Fifty five years of beauty

The other day, it had been 55 years since Norræna Húsið (The Nordic House) opened in Reykjavík. The Nordic House, the first collective cultural house of the Nordic countries, was designed by one of the leading architects in the world, architect from Finland Alvar Aalto (1898-1976). The house is located in Vatnsmýri, not far from the main building of the University of Iceland. The Nordic House is a unique cultural institution that is run by the Nordic Council of Ministers, and from the very beginning has marked its own unique place in Icelandic cultural life. The building has the largest library in the world, exclusively with Nordic literature, in languages from Greenland in the west, Finland in the east and Sami in the north, and then of course in all the other northern languages, Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. The building also has an excellent children’s library, a cafe, an exhibition hall (which was closed, a new exhibition is being set up) and a music and conference hall for meetings and events. Alvar didn’t just design the house, he also designed the interior, such as furniture, lamps and lights, even the bronze door handles. Many people think that the building, inside and out, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Iceland, but one thing is certain, what is done and has been done in the building, has been a lever for our cultural life, and introduced us even better to culture and human life of our friendly nations for more than half a century

The Nordic House, a little hard to photograph as it is being renovated

The view from the entrance of the Nordic House, looking towards the city center and Hallgrímskirkja can be seen on the right

The library

Thousands of books from the Nordic countries can be found in the library

Furniture and lights, designed by Alvar Aalto the designer of the building

The children’s library… a whole inspiring world for both children and adults

The exhibition Grímur in the foyer of the house, by the Norwegian artists Göran Ohldieck and Kjetil Berge

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson

Iceland 24/09/2023 : A7C, RX1R II : FE 1.8/20mm G, 2.0/35mm Z.