From Iceland — The Oldest Icelander Celebrates 109th Birthday

The Oldest Icelander Celebrates 109th Birthday

Published July 7, 2021

Alina Maurer
Photo by
Screenshot: Kristinn Þeyr Magnússon / RÚV

Yesterday, the oldest Icelander turned 109 years old. Dóra Ólafsdóttir was born on July 6th 1912 in Kljáströnd in Grýtubakkahreppur, by Eyjafjörður. According to a RÚV interview, she is still clear-headed, reads and knits, and says she has never had the opportunity to give up. Only five other Icelanders have grown older than her.

Durable Dóra does it right

Dóra is still agile and easily strolls around her nursing home, even though she uses a walker. On Sunday she held a birthday party with family and friends in her nursing home. She happily reports, “It was absolutely brilliant. It did not stop until late, so it was fun to get together and talk.” 

Asking what the secret to her longevity is, Dóra replies she is just thankful for her good health. When asked whether she has smoked or drank in her younger years, she says, “I smoked a few cigarettes, didn’t drink that much, but I quit smoking quickly.” She admits the secret to a long life, “First of all, not drinking a lot and not smoking.”

Dóra is now the sixth oldest Icelander ever. Icelanders reaching her age before were all women and none of them reached the age of 110. Apart from that, she is also the ninth oldest Scandinavian. Eight women are older than her, all of them are 110 years old and are either Swedish or Finnish.

She is not too positive about the present time though, after having lived through the First World War, the Second World War, the Spanish Flu, and the last Katla eruption. Dóra states about the present, “I just don’t think people take it seriously enough. It’s just more about clothes and other things like that.”

Cheerful Dóra is not one to foresee her next birthday

Dóra doesn’t want to auger too much about her 110th birthday and philosophizes, “Man prophecies, God rules.” and adds despite still being cheerful and enjoying life, “I don’t mind getting much older now, but I also need to go see my husband.” Her husband already died in 2000.

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