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Basic data
State : IcelandIceland Iceland
Region: Vesturland
Constituency : Norðvesturkjördæmi
Sýsla : Snæfells- og Hnappadalssýsla
Population: 1201 (January 1, 2019)
Surface: 10 km²
Population density: 120.1 inhabitants / km²
Post Code: 340
Community number 3711
Mayor: Jakob Björgvin Jakobsson
Address of the municipal administration: Ráðhúsinu
Hafnargötu 3
340 Stykkishólmi
Location of Stykkishólmur

Coordinates: 65 ° 4 ′  N , 22 ° 44 ′  W

Stykkishólmur harbor
The Stykkið archipelago with boats, behind the island of Súgandisey with its lighthouse
The new church
Monument to the weather observation station
In the water museum

The municipality of Stykkishólmur [ ˈstɪhcɪsˌhoulmʏr ] (Icelandic Stykkishólmsbær ) is located in western Iceland in the Vesturland region on the north side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula .

On January 1, 2019, the community had 1,201 inhabitants, making it one of the larger towns outside of the capital region around Reykjavík by Icelandic standards . Until 1892 the municipality belonged to the municipality of Helgafellssveit . Market rights (isl. Kaupstaðurréttindi ) were granted to the place in 1987.


The town owes its name to the Stykkið archipelago, which is largely built into the harbor wall .


Stykkishólmur is located on the southern Breiðafjörður on the Þorsnes peninsula and is therefore the starting point for the Baldur ferry if you want to go to the Westfjords (it docks in Brjánslækur ) or to the small island of Flatey .


The main economic drivers today are fishing (not least haddock and crabs) and tourism.


The beginnings

The favorable location was recognized early on and therefore a trading center was established here in 1550, initially by German merchants from Bremen and Oldenburg .

The place is particularly suitable for the construction of a harbor, as the small island of Súgandisey with its lava pillars protects the entrance, which was used early on for the mooring of boats. There is evidence of a dispute from 1596 between the Hanseatic merchant Carsten Bache from Bremen and Johann, the Count of Oldenburg , because the Danish King Frederik III. allegedly sold the trading rights of the area to both of them.

After the Danish king had introduced a trade monopoly for his compatriots in 1602 , the Danes, d. H. actually the merchants from Malmö , which was Danish at the time. At the time, the country was divided into areas, each of which belonged to a trading center. And the local area included the entire Breiðafjörður , a rich district at that time because of the additional income from the use of the eiderdown , from fishing and hunting. In addition there was the northern coast from Snæfellsnes over the district Dalir to Þorskafjörður in the southern Westfjords and the area of ​​the Berserkjahraun . From the beginning of the 18th century, trading here was under the direct control of the Danish king.

When the monopoly trade was abolished at the end of the 18th century, the last royal trade representative, Diðrik Hölter , initially took over the trade himself, only to sell the rights to Ólafur Thorlacius , a merchant from Bíldudalur, soon after in 1806 .

In addition, the Icelander Jón Kolbeinsson (1764-1836) settled as a merchant in Stykkishólmur. This stood z. B. in business relationships with Jörundur , the dog day king of Iceland.

The place grew rapidly in the 19th century. B. Jakobsen founded a pharmacy in 1838, which was only the third in Iceland.

The first fishing boats were owned by the rich merchant Árni Thorlacius (1802-1891), who sent his people from here to fish until 1845, and who also had a decisive influence on the town with his shops and culture.

Then there was a pause in fishing until Niels Gram started a fishing company in 1890 . Hjálmur Sigurðsson (1871-1918) also founded a trading company that was later taken over by the Kaupfélag . By the way, he was married to the sister of the famous Icelandic writer Gunnar Gunnarsson .

20th century

The most important man in the area was Sæmundur Halldórsson (1861–1940) at the beginning of the 20th century . He had a five-ship fishing business and dominated the fish trade in western Iceland. He was also the district administrator (isl. Sýslumaður ) of the area.

At the beginning of the 20th century (1909) the port was also expanded, using the Stykkið archipelago as a basis.

The first car came to Stykkishólmur in 1928, exactly 24 years after a wealthy businessman from Reykjavík imported the first car to Iceland. In the same year the first plane landed in Stykkishólmur.

Franciscan nuns from the Netherlands founded a monastery and hospital on site in the 1930s, and a kindergarten followed later. Nowadays, besides fishing, the largest employer is the Catholic nunnery, which currently houses 9 sisters who mainly work in hospitals.

Buildings, culture and sights

The place has many preserved historic houses.

The local history museum is located in the oldest house in the village, Norska Húsið . Árni Thorlacius had the house built in the 19th century. A typical old Danish trading house is Frúarhúsið . Some old houses correspond to the so-called Swiss style with carvings on the roof beams.

The old church dates from 1878. Before that, people had to ride or walk to Helgafell to attend mass . The new concrete church can be seen from afar because of its striking shape. It was designed by the architect Jón Haraldsson (1930–1989) and inaugurated in 1990.

Weather station

The weather station in Stykkishólmur is quite old by local standards. The above-mentioned Árni Thorlacius began regular weather observations here in 1845 as one of the first in Iceland.

Today there is a computer-controlled observation station here.

Water museum

The American artist Roni Horn founded the Water Museum here , in which she set up columns with the water from all of Iceland's major glaciers and explanations about them.


On the island of Súgandisey, which is now connected to the mainland by a dam, there is a small red lighthouse from 1948, which can be reached from the port via a staircase.


Town twinning

Stykkishólmur combines a city partnership with the Danish town of Kolding . Because one feels connected to the Danes because of the history of the trading post , a Danish festival is held every year in August ( Danskir ​​dagar ). According to the old custom, only Danish is spoken in the village on Sundays (officially).

There are also town partnerships with the following locations:

Daughters and sons of the city

Population development

In Stykkishólmur you can also see a decrease in the number of inhabitants, albeit only a slight one, as in many rural communities in Iceland ( rural exodus ).

date Residents
Dec. 1, 1981 1,233
Dec. 1, 1988 1,253
Dec 1, 1997 1,263
Dec. 1, 2003 1,161
Dec 1, 2006 1,149
Dec. 1, 2007 1.107
Dec 1, 2008 1.101

See also

Web links

Commons : Stykkishólmur  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Stykkishólmur  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Stykkishólmur weather station