Times Capsule: Hannesarholt - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Times Capsule: Hannesarholt

Published June 30, 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick

There’s nothing special about Hannesarholt, a 19th century building hidden in the heart of Reykjavík. At least, not from the outside. Inside, the house tells the story of Hannes Hafstein (1861-1922), a lawyer and prolific poet who was declared Iceland’s first Prime Minister in 1904.

Of course Iceland’s first Prime Minister was a poet. Built in 1915, Hannesarholt holds cultural significance as one of fifteen concrete buildings to replace old turf houses in the midst of a historical revolution. Fast forward 100 years. The interior has been tastefully restored to provide a safe haven for locals to “reclaim their roots, cultivate their sense of identity and remember who they are.” Every room is drenched in light. On the ground floor, a modern art exhibition sweeps the restaurant while upstairs, period features reflect a simpler time. Hannes’s original desk is surrounded by tactile velvet fabrics and shapely woodwork. On day release or seeking inspiration from the nation’s romantic poet? This is your place.

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