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In many ways Iceland is so unique.  They are extremely progressive on many issues, small in number, on top of ways to use safe energy, etc.

Yet in other ways, Iceland is just like many “older” nations – the link between God and country has been there for so very long.  Not in a American way.  No, more European in mindset.

First is the Parliament building.

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The building itself isn’t much to look at.  But look at the top.

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There’s the Icelandic flag and a crown – a hat tip to the Danish monarchy that ruled Iceland for so many centuries.

The garden in the back of the building is actually much nicer.

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The great thing about Iceland is that you can go pretty much anywhere and you won’t see any security guards.  I have no doubt that they are watching your every step, but at the same time, not having security present all the time gives a different feel – that there is a different level of trust between the governing and the governed.

Across the street from parliament is the cathedral.

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Being Scandinavian in outlook, the Lutheran church is the state church.  Pastors are paid by the state and the church serves an important symbolic function in Iceland.  There are positives and negatives to this, too many to go through in this post.  The point is this – there is no separation between church and state here.  The church serves the needs of the state.  That’s the price you pay when you accept money from the state.

Lastly, there is the tribute to great people of the past in Iceland.

First there is the founder of the capitol.

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Looks like a pleasant man, huh?

And across the street in the park opposite the parliament there is another statue.

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The biggest difference regarding statues between Iceland and the rest of Europe is this – they don’t have guys on horses here for the most part.  That may be because they generally don’t celebrate military figures here.  They are more concerned with culture.  Not a bad thing.