The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Iceland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Icelander Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 35 of which were born in Iceland. This makes Iceland the birth place of the 68th most number of Politicians behind Mongolia and Colombia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Icelander Politicians of all time. This list of famous Icelander Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Icelander Politicians.

Photo of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

1. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (1930 - )

With an HPI of 73.68, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is the most famous Icelander Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 58 different languages on wikipedia.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (Icelandic: [ˈvɪɣtis ˈfɪnpɔɣaˌtouʰtɪr̥] (listen); born 15 April 1930) is an Icelandic politician who was the fourth President of Iceland, a position in which she served from 1980 to 1996. She was the world's first woman who was democratically elected as president. With a presidency of exactly sixteen years, she also remains the longest-serving elected female head of state of any country to date. Currently, she is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and a member of the Club of Madrid. She is also to-date Iceland's only female president.

Photo of Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

2. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (1943 - )

With an HPI of 72.31, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is the 2nd most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (Icelandic: [ˈouːlavʏr ˈraknar ˈkrimsɔn] (listen); born 14 May 1943) is an Icelandic politician who was the fifth President of Iceland from 1996 to 2016. He was previously a member of the Icelandic Parliament for the People's Alliance and served as Minister of Finance from 1988 to 1991. Since the end of his presidency, Ólafur has been serving as Chairman of the Arctic Circle, a non-profit organization, and as Chairman of the International Renewable Energy Agency's Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation.

Photo of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

3. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (1942 - )

With an HPI of 71.53, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is the 3rd most famous Icelander Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 66 different languages.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈjouːhana ˈsɪːɣʏrðarˌtouʰtɪr̥]; born 4 October 1942) is an Icelandic politician and the former Prime Minister of Iceland. She became active in the trade union movement, serving as an officer. Elected as an MP from 1978 to 2013, she was appointed as Iceland's Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security, serving from 1987 to 1994, and from 2007 until 2009. In 1994, when she lost a bid to head the Social Democratic Party, she raised her fist and declared "Minn tími mun koma!" ("My time will come!"), a phrase that became a popular Icelandic expression.She became Prime Minister on 1 February 2009, Iceland's first female Prime Minister and the world's first openly LGBT head of government. Forbes listed her among the 100 most powerful women in the world.She has been a member of the Althing (Iceland's parliament) for Reykjavík constituencies since 1978, winning re-election on eight successive occasions. In September 2012, Jóhanna announced she would not seek re-election and retired from politics as Iceland's longest serving member of Parliament.

Photo of Jón Sigurðsson

4. Jón Sigurðsson (1811 - 1879)

With an HPI of 68.28, Jón Sigurðsson is the 4th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Jón Sigurðsson (17 June 1811 – 7 December 1879) was the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.

Photo of Ásgeir Ásgeirsson

5. Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (1894 - 1972)

With an HPI of 68.22, Ásgeir Ásgeirsson is the 5th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (Icelandic: [ˈausceir̥ ˈausceir̥sɔn]; 13 May 1894 – 15 September 1972) was the second President of Iceland, from 1952 to 1968. He was a Freemason and served as Grand Master of the Icelandic Order of Freemasons.

Photo of Kristján Eldjárn

6. Kristján Eldjárn (1916 - 1982)

With an HPI of 67.64, Kristján Eldjárn is the 6th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Kristján Eldjárn (Icelandic: [ˈkʰrɪstjaun ˈɛltjaurtn̥]; 6 December 1916 – 13 September 1982) was the third President of Iceland, from 1968 to 1980. His parents were Þórarinn Kr. Eldjárn, a teacher in Tjörn, and Sigrún Sigurhjartardóttir. He graduated in archaeology from the University of Copenhagen and taught at the University of Iceland. In 1957 he was awarded a doctorate for his research into pagan burials in Iceland. He was a teacher at the Akureyri Grammar School and the College of Navigation in Reykjavík, becoming a curator at the National Museum of Iceland in 1945 and its Director in 1947, a position he held until the 1968 presidential election. In 1966–68 he hosted a series of educational TV programs on the (then new) Icelandic National Television (RÚV), in which he showed the audience some of the National Museum's artefacts and explained their historical context. These programs became quite popular, making him a well known and respected popular figure. This no doubt gave him the incentive needed to run in the 1968 presidential election as a politically non-affiliated candidate. Starting as the underdog in the 1968 presidential election, running against Ambassador Gunnar Thoroddsen who initially had a 70% lead in the opinion polls, Kristján won 65.6% of the vote on a 92.2% voter turnout. He was re-elected unopposed in 1972 and 1976. In 1980 he decided not to run for another term, wanting to devote his remaining years entirely to continuing his lifelong academic work. President Kristján Eldjárn died following heart surgery in Cleveland, Ohio on 14 September 1982.His son Þórarinn Eldjárn is one of Iceland's most popular authors, specializing in short stories, but also writing poetry and an occasional novel. His daughter Sigrún Eldjárn is also an author and illustrator of several children's books. Þórarinn's son, Ari Eldjárn, is Iceland's most prominent stand-up comedian.

