North-east Iceland in the picture

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They cherish desolation, even seek solitude or never leave the quiet bay where they were once born. It is not that they do not like people or want to turn their back to the world, it’s just that they prosper in tranquility and silence. Nevertheless life can be harsh when shops, schools and fish factories are closing down. Part 2 of a series of portraits of islanders and their surroundings. This time, Northeast Iceland in the picture.

Iceland Although Icelanders on average, have children at a younger age than Dutch women, the northeast of Iceland has very few youngsters. This summer, Hugbjört was in a class with 6 others. Now the school is closed. After the summer she has to start again at another school in another fjord.

Northeast Iceland in the picture

Churches stand lonely in abandoned fields. No longer services are held every week. Sometimes they are uesed for other purposes by optimistic Icelanders. For coffee and waffles for example in the basement, while you wander through a photo exposition on the life of a minister on the ground floor.

A farmer turns circles in his field. It’s time to hay. The cut grass will immediately be caught in a round plastic bale. Numbers on top of it indicate the type of grass. In winter, it must keep the sheep and horses alive.

Geothermal fields near Hverir

For me, Iceland is too empty, but for the Dutch farmer Miriam, the Netherlands was too full. Perhaps a logical consequence of growing up on a ship in Friesland.

First she had a farm closer to the waterfalls of Dettifoss and the big geothermal fields near Hverir with her Icelandic husband. But there they had to leave, so they went north.


In Bakkafjörður a small fishing community we meet Njall (16), Himri (14) and Þorey (12) at the bay. They walk their dog. “For the fifth time,” Þorey sighed after my question what they do all day long. The only shop and the school have been closed this winter. “But maybe a restaurant will be accomodated in my grandfather’s house,” says Himri excited.

We follow the road to the far northeast, across the peninsula of Langanes. We don’t see people, just hundreds of birds.

Eiders or cuddy ducks

But even for many Icelanders, the northeast is too inhospitable. It happened that people in the morning just got out of bed and disappeared, the duvet and the coffee still warm. Eider ducks and lambs becoming the new inhabitants.

Text: Anneke de Bundel – Images: Nicole Franken.


Iceland praktical:

  • We stayed and slept very well at Ytra Lón Farm Lodge.
  • Icelandair has a daily service from Amsterdam to Reykjavik. 
  • Icelandair offers opportunities for stopovers to destinations in the US & Canada.
  • Rates from € 340,00.
  • Inland flights to the north: Air Iceland.

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