Are blacks allowed in Iceland?

Someone I work with has just told me that when they were in the navy, some 30 years ago, they traveled to Iceland. When there, they were told that no “black people” would be allowed into their country. I find this very hard to believe, but could someone either tell me that I’m the most gullable guy or that this IS the case?

I’ve heard something similar about Australia.

Doug, you’re probably thinking of the White Australia Policy. It’s no longer in effect, of course, although there are certain people who’d like to see its return.

I was in Iceland in Nov and Dec 96, and I have to tell you that blacks were there. In fact, if you were white, your chances on hooking up with an Icelanic babe were very slim. But, if you were black or hispanic, or, had a really nice tan, you were high on the wanted list. I look just like they do, so I was nothing new to them :frowning:

“I dream that she aims to be the bloom upon my misery”

  • I Miss The Girl Soul Coughing

(note to self)

Remember to take large stock of Kiwi on trip to Iceland.

Where’s bj0rn?


You seem to be implying that bj0rn would give some sort of concise, logical and comprehensible answer to the OP’s question. My head still hurts from that whole year Zero nonsense.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned anything from him. If all Icelanders are like bj0rn, then all Icelanders hate Americans. Since most Black visitors to Iceland are American military personel, then…oops, here comes that headache again.

Anyway, don’t hold your breath waiting for his reply. I’ve noticed that bj0rn only visits GD and the Pit. (Does that make it 1 or 3 forums that he posts in?)

Elmer J. Fudd,
I own a mansion and a yacht.

Don’t you mean bj(zero)rn?

How long was the policy in effect, anyway?

I wonder how they tested people to see if they were black? Blacks couldn’t own property in Pebble Beach for along time, a convenent said so. Dunno if they still have it, wouldn’t surprise me.

Here’s a link to a thesis on institutional anti-semitic policy in Iceland.

As resently as the 1950s, immigation policy in Iceland was almost entirely based on race. (Danes, Norwegians and Germans were okay, Jews, blacks and even Finns were not welcome.)

Here’s something I found in this paper that might help clarify what the OP’s navy friend was talking about:

I lived in Iceland in the late '50’s for about 5 years. My father was a field engineer for NASA and we were attached to the base. No black or dark-skinned servicemen or civilians were allowed in Iceland at all while we lived there. The Icelanders wanted to keep their race “pure”. I remember once when a famous band landed at the airfield to perform - I don’t remember the name, but all or some of the band members were black men. The Icelanders would not even allow them to get off the airplane. They had to remain aboard while the plane refueled and prepared to leave again. I heard they changed their practices sometime after we left. I don’t know if it was a “law”, but I do know that they rigidly imposed the policy while we lived there. I never saw a dark-skinned person on the island for the entire time we were there.

Are there any countries today that have formal (legally enforced) exclusion policies based on race or ethnicity? I believe that there are some issues in the Middle East with respect to religion, but I was under the impression that the restrictions were based on religion and citizenship, not ethnicity or race per se. For example, a person of Jewish ancestry who has converted to Christianity or Islam and is traveling on a non-Israeli passport is unlikely to be blocked by “No Jews” policies.

If there are countries that do have such policies, how are they formally defined and adjudicated? For example, is it primarily based on appearance? DNA testing? Genealogical background checks? Names (E.g. whether your name appears on a defined list of “ethnic names”)?

“Sorry, we ran a background check on you from the information in your Australian passport and we discovered that your great-great-great grandmother Josefina was born in a small town outside of Lisbon. You know our policy - ‘No Portugee in Countree!’ That’s from the Combatting Dirty Portuguese Scum Border Protection Act 1995 you know. Entrance denied! Next!”

Did anyone else notice that this is a 15-year-old thread?

Ms Hook and I were in Iceland this past May. I spent some time talking to a black buy working at a Levi’s store. A very, very expensive Levi’s store.

Iceland is part of the European Economic Area, which assures (among other things) free movement of persons among member states of the Area, and of the EU. As a result, any EEA/EU national can live, work, study and retire in Iceland. Many EEA/EU nationals are black.

This has been so since 1994 so, even though the thread is 15 years old, the claim referred to in the OP was out of date when the thread started.

That’s not to say that there might not have been considerable social prejudice against Black people in Iceland (or, indeed, against any immigrants); I can’t say. But there was no effective legal barrier.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1948 that racial covenants are unconstitutional.

Iceland is not a member of the EU.

They even let Basques in these days. 400 years ago, three whaling ships were wrecked and eighty Basques were stranded in North West Iceland. After stealing food from the local farmers a decree was issued that any Basque should be killed on sight.

The Slaying of the Spaniards

True, but it is a member of the European Free Trade Area. Membership requires it to observe the free movement arrangements that bind EU members.