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Selfoss (Iceland)
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 63 ° 56 ′  N , 21 ° 0 ′  W Coordinates: 63 ° 56 ′  N , 21 ° 0 ′  W
Basic data
Country Iceland


local community Árborg
Residents 8068 (January 1, 2019)

Selfoss ( German "Hüttenwasserfall") is a town in the municipality of Árborg , which is located in the Suðurland region in southern Iceland.

With 8068 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019) Selfoss is the largest town in the municipality of Árborg and at the same time the largest city in South Iceland; the city is an important trading center.

Geography and location

Selfoss lies between Hveragerði and Hella on the Ölfusá river . About 3 km away is the Ingólfsfjall tabular volcano .

With its tourist infrastructure, Selfoss can serve as a starting point for excursions to other destinations in the south of Iceland, for example to Þingvellir or to Hekla .



Selfoss was an ordinary farm in the country. Its name is derived from the rapids that exist in the Ölfusá below the Selfosskirkja. They were called Selfoss.

Early years of the community

Until the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, there were only a few farms here.

When the first suspension bridge was built over the Ölfusá River near Selfoss in the summer of 1891, it was seen as an enormous improvement in traffic opportunities in southern Iceland and subsequently allowed the development of a settlement.

At the turn of the century, Tryggva Gunnarsson, who also initiated the construction of the bridge, built a restaurant and guest house on the bridge. This existed until 1975. In the 1920s a shop was added, but the village grew relatively slowly at the beginning.

Around 1930 the Mjólkurbrú Flóamanna dairy and Kaupfélag Árnesinga were added as important employers, and together with the slaughterhouse they remained the most important industrial companies on site for many decades. Over the years, more and more other and diverse companies in the fields of manufacturing, trade and services have joined them.

As early as the late 1940s, the small town of Laugadalur was supplied with hot water for heating and other uses.

Selfoss became its own administrative municipality on January 1, 1947, and the municipality was granted city rights on May 2, 1978.

Second World War

The British Army maintained an army headquarters in Selfoss during the war years until 1941.

In February 1941 there was an air raid by a German fighter plane in which three British soldiers were killed.

Earthquakes and floods

Since the city is located in a geologically very active area, where the south-western active volcanic zone intersects with the southern crevice zone, more violent earthquakes occur from time to time, which, however, has now been adjusted in terms of building technology.

In a strong earthquake in autumn 1896, the three farms that existed at the time were completely destroyed except for one house.

In June 2000, the hypocenter of the strong earthquake was under the mountain Hestfjall about 25 km away. There was damage to buildings, but people were not harmed.

On May 29, 2008, two almost simultaneous earthquakes measuring 6.1 and 6.3 on the Richter scale shook the region around Selfoss. One hypocenter was a little southwest of Selfoss, the other under Mount Ingólfsfjall . Buildings were damaged. People were injured, but there were no fatalities.

The Ölfusá River also tends to overflow its banks when the weather thaws. In 1930, 1948 and 1968 there were major floods in and around Selfoss.

New downtown

A new inner city with reconstructions of historical buildings from Selfoss, Reykjavík , Akureyri , Þingvellir and other places in Iceland is to be built from autumn 2018 .


On June 7th, 1998 the city of Selfoss ( Selfosskaupstaður ) lost its independence. Together with the rural communities of Eyrarbakki ( Eyrarbakkahreppur ), Sandvík ( Sandvíkurhreppur ) and Stokkseyri ( Stokkseyrarhreppur ), which were also independent until then , the urban municipality of Árborg was formed.

Selfoss belongs to the Icelandic constituency of Suðurkjördæmi .


The city of Selfoss is an important commercial center in the region. The dairy, founded in 1929, is the oldest and largest in the country. The major Chinese bus manufacturer Yutong has its European headquarters in Selfoss; this choice of location goes back to a Chinese-Icelandic joint venture.


Transport links and bridge

Today Selfoss is located directly on the most important traffic route in Iceland, the No. 1 ring road , which runs right through the city. To the north are the ( Biskupstungnabraut ) S35, to the southwest of the Eyrarbakkavegur S34 and (south) east of the Gaulverjabæjarvegur S33 .

Until 1890 there were no bridges over the numerous and often very water-rich and current-intensive rivers in South Iceland. These rivers had to be laboriously led, which severely hampered the traffic connections.

