Nowadays, the easiest way to meet someone new is online. More people are meeting individuals online than in bars, at work, or through friends and family. This is especially true in Iceland, which boasts a relatively small population and an even smaller dating scene. Fortunately, there are several popular dating sites in Iceland that can help locals meet their match.
What Are the Challenges to Dating in Iceland?
Icelanders are increasingly turning to online dating services to meet people, and with good reason. There are several obstacles to successful dating in Iceland, so it’s a good idea for locals to know the risks before accepting that first date.
There Is a Limited Dating Pool
Iceland has a population of just under 350,000 people. While this might sound like a large number, to put it in some perspective, the city of Los Angeles alone is home to more than 10 million.
Most Icelanders live around the country’s capital, Reykjavík, while rural areas remain sparsely populated. It can be hard for single people to meet through normal channels, as they’re not likely to see many new faces down at the local bar or in the nightclubs.
People Have Common Origins
What’s more, Iceland’s population is relatively homogenous. Most Icelanders are descended from a small population of Viking settlers dating back to the 9th century, with the island being essentially unpopulated before then. It wasn’t long before this settlement formed the first known parliament, which included stringent record-keeping.
The Icelandic Sagas were written more than 1,000 years ago, and they included details about local genealogy. Using these records, along with church records, government files, census reports, and more, experts created the Book of Icelanders, or Íslendingabók, in 1997.
The Book of Icelanders was a collaboration project between medical research company deCODE genetics and entrepreneur and software guru Friðrik Skúlason. It contains information on as much as 95% of all native Icelanders living in the past 300 years.
So, why does this matter in the dating world?
The uses of the Book of Icelanders go far beyond the academic. With such a small, homogenous population, people are highly likely to run into close relatives around town without even knowing it. As you might expect, this can lead to some tricky dating situations.
Currently, there are around 720,000 people listed in the online database. By entering a name, you can find out someone’s full genealogical background. Searches are limited to those who share a recent common background. You can essentially check to see if you’re related to someone.
The service is free and easy to use for native Icelanders. Each citizen has a unique government-issued ID that they can use to log in and look up others in their area. Unfortunately, if you’re not born and bred in Iceland, you won’t be able to access the database. Then again, if you are from another country, the chances of you finding a relative to date in Iceland are much slimmer.
They Use Uncommon Naming Conventions
Another reason that the Book of Icelanders is so useful is because of the unique naming system. Unlike in other nearby nations, Icelanders can’t use a shared last name to suss out their relatives. The concept of last names, as most Western countries know them, doesn’t exist for those living in Iceland.
Instead of adopting a family surname, Icelandic children will use their parent’s first name instead. Girls will add “dóttir” to the end, while boys add “son.” So, for example, if a man called Guðmundur had a daughter named Anna, she would call herself Anna Guðmundsdóttir. This essentially translates to Anna, daughter of Guðmundur.
This way of naming doesn’t allow people to trace lineage through name alone. It’s not uncommon for two unrelated people to share their last name because their parents share a first name. People have to dig a little deeper than surnames to determine if they’re related or not when dating.
There Is a Casual Dating Culture
Icelanders tend to keep to themselves most of the time. Many people would much prefer a quiet evening with a book rather than a night out on the town. It can be difficult to meet people coming from such an introverted culture.
Dating itself tends to be a casual affair for Icelandic singles. They prefer to keep things relaxed and don’t appreciate dates that come on too strong. For most couples, a romantic dinner or a night out dancing is too much pressure.
Instead, Icelanders tend to prefer casual dates, especially towards the beginning of a relationship. Someone from another culture may not even recognize that they’re on a date. A cup of coffee at the local cafe, a stroll through town, or a quick drink at the local watering hole may all be considered a serious date.
For Icelanders, dating is often separated from sex. Outsiders are often surprised by how open Icelandic people are about sex and sexual health. Casual relationships, though, are common, and people are comfortable sharing bedroom details with close friends and even family.
