Iceland´s National Day June 17

Magazine Iceland´s National Day June 17

Every country has a national holiday, and in Iceland, we celebrate on June 17. Icelandic National Day observes the foundation of the Republic of Iceland, as well as our independence from Denmark. The date marks the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, the leader of the Icelandic independence movement during the 19th century.

Iceland became a colony of Denmark in 1523, and it would be a long time before we could reclaim our independent spirit. In 1944, when Denmark was under German occupation, Icelandic politicians took the opportunity to form a new republic. Our parliament (originally founded in 930 CE) was reinstated, and we’ve been celebrating ever since.

17 june Iceland National Day

All Icelanders get June 17 off, and if you’re in our country that day, you’re bound to see some merrymaking. Parades march through major towns, featuring equestrians, brass bands, and flag-bearing Scouts. Speeches are given afterward, including a poem read by “the Lady of the Mountain,” the personification of Iceland (similar to Lady Liberty in the US, or Britannia in the UK). After the formalities, it’s time to party! In the Reykjavik city centre, the streets take on a festive atmosphere, with circus performers, food vendors, free concerts, and activities for kids. Boat races and public dances are common occurrences, too. Local clubs often make an appearance, so don’t be surprised if you see blacksmiths mingling with amateur astronomers. If you want to get a real sense of Icelandic community, June 17 is the perfect time to visit.

Be on our guest list

Offers, news and other special treats


More in Magazine