On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Iceland’s sovereignty, Parliament will be open to the general public, where parts of the hallowed halls that only MPs normally see will be revealed to visitors.
RÚV reports that both parliamentary staff and even elected officials alike will be leading tours and talking with guests.
“People will be able to enter the main hall, the two anterooms by the hall, and the upper level of the old hall,” parliamentary office manager Helgi Bernódusson told reporters, adding that after being led through addition rooms, the tour will conclude in the cafeteria, where a special exhibition on Iceland’s sovereignty will be on display.
While many people know that Iceland gained full independence in 1944, Iceland actually went from being a Danish colony to a fully sovereign state in a union with the Danish crown on December 1, 1918, with the signing of the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union. This step was a crucial one in Iceland gaining full independence—even the flag that we recognise today was brought into practice at this time. However, the agreement was a temporary one, with the understanding that it would be up for review in 1940.
That proved to be portentous choice: the Nazis invaded Denmark that year, and ties between Denmark and Iceland were effectively severed. While Iceland chose neutrality, British forces would put a stop to that, occupying the country in May of that year. In December 1943, the agreement with Denmark expired, and Iceland made the move to become a fully independent republic about six months later.
Parliament will be open to the public from 13:30 to 18:00 on December 1, and admission will be free. Helgi says they are expecting “a few thousand” guests on that day.