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Germany and Iceland: Bilateral Relations Iceland

06.10.2019 - Article

German-Icelandic relations are excellent and wide-ranging, encompassing the political, economic and cultural spheres as well as sport. Political relations are based on shared values and agreement on numerous current international issues. Iceland sees Germany as one of its key dialogue partners in Europe.

These ties were underscored in 2019 by the state visit by President Steinmeier and the visit by Chancellor Merkel.

The EU continues to be Iceland’s most important trading partner, accounting for around 70 percent of exports and 50 percent of imports in 2018. Germany and Iceland have close economic relations. In 2018, Germany imported goods from Iceland worth 291 million euros and exported goods worth 585 million euros to Iceland. Manufactured goods (mainly metals) and food account for more than 92 percent of Iceland’s exports. Germany’s main exports to Iceland are motor vehicles and machinery, which account for 43 percent of total exports. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, in 2018 Germany ranked third among suppliers of Iceland’s imports and sixth among buyers of Icelandic exports.

In the cultural sphere, the exchange in language and literature, the visual and performing arts, music, science and academia is very lively and wide-ranging. Examples of this are the annual German Film Days in Reykjavik as well as German artists at the annual Icelandic music and film Festivals.

The Goethe-Institut promotes the German language in Iceland as well as German-Icelandic cultural exchange. Since the closure of the Goethe-Institut in Reykjavík in 1998, Iceland has been served by the Goethe-Institut in Copenhagen. Other institutions involved in cultural exchange include the University of Iceland’s German Studies Department and the Icelandic Association of German Teachers (German is an optional subject at secondary schools). Iceland co-funded the establishment of a lectorship in Icelandic at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in March 2002.


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