In 2008 when the United States and most of Europe decided to bail out the banks instead of allowing them to fail, Iceland chose a different path. As their entire banking system collapsed, the small nation of 320,000 opted to forgive mortgage debt, and began rebuilding from scratch. The country isn’t out of the woods yet, but today they are politically and financially stable. The current unemployment rate is down to 5%–better than in Great Britain or the United States (both 6%), and much lower than Spain (26%), Ireland (11%), and Greece (30%). Clearly this is a multi-layered issue, and what works in one small, largely homogeneous nation might not work in a large, diverse one like the United States, but perhaps punishing–not rewarding–the people responsible for the collapse was the correct course of action after all.
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Þorsteinn H Ingibergsson has been taking amazing pictures of isolated and abandoned locations in Iceland for more than two decades. Currently living in Reykjavík, Þorsteinn is an amateur photographer who also owns and operates a successful contracting business. His stunning images of abandoned Iceland–under glorious skies reminiscent of paintings–have been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines and have amassed quite the internet fan base.
In most cases, the images are eerie and unsettling, each photo with a story to be told; why were these places and items left standing, never to be returned to? These breathtaking images let the imagination run wild, while allowing a rare peek into the rare beauty of a place we don’t often think of in this light:
When it comes to size, Iceland is roughly the size of Ohio, but within that relatively humble space are hundreds of volcanoes; so many that in the last 500 years, Iceland alone has been responsible for 30 percent of the world’s lava flow. Pair this with glaciers that also populate the landscape, and you have the perfect storm of natural occurrences that make stunning aerial photographs like these possible.
Given its sparse population, proximity to Earth’s magnetic poles and minimal light pollution, Iceland has quickly become one of the world’s most ideal destinations for observing the aurora borealis. If these reasons aren’t convincing enough, the image above should provide all the proof you need.