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The last macdonald burger in Iceland that won't rot, even after 10 years

The Last McDonald's Burger in Iceland: For some, that means greed and over-capitalism.

One of Northern Europe's most notable exporters is "slow TV": real-time recordings of train trips, ferry crossings or deer migration that regularly attract record audiences.

Among the most successful – and least exciting – examples of this genre is the live stream of McDonald's cheeseburger with fries. At its peak, it attracted 2 million viewers a month. The only element on the screen that moves, however, is the time display.

The burger looks the same hour after hour.

From this week it looks like this for 1

0 years.

Purchased hours before the corporation withdrew from the country in 2009, after Iceland's devastating financial crisis, McDonald's last surviving burger turned into much more than a burger. For some, it means greed and excessive capitalism, which "created an economic meltdown that was so bad that even McDonald's had to close," says 43-year-old Hortur Smarasson, who bought the fateful burger in 2009. For others, the ominous fresh look the 10-year-old diet served as a warning against excessive fast food consumption.

McDonald's tried to dispel the myth that his burgers did not decompose, claiming there was a scientific explanation for Iceland's never rotten

"Without enough moisture – either in the food itself or in the environment – bacteria and molds can they do not grow and therefore decomposition is unlikely, "the company said in a statement. (McDonald's did not respond to a request for comment.)

The company may have debunked the myths about fresh burger, but after 10 years, the political symbolism of the corporation's withdrawal from Iceland and the last remnant of its past seem more pertinent than ever .

– – –

After a painful recovery, Iceland's economy was once again embarrassed this year when the national budget airline WOW went bankrupt. Overnight, the decisive factor in Iceland's recovery – the tourism industry, which now accounts for about 10% of Iceland's gross domestic product – faces a sudden drop in visitors. About a third of them traveled to Iceland by WOW Air. At the same time, China-US.

Ten years after the devastating crisis, some Icelanders had a deja vu which brought them back to the days when around 300,000 nations witnessed the failure of all major private banks. [19659003] But in the months since, Iceland's economy has surprisingly recovered; travel reservations remain largely stable as other airlines fill the gap in WOW Air.

"The economy is doing much better than expected," said Erna Björg Sverrisdottir, chief economist at Iceland's Arion Bank, which lends to central bank reserves and low debt, among other factors.

– – –

Iceland was in a completely different situation in 1993 when McDonald's opened its first restaurant in the country. Instead of focusing on sustainability and government intervention – as has been the case since 2008 – Iceland has laid the groundwork for what would bring the system down for two decades.

It has embraced the ideals of the free market like few other countries. The economy is booming.

As free-market capitalism produced staggering growth around the world, the outlook of world leaders opening McDonald's restaurants became somewhat symbolic of capitalism's victory over socialism, just years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. [19659003] In Britain, then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became known as the outspoken fan of the corporation.

Meanwhile in Iceland, images from that time show that the country's prime minister, David Odsson, is getting stuck in a burger on the day the company made its first opening in Iceland.

"That was a very fun moment," said anthropologist Christine Loftsdotir, who studied the company's history in Iceland. The reasons for the country's enthusiasm were deeply rooted, she said.

"Iceland has long been very anxious about its role in the community of nations," Loftsdotir said. With a population the size of a small American city, Iceland feared there would be no place for it on the mass of mature nations in the post-Soviet world. McDonald's arrival, she said, seems to indicate a new chapter: Iceland is modernizing and becoming "part of the global community," Loftsdotir said.

This success story began to unravel as the financial crisis began in 2007. Iceland was on the verge of an economic disaster. But two subsequent collapses were needed for the Icelanders to understand how deeply they were in crisis.

The first was the collapse of the country's banking system.

But McDonald's conclusion was necessary for the country to be truly humiliated.

Operations in the country became too expensive after the crisis: the currency collapsed; inflation soared. McDonald's was by no means the only company that gave up fighting the country.

But for some of them, the chain felt discarded by the international community in which they had worked so hard to be a part of it, Loftsdottir said.

For his book Crisis and the Coloniality of European Countries: Creating Exotic Iceland, Loftsdotir interviews a number of witnesses to the crisis in 2008. For many, closing restaurants was not so much a story for a company that fired its employees. but rather about the collective failure of a nation.

"We can't even work with McDonald's," Loftsdotir recalled. a source summarizing the widely shared sentiments at the time.

– – –

On October 31, 2009, marketing consultant Hortur Smarason was among McDonald's latest clients in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. He waited in line at the restaurant with other Icelanders who wanted to buy his last McDonald's food.

But Smarasson had not come to eat. He had read online rumors of McDonald's never rotten burgers and wanted to put the myth to the test. He bought a cheeseburger with french fries, went home and left the box on the shelf in his garage.

Three years passed when Smarasson forgot about souvenirs from a bygone era. He had other problems to worry about.

It was hit hard by the financial crisis. "I lost all my savings," he recalled. "My clients went bankrupt. I was trying to close my house.

Three years later, as he was preparing to move to Copenhagen, he came across McDonald's food in his garage.

" I was worried about what was going to happen

When he opened the box, he was shocked – but not for the reason he was expecting. Contrary to the rotten remains for which he had been prepared, he found it to appear to be completely intact food.

Smarasson felt he was holding a historical artifact and reached the National Museum of Iceland, where he ate

In the years since, some visitors seem to have mistaken it for fresh eating. Some potatoes are missing.

The remains are now displayed at a small hotel in southern Iceland where they continue to attract tourists,

He still visits the burger on a regular basis. The last time he saw him, he looked "as fresh as ever."

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated broadcast.)

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