In Reykjavík the week is of to a great start! We are united as a city in celebrating life, love and being ourselves! Some of us feel like we do this everyday but it is always nice to celebrate LIFE in unison. This year is particularly meaningful to the Niceland team because we learned so much about life, love and identity during our #LungA trip and from all the incredible people we met there. Niceland also worked with #DanielLismore during his #beyourself exhibition in Harpa,  Daniel was a keynote speaker at #LungA, along with other inspirational speakers such as Páll Óskar and Alda Villiljós. They are dedicated advocates for acceptance and expression, teaching us all so much in the process.

Iceland (or Niceland as we prefer to call it) is ranked every year as one of the top five places people are happiest to live in the world. We live in Iceland, we are very happy to do so. The country is stunningly beautiful and sometimes beyond our wildest dreams. We have 24 hour daylight in the summer and the northern lights serenade us in the winter darkness. Pollution is at a minimum, crime is very low and unemployment is almost non existent.

But surely this is not the only reason people are authentically happy in Iceland, deep down, living in a safe, beautiful space is obviously an incredible privilege, but what is it that makes Iceland a leader in happiness? What is happiness? (Woah…that got deep real fast!)

Respect and understanding comes through education, ideally we would always be learning from each other, using every piece of knowledge we gain to empower our future selves. The foundation for democracy and education in Iceland very strong, Iceland is arguably the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world as Alþingi (Althingi) was established in 930. The first democratically elected female president in the world was Icelandic, her name is Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, not only that but she is also the longest serving female leader of any country in the world to this day (president from 1980 till 1996). This was a learning moment for the world, women can be leaders. We can make changes in cultures, traditions and learn from the past and from each other.

Niceland does not want to be political, merely emphasizing a point. We can not continue doing the same things and hope to see different results, so Iceland is continuously making structured conversations within the community through education, easy access to knowledge, listening and trying to grow in a positive way. This happens through cultural awareness and acceptance with an open mind.

The Niceland team have been traveling the country this summer and we want to tell you what we learned. We become most inspired when we meet people who speak to us and teach us about how they see the world. #Humansofniceland

Alda Villiljós is an inspiring human being that identifies as non binary or genderqueer, meaning they (as one refers to a non-binary identifying person) do not identify to either preexisting gender role. Non-binary people may express themselves in both a masculine and feminine manner, they may have more than two genders, bigender, trigender or pangender, having no gender, or being gender fluid. Gender identity has nothing to do with romantic orientations, genderqueer is an umbrella term, over how one may identify within themselves regarding gender.

Iceland is leading in gender equality, we believe that the right to equal opportunities and resources regardless of gender. We also believe that this is the foundation for happiness, a human right and the only sustainable way to keep harmony within our population. Now the gender spectrum is growing, our knowledge is deepening and our understanding will be gained with conversation and education.

Gender as a term is changing, it is no longer used as a word to label but rather morphed into being an identity people can chose to identify with. A vast variety has been added to the spectrem and more to come.

Not long ago women had this same fight for equality. – Now feminism is not a female movement, but rather a word people use to identify equal rights supporters, regardless of gender. We fully support the education and progress of acceptance for how everyone chooses to live their life.

We would like to applaud those who tirelessly speak, teach and preach to people all over the country. Niceland is proud to witness the exploration of identities and the progression of understanding and accepting, because everyone deserves to be proud to be who they are. We are proud of you for being yourselves.

For more follow us on Instagram @thisisniceland

Be kind to one another.

Happy Reykjavík Pride everyone <3