Vestfirðir 4100 960 108.08 Elías Jónatansson Independent
Ísafjarðarbær Ísafjarðarbær Vestfirðir 4200 3,810 2380.55 Gísli Halldór Halldórsson Independent
Reykhólahreppur Reykhólahreppur Vestfirðir 4502 260 1096.23 Karl Kristjánsson Independent
Tálknafjarðarhreppur Tálknafjarðarhreppur Vestfirðir 4604 250 175.38 Indriði Indriðason Independent
Vesturbyggð Vesturbyggð Vestfirðir 4607 1,020 1336.06 Rebekka Hilmarsdóttir Independence Party
Súðavíkurhreppur Súðavíkurhreppur Vestfirðir 4803 210 750.35 Pétur G. Markan Independent
Árneshreppur Árneshreppur Vestfirðir 4901 45 705.41 Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir Independent
Kaldrananeshreppur Kaldrananeshreppur Vestfirðir 4902 110 458.4 Finnur Ólafsson Independent
Strandabyggð Strandabyggð Vestfirðir 4911 460 1833.88 Jón Gísli Jónsson None
Skagafjörður Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður Norðurland vestra 5200 4,030 4176.45 Ásta Björg Pálmadóttir Independent
Húnaþing vestra Húnaþing vestra Norðurland vestra 5508 1,210 3022.83 Guðný Hrund Karlsdóttir Independent
Blönduósbær Blönduósbær Norðurland vestra 5604 940 182.61 Arnar Þór Sævarsson Independent
Skagaströnd Sveitarfélagið Skagaströnd Norðurland vestra 5609 470 52.6 Magnús B. Jónsson Independent
Skagabyggð Skagabyggð Norðurland vestra 5611 90 488.59 Vignir Ásmundur Sveinsson Independent
Húnavatnshreppur Húnavatnshreppur Norðurland vestra 5612 370 3815.98 Einar Kristján Jónsson Independent
Akrahreppur Akrahreppur Norðurland vestra 5706 210 1366.01 Agnar Halldór Gunnarsson Independent
Akureyri Akureyrarkaupstaður Norðurland eystra 6000 19,030 135.55 Ásthildur Sturludóttir None
Norðurþing Norðurþing Norðurland eystra 6100 3,120 3732.78 Kristján Þór Magnússon Independent
Fjallabyggð Fjallabyggð Norðurland eystra 6250 2,010 363.83 Gunnar Ingi Birgisson Independent
Dalvíkurbyggð Dalvíkurbyggð Norðurland eystra 6400 1,900 597.35 Bjarni Th. Bjarnason Progressive Party
Eyjafjarðarsveit Eyjafjarðarsveit Norðurland eystra 6513 1,080 1774.83 Karl Frímannsson Independent
Hörgársveit Hörgársveit Norðurland eystra 6515 620 893.97 Snorri Finnlaugsson Independent
Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Norðurland eystra 6601 480 54.39 Eiríkur H. Hauksson Independent
Grýtubakkahreppur Grýtubakkahreppur Norðurland eystra 6602 370 431.43 Þröstur Friðfinnsson Independent
Skútustaðahreppur Skútustaðahreppur Norðurland eystra 6607 500 6048.01 Jón Óskar Pétursson Independent
Tjörneshreppur Tjörneshreppur Norðurland eystra 6611 50 198.86 Steinþór Heiðarsson Independent
Þingeyjarsveit Þingeyjarsveit Norðurland eystra 6612 860 5971.58 Dagbjört Jónsdóttir Independent
Svalbarðshreppur Svalbarðshreppur Norðurland eystra 6706 90 1154.31 Sigurður Þór Guðmundsson Independent
Langanesbyggð Langanesbyggð Norðurland eystra 6709 480 1328.85 Elías Pétursson Independent
Seyðisfjörður Seyðisfjarðarkaupstaður Austurland 7000 690 212.64 Vilhjálmur Jónsson Progressive Party
Fjarðabyggð Fjarðabyggð Austurland 7300 5,060 1614.45 Páll Björgvin Guðmundsson Independent
Vopnafjarðarhreppur Vopnafjarðarhreppur Austurland 7502 660 1903.31 Ólafur Áki Ragnarsson Independent
Fljótsdalshreppur Fljótsdalshreppur Austurland 7505 90 1516.3 Gunnþórunn Ingólfsdóttir Independent
Borgarfjarðarhreppur Borgarfjarðarhreppur Austurland 7509 120 440.15 Jón Þórðarson Independent
Djúpavogshreppur Djúpavogshreppur Austurland 7617 500 1132.63 Gauti Jóhannesson Independent
Fljótsdalshérað Fljótsdalshérað Austurland 7620 3,620 8883.77 Björn Ingimarsson Independent
Hornafjörður Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður Austurland 7708 2,440 6309.44 Björn Ingi Jónsson Independence Party
Vestmannaeyjar Vestmannaeyjabær Suðurland 8000 4,360 16.14 Elliði Vignisson Independence Party
Árborg Sveitarfélagið Árborg Suðurland 8200 10,060 157.19 Ásta Stefánsdóttir Independence Party
Mýrdalshreppur Mýrdalshreppur Suðurland 8508 720 749.09 Ásgeir Magnússon Independent
Skaftárhreppur Skaftárhreppur Suðurland 8509 630 6944.26 Eygló Kristjánsdóttir Independent
Ásahreppur Ásahreppur Suðurland 8610 250 2942.32 Egill Sigurðsson Independent
Rangárþing eystra Rangárþing eystra Suðurland 8613 1,960 1839.93 Ísólfur Gylfi Pálmason Progressive Party
Rangárþing ytra Rangárþing ytra Suðurland 8614 1,680 3187.09 Ágúst Sigurðsson Independence Party
Hrunamannahreppur Hrunamannahreppur Suðurland 8710 820 1375.07 Jón G. Valgeirsson Independent
Hveragerði Hveragerðisbær Suðurland 8716 2,700 9.03 Aldís Hafsteinsdóttir Independence Party
Ölfus Sveitarfélagið Ölfus Suðurland 8717 2,270 736.32 Gunnsteinn R. Ómarsson Independent
Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Suðurland 8719 500 899.44 Ingibjörg Harðardóttir Independent
Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Suðurland 8720 610 2231.74 Kristófer Tómasson Independent
Bláskógabyggð Bláskógabyggð Suðurland 8721 1,160 3300 Valtýr Valtýsson Independent
Flóahreppur Flóahreppur Suðurland 8722 690 288.9 Eydís Þ. Indriðadóttir Independent

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.samband.is/media/enska/sameining-sveitarfelaga-1950-2010_Engl.pdf
  2. ^ "Population by municipality, sex, citizenship and quarters 2010-2019". Statistics Iceland. Retrieved 2019-02-03.

External linksEdit