Municipalities of Iceland

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Municipalities of Iceland
Sveitarfélög Íslands (Icelandic)
Lower level municipalities of Iceland.svg
Category Municipality
LocationFlag of Iceland.svg  Iceland
Found in Regions
Number72 (as of 2018)
PopulationsSmallest: Árneshreppur (pop. 45)
Largest: Reykjavík (pop. 131,220)
AreasSmallest: Seltjarnarnes (2.11 km2)
Largest: Fljótsdalshérað (8883.77 km2)
  • Municipal council

The municipalities of Iceland (Icelandic : Sveitarfélög [ˈsveiːtarˌfjɛːˌlœːx] ) 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.



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 [r̥ɛhpar̥] ) 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 [ˈkʰœiːpˌstaːðɪr̥] ) 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.


The municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are directly elected every four years. Municipal elections were last held on 26 May 2018. 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 [ˈpaiːjarˌstjouːrɪ] or borgarstjóri [ˈpɔrkarˌstjouːrɪ] ) in the mostly urban municipalities but "municipal manager" (sveitarstjóri [ˈsveiːtarˌstjouːrɪ] ) 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 name Region Population [2]
(in km2)
LAU codeMayor Party
Reykjavík Reykjavíkurborg Höfuðborgarsvæðið 131,220274.190000 Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson Social Democratic Alliance
Kópavogur Kópavogsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 37,97079.991000Ármann Kristinn Ólafsson Independence Party
Seltjarnarnes Seltjarnarnesbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 4,7202.111100Ásgerður Halldórsdóttir Independence Party
Garðabær Garðabær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 16,92075.461300Gunnar Einarsson Independence Party
Hafnarfjörður Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður Höfuðborgarsvæðið 30,000144.071400Haraldur L. HaraldssonIndependent
Mosfellsbær Mosfellsbær Höfuðborgarsvæðið 12,070186.161604Haraldur Sverrisson Independence Party
Kjósarhreppur Kjósarhreppur Höfuðborgarsvæðið 250284.081606Guðný Guðrún ÍvarsdóttirIndependent
Reykjanesbær Reykjanesbær Suðurnes 19,430144.482000Kjartan Már KjartanssonIndependent
Grindavíkurbær Grindavíkurbær Suðurnes 3,520423.462300Róbert RagnarssonIndependent
Suðurnesjabær Suðurnesjabær Suðurnes 3,59082.462505 Magnús Stefánsson Independent
Vogar Sveitarfélagið Vogar Suðurnes 1,310164.42506Ásgeir EiríkssonIndependent
Akranes Akraneskaupstaður Vesturland 7,5408.573000Regína ÁsvaldsdóttirIndependent
Skorradalshreppur Skorradalshreppur Vesturland 70215.83506Árni HjörleifssonIndependent
Hvalfjarðarsveit Hvalfjarðarsveit Vesturland 630481.063511Björgvin HelgasonIndependent
Borgarbyggð Borgarbyggð Vesturland 3,8604926.853609Björn Bjarki Þorsteinsson Independence Party
Grundarfjarðarbær Grundarfjarðarbær Vesturland 880149.083709Eyþór GarðarssonNone
Helgafellssveit Helgafellssveit Vesturland 70242.943710Sif MatthíasdóttirIndependent
Stykkishólmur Stykkishólmsbær Vesturland 1,21010.533711 Sturla Böðvarsson Independence Party
Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Eyja- og Miklaholtshreppur Vesturland 120383.513713Eggert KjartanssonIndependent
Snæfellsbær Snæfellsbær Vesturland 1,670682.043714Kristinn JónassonIndependent
Dalabyggð Dalabyggð Vesturland 6402426.883811Jóhannes Haukur HaukssonIndependent
Bolungarvík Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður Vestfirðir 960108.084100Elías JónatanssonIndependent
Ísafjarðarbær Ísafjarðarbær Vestfirðir 3,8102380.554200Gísli Halldór HalldórssonIndependent
Reykhólahreppur Reykhólahreppur Vestfirðir 2601096.234502Karl KristjánssonIndependent
Tálknafjarðarhreppur Tálknafjarðarhreppur Vestfirðir 250175.384604Indriði IndriðasonIndependent
Vesturbyggð Vesturbyggð Vestfirðir 1,0201336.064607Rebekka Hilmarsdóttir Independence Party
Súðavíkurhreppur Súðavíkurhreppur Vestfirðir 210750.354803Pétur G. MarkanIndependent
Árneshreppur Árneshreppur Vestfirðir 45705.414901Eva SigurbjörnsdóttirIndependent
Kaldrananeshreppur Kaldrananeshreppur Vestfirðir 110458.44902Finnur ÓlafssonIndependent
Strandabyggð Strandabyggð Vestfirðir 4601833.884911Jón Gísli JónssonNone
Skagafjörður Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður Norðurland vestra 4,0304176.455200Ásta Björg PálmadóttirIndependent
