The government of Iceland has decided that rebranding the island nation might be in order. A contest to give the country a new name, originally sponsored by the Iceland tourism office, now has the Icelandic government saying it’s open to the idea.
It’s been a difficult 10 years for Iceland, the smallest of Europe’s countries. The fiscal collapse in 2008 essentially destroyed its banking system and caused widespread protests that toppled the government. Combine that with a volcanic eruption that disrupted air travel, and one might see why a new name could be needed.
Iceland got its name more than 1,000 years ago from the a viking explorer as a marketing gimmick. By naming the temperate island Iceland, he hoped to reserve it for himself and his family while he named the much less hospitable island to the north, Greenland, in hopes settlers would head there, instead.
Suggested names so far include Niceland, Catch-A-Cloud-Land and Rockland.
Not everyone in Iceland welcomes a potential change, though. Some residents consider the entire idea of renaming Iceland a joke in poor taste. Still, the contest ends March 21, 2013, and all are welcome to submit names. The winner will get prizes and possibly even a free trip to the country formerly known as Iceland.