Municipalities of Iceland

The municipalities of Iceland (Icelandic: Sveitarfélög [ˈsveiːtarˌfjɛːˌlœːx]) 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.

Municipalities of Iceland
Sveitarfélög Íslands (Icelandic)
Lower level municipalities of Iceland.svg
CategoryMunicipality
Location Iceland
Found inRegions
Number69 (as of 2020)
PopulationsSmallest: Árneshreppur (pop. 40)
Largest: Reykjavík (pop. 133,720)
AreasSmallest: Seltjarnarnes (2.11 km2)
Largest: Fljótsdalshérað (8883.77 km2)
Government
  • Municipal council

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 [r̥ɛhpar̥]) 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 [ˈkʰœipˌstaːðɪr̥]) 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 2020 there are 69.

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 [ˈpaiːjarˌstjouːrɪ] or borgarstjóri [ˈpɔrkarˌstjouːrɪ]) in the mostly urban municipalities but "municipal manager" (sveitarstjóri [ˈsveiːtarˌstjouːrɪ]) 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 Population[2]
(2021Q1)
Area
(in km2)
LAU code Mayor Party
Reykjavík Reykjavíkurborg Höfuðborgarsvæðið 133,720 274.19 0000 Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson Social Democratic Alliance
Kópavogur Kópavogsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 38,520 79.99 1000 Ármann Kristinn Ólafsson Independence Party
Seltjarnarnes Seltjarnarnesbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 4,720 2.11 1100 Ásgerður Halldórsdóttir Independence Party
Garðabær Garðabær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 17,870 75.46 1300 Gunnar Einarsson Independence Party
Hafnarfjörður Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður Höfuðborgarsvæðið 29,670 144.07 1400 Haraldur L. Haraldsson Independent
Mosfellsbær Mosfellsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 12,730 186.16 1604 Haraldur Sverrisson Independence Party
Kjósarhreppur Kjósarhreppur Höfuðborgarsvæðið 250 284.08 1606 Guðný Guðrún Ívarsdóttir Independent
Reykjanesbær Reykjanesbær Suðurnes 19,760 144.48 2000 Kjartan Már Kjartansson Independent
Grindavíkurbær Grindavíkurbær Suðurnes 3,540 423.46 2300 Róbert Ragnarsson Independent
Suðurnesjabær Suðurnesjabær Suðurnes 3,590 82.46 2505 Magnús Stefánsson Independent
Vogar Sveitarfélagið Vogar Suðurnes 1,340 164.4 2506 Ásgeir Eiríksson Independent
Akranes Akraneskaupstaður Vesturland 7,710 8.57 3000 Regína Ásvaldsdóttir Independent
Skorradalshreppur Skorradalshreppur Vesturland 70 215.8 3506 Árni Hjörleifsson Independent
Hvalfjarðarsveit Hvalfjarðarsveit Vesturland 650 481.06 3511 Björgvin Helgason Independent
Borgarbyggð Borgarbyggð Vesturland 3,750 4926.85 3609 Björn Bjarki Þorsteinsson Independence Party
Grundarfjarðarbær Grundarfjarðarbær Vesturland 850 149.08 3709 Eyþór Garðarsson None
Helgafellssveit Helgafellssveit Vesturland 70 242.94 3710 Sif Matthíasdóttir Independent
Stykkishólmur Stykkishólmsbær Vesturland 1,190 10.53 3711 Sturla Böðvarsson Independence Party
Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Vesturland 120 383.51 3713 Eggert Kjartansson Independent
Snæfellsbær Snæfellsbær Vesturland 1,690 682.04 3714 Kristinn Jónasson Independent
Dalabyggð Dalabyggð Vesturland 620 2426.88 3811 Jóhannes Haukur Hauksson Independent
Bolungarvík Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður Vestfirðir 960 108.08 4100 Elías Jónatansson Independent
Ísafjarðarbær Ísafjarðarbær Vestfirðir 3,800 2380.55 4200 Gísli Halldór Halldórsson Independent
Reykhólahreppur Reykhólahreppur Vestfirðir 240 1096.23 4502 Karl Kristjánsson Independent
Tálknafjarðarhreppur Tálknafjarðarhreppur Vestfirðir 260 175.38 4604 Indriði Indriðason Independent
Vesturbyggð Vesturbyggð Vestfirðir 1,090 1336.06 4607 Rebekka Hilmarsdóttir Independence Party
Súðavíkurhreppur Súðavíkurhreppur Vestfirðir 200 750.35 4803 Pétur G. Markan Independent
Árneshreppur Árneshreppur Vestfirðir 40 705.41 4901 Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir Independent
Kaldrananeshreppur Kaldrananeshreppur Vestfirðir 110 458.4 4902 Finnur Ólafsson Independent
Strandabyggð Strandabyggð Vestfirðir 430 1833.88 4911 Jón Gísli Jónsson None