Still, because people are so shy and so subtle in their advances, dating in Iceland can be tricky. You have to pay close attention to social cues to know if someone is interested. Fortunately, with the increasing popularity of dating sites in Iceland, it’s becoming easier to tell what’s a date and what isn’t.
Explore the Top Dating Sites in Iceland
So, what sites do the Icelandic use to meet people? Whether you’re in Iceland, planning to visit, or looking for an Icelandic partner, there are plenty of dating websites and apps you can use.
Einkamál is the top dating site in Iceland for users of all backgrounds. It was founded back in 2001, and since then, has expanded to all corners of the country. It caters both to people looking for a romantic relationship and those simply seeking companionship.
As the most popular dating site in Iceland, Einkamál boasts more than 22,000 users across the country. With such a large pool of potential candidates, the site has a relatively high success rate for singles looking for a date.
It’s easy to sign up for a free account based on whether you’re looking for a date, a friend, a penpal, or a BDSM partner. All member profiles include information such as age, gender, and orientation. People can also add additional information about hobbies, interests, and appearance.
Profiles that come with a picture attached tend to have a better success rate when it comes to landing dates. In general, when it comes to online dating sites like Einkamál, the more information a member includes, the better.
With this service, you can search for members by name or filter profiles based on common interests. If you want to send messages or chat, you can purchase a paid Premium membership.
Einkamál enjoys such widespread popularity in Iceland in part because the service goes beyond the realm of online dating to help people connect. The site hosts live events in towns and cities throughout Iceland, from speed dating events to bowling nights.
These days, most people are at least familiar with the dating app that’s taken the world by storm. Tinder was founded in 2012 and quickly gained popularity worldwide. Nowadays, there are more than 50 million users in over 190 different countries.
Tinder was the first dating site to use the “swipe” feature that’s turned it into such a hit amongst users. The app shows you pictures of singles in your area, and you can swipe right to connect with them or swipe left if you don’t find them attractive. Most users include an image and a short blurb to help others get to know them quickly.
This app is free, easy to use, and includes smart features to improve the dating experience. Their algorithm can help people find their match just as easily as it can help them get noticed themselves. Tinder will help users choose the best order for their photos and give them control over who can see their profile.
Tinder is a popular fixture in Iceland these days in part because it fits in with the casual dating mindset. It makes dating convenient, easy, and accessible to even those living off the grid. There are plenty of users to choose from living around the country, particularly in Reykjavík.
While Tinder is seen as mainly a hookup app in other places, in Iceland, it’s viewed as more of a legitimate dating service. Plenty of singles sign up looking for more than just a one-night-stand. Icelanders use Tinder as a way to expand their dating circle and potentially meet their soulmate.
Here is our more detailed Tinder App review.
Badoo is another popular dating site in Iceland, though members aren’t limited to locals. First launched in 2006, Badoo has a worldwide presence, with almost 500 million users across the globe. The app is available for both Apple and Android users.
Instead of advertising itself as a dating app, Badoo takes an approach that’s closer to a social media site. It’s a good place to start for people seeking a date but tends to place more of an emphasis on those who want to connect with new friends than other similar services.
Thanks to strict verification requirements, Badoo tends to have less of a spam issue than other popular dating sites. Users have to link to an active social media account or even conduct an interview over the phone to prove that they’re the real deal. Sometimes, photos have to be verified as well to ensure they’re accurate and current.
This service works in a similar manner to Tinder when it comes to dating. The “Badoo Game” will show you pictures of available singles, allowing you to click or decline to see more of their profile. You can also search using filters such as age, gender, location, and more.
Here is our more detailed Badoo website review.
4. The One Dating App
First launched in 2015, this dating app has over six million users, most of them in Europe. Unlike other dating apps, you don’t search for your potential partners using a filter. The One will automatically match you with new strangers every three days.
The One is an effortless way for Icelandic singles to meet new people outside of their social circle. It’s popular because it takes a lot of the work out of dating. This service also takes more of a conversation-based approach instead of an image-based approach like Tinder, making it more appealing to those seeking a long-term relationship.
