In 2009, Hjörtur Smárason bought the last McDonald’s burger sold in Iceland before the fast food restaurant ceased operations in the country for good. One decade later, the burger, and its accompanying fries, still look as good as new. It is now on display at a guesthouse in South Iceland, which provides a live stream of the peculiar exhibit.
McDonald’s opened its doors in Iceland in 1993. Then-Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson was the first to bite into a burger at the newly-opened joint. In October 2009, the chain announced that it would be closing its doors, with less than a week’s notice. The decision was attributed to the 2008 banking collapse, which had doubled the fast food restaurant’s expenses for meat, cheese and vegetables.
“I had heard something about McDonald’s never decaying so I just wanted to find out for myself whether this was true or not,” Hjörtur explained. Hjörtur gifted the burger to the National Museum of Iceland, who sought advice from a Danish specialist on how to preserve the item. The specialist deemed the task impossible – though Hjörtur points out it seems to be doing just fine. “I think he was wrong, because this hamburger preserves itself.”
Hjörtur eventually reached out to friends who run Snotra House in Þykkvibær, South Iceland, and the burger and fries are now on display in the lounge of the guesthouse. Ten years since their purchase, neither seems to show many signs of decay.