building was constructed from 1906 to 1908 and opened to the public in
was designed by a Danish architect, Johannes Magdahl Nielsen, but built
by Icelandic craftsmen.
The brainchild of Hannes Hafstein, the first Minister of
Icelandic Affairs under Home Rule, the building was intended
to house the National Library and the National Archives, but
due to lack of suitable premises, the National Museum and Natural History Museum were also temporarily housed there
from the beginning.
For several decades, the Culture House contained all of
Iceland’s principal national treasures.
The new name, “The Culture House”, reflects the building’s
new and independent role after the library, archives and museums were
moved to other premises.
Culture House contains exhibition halls, meeting rooms, a cafeteria and
Theme exhibitions are staged in halls on the first floor and in
Permanent exhibitions on cultural and historical topics are on
the second floor and in the space up to the floor above.
The meeting rooms, which are available for hire with all
necessary equipment and services, also house smaller exhibitions.
On the first floor are a shop, selling souvenirs, artwork and
books, and a cafeteria, open to exhibitions visitors and the general
The building has an elevator and priority is given to making its
activities accessible to everyone.