In 1890 the first suspension bridge was completed over the Ölfusá River near the city of Selfoss. For the reasons mentioned above, the bridge was viewed as a very special technical achievement. This bridge, the predecessor of today's, was not made for heavy cars. It collapsed in September 1944 under the weight of two milk trucks. In the following year, however, with the help of the American army, today's bridge was built, which was put into operation in 1945 and proved to be very resistant, as it even withstood two strong earthquakes and various floods.

Churches and schools

When Selfosskirkja was inaugurated in 1956, the seat of the (Evangelical Lutheran) pastor was moved from Hraungerði to Selfoss at the same time.

In Selfoss there are numerous kindergartens (isl. Leikskólar ), comprehensive schools, a music school and the largest secondary school in the south of Iceland, Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurland .


Selfoss has a sizeable library. A significant number of the books come from the possession of the pastor Séra Eiríkur J. Eiríksson, who was the overseer of the national park in ellingvellir and who bequeathed his own library to the town. The city library has existed in Safnahús since 1964, where the local history museum is also located.


As everywhere in Iceland, numerous sports are practiced and the city has had its own swimming pool since 1960. You can choose from horse riding, swimming, handball, soccer, athletics, taekwondo , judo , golf, motocross driving and many more.

The Ungmennafélag looks after a large part of the sports clubs .

There is also a special club that looks after disabled sports.


Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer , who died on January 17th, 2008, is buried in the Laugardælakirkja cemetery near Selfoss. Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson , Icelandic Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture from 2013 to 2016 and Prime Minister of Iceland from April 2016 to January 2017, was born in Selfoss, as was the MP and former Environment Minister (2009-2013) Svandís Svavarsdóttir and the Icelandic national football player and participant in the European Championship Jón Daði Böðvarsson .

Population development

Due to its proximity to the capital Reykjavík and a corresponding economic boom, Selfoss recorded an unusually large population increase between 1997 and 2008, which is particularly noticeable between 2005 and 2006 (approx. 9% increase in one year). Since 2009 the number of inhabitants has decreased somewhat.

date Residents
July 1, 1997 4,261
July 1, 1998 4,350
July 1, 1999 4,397
July 1, 2000 4,580
July 1, 2001 4,693
July 1, 2002 4,870
July 1, 2003 4,989
July 1, 2004 5,159
July 1, 2005 5,457
July 1, 2006 5,922
July 1, 2007 6.139
July 1, 2008 6,476
July 1, 2009 6,580
July 1, 2010 6,503

See also

Selfoss with Ingólfsfjall in the background

Web links

Commons : Selfoss  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c cf. Íslandshandbókin. Náttúra, saga og sérkenni. 2. bindi. Edited by T. Einarsson, H. Magnússon. Örn og Örlygur, Reykjavík 1989, 819.
  2. a b c d Íslandshandbókin. Náttúra, saga og sérkenni. 2. bindi. Edited by T. Einarsson, H. Magnússon. Örn og Örlygur, Reykjavík 1989, 821.
  3. Veðurstofa Íslands (English); Accessed July 16, 2011
  4. Veðurstofa Íslands (English); Accessed July 16, 2011
  5. cf. Veðurstofa Íslands (English); Accessed July 16, 2011
  6. Fréttablaðið (Icelandic); Accessed August 19, 2018
  7. Miðbær Selfoss (Icelandic); Accessed August 19, 2018
  8. Íslandshandbókin. Náttúra, saga og sérkenni. 2. bindi. Edited by T. Einarsson, H. Magnússon. Örn og Örlygur, Reykjavík 1989, 820
  9. Íslandshandbókin. Náttúra, saga og sérkenni. 2. bindi. Edited by T. Einarsson, H. Magnússon. Örn og Örlygur, Reykjavík 1989, 820f.
  10. Website of the municipality of Árborg on the school system (Icelandic); Accessed July 16, 2011
  11. cf. Website of the municipality of Árborg (Icelandic ); Access. July 16, 2011
  12. cf. Íþóttafélagið Suðri (Icelandic); Accessed July 16, 2011
  13. % F6rnum + 1997% 2D2010 +++++++++% 26path = .. / Database / mannfjoldi / Byggdakjarnar /% 26lang = 3% 26units = Fj% F6ldi Hagstofa Íslands (Icelandic Statistical Office) (Icelandic); Accessed July 16, 2011