Museums & Galleries
For such a small city, Reykjavík abounds with museums. You can discover a quirky, young artist at the Living Art Museum, get a feel for Iceland’s outlandish national costumes at the National Museum, and finish up the day with a lesson on how to properly milk an Icelandic cow at Árbæjarsafn.
Designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, Reykjavik is the core of Iceland’s literary heritage and home to a treasure of literary works, both medieval and contemporary. It also boasts a wealth of talented poets and authors.
You’ll discover an array of museums and galleries open year-round, which vary from displays of national historic treasures and texts to small eclectic galleries exhibiting contemporary work by local artists. Reykjavík is also characterized by an unusually vibrant artistic community and has a number of prestigious museums and art galleries of which the Reykjavík Art Museum is the largest. It’s made up of three distinctive museum spaces: Hafnarhús (harbour house) located in an old warehouse down by the harbour, where the focus is on local and international contemporary art. Kjarvalsstadir, named after one of Iceland’s most beloved artists Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885 1972), always has works from its namesake’s collection on display. The Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum is in Laugardalur – his works are on display both inside and outside the building, which the artist designed and constructed largely by himself and was his former home. In recent years,
Reykjavik has become well known for its prolific music and performing arts scene – the city is a breeding ground for musical talent and hosts several highly active theatre companies. A striking new addition to the Icelandic and European cultural scene is Harpa, the Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre and recipient of the prestigious Mies Van der Rohe award for architecture. Harpa unites the most important classical music and performance venues in the country with an international conference centre. It offers a diverse range of performances from classical to contemporary, showcasing both local and international performers. Harpa is also home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and The Icelandic Opera.