National Day celebrated across Iceland
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