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Icelander Flag

Iceland Flag:
Flag of Iceland

The flag of Iceland was officially adopted on June 19, 1915.

The cross design is modeled after the Danish flag. The color red is said to symbolize the island's active volcanoes; white the ice and snow that covers most of the country, and blue is symbolic of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.

Larger Iceland flag


Iceland Coat of Arms:
Flag of Iceland

Iceland's coat of arms consists of the four protectors of Iceland (the bull, the eagle, the dragon, and the rock giant) holding onto a blue shield similar to the Icelandic flag.


Icelandic Anthem:

  • Anthem Title: Lofsöngur (Hymn) or also known by its alternate title, Ó Guð vors lands (O, God of Our Land)
  • Composer: Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson
  • Lyricist: Matthías Jochumsson
  • Year of Completion: 1874
  • Date of First Performance: August 2nd, 1874
  • Date of Adoption: 1944

The national anthem of Iceland is Lofsöngur (Hymn). It has the alternate title of Ó Guð vors lands (O, God of Our Land). Only the first stanza of the anthem is usually sung, but it was written and composed with three stanzas. Prior to officially adopting Ó Guð vors lands as a national anthem, Icelanders would often sing Eldgamla Ísafold by Bjarni Thorarensen instead. However, Eldgamla Ísafold was set to the tune of Britain's national anthem and had lyrics that were anti-Danish. When sovereignty in Iceland was proclaimed in 1918, Ó Guð vors lands was played as the national anthem.

It was originally written for the commemoration of the 1000th year of Iceland's first settlers, the Norse. By decree of the Bishop of Iceland, all masses during the nationwide celebrations should have sermons from Psalm 90, verses l-4 and 12-17. The text from the verses inspired Rev. Matthías Jochumsson to write the lyrics to the anthem while he was spending the winter of 1873-1874 in Britain. He then travelled to Scotland to meet with Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson, the first native Icelander to have a career in music.


The song's music was partly composed in 15 London Street in Edinburgh, Scotland as Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson was living and working there at the time. To commemorate this, a memorial plaque is placed outside the house on London Street.

The anthem's first performance was on August 2nd, 1874 at the Reykjavík Cathedral. King Christian IX of Denmark was present during the event, being the first ruling monarch to ever set foot in the country. It was also during this time that he presented Iceland with a constitution that changed their legal status as a country, something that was vocal in helping the country regain its independence.

Lyrics:

Lofsöngur (Icelandic)

Ó, guð vors lands! Ó, lands vors guð!

Vér lofum þitt heilaga, heilaga nafn!

Úr sólkerfum himnanna hnýta þér krans

þínir herskarar, tímanna safn.

Fyrir þér er einn dagur sem þúsund ár,

og þúsund ár dagur, ei meir;

eitt eilífðar smáblóm með titrandi tár,

sem tilbiður guð sinn og deyr.

Íslands þúsund ár,

Íslands þúsund ár!

eitt eilífðar smáblóm með titrandi tár,

sem tilbiður guð sinn og deyr.


Translated Lyrics:

Hymn

Oh, God of our country! Oh, our country's God!

We worship Thy name in its wonder sublime.

The suns of the heavens are set in Thy crown

By Thy legions, the ages of time!

With Thee is each day as a thousand years,

Each thousand of years, but a day,

Eternity's flow'r, with its homage of tears,

That reverently passes away.

Iceland's thousand years,

Iceland's thousand years!

Eternity's flow'r, with its homage of tears,

That reverently passes away.

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This page was last modified on July 14, 2016.