Höfði House stands proudly by itself in front of the ocean, right in the middle of Reykjavík’s financial district. The house, built in 1909, is one of the most historically significant buildings in Reykjavík. It was originally built for French consul Jean-Paul Brillouin and has later been the residence of poet and businessman Einar Benediktsson.
It’s world famous, because it was the location of the 1986 Reykjavík Summit, a summit meeting of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, better known as the Reykjavík Summit. Even though the meeting was adjourned without agreement, this historical event eventually led to the end of the Cold War. During this meeting, images of the house were broadcast all over the world. A Japanese shrimp salesman, who often travelled to Iceland for business, even had an exact replica of the house built in his country. The sculpture in front of the house depicts pillars from the chieftain’s seat of the first Norwegian settler in Reykjavík.
Höfði still bears signs of its original purpose as house of the French consul. Examples are the letters R.F. (the abbreviation of République Française), the name of the consul, and the year of its construction above an interior door. Among renowned guests of Höfði House are celebrities and heads of state, among which the Queen of England, Winston Churchilll, and Marlene Dietrich. In addition, the house is believed to be occupied by a ghost, The White Lady, witnessed by a former British ambassador who once occupied the house. She caused so much distress that he persuaded the British Foreign Office to sell the house.
Höfði is owned by the City of Reykjavík and is used for official receptions and meetings. Even though it’s not open to the public, visitors are welcome to explore the house from the outside. We recommend taking a walk along the coast from Harpa Concert Hall, admiring the ocean view and statue Sólfarið (The Sun Voyager) along the way.