Akureyri is a vibrant town in Northeast Iceland. It is the second largest urban area outside the capital area of Reykjavík, with a population close to 20.000. Akureyri is the centre of trade and services for the whole of North Iceland. It is a town of culture and education, building on a firm foundation. The town is a popular tourist destination for short and longer visits.
The islands of Hrísey and Grímsey are a part of Akureyri Municipality and as a matter of fact Grímsey island has the Arctic Circle running right through it.
Over the past twenty years, Akureyri has steadily grown as a national and international centre for northern and Arctic issues. It has been a long-standing member of the regional Northern Forum since 2003, in addition to participating in international venues and promoting sustainable development in the Arctic. There are several institutions and initiatives permanently based in Akureyri committed to research, education, innovation and monitoring, or other activities relevant to the Arctic region. These include the University of Akureyri (UNAK); Stefansson Arctic Institute; the Polar Law Institute; Secretariats of two Arctic Council Working Groups, Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF); the Tourism Research Centre; the University of Akureyri Research Centre (RHA); the Centre for Gender Equality; and the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN).
The Akureyri City Council has made it a priority on its agenda to move towards sustainability and make the town carbon neutral as soon as possible with specific measures. All houses in Akureyri use electricity which is produced by hydropower plants and they are heated with geothermal hot water. Use of city buses is free of charge and in numerous places around town you can find priority parking spaces for cars using alternative fuels and special places where you can get free electricity for cars. Recycling is a big part of everyday life in Akureyri. Every household has special bins for green waste and every citizen of Akureyri has a vivid understanding of the importance of recycling for the future of our environment and the future of our planet.
Akureyri’s public administration is divided into two parts:
On the one hand, there is the political system. This consists of 11 democratically elected municipal representatives who form the town council. They are also members of the standing committees the council appoints in accordance with Akureyri municipality’s by-laws and the council’s minutes.
On the other hand, there is the civil service system, i.e. the recruited managers of the municipality, with the Mayor acting at their head. The Mayor is the town´s managing director and is hired by the town council. He is responsible both for implementing the council´s decisions and, together with the executive committee, for the town’s executive and financial management.
Ásthildur Sturludóttir is the Mayor of Akureyri since 2018.