Bacterial amoA genes had not been detectable by qPCR in freshly sampled Icelandic Andosols thus far. Hence, a new primer set yielding shorter gene fragments has been designed to verify the absence of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in different Icelandic Andosol classes. At the same time, a new primer set was also constructed for archaeal amoA genes that should improve the quality of PCR products. Although a large part of the soil samples were found to be amoA-negative, bacterial amoA genes were detectable with new as well as old primer sets. The same results were obtained for the archaeal amoA genes. The relative distribution of archaeal and bacterial amoA genes varied between Andosol classes. Archaeal amoA genes were significantly more abundant in Brown than in Histic Andosols, while the opposite was observed for bacterial amoA genes. The numbers of archaeal and bacterial amoA genes in Gleyic Andosols were not significantly different from those in Histic and Brown Andosols. The numbers of bacterial amoA genes, but not the numbers of archaeal amoA genes, correlated significantly and positively with potential ammonia oxidation activities. The presence of the bacterial nitrification inhibitor allylthiourea inhibited the potential ammonia oxidation activities during the first 12 h of incubation. Hence, it was concluded that ammonia-oxidizing bacteria profited most from the conditions during the measurements of potential ammonia oxidation activities.