The country is sometimes erroneously called The Republic of Iceland and sometimes its counterpart Lýðveldið Ísland in Icelandic, but the official name is rather like the official name of Canada - simply the country name. One example of the former is the name of the Constitution of Iceland, which in Icelandic is Stjórnarskrá lýðveldisins Íslands and literally means "the Constitution of the republic of Iceland", but note that "republic" is not capitalized. The official title of the President of Iceland (Forseti Íslands) does also not include the word republic as in some other republics. See also Names for Iceland.
The system of education in Iceland is based upon the American system, and there are four levels: playschool, compulsory, upper secondary and higher. Education is mandatory for children aged 6–16. Most institutions are funded by the state; there are very few private schools in the country. There are 192 institutions catering for compulsory education, 42 schools for upper secondary education and 9 higher education institutions.
The oldest gymnasium in the country is Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, which traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt. The school was moved to Reykjavík in 1786, but poor housing conditions forced it to move again in 1805 to Bessastaðir near Reykjavík. In 1846 the school was moved to its current location, and a new building was erected for it in Reykjavík. The University of Iceland was the first higher education institution in the country, and was established on 17 June 1911, uniting three former Icelandic schools: Prestaskólinn, Læknaskólinn and Lagaskólinn, which taught theology, medicine and law, respectively. The university originally had only faculties for these three fields, in addition to a faculty of humanities.
The Dettifoss is a waterfall located in northeastern Iceland, not far from Mývatn. It is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, having a flow variously estimated at between 200 and 500 cubic metres of water per second, depending on the season and the summer ice melt.
Arnaldur Indriðason (born 28 January 1961) is an Icelandic writer of crime fiction. He has repeatedly proved to be the most popular writer in Iceland in recent years – topping bestseller lists year after year. In the year 2004 his books were seven of the ten most popular titles borrowed in Reykjavík City Library. Arnaldur's books have been published in 26 countries and have been translated into German, Danish, English, Italian, Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Finnish and French. Indriðason received the Glass Key, a literature prize for the best Nordic crime novel, in both 2002 and 2003. He won the Gold Dagger Award in 2005 for the novel Silence of the Grave.
When we stop caring for our independence and are swept into some superpower’s ocean of nationhood, when the last old women who can recite an Icelandic verse is dead, then the world has become poorer. And the superpower who might have swallowed us would not be any the richer for it.