The house of the nation, Alþingishúsið II

Alþingishúsið was inaugurated during the assembly ceremony on July 1, 1881, and the first governor from 1873 to 1882, Hilmar Finsen (1824-1886), gave an inauguration speech after Mass in the Cathedral. After Hilmar retired as head of state a year later, he became mayor of Iceland’s capital, Copenhagen, until his death. In the speech he says; ” …and there it now stands the most beautiful and safest house that has ever been built in Iceland, to the pride of the country and it’s people… and that the Icelandic Parliament in cooperation with the administration had the will and ability to carry out such a beautiful and magnificent work.” But Alþinghúsið is somewhat reminiscent, although smaller in size, of the Medici-Riccardi palace in Florence, built in 1444, with its roughly hewn stone, arched window arrangements and projecting roof edge. After all, nothing was spared, the walls of Alþingishúsið are 80 cm thick at the bottom, and the cavity in between is filled with lime, sand and cement. At the top, they are about half as thin. After a few days, this remarkable house has served the nation well, for 132 years, with three Governors, and 33 Prime Ministers during this time.

Alþingishúsið on the far left, seen from Tjörnin in the December light

Former members of Parliament can be seen decorating the halls

One of The Parliaments many meeting rooms

Dining room for employees and members of the Parliament in the new extension, Skálan built in 2002

Here is probably one of the most important halls of the Alþingishúsið, next to the Parliament hall. Here people reconcile and face each other, before speeches and votes

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson
Reykjavík 19/12/ 2022 : A7RIV, A7C, A7R III : FE 1.2/50mm GM, FE 1.4/24mm GM, FE 1.8/14mm GM