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Iceland Celebrates Creativity with Inspiring Winter Experiences

As the dark months of winter descend, Iceland's creative spark rises

Inspired by Iceland – the official tourism brand of Iceland – is launching a “Season of Creativity” that will celebrate the spark ignited in Iceland when the dark months of winter descend. Iceland regularly ranks among the most innovative countries in the world, with the culture and creative industries employing more than 2.5% percent of the total work force. The country’s multitude of talented creators, from music and culinary fields, to art and design and more, unite in winter to showcase the wealth of sights, spaces, sounds that serve as inspiration.

Despite a population of only 350,000 people, Iceland has given birth to some iconic creative pioneers such as Bjork, Sigur Ros, Olafur Elíason, and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, and truly punches above its weight when it comes to creativity. It consistently ranks among the most creative countries in the world, (according to Global Innovation Index 2017). And here’s an odd fact: one in ten Iceland’s population is a published author – more per capita than anywhere else in the world.

As the darkness falls on Iceland, a renewed focus on creativity resumes with Icelanders drawing inspiration from the unique evolving environment to bring their ideas to life. Inspired by Iceland’s Season of Creativity will highlight a wide array of the country’s remarkable places and experiences. These include Iceland Airwaves and Dark Music Days, then Reykjavík Food and Fun Festival and Design March for a non-stop flow of events and experiences across the categories of design, music, art, literature, photography and more.

Creativity is strongly engrained in Icelandic society and culture, with a strong emphasis on nurturing creativity from an early age, through “Free Play,” and opportunities for Icelanders to flourish creatively. Unlike Western and Asian countries, in Iceland, Innovation Education (IE) is the predominant model of education, and focuses on the development of one’s ability to apply creativity to everyday life and problem-solving.

Inspired by Iceland has collaborated with some of Iceland’s pioneering creative minds, from across the fields of music, food and art & design, to develop a series of bespoke guides to creativity in Iceland, captured through the lens of how their personal creative journeys have been inspired by the country.

Kari Thorsteinsson, Head Chef, Nielsen – formerly of Iceland’s first ever Michelin Starred restaurant; from training as an electrician in the Westfjords, to becoming head chef of Iceland’s first Michelin Starred restaurant, Kari has always been creatively inspired and challenged by the extreme seasonal changes in Icelandic nature and landscape, and how this pushes himself to be constantly adapting his culinary offering.

Hrólfur Karl Cela, Architect & Partner of Basalt Architects, and Iceland Design Awards-winner behind the Blue Lagoon Retreat and Geosea, Husavik; growing up surrounded by creativity, Hrólfur has taken great direction from his artistic family, nurtured from an early age to draw upon inspiration from his Icelandic surroundings, while bringing his own individuality, imagination and unique perspective to his work.

Sóley, Solo Singer-Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist of experimental indie-folk band, Seabear; immersed in music from an early age, whilst surrounded by a family of musicians, it’s little wonder Soley’s musical journey has been so strongly influenced. Studying piano and composition at the Icelandic Art Academy provided the ideal platform for Sóley to catapult herself into the Icelandic music scene, initially as part of renowned Icelandic indie-folk band Seabear, and since as an acclaimed solo artist.

The Season of Creativity kicks off this November with events and experiences taking place all over the country for visitors to Iceland to get involved with, including Iceland Airwaves – world renowned music and creativity festival showcasing the breadth of incredible creative musical talent Iceland has to offer.

“Creativity is so deeply engrained in the Icelandic DNA. It’s a state of mind that comes from our society, connection with the land, and is nurtured from a very early age. We are truly humbled by the vast spectrum of inspiring creative talent that continues to emerge from our nation, and we want to celebrate their brilliance and share it with the world,” said Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, Manager, Visit Iceland at Promote Iceland. “There is an intrinsic connection with creativity and a curiousness influenced strongly by our environment. We are inviting visitors from across the world to come experience and be inspired by our nation’s creativity this Fall-Winter time.”

Inspired By Iceland

Inspired by Iceland is a joint marketing initiative for Iceland and the official brand for Iceland in tourism. It is managed by Promote Iceland in a close cooperation with the government, tourism, trade and other stakeholders in Iceland.