Municipalities 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

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 official distinction 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 among themselves, and any merger must first receive approval from the relevant municipality's constituent voting electorate in a referendum. A similar approach is used by the Faroese government. However, municipalities having a population of below 50 may be forced to merge.

The number of municipalities peaked in the mid-20th century. There were 229 of them in 1950.[1] By 1995, their number had been reduced to 170. In the year 2000, only 124 municipalities remained in Iceland, and since 2018 there are 72.

Government

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

Vernacular nameOfficial nameRegion LAU codePopulation[2]Area
(in km2)
MayorParty
ReykjavíkReykjavíkurborgHöfuðborgarsvæðið0000126,041274.19Dagur Bergþóruson EggertssonSocial Democratic Alliance
KópavogurKópavogsbærHöfuðborgarsvæðið100035,97079.99Ármann Kristinn ÓlafssonIndependence Party
SeltjarnarnesSeltjarnarnesbærHöfuðborgarsvæðið11004,5752.11Ásgerður HalldórsdóttirIndependence Party
GarðabærGarðabærHöfuðborgarsvæðið130015,70975.46Gunnar EinarssonIndependence Party
HafnarfjörðurHafnarfjarðarkaupstaðurHöfuðborgarsvæðið140029,412144.07Haraldur L. HaraldssonIndependent
MosfellsbærMosfellsbærHöfuðborgarsvæðið160410,556186.16Haraldur SverrissonIndependence Party
KjósarhreppurKjósarhreppurHöfuðborgarsvæðið1606221284.08Guðný Guðrún ÍvarsdóttirIndependent
ReykjanesbærReykjanesbærSuðurnes200017,805144.48Kjartan Már KjartanssonIndependent
GrindavíkurbærGrindavíkurbærSuðurnes23003,323423.46Róbert RagnarssonIndependent
SuðurnesjabærSuðurnesjabærSuðurnes25053,37482.46Magnús StefánssonIndependent
VogarSveitarfélagið VogarSuðurnes25061,268164.4Ásgeir EiríkssonIndependent
AkranesAkraneskaupstaðurVesturland30007,2598.57Regína ÁsvaldsdóttirIndependent
SkorradalshreppurSkorradalshreppurVesturland350656215.8Árni HjörleifssonIndependent
HvalfjarðarsveitHvalfjarðarsveitVesturland3511648481.06Björgvin HelgasonIndependent
BorgarbyggðBorgarbyggðVesturland36093,7454926.85Björn Bjarki ÞorsteinssonIndependence Party
GrundarfjarðarbærGrundarfjarðarbærVesturland3709877149.08Eyþór GarðarssonNone
HelgafellssveitHelgafellssveitVesturland371058242.94Sif MatthíasdóttirIndependent
StykkishólmurStykkishólmsbærVesturland37111,17710.53Sturla BöðvarssonIndependence Party
Eyja- og MiklaholtshreppurEyja- og MiklaholtshreppurVesturland3713129383.51Eggert KjartanssonIndependent
SnæfellsbærSnæfellsbærVesturland37141,641682.04Kristinn JónassonIndependent
DalabyggðDalabyggðVesturland38116672426.88Jóhannes Haukur HaukssonIndependent
BolungarvíkBolungarvíkurkaupstaðurVestfirðir4100945108.08Elías JónatanssonIndependent
ÍsafjarðarbærÍsafjarðarbærVestfirðir42003,7072380.55Gísli Halldór HalldórssonIndependent
ReykhólahreppurReykhólahreppurVestfirðir45022751096.23Karl KristjánssonIndependent
TálknafjarðarhreppurTálknafjarðarhreppurVestfirðir4604244175.38Indriði IndriðasonIndependent
VesturbyggðVesturbyggðVestfirðir46071,0241336.06Rebekka HilmarsdóttirIndependence Party
SúðavíkurhreppurSúðavíkurhreppurVestfirðir4803196750.35Pétur G. MarkanIndependent
ÁrneshreppurÁrneshreppurVestfirðir490143705.41Eva SigurbjörnsdóttirIndependent
KaldrananeshreppurKaldrananeshreppurVestfirðir4902109458.4Finnur ÓlafssonIndependent
StrandabyggðStrandabyggðVestfirðir49114511833.88Jón Gísli JónssonNone
SkagafjörðurSveitarfélagið SkagafjörðurNorðurland vestra52003,9554176.45Ásta Björg PálmadóttirIndependent
Húnaþing vestraHúnaþing vestraNorðurland vestra55081,1933022.83Guðný Hrund KarlsdóttirIndependent
