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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.2 National youth law

Last update: 29 March 2021
On this page
  1. Existence of a National Youth Law
  2. Scope and contents
  3. Revisions/updates

Existence of a National Youth Law

Youth activities in Iceland are subject to the Youth Act no. 70/2007 that was signed in 2007.

Scope and contents

The purpose of the Youth Act is to support children and young people from the age of 6 to 25, for participation in youth activities. National authorities and municipalities, in co-operation with youth clubs and youth organizations, support young people in participating in as various youth activities as possible. The Minister of Education, Science and Culture is the highest authority on youth affairs.

The act covers:

1. The operation of clubs and club organizations

2. Youth activities run by the national authorities, municipalities and schools.

3. Other operations that focus mostly on unaffiliated youth in organised youth activities.

The Act also covers the background of those permitted to work with or be in charge of children and young people in youth activities. Individuals who have been convicted for violations of the General Penal Code no. 19/1940 may not be hired to work with children and youth. As of March 2021, a new bill awaits parlimentary consent which enhances this particular section of the law, allowing those responsible for hiring individuals to work with young people to seek information on the individual's criminal record after the hiring process takes place should they see a legitimate reason to do so. The purpose of this amendment is to prevent individuals to continue to work with young people should they be in violation with Icelandic criminal law after the hiring process has taken place.  

According to the Youth Act, state funding for the operation of the youth organisations is subject to parliamentary decision in the general budget but funding the operation of local youth clubs and youth organisation depends on the decisions made in the municipal budgets plans.

The Minister appoints representatives to the Youth Council and the Parliament allocates funds to the Youth Fund for promoting youth activities.

The Minister also promotes regular youth research which will be used to frame future guidelines for youth affairs and appoints five person advisory committee studies. 


The Icelandic Parliament first implemented the National Youth Act in 1970 that underwent minor revisions in 1989 and 2002.

In 1989 the maximum time of appointment for members of the Youth council was shortened from three years to two years. In addition, no single member could be appointed for more than two terms (8 years). In 2002 this rule was revoked. 

The law was substantially revised in 2007 after the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture launched an inquiry into youth-related activities in 2003. Among the major changes made to the National Youth Act in 2007 is that the Ministry is responsible for conducting research into the subject of youth in Iceland.