Eider Duck Center to Open in West Iceland Skip to content

Eider Duck Center to Open in West Iceland

By Iceland Review

Travelers will be able to familiarize themselves with the eider duck’s way of life in an exhibition which the Eider Duck Center of Iceland will open in the Norwegian House (Norska húsid) in Stykkishólmur, west Iceland, in early June.


An eider duck. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Visitors will also have the chance to buy genuine eider down duvets and pieces of art dedicated to the bird. People who stay in the suite of Hótel Stykkishólmur will experience what it is like to sleep under an eider down duvet, Morgunbladid reports.

The Eider Down Center is the initiative of father and daughter Fridrik Jónsson and Erla Fridriksdóttir, former mayor of Stykkishólmur, who also run an eider down cleaning facility and export company in the town.

“I first got to know the business when we moved to Stykkishólmur when I was eight. My dad, along with others, bought the islands Bjarneyjar on Breidafjördur and I always went with them to pick down so I grew up with it,” Fridriksdóttir said.

The idea to launch eider down production was put into action after she attended the general meeting of the Eider Breeding Association of Iceland last year and listened to a presentation on how eider farmers should create more value from the down by producing and selling finished products.

The experience from a Norwegian island was referenced, where the locals have built up a fairly extensive business around the small amount of eider down that is collected there. “I thought to myself: If not in Stykkishólmur, then where?” Fridriksdóttir said.

Fridriksdóttir and her father have now established facilities to fully clean down and produce duvets under the label Queen Eider.

The exhibition in the Norwegian House, which is organized in collaboration with the Snaefell District Museum, includes the history of the harnessing of the eider duck and the work methods of down cleaning.

In cooperation with the West Iceland Institute of Natural History, the bird itself will be featured, along with its prime enemy, the mink.

Visitors will learn about the mutually beneficial interplay between ducks and humans where people protect the eider nests in the wild and instead pick down from the nests which the ducks pluck themselves to use as lining.

The eider duck has been under strict preservation in Iceland for more than 150 years. Around three of the four tons of eider down produced in the world annually come from Iceland.

Demand for eider down is growing and the world market price increasing after a period of recession.

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