A home for the "soul of Iceland"

21.04.2021 - 14:39
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Today marks 50 years since Denmark returned the Codex Regius (Konungsbók) and Flateyjarbók manuscripts to Iceland. The event, nearly seven years after the founding of the Republic of Iceland, was marked by national celebration and will be commemorated today as well.

The cornerstone of the state-of-the-art new house of Icelandic studies will be ceremonially laid today. The construction is well underway and the building is already weatherproof. Work inside is beginning.

Education and culture minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir describes the manuscripts as the soul of Iceland, and says it is important to introduce them to younger generations. 

Lilja said on RÚV radio this morning that she believes teachers have been doing a good job of making the Eddas and Sagas accessible and interesting to young people. It is important to continue and develop this work, she says. 

The elliptical new House of Icelandic Studies on Arngrímsgata in Reykjavík will host teaching and research on its upper floors and will house the nation’s literary treasures in its basement—specially designed to withstand damage from threats including natural disasters and terrorism. 

“I put so much emphasis on the fact that we are connecting together the past, the present, and the future and the digital world,” Lilja says—adding that Norse mythology has inspired creators and artists around the world, and if the Icelandic manuscripts had not been preserved through the centuries, the Old Norse world would have been largely lost to us today. 

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