National Archives of Iceland

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The National Archives of Iceland (Icelandic: Þjóðskjalasafn Íslands) is the national archive of Iceland, located in Reykjavík. Founded in April 1882 by the Danish appointed governor (landshøvding) of Iceland, Hilmar Finsen. The National Archives of Iceland (NAI) drew its material mainly from governmental archives. At first, it was located in the attic of the Reykjavík Cathedral. The National Library of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland had been moved from the loft of the Cathedral to the new Parliament Building (Alþingishús), and the governor took this opportunity to use the Cathedral loft for the new archives, so bringing together the archive materials that had accumulated in various government departments and providing them with better facilities for preservation. The archives have moved to new premises three times since: first to the Alþingishús in 1900, then to the new Archives and Library building on Hverfisgata (Safnahúsið) in 1908 and finally to their present location at Laugavegur 162 in 1987-98.[1]

Over the past 130 years both the size and the facilities of the archives have increased immensely. Initially there was no special staff, the various departments was simply in charge of their own materials on the Cathedral loft without any coordination. The first national archivist was Jón Þorkelsson, who was appointed in 1900. The present staff numbers over 25 people, and the materials, comprising sources on Icelandic history from the era of the sagas in the 12th century to the present day, now occupy more than 40,000 metres of shelf space. These materials play a key role in historical research, as records of the rights and duties of individuals and society throughout the history of Iceland.

National Archivists[edit]

# National Archivist Took office Left office Tenure length
1 Jón Þorkelsson 1900 1924 23–24 years
2 Hannes Þorsteinsson 1924 1935 10–11 years
3 Barði Guðmundsson 1935 1957 21–22 years
4 Stefán Pétursson 1957 1968 10–11 years
5 Bjarni Vilhjálmsson 1968 1984 15–16 years
6 Ólafur Ásgeirsson 1984 2012 27–28 years
7 Eiríkur G. Guðmundsson 2012 Incumbent 4–5 years


  1. ^ "The National Archives of Iceland". Retrieved 17 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 64°08′32″N 21°54′24″W / 64.1423°N 21.9066°W / 64.1423; -21.9066