Húnaþing vestra Húnaþing vestra Norðurland vestra 1,2103022.835508Guðný Hrund KarlsdóttirIndependent
Blönduósbær Blönduósbær Norðurland vestra 940182.615604Arnar Þór SævarssonIndependent
Skagaströnd Sveitarfélagið Skagaströnd Norðurland vestra 47052.65609Magnús B. JónssonIndependent
Skagabyggð Skagabyggð Norðurland vestra 90488.595611Vignir Ásmundur SveinssonIndependent
Húnavatnshreppur Húnavatnshreppur Norðurland vestra 3703815.985612Einar Kristján JónssonIndependent
Akrahreppur Akrahreppur Norðurland vestra 2101366.015706Agnar Halldór GunnarssonIndependent
Akureyri Akureyrarkaupstaður Norðurland eystra 19,030135.556000Ásthildur SturludóttirNone
Norðurþing Norðurþing Norðurland eystra 3,1203732.786100Kristján Þór MagnússonIndependent
Fjallabyggð Fjallabyggð Norðurland eystra 2,010363.836250Gunnar Ingi BirgissonIndependent
Dalvíkurbyggð Dalvíkurbyggð Norðurland eystra 1,900597.356400Bjarni Th. Bjarnason Progressive Party
Eyjafjarðarsveit Eyjafjarðarsveit Norðurland eystra 1,0801774.836513Karl FrímannssonIndependent
Hörgársveit Hörgársveit Norðurland eystra 620893.976515Snorri FinnlaugssonIndependent
Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur Norðurland eystra 48054.396601Eiríkur H. HaukssonIndependent
Grýtubakkahreppur Grýtubakkahreppur Norðurland eystra 370431.436602Þröstur FriðfinnssonIndependent
Skútustaðahreppur Skútustaðahreppur Norðurland eystra 5006048.016607Jón Óskar PéturssonIndependent
Tjörneshreppur Tjörneshreppur Norðurland eystra 50198.866611Steinþór HeiðarssonIndependent
Þingeyjarsveit Þingeyjarsveit Norðurland eystra 8605971.586612Dagbjört JónsdóttirIndependent
Svalbarðshreppur Svalbarðshreppur Norðurland eystra 901154.316706Sigurður Þór GuðmundssonIndependent
Langanesbyggð Langanesbyggð Norðurland eystra 4801328.856709Elías PéturssonIndependent
Seyðisfjörður Seyðisfjarðarkaupstaður Austurland 690212.647000Vilhjálmur Jónsson Progressive Party
Fjarðabyggð Fjarðabyggð Austurland 5,0601614.457300Páll Björgvin GuðmundssonIndependent
Vopnafjarðarhreppur Vopnafjarðarhreppur Austurland 6601903.317502Ólafur Áki RagnarssonIndependent
Fljótsdalshreppur Fljótsdalshreppur Austurland 901516.37505Gunnþórunn IngólfsdóttirIndependent
Borgarfjarðarhreppur Borgarfjarðarhreppur Austurland 120440.157509Jón ÞórðarsonIndependent
Djúpavogshreppur Djúpavogshreppur Austurland 5001132.637617Gauti JóhannessonIndependent
Fljótsdalshérað Fljótsdalshérað Austurland 3,6208883.777620Björn IngimarssonIndependent
Hornafjörður Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður Austurland 2,4406309.447708Björn Ingi Jónsson Independence Party
Vestmannaeyjar Vestmannaeyjabær Suðurland 4,36016.148000Elliði Vignisson Independence Party
Árborg Sveitarfélagið Árborg Suðurland 10,060157.198200Ásta Stefánsdóttir Independence Party
Mýrdalshreppur Mýrdalshreppur Suðurland 720749.098508Ásgeir MagnússonIndependent
Skaftárhreppur Skaftárhreppur Suðurland 6306944.268509Eygló KristjánsdóttirIndependent
Ásahreppur Ásahreppur Suðurland 2502942.328610Egill SigurðssonIndependent
Rangárþing eystra Rangárþing eystra Suðurland 1,9601839.938613Ísólfur Gylfi Pálmason Progressive Party
Rangárþing ytra Rangárþing ytra Suðurland 1,6803187.098614Ágúst Sigurðsson Independence Party
Hrunamannahreppur Hrunamannahreppur Suðurland 8201375.078710Jón G. ValgeirssonIndependent
Hveragerði Hveragerðisbær Suðurland 2,7009.038716Aldís Hafsteinsdóttir Independence Party
Ölfus Sveitarfélagið Ölfus Suðurland 2,270736.328717Gunnsteinn R. ÓmarssonIndependent
Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Grímsnes- og Grafningshreppur Suðurland 500899.448719Ingibjörg HarðardóttirIndependent
Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur Suðurland 6102231.748720Kristófer TómassonIndependent
Bláskógabyggð Bláskógabyggð Suðurland 1,16033008721Valtýr ValtýssonIndependent
Flóahreppur Flóahreppur Suðurland 690288.98722Eydís Þ. IndriðadóttirIndependent

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  1. "Municipalities in Iceland in 1950" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-02-05.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Population by municipality, sex, citizenship and quarters 2010-2019". Statistics Iceland . Retrieved 2019-02-03.