Municipalities of Iceland

Last updated
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)
Government
  • 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.

Contents

History

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.

Government

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]
(2019Q4)
Area
(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

See also

Related Research Articles

County Geographical and administrative region in some countries

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. Literal equivalents in other languages, derived from the equivalent of "count", are now seldom used officially, including comté, contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, and zhupa in Slavic languages; terms equivalent to English language administrative terms such as municipality, district, circuit and commune/community are now often instead used.

Local government Lowest tier of administration within a sovereign state

Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-localised and has limited powers. While in some countries, "government" is normally reserved purely for a national administration (government), the term local government is always used specifically in contrast to national government – as well as, in many cases, the activities of sub-national, first-level administrative divisions. Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises a third or fourth tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government.

In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official in a municipal government such as that of a city or a town. A mayor controls municipality workers, helps people, and provides basic necessities for them.

The council–manager government form is one of two predominant forms of local government in the United States and Ireland, the other being the mayor–council government form. Council–manager government form is also used in both county and city governments in the United States. The council–manager form is also used for municipal government in Canada and many other countries, both for city councils and county councils.

Amt is a type of administrative division governing a group of municipalities, today only in Germany, but formerly also common in other countries of Northern Europe. Its size and functions differ by country and the term is roughly equivalent to a US township or county or English shire district.

Municipalities of the Netherlands second-level administrative divisions in the Netherlands

As of January 2021, there are 352 municipalities plus 3 special municipalities in the Netherlands. The latter is the status of three of the six island territories that make up the Dutch Caribbean. Municipalities are the second-level administrative division, or public bodies, in the Netherlands and are subdivisions of their respective provinces. Their duties are delegated to them by the central government and they are ruled by a municipal council that is elected every four years. Municipal mergers have reduced the total number of municipalities by two-thirds since the first official boundaries were created in the mid 19th century. Municipalities themselves are informally subdivided into districts and neighbourhoods for administrative and statistical purposes.

Municipalities of Finland

The municipalities represent the local level of administration in Finland and act as the fundamental, self-governing administrative units of the country. The entire country is incorporated into municipalities and legally, all municipalities are equal, although certain municipalities are called cities or towns. Municipalities have the right to levy a flat percentual income tax, which is between 16 and 22 percent, and they provide two thirds of public services. Municipalities control many community services, such as schools, health care and the water supply, and local streets. They do not maintain highways, set laws or keep police forces, which are responsibilities of the central government.

A town council, city council or municipal council is a form of local government for small municipalities.

Local government in Australia Third tier of government in Australia

Local government in Australia is the third level of government division in Australia, and is administered by the states and territories, which in turn are beneath the federal level. Local government is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia and two referenda in the 1970s and 1980s to alter the Constitution relating to local government were unsuccessful. Every state government recognises local government in its respective constitution. Unlike Canada or the United States, there is only one level of local government in each state, with no distinction such as cities and counties.

Bergrivier Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

Bergrivier Local Municipality is a local municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It governs the towns of Piketberg, Velddrif and Porterville, as well as the surrounding villages and rural areas. As of 2011 it had a population of 61,897. It is located within the West Coast District Municipality and has municipality code WC013.

Cederberg Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

Cederberg Local Municipality is a local municipality which governs an area of the Western Cape province of South Africa stretching from the Cederberg mountains through the middle valley of the Olifants River to the Atlantic coast. It includes the towns of Clanwilliam, Citrusdal and Lamberts Bay, and the surrounding villages and farms. As of 2011 it had a population of 49,768. It is located within the West Coast District Municipality and has municipality code WC012.

Saldanha Bay Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

Saldanha Bay Municipality is a local municipality located within the West Coast District Municipality, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. As of 2011 it had a population of 99,193. Its municipality code is WC014.

Swartland Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

Swartland Municipality is a municipality located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Malmesbury is the seat of the municipality. As of 2016, it had a population of 133,762. Its municipality code is WC015.

Theewaterskloof Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

Theewaterskloof Municipality is a local municipality located within the Overberg District Municipality, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. As of 2007, the population was 108,790. Its municipality code is WC031. The enormous Theewaterskloof Dam, which provides water for Cape Town and the surrounding areas, is located in this municipality.

City of Cape Town Metropolitan municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

The City of Cape Town is the metropolitan municipality which governs the city of Cape Town, South Africa and its suburbs and exurbs. As of the 2011 census, it had a population of 3,740,026.

A merger, consolidation or amalgamation, in a political or administrative sense, is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities, such as municipalities, counties, districts, etc., into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity.

Local government in New Jersey is composed of counties and municipalities. Local jurisdictions in New Jersey differ from those in some other states because every square foot of the state is part of exactly one municipality; each of the 565 municipalities is in exactly one county; and each of the 21 counties has more than one municipality. New Jersey has no independent cities, or consolidated city-counties.

Norway's elongated shape, its numerous internal geographical barriers, and the often widely dispersed and separated settlements are all factors that have strongly influenced the structure of the country's administrative subdivisions. This structure has varied over time and is subject to continuous review. In 2017 the government decided to abolish some of the counties and to merge them with other counties to form larger ones, reducing the number of counties from 19 to 11, which was implemented on 1 January 2020.

Local government in New South Wales

The local government areas (LGA) of New South Wales are the third tier of government in the Australian state. under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) they can manage their own affairs to the extent permitted by the legislation. They may be designated as cities or otherwise as areas, though the latter units may choose to use titles that had distinctions under older forms of the act. The smallest local government by area in the state is the Municipality of Hunter's Hill 5.7 km2 (2.2 sq mi) and the largest by area is Central Darling Shire Council 53,492 km2 (20,653 sq mi).

References

  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.