Elves in Iceland are part of Iceland’s reality as much as its volcanoes and hot geysers, and it is no surprise that the protection of elves has become a matter of Iceland’s Supreme Court. In Iceland, a country with a population of about 320,000 people, elves are being politically represented against a road project that would destroy their habitat and their culture, reports the Associated Press in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, on Dec. 22, 3013.
“Elf advocates in Iceland have joined forces with environmentalists to urge authorities to abandon a highway project that they claim will disturb elf habitat, including an elf church.”
The road project blocked by Iceland’s elf lobbyists concerns a highway project that would build a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer.
Along the stretch of road, Iceland’s elves are said to have their elf habitat, including an area that is especially important because it contains an elf church.
Three percent of Icelanders say that they have had a personal encounter with an elf. Eight percent of Icelanders believe in elves without any hesitation, and 54 percent of Icelanders do not deny the existence of elves, according to a 2007 study conducted by the University of Iceland.
“For many Icelanders, elves don't just live in fairy tales. They dwell in hills and valleys, rocks and flowers, and even houses. Some reside on Álfhólsvegur (Elf Hill Road), a street in the town of Kópavogur. Others live at the Icelandic Elf School, which offers a nonacademic diploma in Elf Studies and leads an elf hunt in the nation's capital, Reykjavik.”
Even skeptics of Iceland’s elves go to great lengths to protect “the hidden people” that might reside in grass patches. Fearing curses, no one dares to mow the grass patch because it might be a curse to disturb an elf habitat. According to a Psychology Today report, “to avoid removal of inhabited ‘elf stones,’ the general public can petition to divert roads and halt construction of buildings.”
With more than 65 percent of its population not denying the existence of elves, it is no surprise that Iceland’s Supreme Court does not take the matter of elves delaying a road construction lightly.