Going 100 Years Back in Time

Flatey in Breiðafjörður was, for many centuries, a large farm and one of the leading trading places in Iceland. The English first came to trade in the second half of the 15th century. The German Hanseatic merchants ousted them in the sixteenth. They dominated the market for a whole century until the Danes established a monopoly in 1602. In fact, they let the Dutch take care of trade in Breiðafjörður for the next 150 years. The Dutch are made a lot of profit on the trade and commerce in Flatey. The island is 2 km long and 500 m wide, and 40 small islands and islets. Today it is unique to come to Flatey, but it is as if time stopped there a hundred years ago. The houses in the village have all been renovated in the same colourful style that was popular about 100 years ago. Daily sailings are to Flatey, from Stykkishólmur on Snæfellsnes and Brjánslækur on Barðaströnd. The island now has five inhabitants during the winter months, but in the summer, Flatey is very lively, with inhabitants in every house.

Rowing from Grýluvogur, the island Klofningur outside, and Oddbjarnasker in the distance.

The village in Flatey by Grýluvogur, just before midnight in July.

Flatey 29 & 30/07/2020 23:07 & 13:59 – A7R IV : FE 1.4/50mm ZA, FE 1.8/135mm GM

Photographs and text: Páll Stefánsson