Thursday, November 25, 1999

November 1999


Being as Icelandic as it gets, I feel very strongly about The Icelandic Association of Chicago. Icelandic culture is unique and special and the people of Iceland are interesting (says who!). Now you might think I am just saying that since I am Icelandic and that I am being very patriotic. That is true I am patriotic but as we know many people who have discovered Iceland and Icelandic culture - come back for more. For example, the guests we have brought to the Þorrablót - they just loved it. They go on and on about the people, the food, the singing, and the dancing till we just say, "enough - stop it". I worked in the hospitality industry in Iceland for many years - running a summer hotel - I was always amazed at how fascinated the tourists were with the country and the culture. Iceland, of course, has its positives and negatives like any other country. The economy, for example, is very sensitive to changes in other parts of the world and inflation is a long known problem, which once again is on the rise. Living on the island is a continuos challenge with nature, but people have learned to live with the unpredictable as well as with high taxes and expensive goods and services. On the positive side we have: beautiful nature, natural and healthy food, second longest living nation in the world, a high standard of living, no unemployment, low crime rate and on and on. Icelanders in Chicago can do a lot more to keep in touch with the old country. Currently the Icelandic Association is more of a social club than anything else. That is fine as long as it is the only thing we want. Building up the association helps us do more to stay in touch with the old country and help our children stay in touch. When I say "stay in touch" I mean learning about the country and its culture, having fun with people of Icelandic heritage, and getting to know the people and the Sagas of this great little island we know as Iceland. Einar Steinsson President


After our meeting we went to the Museum of Science and Industry to decorate our Christmas tree. The Museum will start it's Christmas celebration on November 23rd. We encourage everyone to go and take a look at all the Christmas trees that have been decorated from around the world. It is a wonderful place to go with your family at this time of year.


On December 26th there will be a Christmas Party at the Norwegian church Minnekirken. There will be singing, walking around the tree, food to eat and a visit from Santa Claus. We do hope you come join us with your family for this very festive occasion. Minnekirken is located at 2614 N. Kedzie Blvd in Chicago. Their phone number is 773-252-7335. Please give them a call if you have any questions.


On October 23rd we had our annual board meeting. We voted on the new board. Einar Steinsson was reelected President, Marc & Sonja Johnson are treasurers, Soley Runolfsdottir will be the secretary/editor and vice presidents are, Stella Solis, Siggi Birkis, Anna Kárdal, Binna Porter and Udine Johnson. We had mentioned in an earlier newsletter that we wanted to have an Icelandic Christmas party. We made the decision to join the Norwegian society at Minnekirken with their Christmas celebration. We also went over our financial books, which look fine. There has been a copy of the report included with this letter. We also discussed the Þorrablót for next year; we can never be too prepared. The date is February 26th, which is a Saturday. We are going to have it again at the Swedish Museum.


It's that time of year again when we start collecting the annual fees. We ask that you send them in the self-addressed envelopes that we include with this newsletter and also ask that you take 5 min of your time to fill out our little questioner. The fees are the same as last year, $25 for a family and $15 for individuals/students. Please send your fees to us before Dec. 15th.


As usual we want to ask you to keep an eye and ear out for any new members. We believe we have a great organization and it can only grow and get better, so please if you know anyone who would be interested please let them know about us and let them know how they can get a hold of us. Einar & Lena 773-489-4621 or at our WebPage


We in the Icelandic Society want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year on this most exciting time.

Check out Expenses and Revenues for 1999 HERE.

Sunday, April 25, 1999

April 1999


Was the Þorrablót a success? The short answer to that is yes, even though we did not sing and dance as much as last year. 60 grown-ups and about 10 children attended the Blót, which is an increase of 10 people from last year. We enjoyed having our ambassador and his wife with us and they were very happy with the visit to Chicago. We did not make profit from the Þorrablót this year, but neither did we loose money. You can see a detailed account of the Þorrablót elsewere in the newsletter. We can still do better and we have space for more people at the museum next year if we still want to go with the same place. New place would have to be inexpensive (Not over $300), we would have to be able to bring food and wine, and it has to hold at least 70 people for sit down dinner. Any suggestions?

What does the future bring? 10th of April we had a board meeting and this is the plan for the rest of the year:

1. Field trip to the Vice Council on the 30th of April to vote. Elections are on the 8th of May in Iceland.
2. 17th of June celebration on the 12th of June at Guðrún and Gunnar Thors’
3. Scandinavian Day in September
4. Cristmas Party in December

To participate in the 17th of June celebration you should call Guðrún or Gunnar at 847-842-0863 and let them know you are attending. For the Scandinavian Day we need help and if you are interested please give Lena or me a call at 773-489-4621. We also need some great ideas to make money. If the weather is nice this is a very good festival. Last year we had a great time and could have done a lot more if we had only planned more a head of time. For the Christmas Party we need to find a nice place that is inexpensive.

