Scan Magazine | Issue 77 | June 2015

Page 41

5_ScanMag_77_June_2015_Text_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 05/06/2015 16:47 Page 41

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Icelandic Culture Delights

Revisit the heart of the herring industry The Herring Era Museum is an award-winning homage to the history of Iceland’s once prosperous herring industry. Be sure to add the charming northern town of Siglufjörður to your itinerary to catch all the museum’s festivities this summer. By Stephanie Lovell Photo: Fiann Paul

From the early 1900s to the late 1960s, the herring industry was booming in Iceland. Herring accounted for 25 per cent of the country’s total export earnings, with countries like Denmark, Germany and Russia seemingly unable to eat their fill. Yet in 1969, the industry was suddenly wiped out when herring was no longer to be found in the northernmost seas. The Herring Era Museum commemorates this important chapter of the nation’s history. Relive the time when Siglufjörður was a thriving herring village through five exhibitions housed in Róaldsbrakki, a restored salting station. There are also exhibitions at Grána, a 1950s fish oil and meal factory, the Boathouse where 11 boats and ships lie at dock and in Njarðarskemma, which tells the town’s history of hydro-electric power and a 1930s slipway.

July is always an exciting time for the museum with the town’s folk music festival taking place at the beginning of the month. What’s more, there are performances every Saturday on the deck of Róaldsbrakki, with local 'herring girls' demonstrating how to salt herring. Once their work is done, they’ll sing songs with an accordion and invite visitors to dance with them along the dock. Just an hour’s drive from Akureyri and open every day, this shining example of a heritage museum is not to be missed. “The Herring Era Museum is the largest maritime and industrial museum in the country,” says Anita Elefsen, curator. “It is also the only Icelandic museum to have won an international award, which is testament to its great value and relevance today.”

Unforgettable experiences at the two Icelandic themed villages Ever wanted to drink mead with a Viking or fall asleep to the sounds of the sea? All this and more is possible at the two themed villages in Hafnarfjördur, just ten minutes’ drive from Reykjavik city centre. A visit to either Viking Village or Fisherman’s Village will be an unforgettable experience of fun for the whole family.

Photo: Sigurður Ægisson

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Just 10 minutes away, Fisherman’s Village stands on a historic spit of land, which up until 1860 was one of the biggest fisheries in the country. Everything in the guesthouse and restaurant has been kept in the charming style of those times. “You get as close to nature as it is possible to be, with the sea just three metres away from you,” says Bjarnason. “You can see lots of birdlife and sometimes even seals and whales swimming nearby.”

By Stephanie Lovell | Photos: Viking Village

Comprising a hotel and restaurant like no other, Viking Village transports you back to the Viking Age. As a hotel guest, you’ll live like a Viking, but with all the 21st-century luxuries you’re used to, including free parking and WiFi, as well as a hot pot and sauna. “There really is no place like the Viking Village restaurant. We serve genuine Icelandic food, but

there are also European-style options for those who can’t stomach sheep’s head, shark and dried fish,” says Jóhannes Vidar Bjarnason, owner. “Most evenings there is live music provided by real-life Vikings. Groups can arrange to be ‘kidnapped’ from their coach as they arrive, after which they’ll be brought to a cave for some mead and a singsong. It’s a great start to the evening.”

The 20th annual Viking Festival will be held in Hafnarfjördur this June. Three hundred Vikings from all over Europe are expected to gather together for what promise to be festivities you really mustn’t miss.

For more information, please visit:

Issue 77 | June 2015 | 41

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