Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde was present when the project Gardarshólmi – an international information center for sustainable development – was launched in Húsavík, northeast Iceland, yesterday.
“This is a very important project for Húsavík and Nordurthing municipality and it’s a good idea to establish a center here that links the town to Sweden,” Haarde told Morgunbladid.
Gardarshólmi is dedicated to the Swedish explorer Gardar Svavarsson, who was the first to sail around Iceland in 870 and concluding that it was an island. He lived in Húsavík for one winter before returning to Sweden.
“We received a very friendly message from Sweden regarding support from their side,” said Hördur Sigurbjarnarson, the managing director of local whale watching company Nordursiglingar and the initiator of the Gardarshólmi project.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has agreed to become the project’s patron, as has Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. The project will supply culture projects, conferences and art workshops on an international scale and serve as an information center for tourists.
“I imagine Swedish parties, possibly both public and private parties, could be interested in participating in the project. Private parties on the domestic market could also be interested,” Haarde predicted.
Hördur Sigurbjarnarson said yesterday’s presentation had been the first involving members of the new government and that a location for facilities for Gardarshólmi will be decided on soon, following a new urban planning for Húsavík.
The project has been under development for eight years and a cost estimation will be submitted next fall.