Iceland Symbolized in Clothes

The Icelandic National Costume holds great significance in the minds of most Icelanders. Every  independence day (June 17th) an Icelandic actress is chosen to represent the Fjallkona (the lady of the mountains) who  symbolizes Iceland as a whole.The Fjallkona appears in full traditional garb; the splendid Skautbúningur, complete with elaborate embroidery, belt of linked silver, silver brooch and a high white headdress.

21FRI37FRI41FRI46FRI46FRIIndependence garb
56FRI54FRI54FRIThe origin of the Icelandic costume is unclear as historical evidence is scarce before the 16th century. But from the 16th and 17th century evidence is more readily available from paintings and manuscripts. Interest in the traditional costume grew considerably in the 19th century when Iceland’s campaign for independence from Danish rule gained momentum. The costume proved a useful tool for a nation with a growing sense of national identity and became a symbolic icon for Iceland’s spirit.fors5

History preserved
In order to preserve knowledge of the Icelandic traditional costume and the making of such a costume the Ministry of Education and Culture established a National Costume Board in 2001. Said board has since collected and  supported extensive research on the Icelandic traditional costume. Throughout its history the national costume has developed and adjusted to different fashion landscapes and now has several variations, including: Peysuföt, Upphlutur, Kyrtill, Skautbúningur and Faldbúningur.

You can catch a glimpse of the Icelandic National Costume at Árbæjarsafn.

Further information at