Akureyri is the centre of culture, education and leisure activities in North Iceland. With a population of about 17.200, the town is by far the largest outside the Reykjavík capital area.
Akureyri was first mentioned in 1562, when a sentence was passed on a woman who had bedded a man without being in possession of a marriage certificate. This was when the only buildings in Akureyri were the shops and storehouses of Danish merchants.
It was not until 216 years later, in 1778, that the first residential house was built in Akureyri and only 8 years after that Akureyri became a certified trading post for the first time in its history, as part of measures taken by the Danish king to improve living conditions in Iceland. At this time Akureyri had 12 inhabitants.
The royal attempts at improving the lives of the Icelanders, were mostly unsuccessful, however; the town failed to grow and prosper and lost its licence as a trading post in 1836. This important commercial status was not regained until 1862.