Skagafjörður Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður Norðurland vestra 4,090 4176.45 5200 Ásta Björg Pálmadóttir Independent
Húnaþing vestra Húnaþing vestra Norðurland vestra 1,210 3022.83 5508 Guðný Hrund Karlsdóttir Independent
Blönduósbær Blönduósbær Norðurland vestra 960 182.61 5604 Arnar Þór Sævarsson Independent
Skagaströnd Sveitarfélagið Skagaströnd Norðurland vestra 470 52.6 5609 Magnús B. Jónsson Independent
Skagabyggð Skagabyggð Norðurland vestra 100 488.59 5611 Vignir Ásmundur Sveinsson Independent
Húnavatnshreppur Húnavatnshreppur Norðurland vestra 380 3815.98 5612 Einar Kristján Jónsson Independent
Akrahreppur Akrahreppur Norðurland vestra 210 1366.01 5706 Agnar Halldór Gunnarsson Independent
Akureyri Akureyrarkaupstaður Norðurland eystra 19,250 135.55 6000 Ásthildur Sturludóttir None
Norðurþing Norðurþing Norðurland eystra 3,020 3732.78 6100 Kristján Þór Magnússon Independent
Fjallabyggð Fjallabyggð Norðurland eystra 1,980 363.83 6250 Gunnar Ingi Birgisson Independent
Dalvíkurbyggð Dalvíkurbyggð Norðurland eystra 1,860 597.35 6400 Bjarni Th. Bjarnason Progressive Party
Eyjafjarðarsveit Eyjafjarðarsveit Norðurland eystra 1,080 1774.83 6513 Karl Frímannsson Independent
Hörgársveit Hörgársveit Norðurland eystra 670 893.97 6515 Snorri Finnlaugsson Independent
Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Norðurland eystra 460 54.39 6601 Eiríkur H. Hauksson Independent
Grýtubakkahreppur Grýtubakkahreppur Norðurland eystra 370 431.43 6602 Þröstur Friðfinnsson Independent
Skútustaðahreppur Skútustaðahreppur Norðurland eystra 460 6048.01 6607 Jón Óskar Pétursson Independent
Tjörneshreppur Tjörneshreppur Norðurland eystra 60 198.86 6611 Steinþór Heiðarsson Independent
Þingeyjarsveit Þingeyjarsveit Norðurland eystra 850 5971.58 6612 Dagbjört Jónsdóttir Independent
Svalbarðshreppur Svalbarðshreppur Norðurland eystra 90 1154.31 6706 Sigurður Þór Guðmundsson Independent
Langanesbyggð Langanesbyggð Norðurland eystra 510 1328.85 6709 Elías Pétursson Independent
Fjarðabyggð Fjarðabyggð Austurland 5,100 1614.45 7300 Páll Björgvin Guðmundsson Independent
Múlaþing Múlaþing Austurland 5,000 10669.19 7400 Björn Ingimarsson Independent
Vopnafjarðarhreppur Vopnafjarðarhreppur Austurland 660 1903.31 7502 Ólafur Áki Ragnarsson Independent
Fljótsdalshreppur Fljótsdalshreppur Austurland 100 1516.3 7505 Gunnþórunn Ingólfsdóttir Independent
Hornafjörður Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður Austurland 2,370 6309.44 7708 Björn Ingi Jónsson Independence Party
Vestmannaeyjar Vestmannaeyjabær Suðurland 4,350 16.14 8000 Elliði Vignisson Independence Party
Árborg Sveitarfélagið Árborg Suðurland 10,510 157.19 8200 Ásta Stefánsdóttir Independence Party
Mýrdalshreppur Mýrdalshreppur Suðurland 750 749.09 8508 Ásgeir Magnússon Independent
Skaftárhreppur Skaftárhreppur Suðurland 600 6944.26 8509 Eygló Kristjánsdóttir Independent
Ásahreppur Ásahreppur Suðurland 260 2942.32 8610 Egill Sigurðsson Independent
Rangárþing eystra Rangárþing eystra Suðurland 1,910 1839.93 8613 Ísólfur Gylfi Pálmason Progressive Party
Rangárþing ytra Rangárþing ytra Suðurland 1,740 3187.09 8614 Ágúst Sigurðsson Independence Party
Hrunamannahreppur Hrunamannahreppur Suðurland 820 1375.07 8710 Jón G. Valgeirsson Independent
Hveragerði Hveragerðisbær Suðurland 2,820 9.03 8716 Aldís Hafsteinsdóttir Independence Party
Ölfus Sveitarfélagið Ölfus Suðurland 2,380 736.32 8717 Gunnsteinn R. Ómarsson Independent
Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Suðurland 500 899.44 8719 Ingibjörg Harðardóttir Independent
Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Suðurland 590 2231.74 8720 Kristófer Tómasson Independent
Bláskógabyggð Bláskógabyggð Suðurland 1,110 3300 8721 Valtýr Valtýsson Independent
Flóahreppur Flóahreppur Suðurland 690 288.9 8722 Eydís Þ. Indriðadóttir Independent

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Municipalities in Iceland in 1950" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  2. ^ "Population by municipality, sex, citizenship and quarters 2010-2021". Statistics Iceland. Retrieved 2021-06-22.

External linksEdit