The Iceland Guide

Companion websites

The Globe Travel Bookshop
This site gives access to numerous online bookshops around the world that sell travel books. There are also links to second-hand bookshops and to publishers

The Globe Travel Shop
Accommodation and transport around the globe. And lots more interesting things!

The Globe Travel Guide
Illustrated travel articles about various countries, including France, Iceland, Scotland and the USA.

The Scotland Guide
Illustrated encyclopaedia articles on Scotland. At present there are over 200 articles about Glasgow, the country`s biggest city. The articles are based on the guidebook The Glasgow Guide.



Books by David Williams
These include travel guides to Iceland and Scotland.

The land and the people

The Icelanders: Changes in the modern world

This was the way of life shared by the majority of Icelanders until the beginning of this century. Since then industrialisation, the explosive growth of the capital city, Reykjavík, and increased contact and trading with the outside world have revolutionised the Icelanders' lives. At the same time they have retained an exceptionally strong sense of their history and heritage. This is not an easy combination — how could it be? — and tensions arise from the conflict between traditional values and the Western attitudes and materialism that prosperity and exposure to US and European markets have brought.

This is perhaps best exemplified in the deep anxiety with which many Icelanders view the debasement of the language (as they perceive it) by contact with the West. This is a genuine concern — their language is arguably the Icelanders' greatest heritage, and unlike painting or sculpture it is a living thing; it cannot be put behind glass or preserved in museums. Care is therefore taken to ensure that new words with an Icelandic linguistic basis are coined for new technology to prevent the adoption of foreign expressions in their stead. Thus the computer is tölva (number prophetess), the telephone is sími (long thread) and television is sjónvarp (view casting). A law has also been passed forbidding parents to give their children non–Icelandic names.

The Icelanders have a history of hard work — they have had to — and today it is still not unusual for a man to have two jobs at once, especially during the summer. The material gains of the last few decades are particularly important to the people, and considerable sums are spent building houses and equipping them with all the latest gadgetry which, thanks to recent levels of inflation, may cost two or three times as much as in other Western countries.

What`s in the website ?


The land and the people

The first explorers
The Age of the Settlement
The conversion to Christianity
The discovery of Greenland and America
The collapse of the Commonwealth
The Dark Ages
The nineteenth century
The twentieth century
Culture in the Icelandic environment
Old Icelandic literature
Eddic and skaldic poetry
The Sagas
Later literature
Modern literature
Painting, sculpture and music
The Icelanders
Traditional living conditions
The seasons
Changes in the modern world
Independent minds
Superstition, morality and the media
The land
On the edge of Europe
The shape of the land
The volcanoes
The glaciers
The natural world
The climate
The economy and infrastructure
Industry and energy