Photo of Guðni Th. Jóhannesson

7. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (1968 - )

With an HPI of 65.73, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is the 7th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈkvʏðnɪ ˈtʰɔrlaˌsiːʏs ˈjouːhanɛsɔn]; born 26 June 1968) is an Icelandic historian serving as the sixth and current president of Iceland. He took office in 2016 after winning the most votes in the 2016 election, 71,356 (39.1%). He was reelected in 2020 with 92.2% of the vote.A historian, Guðni was a docent at the University of Iceland before running for president in 2016. His field of research is modern Icelandic history, and he has published works on the Cod Wars, the 2008–2011 Icelandic financial crisis and the Icelandic presidency, among other topics.

Photo of Halldór Ásgrímsson

8. Halldór Ásgrímsson (1947 - 2015)

With an HPI of 65.04, Halldór Ásgrímsson is the 8th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Halldór Ásgrímsson (pronounced [ˈhalːtour ˈaːuskrimsɔn]; 8 September 1947 – 18 May 2015) was an Icelandic politician, who served as Prime Minister of Iceland from 2004 to 2006 and was leader of the Progressive Party from 1994 to 2006.

Photo of Bjarni Benediktsson

9. Bjarni Benediktsson (1908 - 1970)

With an HPI of 63.00, Bjarni Benediktsson is the 9th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Bjarni Benediktsson (30 April 1908 – 10 July 1970) was an Icelandic politician of the Independence Party who served as Prime Minister of Iceland from 1963 to 1970. His father, Benedikt Sveinsson (1877–1954), was a leader in the independence movement in Iceland and a member of the Althingi from 1908 to 1931. Bjarni studied constitutional law and became a professor at the University of Iceland at age 24. He was elected to the city council in Reykjavík in 1934 as a member of the Independence Party and from 1940 to 1947 was mayor of the city. In 1947 he became Foreign Minister and served in various posts in cabinets until 1956. Bjarni was mainly responsible for Iceland joining NATO in 1949, against significant opposition, and for giving the United States Air Force a lease on Keflavík Airport near Reykjavík, which was of major strategic importance during the Cold War.Bjarni was caricatured by the Nobel prize winning writer Halldór Laxness in his 1948 play Atómstöðin (The Atom Station).In 1956, when the left-wing parties formed a coalition government, Bjarni, out of office, became editor of Morgunblaðið, a leading conservative newspaper. In 1959, when the Independence Party formed a coalition government with the Social Democrats, Bjarni became Minister of Justice. He served as speaker of the Althing in 1959. Two years later he was elected chairman of the Independence Party and in 1963 he took over from Ólafur Thors as Prime Minister. He served in this position until his death, which was caused by a fire at a government summer house at Þingvellir; his wife and grandson also perished in the blaze. Bjarni was the father of Björn Bjarnason and Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, as well as the father-in-law of Vilmundur Gylfason. Bjarni was the great-uncle of his namesake Bjarni Benediktsson, who became Prime Minister in January 2017.

Photo of Steingrímur Hermannsson

10. Steingrímur Hermannsson (1928 - 2010)

With an HPI of 62.93, Steingrímur Hermannsson is the 10th most famous Icelander Politician.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Steingrímur Hermannsson (pronounced [ˈsteinkrimur ˈhɛrmanˌsɔn]; 22 June 1928 – 1 February 2010) was an Icelandic politician who served as Prime Minister of Iceland from 1983 to 1987, and again from 1988 to 1991.

Pantheon has 35 people classified as politicians born between 1811 and 1976. Of these 35, 13 (37.14%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. The most famous deceased politicians include Jón Sigurðsson, Ásgeir Ásgeirsson, and Kristján Eldjárn. As of October 2020, 1 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Steingrímur J. Sigfússon.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 19 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.