Icelandic Manuscripts Recognized by UNESCO Skip to content

Icelandic Manuscripts Recognized by UNESCO

The board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the Árni Magnússon medieval manuscript collection, along with 34 other cultural relics, to its special preservation registry on Friday.

“With this UNESCO is saying that the manuscripts are relics worthy of special preservation and are valuable on a global scale but not just in a limited area,” Gudrún Nordal, the director of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, told Fréttabladid.

The manuscript collection was nominated on behalf of the governments of Iceland and Denmark, since part of the collection is preserved in Denmark, last year.

“This recognition creates opportunities for us to present the collection in a more systematic manner abroad but also gives us the duty to preserve the manuscripts as well as we can,” Nordal added.

Árni Magnússon (1663-1730) was an Icelandic scholar. He devoted most of his life to collecting manuscripts, primarily in Iceland but also the other Nordic countries, to preserve the Icelandic sagas and other national literary treasures.

Magnússon’s collection was preserved in Copenhagen, where he studied, until 1971 when the first manuscripts in the collection were returned to the Icelandic nation.

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