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 Icelandic constitution.

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 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 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.

Government[edit]

The municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are directly elected every four years. Municipal elections were last held on 31 May 2014. 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]

Latin Name Icelandic Name Region Population[2] Area
(in km2)
Mayor Party
Reykjavík Reykjavíkurborg Höfuðborgarsvæðið 126,041 274.19 Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson Social Democratic Alliance
Kópavogur Kópavogsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 35,970 79.99 Ármann Kristinn Ólafsson Independence Party
Seltjarnarnes Seltjarnarnesbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 4,575 2.11 Ásgerður Halldórsdóttir Independence Party
Garðabær Garðabær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 15,709 75.46 Gunnar Einarsson Independence Party
Hafnarfjörður Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður Höfuðborgarsvæðið 29,412 144.07 Haraldur L. Haraldsson Independent
Mosfellsbær Mosfellsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 10,556 186.16 Haraldur Sverrisson Independence Party
Kjósarhreppur Kjósarhreppur Höfuðborgarsvæðið 221 284.08 Guðný Guðrún Ívarsdóttir Independent
Reykjanesbær Reykjanesbær Suðurnes 17,805 144.48 Kjartan Már Kjartansson Independent
Grindavíkurbær Grindavíkurbær Suðurnes 3,323 423.46 Róbert Ragnarsson Independent
Sandgerði Sandgerðisbær Suðurnes 1,779 61.79 Sigrún Árnadóttir Independent
Garður Sveitarfélagið Garður Suðurnes 1,595 20.67 Magnús Stefánsson Independent
Vogar Sveitarfélagið Vogar Suðurnes 1,268 164.4 Ásgeir Eiríksson Independent
Akranes Akraneskaupstaður Vesturland 7,259 8.57 Regína Ásvaldsdóttir Independent
Skorradalshreppur Skorradalshreppur Vesturland 56 215.8 Árni Hjörleifsson Independent
Hvalfjarðarsveit Hvalfjarðarsveit Vesturland 648 481.06 Björgvin Helgason Independent
Borgarbyggð Borgarbyggð Vesturland 3,745 4926.85 Björn Bjarki Þorsteinsson Independence Party
Grundarfjarðarbær Grundarfjarðarbær Vesturland 877 149.08 Eyþór Garðarsson None
Helgafellssveit Helgafellssveit Vesturland 58 242.94 Sif Matthíasdóttir Independent
Stykkishólmur Stykkishólmsbær Vesturland 1,177 10.53 Sturla Böðvarsson Independence Party
Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Vesturland 129 383.51 Eggert Kjartansson Independent
Snæfellsbær Snæfellsbær Vesturland 1,641 682.04 Kristinn Jónasson Independent
Dalabyggð Dalabyggð Vesturland 667 2426.88 Jóhannes Haukur Hauksson Independent
Bolungarvík Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður Vestfirðir 945 108.08 Elías Jónatansson Independent
Ísafjarðarbær Ísafjarðarbær Vestfirðir 3,707 2380.55 Gísli Halldór Halldórsson Independent
Reykhólahreppur Reykhólahreppur Vestfirðir 275 1096.23 Karl Kristjánsson Independent
Tálknafjarðarhreppur Tálknafjarðarhreppur Vestfirðir 244 175.38 Indriði Indriðason Independent
Vesturbyggð Vesturbyggð Vestfirðir 1,024 1336.06 Ásthildur Sturludóttir Independence Party
Súðavíkurhreppur Súðavíkurhreppur Vestfirðir 196 750.35 Pétur G. Markan Independent
Árneshreppur Árneshreppur Vestfirðir 43 705.41 Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir Independent
Kaldrananeshreppur Kaldrananeshreppur Vestfirðir 109 458.4 Finnur Ólafsson Independent
Strandabyggð Strandabyggð Vestfirðir 451 1833.88 Jón Gísli Jónsson None
Skagafjörður Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður Norðurland vestra 3,955 4176.45 Ásta Björg Pálmadóttir Independent
Húnaþing vestra Húnaþing vestra Norðurland vestra 1,193 3022.83 Guðný Hrund Karlsdóttir Independent
Blönduóssbær Blönduóssbær Norðurland vestra 895 182.61 Arnar Þór Sævarsson Independent
Skagaströnd Sveitarfélagið Skagaströnd Norðurland vestra 482 52.6 Magnús B. Jónsson Independent
