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National Day celebrated across Iceland

18.06.2021 - 10:24
Skrúðganga á 17. júní.
 Mynd: RÚV - Skjáskot
National Day was celebrated yesterday in a largely normal manner—even though the assembly limit presented some challenges. There were, for example, no large concerts. The celebrations began with the president laying a wreath at the statue of Jón Sigurðsson on Austurvöllur, outside Alþingi, followed by speeches from the prime minister and Fjallkonan (the lady of the mountains).

The University of Iceland celebrated its 110th anniversary, and former president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir presented the university with gifts.

The University of Iceland is going to set up an exhibition about Vigdís’s time as president—the first democratically elected female head of state in the world—and Vigdís in turn gave the university the sword she was given when being made an honorary doctor of the University of Tampere in Finland. She said she hopes the exhibition will encourage and inspire young people. 

The biggest gatherings were at Hljómskálagarðurinn and Klambratún parks in Reykjavík, where food trucks and various entertainments were on offer, but there were other smaller events dotted around the city centre, and in neighbourhoods across the city. 

In Akureyri, people gathered for a parade and celebrations in the park and a flower-covered car drove the streets of the town. 

Another wall broken down

In Ísafjörður, this year’s Fjallkona was Veiga Grétarsdóttir, the trans woman who made headlines for kayaking around Iceland against the current. She says she fled Ísafjörður because of her own fears about being a queer person in a small community, but moved home again in 2016 and has found there is nowhere better to be a trans woman than Ísafjörður. It was a huge honour to be this year’s Fjallkona, she said. 

“There is good solidarity and I felt I was welcome. People received me well, were curious, and asked questions. I answered them. People praised me for the bravery of coming out and being myself.” 

Order of the Falcon

The President of Iceland awards the Order of the Falcon twice a year, at the New Year and on 17th June, and recognised the services and achievements of 14 people in this manner yesterday. The new members of the Order are: 

Dagný Kristjánsdóttir, former professor 

Edda Jónsdóttir, artist and curator  

Egill Eðvarðsson, director 

Felix Valsson, doctor 

Jón Kristinn Cortez, music teacher and choirmaster 

Lára Stefánsdóttir, headteacher 

Margrét Kristmannsdóttir, head of SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise 

Már Guðmundsson, economist and former governor of the central bank 

Ólafur Flóvenz, geophysicist and former head of energy research agency 

Ólafur Karl Nielsen, ornithologist and conservationist 

Páll Halldórsson, search & rescue pilot and soil reclamation expert 

Rakel Garðarsdóttir, CEO, environmentalist, and food waste campaigner 

Rósa Björg Jónsdóttir, librarian and coordinator of support for bilingual children 

Þorbjörg Helgadóttir, former dictionary editor 

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