Árbær Open Air Museum

Reykjavík City Museum was founded in 2014 when The Settlement Exhibition, Reykjavik Maritime Museum, Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Viðey Island and Árbær Open Air Museum were combined into one museum.

Árbær was a traditional farm on a hill just east of Elliðaá River. Through the centuries, it was a resting place to and from the entire Seltjarnarnes Peninsula, including Reykjavík. The last inhabitants of Árbær left in 1948, and nine years later, the Reykjavík town council agreed to rebuild the farm. It was decided that a collection of culturally important houses would also get home there. There are over twenty buildings in the museum today, most of them from Reykjavík’s centre. The first house to be moved to Árbær Open Air Museum was Hansen’s House, named after merchant Símon Hansen, who built it at Pósthússtræti 15, just east of Reykjavík Cathedral in 1823. The house represents the oldest type of half-timbered House in Reykjavík. Many renowned people lived in the house, such as Jón Árnason, a collector of folklore, Sigurður Guðmundsson, Iceland’s first painter, and photographer Sigfús Eymundsson. Sigfús was a pioneer in photography in Iceland, a bookseller, and an enthusiastic seller of one-way trips to North America.

Icelandic Times visited the Árbær Open Air museum, a fun and lively museum. Guðbrandur Benediktsson is the director of Reykjavík City Museum.


Árbær Open Air Museum is popular among tourists

The one and only Árbær farm

Árbær and the church of Árbær Open Air Museum. Kópavogur can be seen in the distance.

It is not difficult to find your way around Árbær Open Air Museum.

Hansen’s House, the first house that was moved to the museum in 1960, was originally built at Pósthússtræti 15 in 1823.

Reykjavík 29/07/2022 : A7R III, RX1R II, A7C : FE 1.8/135mm GM, FE 1.4/24mm GM, 2.0/35mm Z

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson