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In Iceland, not wanting to date cousins isn’t just a satirical joke.It’s a taboo reality and a deep-rooted problem in the culture.
Vikings and Danes established a settlement on the island called “Snowsland” in the 9th century, hoping the name would warn off other countries from attempting to conquer the new land.
The settlement established in modern-day Reykjavik originally consisted of about 30,000-40,000 residents who fled to escape conflict from Norway.
Iceland’s name and geographical seclusion kept the country highly isolated until present-day travel became more readily available.
Great periods of isolation led genes to linger around, making the island a case study for researchers experimenting with genetic diseases.
Iceland has a land mass about the size of Kentucky, yet while Kentucky has a population of around four million, Iceland has only 320,000 residents.
A small population doesn’t offer much variety for the dating scene in Iceland, and dating isn’t the norm for many people in the country.
When dating does occur, a majority of Icelanders meet potential suitors in the bar scene.
They see little daylight because of their geographical location, and they want to avoid being gossiped about in narrow communities.
Hence, Icelanders are more likely (than many Americans) to end up drunk and give into .
This sort of rendezvous happens for a few nights, or maybe many, then traditional dating might follow, but even then dating tends to be “Dutch” in style, and nothing is taken too seriously for fear of anyone becoming the center of attention in a closed community. In Iceland, running into a random casual sex partner might also mean running into that same person at a family event.
This is the price the culture now pays for having stayed isolated from the rest of the world for so long.
In the late 20th century, the country participated in a nation-wide study of genealogy with a genetic company called de CODE.