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Alþingi election set for October 29

Photo: Stefan Jonasson



Icelanders will go to the polls on October 29, 2016, to elect a new parliament. The election was announced in Alþingi by Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, who read the President of Iceland’s letter dissolving the assembly and setting the date for a general election. The election is being held six months earlier than necessary, owing to a controversy that forced the reorganization of the coalition government this past spring.
Alþingi is composed of 63 members, 54 of whom are elected from six multi-member constituencies (kjördæmi), ranging is size from seven to eleven seats, while there are an additional nine equalization seats to help ensure roughly proportional representation among the parties. Three of the six constituencies are located in the Greater Reykjavík area, while the remaining three constituencies cover the remainder of the country. ...


The mists and myths of Snæfellsjökull

Dr. Ástráður Eysteinsson delivers his first Beck Lecture

Photo courtesy of W.D. Valgardson


Author: W.D. Valgardson, Victoria, BC

On September 18, Dr. Ástráður Eysteinsson was introduced as the current Beck Lecturer by Dr. Helga Thorson at the University of Victoria. She explained before the actual introduction that, since 1988, more than eighty lecturers had come to Victoria to speak on Icelandic subjects. Such speakers usually came for four days and, during that time, gave three lectures. With Dr. Eysteinsson’s agreeing to teach a course, “Island Literature,” under Special Topics in Scandinavian Studies, there is going to be a shift in approach with speakers being asked to teach for a term as well as give the usual three public lectures.
Dr. Eysteinsson has brought his wife and family with him and they have rented a house close to the university. They have decided to stay for an entire year. In the past, many other organizations have asked if speakers for The Richard and Margaret Beck Lectures can travel to speak to their clubs. Because of the short timeframe, this usually has been impossible. With speakers staying longer, it is much more likely that Beck Lecturers will be able to give lectures in other parts of Canada. ...


Cousins Galore!

Laugardalsætt North America Society makes first official visit to Iceland

Photo courtesy of Gudrun Gail Helgason


Author: Gudrun Gail Helgason, Laugardalsætt North America Society

More than 250 years have passed since Þorleifur Guðmundsson and Katrín Eyjólfsdóttir were born in Iceland. The couple lived at a farm called Böðmóðsstaðir in Laugardalur, in southern Iceland, and they had five children: Eyjólfur, Dýrfinna, Guðmundur, Guðrún, and Erlendur.
Flash forward to today: about 12,000 descendants of those children have been accounted for, many living in North America.
Last July, 29 descendants and their spouses from Canada and the United States travelled together in Iceland to explore their common Icelandic roots. The trip, from July 17 to 29, marked the first tour to Iceland by the Laugardalsætt North America Society, which consists of North American descendants of Katrín (1758-1815) and Þorleifur (1763-1833). Descendants travelled from as far away as Vancouver, BC, and Washington, DC, to participate in the inaugural tour. ...




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