Gröndalshús – Gröndal‘s House

This charming red house was the home of Benedikt Gröndal (1826-1907), writer, illustrator,
translator and natural scientist. He lived there from 1988 until he passed away on August 2, 1907.
Gröndal was a productive author, a poet and prose writer whose autobiography is condidered one of
the classics of Icelandic literature. He translated Homer from the Greek and write textbooks that he
used as a teacher at Lærði skólinn in nearby Lækjargata, now MR.

Gröndal‘s House on the corner of Mjóstræti and Fischersund.

Benedikt Gröndal. Humpback whale. From his book Dýraríki Íslands (Animal Kingdom of Iceland).

Gröndal‘s love for nature was one of his strongest characteristics and this passion took form in innumerable images of native Icelandic birds, animals and flora. He could often be seen walking down to the seaside where he collected creatures that he brought back to his house. There he studied them in a microscope and used them as models for his beautiful drawings. Benedikt Gröndal was one of the founders of the Icelandic Natural History Society and its first director. “Books are people. Or, to put it another way, people‘s spirits live in them; through the authors be long-dead, they speak to us through the books.”

Benedikt Gröndal in his house in 1906. Photo: National Museum of Iceland.

Benedikt Gröndal by his house in 1896. Photo: National Museum of Iceland.

The house was originally located at Vesturgata 16b. Reykjavík City bought it for preservation because
of its historical importance and renovated it at its current location on the corner of Fischersund and
Mjóstræti. It was opened to the public in June 2017 and is now run as a culture house and writer
residency by the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature.

Reykjavík docks in 1899 with Gröndal‘s House in the distance. Photo: Reykjavík City Museum.

Benedikt Gröndal. Photo: National Museum of Iceland.

More information about the house and residency on the website