Iceland´s 100 years as a sovereign state

17.7.2018 — 16.12.2018

National Gallery of Iceland



17.7.2018 16.12.2018


Sigrún Alba Sigurðardóttir

Events and Educational Programme

Ragnheiður Vignisdóttir

Exhibition comittee and authors

Snædís Þorsteinsdóttir

Hrefna Björg Þorsteinsdóttir

Hólmfríður Ósmann Jónsdóttir


Ólafur Ingi Jónsson

In collaboration with

2018 marks the  100th anniversary of Iceland becoming a free and sovereign state. Iceland was governed by Denmark from the 14th century until 1918.

The dissolution of the union with Denmark was peaceful. On 1st December 1918, following an Icelandic plebiscite, the Act of Union between Iceland and Denmark took effect, and with it, the Kingdom of Iceland came into being. Although Icelanders had enjoyed a special status within the Kingdom of Denmark, not least on account of Iceland’s language and cultural heritage, it was not a foregone conclusion that Iceland would be able to stand alone as a sovereign state. During the first half of the 20th century, considerable emphasis was placed on strengthening the infrastructure of Icelandic society and advancing technological development in as many areas as possible.

Ásgrímur Jónsson 1876-1958

Morgun í Reykjavík, Hverfisgatan, 1912-1914


The exhibitionBlossomingis about Iceland’s 100 years as a sovereign state. The exhibition title references Halldór Laxness’s novelIndependent Peopleand, like that work, the exhibition explores a deep yearning for independence. The exhibition is also about how precious and fragile sovereignty is. During its hundred-year history, the sovereign state of Iceland has faced many adversities with regard to its economic and cultural independence, control over marine resources, nature conservation, and participation and responsibility in international cooperation. Just like a small and hardy flower, sovereignty needs nourishment, and that nourishment includes, amongst other things, exchanging views and sharing the world with other people.

Muggur 1891-1924

Kolaburður í Reykjavík, 1919


“Everything beings with a conversation, nothing starts without it.” These are the words of Icelandic writer Sigurður Pálsson in 2016. The exhibition Blossoming invites visitors to engage in a conversation with the past about the many-faceted nature of sovereignty.

Treasures of Icelandic Art

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