On the occasion of the Icelandic National Day, June 17, admission will be free to the National Museum of Iceland today. The Reykjavík City Band (Lúdrasveit Reykjavíkur) will play for visitors, who will be guided around the museum’s permanent exhibition and invited to participate in orienteering games in various languages.
The band will first perform by the statue of the independence hero Jón Sigurdsson, whose 200th anniversary is celebrated today, and then lead a progression to his grave in Hólavallakirkjugardur. The National Museum concert begins at 1:30 pm.
On the occasion of Sigurdsson’s 200th anniversary and the 140th anniversary of the Icelandic National Friendship Society (Hid íslenska thjódvinafélag), over which he used to preside, the society is hosting a celebration in the facilities of the secondary school MR in central Reykjavík today, starting at 2 pm.
MR, the then Laerdi skólinn, was the site of the National Convention in 1851, which is considered the most momentous event of Iceland’s fight for independence.
At the convention, Count Trampe submitted a bill on behalf of Danish authorities that Iceland should become an inseparable part of the Danish Kingdom.
Iceland’s representatives were against it and wanted to dismiss the bill and so Trampe terminated the convention.
Sigurdsson objected this injustice in the name of the king and nation. All of Iceland’s representatives rose from their seats and declared: “Vér mótmaelum allir!” (“We all object!”), a phrase which has since been attributed to Sigurdsson.
On a lighter note, the youth center Hitt Húsid, which is organizing street performances every Friday this summer, is planning a special performance for the National Day, called “The Dragon in the Pond”. It will begin during the National Day march and continue by the Reykjavík Pond.
At the Reykjavík Maritime Museum the men’s choir Tide Mannskor from Bergen, Norway, will perform fishermen’s songs at the pier at 2 pm. The museum has also opened an exhibition about Sigurdsson to commemorate his 200th anniversary.
There will also be an event at Thingvellir National Park, and across the country. Meteorologist Thór Jakobsson was among the children who attended the ceremony there when Iceland became an independent republic on June 17, 1944.
“The one minute of silence after the republic was declared and shouts of joy are among the things I remember. And of course the famous rainfall,” Jakobsson described to ruv.is.
He would now like for “children of the republic” to share their memories of the historical day and gather at the Thingvellir information center at 12 pm today.
Then they will march on to the Lögberg rock where a men’s choir and the Reykjavík Brass Band (Blásarasveit Reykjavíkur) will play.