BlönduósbærBlönduósbærNorðurland vestra5604895182.61Arnar Þór SævarssonIndependent
SkagaströndSveitarfélagið SkagaströndNorðurland vestra560948252.6Magnús B. JónssonIndependent
SkagabyggðSkagabyggðNorðurland vestra561193488.59Vignir Ásmundur SveinssonIndependent
HúnavatnshreppurHúnavatnshreppurNorðurland vestra56123833815.98Einar Kristján JónssonIndependent
AkrahreppurAkrahreppurNorðurland vestra57061941366.01Agnar Halldór GunnarssonIndependent
AkureyriAkureyrarkaupstaðurNorðurland eystra600018,787135.55Ásthildur SturludóttirNone
NorðurþingNorðurþingNorðurland eystra61003,2343732.78Kristján Þór MagnússonIndependent
FjallabyggðFjallabyggðNorðurland eystra62502,015363.83Gunnar Ingi BirgissonIndependent
DalvíkurbyggðDalvíkurbyggðNorðurland eystra64001,880597.35Bjarni Th. BjarnasonProgressive Party
EyjafjarðarsveitEyjafjarðarsveitNorðurland eystra65131,0161774.83Karl FrímannssonIndependent
HörgársveitHörgársveitNorðurland eystra6515580893.97Snorri FinnlaugssonIndependent
SvalbarðsstrandarhreppurSvalbarðsstrandarhreppurNorðurland eystra660148354.39Eiríkur H. HaukssonIndependent
GrýtubakkahreppurGrýtubakkahreppurNorðurland eystra6602372431.43Þröstur FriðfinnssonIndependent
SkútustaðahreppurSkútustaðahreppurNorðurland eystra66074936048.01Jón Óskar PéturssonIndependent
TjörneshreppurTjörneshreppurNorðurland eystra661158198.86Steinþór HeiðarssonIndependent
ÞingeyjarsveitÞingeyjarsveitNorðurland eystra66129625971.58Dagbjört JónsdóttirIndependent
SvalbarðshreppurSvalbarðshreppurNorðurland eystra6706921154.31Sigurður Þór GuðmundssonIndependent
LanganesbyggðLanganesbyggðNorðurland eystra67094811328.85Elías PéturssonIndependent
SeyðisfjörðurSeyðisfjarðarkaupstaðurAusturland7000676212.64Vilhjálmur JónssonProgressive Party
FjarðabyggðFjarðabyggðAusturland73004,9621614.45Páll Björgvin GuðmundssonIndependent
VopnafjarðarhreppurVopnafjarðarhreppurAusturland75026551903.31Ólafur Áki RagnarssonIndependent
FljótsdalshreppurFljótsdalshreppurAusturland7505761516.3Gunnþórunn IngólfsdóttirIndependent
BorgarfjarðarhreppurBorgarfjarðarhreppurAusturland7509108440.15Jón ÞórðarsonIndependent
DjúpavogshreppurDjúpavogshreppurAusturland76174611132.63Gauti JóhannessonIndependent
FljótsdalshéraðFljótsdalshéraðAusturland76203,5478883.77Björn IngimarssonIndependent
HornafjörðurSveitarfélagið HornafjörðurAusturland77082,3066309.44Björn Ingi JónssonIndependence Party
VestmannaeyjarVestmannaeyjabærSuðurland80004,28416.14Elliði VignissonIndependence Party
ÁrborgSveitarfélagið ÁrborgSuðurland82008,995157.19Ásta StefánsdóttirIndependence Party
MýrdalshreppurMýrdalshreppurSuðurland8508633749.09Ásgeir MagnússonIndependent
SkaftárhreppurSkaftárhreppurSuðurland85095606944.26Eygló KristjánsdóttirIndependent
ÁsahreppurÁsahreppurSuðurland86102472942.32Egill SigurðssonIndependent
Rangárþing eystraRangárþing eystraSuðurland86131,7981839.93Ísólfur Gylfi PálmasonProgressive Party
Rangárþing ytraRangárþing ytraSuðurland86141,6103187.09Ágúst SigurðssonIndependence Party
HrunamannahreppurHrunamannahreppurSuðurland87107741375.07Jón G. ValgeirssonIndependent
HveragerðiHveragerðisbærSuðurland87162,5669.03Aldís HafsteinsdóttirIndependence Party
ÖlfusSveitarfélagið ÖlfusSuðurland87172,111736.32Gunnsteinn R. ÓmarssonIndependent
Grímsnes- og GrafningshreppurGrímsnes- og GrafningshreppurSuðurland8719479899.44Ingibjörg HarðardóttirIndependent
Skeiða- og GnúpverjahreppurSkeiða- og GnúpverjahreppurSuðurland87206902231.74Kristófer TómassonIndependent
BláskógabyggðBláskógabyggðSuðurland87211,1153300Valtýr ValtýssonIndependent
FlóahreppurFlóahreppurSuðurland8722644288.9Eydís Þ. IndriðadóttirIndependent

See also

References

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