Time Capsule: Höfði - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Time Capsule: Höfði

Time Capsule: Höfði

Published September 21, 2017

Jenna Mohammed
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Politicians and ghosts make for a terrifying combination. The Höfði House is Reykjavík’s most famous and haunted residence. Built in 1909, Höfði sits on the waterfront just off Borgartún. Inspired by Nordic Art Nouveau, it was constructed in Norway and shipped to Iceland, similar to most wooden buildings built during this era.

Höfði has a haunting history. It was sold to a judge and poet, Einar Benediktsson, who claimed it was haunted by the ghost of a young woman. The ghost was that of Sólborg Jónsdottir, who poisoned herself after Einar’s verdict on a notorious assault case. At Höfði House, she would apparently appear to him at night. Subsequent owners also claimed to be disturbed after dark.

Flash forward to 1986, and the eyes of the world turned to Höfði when it was used for a meeting between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. They discussed negotiations on military control and disarmament. It was a sensitive and pivotal time in history, and Höfði has come to represent Iceland’s diplomacy, and the start of the demise of the Cold War.

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev reported seeing the ghost of Sólberg, the whereabouts of which is currently unknown.

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