Belief in Elves Causing Road Upgrade Delays in Iceland

By Gerald Lynch on at

If you think your local council has some daft reasons for not sorting out the potholes on your street, try getting some tarmacing done in Iceland -- a highway project there has been scrapped for fear of disturbing the habitats of elves.

Though mostly tongue-in-cheek, belief in elves (or "Huldofolk" in Icelandic, which translates as "Hidden Folk") is still widely discussed in Iceland, if mostly in jest and for the sake of tourists. But a group of environmentalists and elf advocates (read -- crazies) have urged the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commision to reconsider a major highway link in order to preserve an area where elves are traditionally thought to live. In particular, an elf church sits on the potential site. Yep, "elf church".

The highway would link Alftanes peninsula to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer, but has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on the case brought forward by the collective, known as the Friends of Lava. While environmental concerns seem the prime motivator behind many members of the groups' activism, it's likely that there are some genuine elf-lovers in there too -- a 2007 survey by the University of Iceland suggested that as many as 62 per cent of Icelandic nationals at least find the notion of elven existence credible. [Independent]