Skagabyggð Skagabyggð Norðurland vestra 93 488.59 Vignir Ásmundur Sveinsson Independent
Húnavatnshreppur Húnavatnshreppur Norðurland vestra 383 3815.98 Einar Kristján Jónsson Independent
Akrahreppur Akrahreppur Norðurland vestra 194 1366.01 Agnar Halldór Gunnarsson Independent
Akureyri Akureyrarkaupstaður Norðurland eystra 18,787 135.55 Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson None
Norðurþing Norðurþing Norðurland eystra 3,234 3732.78 Kristján Þór Magnússon Independent
Fjallabyggð Fjallabyggð Norðurland eystra 2,015 363.83 Gunnar Ingi Birgisson Independent
Dalvíkurbyggð Dalvíkurbyggð Norðurland eystra 1,880 597.35 Bjarni Th. Bjarnason Progressive Party
Eyjafjarðarsveit Eyjafjarðarsveit Norðurland eystra 1,016 1774.83 Karl Frímannsson Independent
Hörgársveit Hörgársveit Norðurland eystra 580 893.97 Snorri Finnlaugsson Independent
Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Norðurland eystra 483 54.39 Eiríkur H. Hauksson Independent
Grýtubakkahreppur Grýtubakkahreppur Norðurland eystra 372 431.43 Þröstur Friðfinnsson Independent
Skútustaðahreppur Skútustaðahreppur Norðurland eystra 493 6048.01 Jón Óskar Pétursson Independent
Tjörneshreppur Tjörneshreppur Norðurland eystra 58 198.86 Steinþór Heiðarsson Independent
Þingeyjarsveit Þingeyjarsveit Norðurland eystra 962 5971.58 Dagbjört Jónsdóttir Independent
Svalbarðshreppur Svalbarðshreppur Norðurland eystra 92 1154.31 Sigurður Þór Guðmundsson Independent
Langanesbyggð Langanesbyggð Norðurland eystra 481 1328.85 Elías Pétursson Independent
Seyðisfjörður Seyðisfjarðarkaupstaður Austurland 676 212.64 Vilhjálmur Jónsson Progressive Party
Fjarðabyggð Fjarðabyggð Austurland 4,777 1162.23 Páll Björgvin Guðmundsson Independent
Vopnafjarðarhreppur Vopnafjarðarhreppur Austurland 655 1903.31 Ólafur Áki Ragnarsson Independent
Fljótsdalshreppur Fljótsdalshreppur Austurland 76 1516.3 Gunnþórunn Ingólfsdóttir Independent
Borgarfjarðarhreppur Borgarfjarðarhreppur Austurland 108 440.15 Jón Þórðarson Independent
Breiðdalshreppur Breiðdalshreppur Austurland 185 452.22 Páll Baldursson Independent
Djúpavogshreppur Djúpavogshreppur Austurland 461 1132.63 Gauti Jóhannesson Independent
Fljótsdalshérað Fljótsdalshérað Austurland 3,547 8883.77 Björn Ingimarsson Independent
Hornafjörður Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður Austurland 2,306 6309.44 Björn Ingi Jónsson Independence Party
Vestmannaeyjar Vestmannaeyjabær Suðurland 4,284 16.14 Elliði Vignisson Independence Party
Árborg Sveitarfélagið Árborg Suðurland 8,995 157.19 Ásta Stefánsdóttir Independence Party
Mýrdalshreppur Mýrdalshreppur Suðurland 633 749.09 Ásgeir Magnússon Independent
Skaftárhreppur Skaftárhreppur Suðurland 560 6944.26 Eygló Kristjánsdóttir Independent
Ásahreppur Ásahreppur Suðurland 247 2942.32 Egill Sigurðsson Independent
Rangárþing eystra Rangárþing eystra Suðurland 1,798 1839.93 Ísólfur Gylfi Pálmason Progressive Party
Rangárþing ytra Rangárþing ytra Suðurland 1,610 3187.09 Ágúst Sigurðsson Independence Party
Hrunamannahreppur Hrunamannahreppur Suðurland 774 1375.07 Jón G. Valgeirsson Independent
Hveragerði Hveragerðisbær Suðurland 2,566 9.03 Aldís Hafsteinsdóttir Independence Party
Ölfus Sveitarfélagið Ölfus Suðurland 2,111 736.32 Gunnsteinn R. Ómarsson Independent
Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Suðurland 479 899.44 Ingibjörg Harðardóttir Independent
Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Suðurland 690 2231.74 Kristófer Tómasson Independent
Bláskógabyggð Bláskógabyggð Suðurland 1,115 3300 Valtýr Valtýsson Independent
Flóahreppur Flóahreppur Suðurland 644 288.9 Eydís Þ. Indriðadóttir Independent

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.samband.is/media/enska/sameining-sveitarfelaga-1950-2010_Engl.pdf
  2. ^ "Local Administrative Units". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2018-08-10.

External links[edit]