Many of the members receive the newsletter by email as an attachment file. If you have not informed us of your email address please do so by emailing Sóley,, or by calling her at 847-548-4527 Receiving the newsletter by email saves us printing, envelope, and postage costs, as well as the extra work. Remember to let her know what version of word you have.

Orri, Lena’s brother has finished the website and it looks great ( It has five categories: newsletters, information about the board and email addresses, pictures from the Þorrablót, links to Icelandic websides and "foreign" websides about Icelandic subjects, and finally a guestbook.

In short, we are doing fine and new members are joining the association every month. We like to know of any Icelanders, people of Icelandic heritage or friends of Iceland that might be interested in the Icelandic Association of Chicago. If you have any leads send us an email or call us.

Enjoy the spring

Einar Steinsson, President


We would like to thank the people that donated this year to the Association, they were

Siggi Birkis
Judith and William Woodruff
Rita Stefniz and Leifur Björsson
Binna and Bud Porter
Jóna and Joe McCarthy
G. N. Wiche
Jón Hofteig
Guðrún og Gunnar Thors


On July 30th to August 2nd there will be an Icelandic festival in Mountain, North Dakota. This year is the 100th year that they are having this festival. They are going to have a music group from Connecticut that calls themselves The Icelandic Trio, they will also have a carnival, a parade and a play that depicts the hearty life of the Icelandic pioneers who settled in ND in the 1800´s. There will be dignitaries both from the USA and Iceland and there is also a tour group planning to come from Iceland. If you want more information about the festival you can check them out at, their mailing address is, Icelandic Celebration, PO Box 063, Mountain, ND 58262 and their phone number is (701) 993-8268, fax number (701) 993-8261.


On March 13th, Ella Sveinsson turned 100 years old. She was born, Elinborg Olafson, in 1899 on Hekla Island in Manitoba Canada. Her parents were Icelandic immigrants to Canada in the middle 1800´s. Ella moved to Chicago in her early twenties after finishing school through 8th grade and spending some time in Winnipeg. She finally became a nurse in 1925 after training at Columbus Hospital. With the help of the sisters there she earned her high school diploma and her nurses degree, even though she did not speak English fluently. Ella met her husband during her nurses training and they married in 1927.

They had 2 sons in the 1930´s and purchased a small bungalow in Norwood Park Township.

Ella and Allen were a key part of the start of the Icelandic Association in Chicago in the 1930´s.

In the 1940´s they moved to Irving Park where Allen purchased a plumbing contracting business and Ella took over a greeting card store that she operated for almost 10 years. In the 1960´s they purchased a summer home in Ontario Canada and spent many wonderful summers there with family and friends.

Allen died in 1974 and for 20 years Ella lived independently until 1994 when she decided to move into the Norwood Park Home. There she enjoys visiting with her family, her 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, dining out and reminiscing about old times. We at the Icelandic association want to wish her a very Happy Birthday.


The year 2000 will mark the 1000 year anniversary of Christianity in Iceland. For that occasion Iceland is going to be having a big festival throughout the next 2 years. Events organized by the commission will consist of music, theater performances, historical exhibitions, TV films etc. Expectations are that approximately 120 to 140 events will be organized all around Iceland in connection with the Iceland 2000 Millennium of Christianity. It will all start on April 25th of this year, with the inaugural ceremony at Akureyri Church, and the festivities will last until Easter 2001. There are numerous activities planned through out the 2-year celebration. To name a few, an outdoor festival in Reykjavik on August 15th 1999, in mid March 2000 a premiere of an opera portraying the adoption of Christianity in Iceland in the year 1000, Millennium of Christianity Festival at Thingvellir on July 1st and 2nd 2000, the consecration of a replica stave church, a gift from Norway, in Westmann Island on July 30th 2000 and many other festivities. For more information you can go to their web site at,


On April 4th Stella and Miguel Solis had a little baby boy and he has been named Anton Isak Solis. We want to congratulate both of them.

This is why Iceland is considered a small country!!

