Citizens Propose Jail Be Converted To Bathhouse - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Citizens Propose Jail Be Converted To Bathhouse

Published June 3, 2016

Photos by
Guðmundur D. Haraldsson/Wikimedia Commons

Reykjavík’s direct democracy website has seen one proposal take a decided upswing in popularity: converting the Hegningarhús jail on Skólavörðustígur into an east European-style bathhouse.

The proposal in question was submitted by a Reykjavík resident on Betri Reykjavík, the capital’s website for citizen proposals. Only newly introduced, the idea is still gathering considerable support.

“The Reykjavík Bathhouse would be a part of the heart of the city,” the proposal contends. “The old Hegningarhús changed into a bathhouse of the eastern European variety. What were jail cells would become saunas. … The courtyard could be used for exercise in the winter and to get sun in the summer. It would also be possible to conduct meditation, yoga, and Muller exercises. The Reykjavík Bathhouse would offer a yearly health card for a fair price. A source of wellbeing for everyone, and an addition to swimming culture.”

Close to a hundred people have voted for the proposal, with many offering supportive commentary.

Betri Reykjavík is an e-democracy website which was established in 2011 and accepts proposals from city residents. Proposals are voted “up” or “down” by other city residents. The city, in turn, chooses 16 proposals per month for serious consideration.

The site has been used to submit such proposals as changing the name of a city street to Darth Vader, which was ultimately successful.

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