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Icelandic celebrities and personalities

A small country which has remained isolated from the rest of the world for a long time, Iceland nonetheless has several famous names. These Icelandic stars are not necessarily known to British people but are points of reference in their country. Some names stand out particularly. In terms of literature for example, Halldór Laxness is a great writer and in 1955 became the only Icelandic person to have received a Nobel prize. In terms of art, Erró or Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval are two big Icelandic artists whose works are largely present in the city museums. In the past few years the handball team has become better known, even giving the French team a hard time in the 2008 and 2010 finals in the Olympic Games and the European Championships. But Icelandersstand out especially in the field of music and several artists have acquired international status.


Bjork is definitely one of the most well-known Icelandic artists outside of her country, and her albums are always awaited with a lot of interest. Born Björk Guðmundsdóttir, Björk is a virtuoso with several talents, a musician, singer, composer, and even actress. Though she made her debut with the group The Sugarcubes, it's especially as a solo artist that she became known with 13 albums since 1977 and all sorts of musical experimentation (jazz, pop, electro...). She's also very engaged politically and advocates for the environment, having protested several times in Iceland against controversial plans. 

Sigur Rós 

Sigur Rós is definitely the most well-known Icelandic group, whose minimalist, rock and melodious sounds captivate and enchant from album to album. Founded in 1994, the group has been reshuffled several times. Several songs are sung in Icelandic, and others in English. Recently they've been talked about a lot for appearing in the famous American series Game of Thrones, a part of which was also filmed in Iceland. 

Of Monsters and Men

Formed in 2010 and with a second album released in 2015, the Icelandic indie group literally exploded with their first album My Head is an Animal. With concerts following throughout Europe and the USA, they have really been at the heart of current rock indie music and are playing at the biggest festivals at the moment. A name to follow...

Emmanuelle Bluman
157 contributions
Updated 24 March 2016

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