Icelandic municipality emphasising importance of happiness

A local authority in rural northwest Iceland has taken a leaf out of Bhutan’s book and written the pursuit of happiness into its rulebook.


The local council in Strandabyggd, a large rural area centred on the village of Holmavik in the Westfjords, last weekend voted to accept a resolution on happiness at a council meeting held outside, RUV reports.


The resolution states that happiness should be one of the leading considerations in all future development in Strandabyggd. Local residents’ quality of life is extremely important and should be improved by the municipality at every opportunity, the resolution states.


At the same special ‘al fresco’ meeting the street name of Fiskislod (literally Fish Path) was officially changed to Skjaldbokuslod (Turtle Path) in commemoration of the giant tropical turtle which landed there in 1963.


Two Strandabyggd residents, Sverrir Gudbrandsson and Olafia Jonsdottir, were also made Residents of Honour at the meeting.


The special council meeting was part of the Holmavik Happiness Festival which takes place on the first weekend of each July. Red hearts, smiley faces and other happy things can be seen dotted around the village in odd places all year round.