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Today is Iceland’s National Day

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Today is Iceland’s National Day

june 17

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Today is June 17, Iceland’s National Day. On this day in 1944, the Republic of Iceland was established as Iceland became independent from Denmark. This is the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), the leader of Iceland’s independence movement. His statue is located on Austurvöllur square, facing Alþingishúsið, the Icelandic parliament building.

The day is celebrated throughout the country with parades, led by marching bands. Politicians and other prominent people address the public in town and city squares.

Traditionally, a woman dressed as fjallkonan (the lady of the mountain) addresses the gathering and reads a poem. Representing Icelandic nature, culture and history, she is dressed in skautbúningur, the most festive national costume.

The celebrations in Reykjavík today will be downtown, near the pond. Streets in the area will be closed to motorized traffic from 10 am to 7 pm. A parade leaves from the corner of Barónstígur and Laugavegur at 1 pm and ends in Hljómskálagarður park.

There will be family entertainment in the park, starting at 2 pm, where numerous musicians perform. You can view the schedule here.

Festivities in Akureyri, North Iceland can be looked up here. Traditionally, students graduate from Menntaskólinn á Akureyri junior college on June 17 and parade through the town.

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