iceland constitution

June 17th

Today is June 17th, Iceland’s national day! On this day Iceland celebrates becoming an independent republic in 1944, as well as establishing a constitution.  

The year 1830 is often considered to mark the beginning of the independence movement, after Iceland had been ruled by Norwegian and Danish monarchies since 1262. In Europe, revolutions happened left and right and Icelanders in Denmark were inspired by these ideas and took them back home to Iceland. One of those people was Jón Sigurðsson, a pastor’s son who went to Denmark to study grammar and history before later on becoming the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement. Iceland had been ruled by other countries for over 600 years by now, and the Icelandic language and culture were deemed inferior to Danish language and culture.

In 1851 there was held an international meeting in Reykjavík about Iceland’s position within the Danish state. The Icelandic representatives put forward demands for Iceland’s independence but the Danes denied their requests. Jón Sigurðsson and his men protested and the meeting was dissolved. In 1874 the Icelanders celebrated the 1000 anniversary of the colonisation of Iceland. On this occasion the Danish king gave Iceland its own constitution, something that gave Iceland more rights. 

The meeting in Reykjavik

In a referendum in May 1944 an overwhelming majority of Icelanders supported the unilateral abolition of the union act agreement and a new constitution of the republic of Iceland was formed. On 17th of June 1944, Iceland became a republic and the nation’s independence was officially completed. It was decided to establish the republic at a ceremony at Þingvellir on the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson. 

Icelandic people celebrate their national day a lot like Norwegians (maybe not that surprising, since Iceland was settled by Norwegian immigrants). They march together with waving flags all over the country, both in the biggest cities as well as in smaller places. It is mostly a day for children.

They also have marching bands and people singing patriotic songs.

People dress up in their folk costumes, Þjóðbúningurinn, and as you can see, they look very similar to the Norwegian ones.

But it is not only Icelandic independence that is celebrated. This day also focuses on Icelandic nature in a national romantic way.

The Icelandic national anthem:

Lofsöngur (Song of praise)

I wish everyone in Iceland a very happy and joyful independence day!

Til hamingju með daginn, Ísland!

And thank you so much to  @excitedchildren for helping me write this :)