Information about the language you find at the Official Gateway to Iceland.

Fluency requirements

Icelandic is the official language in Iceland. It is preferred that employees speak and understand Icelandic but not required. Icelandic resembles Norwegian, Danish and Swedish but the grammar is somewhat more complicated. Internal documents regarding the profession, staff guidelines and instructions for navigating the hospital are written in Icelandic and verbal communication is normally conducted in Icelandic, so knowledge of the language is important. The main alternative language for the initial period would be English, and most Icelanders are quite proficient in English (both staff and patients). 

Self study material: books / Cd / tape

  • A wide variety of self-study material, such as grammar, is available in bookstores.  Below are some of them:
  • "Learning Icelandic" is a CD Rom and a book for beginners. It is available at Bóksala Stúdenta and other book stores.
  • "Talk now" is a variety of courses sold at Eurotalk.
  • A free online English-Icelandic dictionary.

Internet courses

  • The "Icelandic Online" course is offered at the University of Iceland. You can do it on your own for free and a test and guided studies are possible for a charge.
  • "Bragi" course is a free internet course.
  • A distance learning course "Betri arangur" is sold and given by Inga Karlsdottir.  Information by phone +3548977995.
  • Tungumalaskolinn offers learning through the Internet with support from a teacher.


The main schools in Reykjavík that offer courses in Icelandic for foreigners are:
  • The University of Iceland offers a 3 year full time degree in Icelandic for foreigners. It is not necessary to complete the studies in 3 years.
  • Mímir - Símenntun a centre for continuing education, offers the largest selection of courses. They offer day, afternoon and evening courses either for 5 weeks (intensive) or 10 weeks, starting three times a year. They offer five levels and a special course that focuses on written Icelandic and another that focuses on spoken Icelandic.  Phone 5801800. They also run the School for Settlers (Landnemaskólinn) where half of the lessons are Icelandic lessons.
  • The Intercultural Centre in Reykjavík offers courses at least twice a year. Phone 5309300. They have special courses for teenagers.
  • Tungumalaskolinn offers courses with focus on independent / internet learning where student also meet to practice verbal skills.
  • Reykjavík Technical College (Tækniskóli Íslands) offers courses during daytime and evenings at their Multicultural Division,phone 5149000.
  • Retor school has courses for Polish people.


  • Tests for citizenship are advertised by the Ministry of Justice.
  • Evaluation tests for attending courses at Mímir - Símenntun are organised there just before they start their courses.  They are free for those that then attend their courses.
  • The Intercultural Centre offers a course to prepare for the citizenship test.
  • A registration / licencing test for nurses from countries outside the EEA is done at Mímir on request. Please call Mímir at 5801800 to make an appointment.

Other activities

  • The Intercultural Centre in Reykjavik organises language exchange where they connect those who want to improve their Icelandic skills, with those Icelanders who wish to practice or learn a new foreign language.  No cost is involved. This will not replace language courses. 
  • Hlutverkasetur Borgartúni 1. They do not have a course but have practice hours free of charge on Tuesdays at 10.00-11.30. THe aim is to practice understanding and pronouncations. They use poetry, short stories and discussions.  Registration at 5173471 and 6959285.
  • The Icelandic Red Cross, Reykjavík branch, offers mentoring (Félagsvinur) free of charge to foreign women living in Iceland through linking them with an Icelandic woman.  A part of the mentoring commonly is practicing Icelandic. Many Landspitali employees are participants.
  • Private lessons can be arranged at Mímir- Símenntun (phone 5801800) and perhaps also through the other schools - see above.
A list of useful everyday hospital phrases (Icelandic / English) has been prepared with a focus of nursing staff but surely it is of use for other health care staff.