1. The prime minister is in the phonebook
2. It is very likely that you will bump into president or the bishop at the pool.
3. The Icelandic hotdog with the works is not a known trademark in other countries
4. Our national hero is ranked 4th in the decathlon
5. The biggest game show in Iceland is a contest between young people who aren’t old enough to buy alcohol.
6. It is considered a victory if there is a tie in a national soccer game.
7. Scandals in the treasury involve fishing licenses.
8. If an Icelander falls in the slopes the whole nation is shocked.
9. When an Icelander is mentioned in foreign papers it is mentioned in the Icelandic papers as well.
10. You can not buy beer at 6 in the morning.
11. Shoplifters get the same press as murderers in other countries.
12. When a celebrity has a layover in Iceland it is headline news.
13. We pick up foreign refugees in a Fokker plane.
14. The president of the biggest shipping factory is a board member of the only domestic airline.
15. The headquarters of the biggest insurance company is 5 stories high.
16. People will stop and stare at a man with an Arabian headdress.
17. In Iceland there are more sheep than people.
18. In Iceland there are no Private detectives.
19. There are intermissions at the movies
20. The Prime Minister opened up the first McDonald’s in Iceland!!!


Thursday, March 25, 1999

March 1999

In May Icelanders will go to the polls to vote for whatever political party they belief will serve best their values and country. Icelanders in Chicago also have the right, opportunity and obligation to participate in the upcoming elections to Althingi. To do so one has to contact Iceland's vice counselor in Chicago, Aristotle P. Halikias, between March 25, and April 30. His Office is located at 15750 S. Harlem, Suite 28, Orland Park. The office is open Mondays to Fridays from 9-5. We suggest that those who are interested in voting contact Einar Steinsson (773 489 4621), and maybe we could go as a group on a Friday afternoon to Orland Park, and afterwards to a dinner.

Monday, January 25, 1999

January 1999


Dear fellow members.

Þorrablót is coming up and this time it should be a great one. I wrote the new ambassodor of Iceland, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson and his wife Bryndís Scram a letter last year and invited them to be our guests of honor at the Þorrablót. Much to my surprise, since these are very busy people, they accepted this offer and will be attending this year. The only problem is that the budget of the Embassy does not allow them to travel here on Icelands expens so we have to pay. The cost is not going to be enormus, but for a small association like ours it is going to cut into the budget. The flight and hotel will be $680.00 but hopefully because of this special occasion we will get more people to attend and maybe some donations from members.

What will we benefit from their visit? First of all, this will give us the chance to meet the ambassador and strengthen the relationship between the embassy and the Icelandic community in Chicago. Secondly, Jón Baldvin and Bryndís are known to be very interesting and cheerful people that are the joy of every party. Lastly, the association needs a boost in its memberships and attendees at the Þorrablót if it is going to become as strong as it was few years back.

At the Þorrablót Hörður(Bassi) will be singing and playing for us as he did so well last year (some members were dancing for the first time in their lives) and we will have Icelandic and American food together. The Blót starts with a cockteil like last year and hopefully Völli will be cutting sculpture in ice at the same time. Völli is the Icelandic chef that works at Charlie Trotter’s. After dinner we will dance the night away, and of course the raffle will be at its place.

I hope to see all of you there and please bring some friends and friends of Iceland.

Best wishes,
Einar Steinsson, President


The Þorrablót is going to be held on February 27th at the same place as last year, The Swedish American Museum on: 5211 North Clark, Chicago. Phone number 773-728-8111. The house will open at 6pm, cocktails will be upstairs 6:30 and then dinner, dance, singing, raffle and so on.

We have a special deal with a hotel in that area which is within walking distance of the museum. It is The Chicago Lodge on 920 West Foster; their number is 773-334-5600. Their nightly rate is $64 but for us they have lowered it to $52 for the night. All you have to do is call them, tell them you are with the Icelandic Association of Chicago and they will be happy to help you. We encourage everyone who can to take advantage of this to do so. Parking will be available at Clark and Foster and also on side streets and at the bank one block north of the museum, no permits will be needed.

As Einar pointed out our big news is that the Icelandic ambassador Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson and his wife Bryndís Scram have agreed to be guests of honor this year. They will be flying from Washington D.C. that same day. We are hoping to see as many of you as possible and by all means invite friends and family to come along, the more the merrier as the Icelanders say.


This year’s fee will be $45.00 for members in advance and $50.00 at the door. Please send checks to Einar Steinsson, 2212 N. Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 69647. Phone # 773.489.4621. email: We are also reminding those who still have not paid the membership fee ($25.00 or $15.00) to please send that at this time also. We will need both payments before Feb. 20th.


It seems like the volcanic activity on Vatnajökull has not said it’s last quite yet. In the beginning of December it started erupting again not too far away from where it erupted in 1996. This time however the water accumulation was not as great so there was no extensive flooding. It went on for a couple of weeks and was declared over just before the New Year. Even though the water wasn’t extensive the ash accumulation was a bit more and therefore the new peak stands higher than any peak around it.