I heard on NPR this morning that Iceland has applied for entry into the European Union. This makes me a little sad; as the NPR commentator pointed out Iceland has always been an ardently independent nation. The big world economic suck affected them in prodigious ways, decimating their economy and currency.

The things I love about the EU are the same things I dislike. Crossing borders is a breeze, but I miss the slowing to take notice that I am in a different country, with different customs, a different language, and different money. I miss getting my passport stamped.

Yeah, the euro is easier than having to exchange and keep track of different currencies, but I miss the individuality of the monies. The Italian lira, with its amusing number of zeros. The French franc that dropped a few zeros in 1960, confusing my poor grandmère. The one I miss the most is the Dutch guilder, especially the 50g note, with its beautiful sunflower splashed happily on the front. Here it is, in case you missed it…

I’ve never been to Iceland, except for a day spent waiting for a storm to pass at the airport in Reykjavik back when Icelandair to Luxembourg was the cheapest way to get to Europe. I’d love to really visit.

The language is complicated and permits such things as “Quirky subjects,” the idea of which delights me even though I have no idea of what it is even after reading the wikipedia entry. I'm impressed that geothermal energy supplies nearly 90% of the country’s energy needs. They were smart early on to tap this resource. We have resources too in the forms of wind and sun and we’ve all but ignored them.

I’ll get there someday. Hopefully soon enough to drop a few krónur.


  1. You should send this to NPR--this is a typically fabulous Monique spin on the subject.

  2. The wind and the sun are sad that we are ignoring them. Hence all the rain.

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  4. We had tentative plans to go to Iceland way back when Connor was about 8 or so and obsessed by the Vikings. It never worked out. I'd love to get there someday. The 50 kronor note is spectacular.

  5. Wonderful post. By the way, you can request to have your passport stamped. They will do it albeit begrudgingly.