Once you get a new match through The One app, a 72-hour countdown timer begins. If you end up connecting with the person on the other end, you have the option to extend your chat. You can also exchange photos, voice and video chat, or set up an in-person meeting.
When users sign up for a profile with The One, they have to divulge personal information such as name, age, and sexual orientation along with interests and hobbies. It’s also one of the few dating sites to include COVID-19 status in member profiles.
While it’s not as popular in Iceland as in countries like the US, OKCupid is home to plenty of Icelandic singles. The site was launched in2004 as one of the first free dating sites, and since then, it’s grown to more than 50 million members worldwide.
OkCupid works like most standard dating sites but has a more data-driven approach. It uses member information to continually improve its matching algorithms. The service remains popular because it has a fairly high success rate when pairing people based on common interests and attractions.
The site also uses member data to develop research reports and common interest articles about current dating trends. OkCupid collects enough information to offer a unique insight into the dating world. You can visit their blog to find some interesting articles regarding sex, dating, and romance in today’s world.
OkCupid profiles go in-depth, allowing users to post personal information and pictures along with a detailed bio. The idea is to give users a good feel for each other before they even get to the chatting stage.
The no-nonsense approach to matching is appealing to many Icelanders. Dating is difficult enough in Iceland, as they want as few obstacles as possible when it comes to online dating. With a quick personality test, users can start matching with people who share their interests and values.
Here is our more detailed OkCupid.com review.
6. Tender Meets
With such a small local population, some Icelanders turn to other countries’ dating pools. Tender Meets specializes in connecting American men with women in Iceland. It’s a relatively new dating service, having just hit the market in 2018.
Tender Meets functions just as you would expect from your average dating service. Users sign up for a paid membership and fill out a profile with information such as age, gender, location, and personal details. The site is oriented more towards men than women, though both sides can message each other freely if interested.
Unlike other dating sites, Tender Meets doesn’t have much of a vetting or verification process. It’s more prone to scammers, spam, and even bots. Users have to be careful, making it a less popular choice for Icelandic singles than safer sites such as Badoo and Einkamál.
While not a true dating app, this service has become an important part of Icelandic dating culture. It’s billed as an anti-incest app to help prevent singles from accidentally getting together with a distant relative.
Because most people in Iceland are descended from the same common ancestors, and because the population is so small, people face an active risk of running into a relative out on the dating scene. What’s more, thanks to Icelandic naming conventions, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether you’re related through surnames.
The ÍslendingaApp, or “App of Icelanders,” was created as part of a competition hosted by deCODE genetics. Icelandic university students competed to come up with a creative new use for the Book of Icelanders’ online database. The winner, the ÍslendingaApp, was chosen by a Facebook poll open to the public.
This app’s creators consider it a “Sifjaspellsspillir,” which roughly translates to “Incest Spoiler.” Its main purpose isn’t finding a date, but rather, giving the dates you’ve found a quick background check. It will tell you if you share any recent common ancestors with a potential partner to avoid any embarrassing faux pas down the line.
Using this app, Iceland natives can type in a name to see genealogic information about that person and their family. It’s even easier to check for common ancestry in person. Two people with the app can simply bump phones. If the app detects any shared background, it will emit a warning alarm. According to ÍslendingaApp’s slogan: “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”
In addition to its warning feature, this app also offers additional features to help Icelanders keep up with their social circle. You can see information about family members, check out data and statistics, and even keep a calendar of your relatives’ birthdays.
If you want to check out some other popular websites, check out these dating apps.
Are You Ready to Start Dating?
Online dating has helped open up Iceland’s dating scene, making it more navigable for singles looking to meet a new partner. With new apps and technologies, Icelanders have a chance to expand their social circle and ensure that they’re not accidentally dating within their own gene pool.
If you’re having trouble finding a date in Iceland, don’t lose hope. Online dating is becoming more and more of a common fixture on the Icelandic dating scene. The sites that we’ve covered can help you to meet new people all around the country in just minutes. By going online, you’re sure to find plenty of options to choose from for your next date.