Even in summer, Iceland is known for often being extremely cold and windy. But Icelanders are used to the cold, and the wind wouldn’t be such a problem … if it weren’t for the trampolines.
Icelanders love trampolines. Pass through Reykjavik and you’re sure to see a surprising number of them in people’s backyards. And while trampolines may seem like they’re all fun and games, they have the potential to do some serious damage. This means that, just before a storm, the police or fire department in Reykjavik often have to issue flying trampoline warnings.
You read that right: Flying. Trampoline. Warnings.
An officer who works for the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police was quick to point out that it’s not just trampolines that the police must warn residents about. They also ask people to secure loose items like trash bins, chairs and tables when it’s windy.
However, trampolines (or trampólín, in the most excellent Icelandic language) can cause pretty significant damage. It’s “not uncommon” for the trampolines to “fly around and break windows, or damage cars,” he said by telephone. Hence the warnings to lock them up, or bring them inside.
Sigrun Davidsdottir, an Icelandic journalist, tweeted that the police issued these warnings for good reason. "I've never seen so many trampolines in any country; in every other garden, not only in Reykjavík!" she said.
Despite the risks, why do Icelanders love trampolines so much? Mostly, because it’s fun for kids, the officer said. When parents want to relax on the porch, or work in their gardens, the trampoline can serve as “kind of a babysitter,” he said.
Jon Baldur Hlidberg, a natural history illustrator from Rekyjavik, has a different idea. It might be because Icelanders love to see the horizon; but, with the rise of cities, they need to rise above tall buildings to catch a glimpse, he said on Facebook. Or, he said, "maybe it's because trampolines in a sense, mimic the drop and rise of the small viking ship at sea."
Hlidberg also said Icelanders are by nature "strong-headed and defiant." He thinks that may be why people in Iceland like to have trampolines, despite the risks. He, for one, never gave in to the "numerous trampoline requests" from his three children.
A footnote: If you've read this far, you deserve to see this: Baby goats, discovering a trampoline.