If you don’t know, Icelanders have been named one of the most creative nations in the world. It is astounding that so many talented individuals can come from such a small island with such a small populace.
Don’t think that you know about any celebrities from Iceland? Well, stick around. You might be surprised to find that your favorite public figure is one of the famous Icelanders. Here are a few of the famous people from Iceland:
There is no doubt that Björk is one of the most famous Icelandic singers. Today, she is known for musical compositions that most will either love or hate. And her fashion sense that some will find inspiring, whilst others will think it odd (cue the Swan dress).
What many don’t know is that before she became the Björk, she was Björk Gudmundsdottir from the Sugarcubes. It was an alternative Icelandic rock band that found some success between 1986 and 1992.
Stefan Karl Stefansson
If you’ve ever been a fan of the villain, Robbie Rotten, in the series, LazyTown; the actor is from Iceland! This English series was so popular that it was dubbed in more than thirty languages, and it was aired in over 180 countries.
What made the show so unique was its strange combination of CGI, live performances by actors, and puppetry. Sadly, Stefan passed away from cancer in 2018.
Olafur Darri Olafsson
This is probably one of the most famous Icelandic actors internationally. But unlike many Icelandic actors whose origin stories begin on the island, Olafur’s begins in Connecticut in the US. Olafur’s father was busy studying medicine there when Olafur was born, but the family returned to Iceland when he was just 4 years old.
This is also where his acting career began, but he soon caught the eye of Hollywood. He now boasts roles in well-known titles such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Zoolander 2, The Meg, Fantastic Beasts, and many more.
Hafþór Julius Björnsson
This is one of Iceland’s most famous people if you have any interest in the sports industry. Hafþór is probably the closest we’ll get to a real-life superhero such as the Hulk. As a professional strongman, Hafþór won titles such as Winner of the Arnold Strongman Classic, Europe’s Strongest Man and the World’s Strongest Man.
Even though he is not an actor, his reputation as a strongman and his unique physique landed him the role of Gregor Clegane in the series Game of Thrones. Many Game of Thrones scenes were shot in Iceland, and there’s even a Game of Thrones route in Iceland. This route will take you to some of the most memorable scenes’ locations.
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This is yet another popular Icelandic celebrity in the sports world. Eidur Gudjohnsen is an Icelandic footballer who led the national team as captain. Before playing for famous international football clubs such as Barcelona and Chelsea.
His dad, Arnor Gudjohnsen, was a striker for the national Icelandic team. Eidur didn’t come as much of a surprise to find that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
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This is a famous Iceland to locals that should definitely be more famous internationally. Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer that was actually one of the first Europeans to set foot on North American soil.
Sometimes, you’ll spot him portrayed in historic series and movies such as The Viking. But generally, people are surprised to learn what an impact he actually has on the world we know today.
Of Monsters and Men
Most people are genuinely surprised when they learn that the popular folk/rock band Of Monsters and Men comes from Iceland. The band was formed in Reykjavík in 2009 and not even two years later, their debut album was top of the charts in places such as Ireland and Australia.
Their success simply grew from there and in 2013 they were rightfully awarded the European Border Breakers Award.
Sigur Rós is probably one of the most famous Icelandic bands when it comes to legends. Where Of Monsters and Men had a quick and recent rise to fame, Sigur Ros has tread deep footsteps in the music industry for almost 30 years! Although they are generally described as a rock band, their music, similarly to that of Björk, is very experimental.
It is this uniqueness that makes the band so popular all across the world. The band boasts three records that went platinum and six number-one hits.
Johanna Sigurdardottir is actually a pretty famous Icelander for multiple reasons. Firstly, she had an immense task ahead of her when she took over the reins of the country shortly after the economic crash in 2008.
And, secondly, because she was the first openly gay Prime Minister. As a woman in a male-dominated world and the proud wife to her spouse, Jonina, she has become a type of icon to feminists and the LGBTQ community.
Vigdis Finnbogadottir is yet another feminist icon as the first woman in the world who became president of a country. As you can imagine, her presidency in 1980 did not come without its fair share of whispers and outright disdain.
A woman running a country?! And a single parent at that?! Well, today Vigdis is still revered as one of the best presidents Iceland has ever had.
The Famous People from Iceland: Too Many to Mention
Our list of famous people from Iceland contains quite a few impressive individuals. Yet, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the talented people the island produces. So, when you rent a car in Reykjavík and start on your Iceland road trip, you may discover more than just majestic landscapes and a Puffin or two…