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The only store in Grímsey island to close: Iceland's northernmost village without a store

By Staff

  • Grímsey The small community on Grímsey island in the North Atlantic will have to go 70 km/44 mi by boat to the village of Dalvík on the mainland if they need to go to the store. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson.

The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that the only grocery store in Grímsey island, the northernmost inhabited part of Iceland, is set to close within a month. The current manager of the store tells RÚV the small market in the island means it is hard to manage a grocery store. 

grimsey_map.jpg
Grímsey island 40 km/25 mi off the north coast of Iceland Photo/Google Maps

If the store closes the inhabitants of the island are expected to set up a cooperative purchasing society, collecting orders from inhabitants for groceries which would then be placed with wholesalers or merchants in Northern Iceland. “People could probably send in their orders on Monday and have the goods arrive with the ferry on Wednesday,” Anna María tells RÚV.

Grímsey would not be the only small village in Iceland without a grocery store. But it‘s remoteness and isolation makes the lack of a grocery store more difficult for the inhabitants. Grímsey is a small island, just 5.3 km2 (2 sq miles), located 40 km (25 miles) off the north coast of Iceland. It is also one of the northernmost part of Iceland, straddling the Arctic Circle. Only Kolbeinsey, an uninhabited island, little more than a skerry, lies further north. The island, which has a population of some 90 people, is connected to the mainland by a ferry and air.

The economy of Grímsey has been facing tough times in the past years as commercial fishing has been moving to larger harbours along the North coast. Tourism has recently been growing in the island. Grímsey has large colonies of sea birds, including Puffins.

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