Municipalities of Iceland

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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 constitution of Iceland.

History[edit]

Coat of arms of Iceland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Iceland
Constitution

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 century, 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 distinction made 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 between themselves and the merger has to be agreed upon by the people of each municipality in a referendum. A similar approach is used by the Faroese government. Municipalities with fewer than 50 people may be merged with others by force though.

The number of municipalities peaked in the mid-20th century. There were 229 of them in 1950.[1] In 1995 their number had reduced to 170. In the year 2000 the number of municipalities in Iceland was 124 and since 1 January 2013 they are 74 in addition to the capital and only city Reykjavíkurborg (e. city of Reykjavík).

Government[edit]

The municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are directly elected every four years. Municipal elections were last held on 29 May 2010. 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 municipalities[edit]

Number Name Region Population
(1 January 2014)
Area
(km²)
Mayor/Manager Party
0000 Reykjavíkurborg Capital Region 121,230 273 Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson Social Democratic Alliance
1000 Kópavogsbær Capital Region 32,308 80 Ármann Kristinn Ólafsson Independence Party
1100 Seltjarnarneskaupstaður Capital Region 4,381 2 Ásgerður Halldórsdóttir Independence Party
1300 Garðabær Capital Region 14,180 76 Gunnar Einarsson Independence Party
1400 Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður Capital Region 27,357 143 Haraldur L. Haraldsson independent
1604 Mosfellsbær Capital Region 9,075 185 Haraldur Sverrisson Independence Party
1606 Kjósarhreppur Capital Region 221 284 Guðný Guðrún Ívarsdóttir independent
2000 Reykjanesbær Southern Peninsula 14,527 145 Kjartan Már Kjartansson independent
2300 Grindavíkurbær Southern Peninsula 2,888 425 Róbert Ragnarsson independent
2503 Sandgerðisbær Southern Peninsula 1,609 62 Sigrún Árnadóttir independent
2504 Sveitarfélagið Garður Southern Peninsula 1,409 21 Magnús Stefánsson independent
2506 Sveitarfélagið Vogar Southern Peninsula 1,127 165 Ásgeir Eiríksson independent
3000 Akraneskaupstaður Western Region 6,699 9
3506 Skorradalshreppur Western Region 58 216
3511 Hvalfjarðarsveit Western Region 617 482
3609 Borgarbyggð Western Region 3,535 4,926
3709 Grundarfjarðarbær Western Region 872 148
3710 Helgafellssveit Western Region 53 243
3711 Stykkishólmsbær Western Region 1,095 10
3713 Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Western Region 148 383
3714 Snæfellsbær Western Region 1,691 684
3811 Dalabyggð Western Region 673 2,421
4100 Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður Westfjords 950 109
4200 Ísafjarðarbær Westfjords 3,639 2,379
4502 Reykhólahreppur Westfjords 271 1,090
4604 Tálknafjarðarhreppur Westfjords 297 176
4607 Vesturbyggð Westfjords 949 1,339
4803 Súðavíkurhreppur Westfjords 202 749
4901 Árneshreppur Westfjords 53 707
4902 Kaldrananeshreppur Westfjords 105 387
4911 Strandabyggð Westfjords 506 1,906
5200 Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður Northwestern Region 3,978 4,180
5508 Húnaþing vestra Northwestern Region 1,173 3,019
5604 Blönduósbær Northwestern Region 881 183
5609 Sveitarfélagið Skagaströnd Northwestern Region 498 53
5611 Skagabyggð Northwestern Region 98 489
5612 Húnavatnshreppur Northwestern Region 409 3,817
5706 Akrahreppur Northwestern Region 208 1,364
6000 Akureyrarkaupstaður Northeastern Region 18,103 138
6100 Norðurþing Northeastern Region 2,822 3,729
6250 Fjallabyggð Northeastern Region 2,010 364
6400 Dalvíkurbyggð Northeastern Region 1,867 598
6513 Eyjafjarðarsveit Northeastern Region 1,026 1,775
6515 Hörgársveit Northeastern Region 559 893
6601 Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Northeastern Region 387 55
6602 Grýtubakkahreppur Northeastern Region 353 432
6607 Skútustaðahreppur Northeastern Region 371 6,036
6611 Tjörneshreppur Northeastern Region 55 199
6612 Þingeyjarsveit Northeastern Region 917 5,988
6706 Svalbarðshreppur Northeastern Region 90 1,155
6709 Langanesbyggð Northeastern Region 531 1,332
7000 Seyðisfjarðarkaupstaður Eastern Region 665 213
7300 Fjarðabyggð Eastern Region 4,675 1,164
7502 Vopnafjarðarhreppur Eastern Region 695 1,903
7505 Fljótsdalshreppur Eastern Region 68 1,516
7509 Borgarfjarðarhreppur Eastern Region 134 441
7613 Breiðdalshreppur Eastern Region 187 452
7617 Djúpavogshreppur Eastern Region 470 1,133
7620 Fljótsdalshérað Northeastern Region 3,463 8,884
7708 Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður Southern Region 2,167 6,280
8000 Vestmannaeyjabær Southern Region 4,264 17
8200 Sveitarfélagið Árborg Southern Region 7,889 158
8508 Mýrdalshreppur Southern Region 489 755
8509 Skaftárhreppur Southern Region 452 6,946
8610 Ásahreppur Southern Region 193 2,942
8613 Rangárþing eystra Southern Region 1,708 1,841
8614 Rangárþing ytra Southern Region 1,553 3,188
8710 Hrunamannahreppur Southern Region 785 1,375
8716 Hveragerðisbær Southern Region 2,333 9
8717 Sveitarfélagið Ölfus Southern Region 1,906 737
8719 Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Southern Region 422 900
8720 Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Southern Region 530 2,231
8721 Bláskógabyggð Southern Region 931 3,300
8722 Flóahreppur Southern Region 631 289
325,671 102,698

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]