The cultural town of Siglufjörður

Siglufjörður, Iceland’s northernmost town, which stands by the 7 km long fjord of the same name, just west of Eyjafjörður in the middle of the northern part of Iceland, is a pretty remarkable town to visit. Siglufjörður is a true cultural town, summer and winter. There is, for example, the Herring Museum, one of the most prestigious museums in the country, and the only one that has received the European Museum Award. There is also Saga – Fotografica, a historical museum about Icelandic photography, founded ten years ago by Baldvin and Ingibjörg (BECO), who run the country’s largest photography store in Reykjavík. In the Alþýðuhúsið there is a studio and gallery of Aðalheiður S. Eysteinsdóttir, but she also runs Kompan for concerts, art workshops and parties. In the Town Hall on Siglufjörður, there is the Fjallabyggð Art Museum, which exhibits works by the nation’s main artists from the first half of the century, but in 1980, the couple Arngrímur and Bergþóra gave Siglfirður their collection of paintings, which at the time was considered one of the most diverse and sophisticated privately owned art collections in the country. Then there is the Þjóðlagasetur on Siglufjörður, in one of Siglufjörður’s oldest houses. There, Icelandic folk songs are presented in an accessible way, but Reverend Bjarni Þorsteinsson (1861-1938), priest and semi father of Siglufjörður, was responsible for collecting folk songs at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. In the first week of July, an international folk song festival is held in Siglufjörður. It’s artistic director is Gunnsteinn Ólafsson.

View from the harbor towards Siglufjörður, Hafnarhyrna in the background

The statue of Gústi Guðsmann at Aðalgatan inaugurated in 2018, by sculptor Ragnhildur Stefánsdóttir.

Today, Siglufjörður’s population is around 1,300, but at it’s height there were almost 4,000 inhabitants in the mid-1960s. At that time, Siglufjörður was the fourth most populated town in the country, and about 20% of Iceland’s export earnings came from this herring town.

 From the Herring Museum at Siglufjörður


Siglufjörður : 2018-2022 : A7R IV, A7R III RX1R II – FE 1.4/24mm GM, FE 1.2/50 GM, FE 1.8/135mm GM Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson