From Iceland — Resolution Found In Húsafell Tombstone House Mediation

Resolution Found In Húsafell Tombstone House Mediation

Published August 13, 2021

Desirai Thompson
Photo by

A resolution has been found in the debate over the status of the tombstone house in Húsafell after a controversy spanning five years.


A statement posted on his Facebook page told the story. The structure was built in 2016 by Páll Guðmundsson to house and preserve the 200-year old tombstones on his property built by his ancestors. His purpose was to preserve culture and history while allowing future generations to appreciate craftsmanship. Páll writes that great care was taken to ensure the building fit into the surrounding nature. It was built in collaboration with the Episcopal Office (Biskupsstofu), by architects Stefán Örn Stefánsson and Grétar Markússon.

The debate

Páll’s neighbour Sæmundur Ásgeirsson found the addition to be an eyesore as well as an intrusion onto his properly. He also levied claims regarding zoning issues. Sæmundur, who runs a guesthouse next door did not want to share a parking lot with the tombstone building, as it stood only 40 metres away.

Eventually, legal proceedings began to have the structure demolished. A lawsuit filed with the District Court of Vesturland ultimately ruled in favour of the neighbour and Páll was ordered to have the structure torn down by the end of August or face a daily fine of 40.000 ISK.

Since the verdict was handed down last week, a tense mediation has been ongoing.

A resolution for all

On August 12th, the day demolition was set to begin, a glimmer of hope arose. As Fréttablaðið reported, a reconciliation was finally reached between Biskupsstofu, Páll and the neighbor wherein the tombstone house will be allowed to stand.

Þórdís Sif Sigurðardóttir, mayor of Borgarbyggð, told Fréttablaðið she is happy a solution was reached in time.

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