The Project: Integration or assimilation?

Financial support

logotypy eng



by Małgorzata Budyta-Budzyńska

The situation of the Polish community in Iceland is in many ways peculiar. While the community is small in comparison with the numbers of Polish minorities in other countries, it is the largest of the national minorities in Iceland, this being the only such case in the world. The Polish community is also rather recent, having arrived in the country not long ago. Iceland was never in the past a target of Polish settlement, Polish emigrants to Iceland emigrated purely due to economic or cognitive reasons – there are no political emigrants among them. What stimulated settlement in Iceland were mainly the island's excellent economic conditions, and Poland's accession to the European Union and the consequent opening of Iceland's labor market (Iceland belongs to the Schengen zone), and for some – Iceland's exotic character. Finally, emigration to Iceland is rather difficult, in view of the natural conditions and considerable distance from the home country.

One may inquire whether Polish emigration to Iceland at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is a transient phenomenon, or the beginning of long-term Polish settlement in Iceland – which of course, in view of the island's size, will never be a massive movement. However, in view of the island's current economic crisis, and the opening for Poles of other labor markets will the stream of migration to Iceland continue, or will it rather dry up?

This study was aimed at producing a “sociological snapshot” of the Polish community in Iceland as of 2010 AD. In a few years, such a “snapshot” may become of purely historical value – if the Polish community all but vanishes, leaving behind just a few who established family ties in the new country. However, it might as well become a document of the beginnings of a lasting Polish community in Iceland.


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