Iceland Celebrates Independence on National Day Skip to content

Iceland Celebrates Independence on National Day

Tomorrow, June 17, is the day Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944. It is a national holiday and celebrated with diverse events across the country.


Previous June 17 celebrations in Akureyri. Photo by Ragnar Hólm.

The National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík will have free admission at the occasion. Visitors will be given a guided tour of the museum’s basic exhibition on Iceland’s history (in Icelandic) starting at 2 pm.

The museum will organize orienteering games for children and its special infotainment room will be open.

Other exhibitions currently running at the museum include one on women’s fashion from 1947 to 1970, the chess duel between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in Reykjavík in 1972 and the handicraft by former bishop’s wife Magnea Þorkelsdóttir.

One of the museum’s current photographic exhibitions shows the staging of the rescue of the crew of Dhoon when the trawler ran aground by Látrabjarg in the West Fjords in 1947 and the actual rescue of the crew of Sargon in the same location one year later.

A documentary on the two rescue missions from 1949 will be screened at the museum’s lecture hall at 3 pm.

In Akureyri in the north, the program begins with a ceremony in the Botanical Garden, starting with a performance by the local brass band at 12:45 pm.

From the Botanical Garden, attendees will march to the town square at 1:30 pm where a program organized by the scout association Klakkur, including a funfair, will take place from 2 to 5 pm and again from 9 pm to 1 am.

Other events include an exhibition of cars, historical sailing trips with an oak boat and a children’s play.

The Icelandic Touring Association (FÍ) is organizing a walk of the ancient path Leggjarbrjótur between Hvalfjörður and Þingvellir, the site where Iceland’s parliament, Alþingi, was founded in 930 AD and where Iceland celebrated its independence in 1944.

The 13-kilometer walk takes five to six hours. Participants will depart from Reykjavík at 10 am. For further information on pricing and to register, contact FÍ (Tel: (+354) 568-2533).

To learn more about the festivities in Reykjavík, contact the capital’s tourism office.


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