Reykjavík 1918-2018

 In Magazine, Magazine Intro, Photo Series, Society

The year 1918 was a special one in Iceland’s history. It was the year that Iceland became a sovereign nation with its own government, but it was also marked by catastrophic events. A devastatingly cold winter, a volcanic eruption, and an outbreak of the Spanish flu should have been enough to bring any nation down to its knees – yet the people’s spirit remained unbroken. Much has changed since then, but much has also stayed the same. For the anniversary of Iceland’s sovereignty, Iceland Review’s photographer Golli dug through the Reykjavík Museum of Photography archives and recreated some of his favourite finds.

1918

A family portrait of Guðlaug R. Árnadóttir and her children, Árni, Þorbjörg Hólmfríður and Gunnar, the oldest.

2018

Árný Vigfúsdóttir is the granddaughter of Þorbjörg Hólmfríður, the youngest in the photo on the left. Here she is with her own children, Aron Brink, Sara Karen Svavarsdóttir, and Rakel Rut Svavarsdóttir, the youngest.

1918

Seamstresses, possibly at Egill Jakobsen’s Sewing Firm, around 1918 in Reykjavík.

2018

Employees at Henson Clothing Company, in Reykjavík.

1918

A classroom in Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, which at the time was the only secondary school in Reykjavík.

2018

Today, it’s one of 11 secondary schools in Reykjavík and there are more young women in the group, but the classroom remains the same.

1918

The children in the photo are, from left: Inger Tofte, Kristín Bernhöft, Jóhanna Ingibjörg Bernhöft, Þórunn Þorsteinsdóttir, Sighvatur, Kristján and Ólafur.

2018

The playground has changed. The seven cousins pictured are the great-grandchildren of Kristín Bernhöft, second from the left in the previous photo. From left: Steingrímur Haukur and Sverrir Haukur Aðalsteinsson; Kristófer Víkingur and Úlfur Guðmundsson and Nanna Katrín Lukka Guðmundsdóttir; Þórunn Klara Símonardóttir and Árni Alexander Rúnarsson.

1918

The square in front of the parliament building (out of the frame) was under construction.

2018

A hundred years later and there is still construction in the area around the square.

This photo series is featured in Iceland Review Magazine. Subscribe here to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Iceland Review is the longest running English-language magazine presenting Iceland’s community, culture, and nature since 1963.

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