According to a letter of intent signed at the University of Iceland yesterday, an exhibition on the presidency of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir will be opened next year at Loftskeytastöðin. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first woman to be democratically elected head of state, in office from 1980 to 1996.
Exhibition to be housed at the “old radio station”
At a commemorative ceremony yesterday, marking the University of Iceland’s 110th anniversary, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Transport and Local Government Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, and President of the University of Iceland Jón Atli Benediktsson signed a joint letter of intent to open an exhibition on the presidency of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir next year.
According to the agreement, the government will aid in preparatory efforts for the exhibition, which will be housed at Loftskeytastöðin – Iceland’s first radio station, inaugurated on June 17, 1918. Loftskeytastöðin, which is located next to Veröld – the House of Vigdís, will also accommodate research and academic facilities. The agreement stipulates that the exhibition receive an annual subsidy from the treasury. The University of Iceland will manage the exhibition and related scholarly activities, both of which will be integrated within the operations of Veröld. The signees hope to inaugurate the exhibition next year.
“A symbol of unity,” PM on Vigdís
“Vigdís’ influence on Icelandic society, especially on those who grew up during her presidency, can hardly be overstated: waking up, one morning in June of 1980, as the first nation in history to have democratically elected a woman as head of state. In an incredibly brief time, Vigdís managed to unite the nation. The prevailing attitude at the time was that a president should be a symbol of unity, and in Vigdís the nation quickly found such a symbol,” PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated in a speech during the ceremony.
Having wished Icelanders happy National Day, and congratulated the University on its anniversary, Vigdís announced that she would be donating various keepsakes from her presidency to the University of Iceland, including letters, gifts from foreign heads of states, and clothing. These items will serve as the basis for the exhibition at Loftskeytastöðin.
A former Müller-ist
As noted in an interview with Iceland Review in 2019, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir always considered herself “one of the people.” Even after being elected president, Vigdís continued visiting the public pool in West Reykjavík, where she would join fellow swimmers in a regimen of quaint exercises invented by the former Danish gymnastics educator J. P. Müller. Click here for an excerpt to the article.