Thursday, January 03, 2019

IAC Newsletter December 2018

From the President’s desk

Secret tapes in Iceland of members of the parliament – Alþingi up in arms.
If you have followed the news from Iceland you know the island is turned upside down. So is the parliament after news outlets published tapes of conversation between six of its members wheeling and dealing, drinking at a bar next door to Alþingi, during work hours. What shocked the nation is the vulgar, sexually explicit and inapproprate language they used calling out disabled, immigrants, women and fellow members of the parliament.  None of the MPs stepped down despite public outcry and demands thereof but two were fired from their party and two are taking an upaid leave.  Sad times indeed and it will take some time for Alþingi to rebuild its reputation and trust of the public.  Good luck Iceland.  
Christmas and New Year’s is a wonderful and special time to visit Iceland. Every house is lit with holiday lights which brighten up short December days. It’s a time to spend with loved ones, enjoy food and festivities, peace and tranquility, except perhaps for New Year’s Eve when the nation goes wild with fireworks. I hope you all get an opportunity to experience this first hand.
In this newsletter you will find information about Þorrablót 2019. You can pay membership and buy tickets on our webpage  I look forward to seeing many of you at Þorrablót in February. 
We also have news from our General Meeting and Christmas tree, which we will take down January 13th if you are interested in joining us.
Gleðileg Jól – Merry Christmas.
Einar Steinsson
From the Editor

In this Newsletter we have details on the upcoming Thorrablot 2019, the past 2018 The Greater Icelandic Open and the putting up the Christmas tree at The Museum of Science and Industry.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, whether you spend it in the Chicagoland area, somewhere warm, or you get to enjoy the Northern Lights in Iceland.

As always free to contact me at with original articles for the newsletter or suggestions on topics to cover.

Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass

Thorrablot 2019

ÞORRABLÓT 2019 – February 16, at 6 PM, The Swedish American Museum.

We are ready and open for business – Renew your membership and purchase tickets today.  We’re happy to keep prices the same as last year!

We’re excited to welcome back Bjössi Greifi (Count Bjössi) as our musical entertainer but some of you know Björn Grétar Sveinbjörnsson as a member of the famous and popular Icelandic band, Greifarnir (The Counts) and many more from our previous Þorrablót.  We’re also happy to celebrate at the Swedish American Museum and to have Master Chef Ari Hallgrímsson back and in charge of the food and on hand to answer all your questions about Icelandic traditions, old or new.  We’ll open the house at 6 PM with a welcome cocktail, homemade gravlax, double smoked leg of lamb, Brennivin, and rotten shark. On the dinner table you’ll find standards such as pickled rams’ testicles, sheared sheep heads, dried haddock, blood pudding, liver pudding, hangikjöt, rye and flat bread, and other delicacies you’ve been craving… For dessert we’ll have a traditional ‘Kaffihlaðborð’ with pönnukökur, kleinur, marengstertur, Siggi’s skyr, and other goodies prepared by members. We’ll treat you to the best Glacial water in the world BUT for other drinks, this is a BYOB event.

We’ll have our famous and ever popular raffle where you can win a ticket from Icelandair to the Old Country plus many more prizes, Icelandic music, design wool product, chocolates, art work, and more.

Þorrablót is a fun filled night a la Icelanders’ style where ´maðr er manns gaman´.  We look forward to see you all and sing and dance the night away.


The small print...

Ticket prices 2019
Members: $65
Guests: $80
70 and older: $55
11-17 and Students: $55
10 and younger: Free

The deadline to purchase tickets is February 7th. We will not sell tickets or accept payments at the door. We have sold out for the past several Þorrablót. You can click on the links below to pay membership fees and buy tickets or visit our webpage If you are unable to buy your tickets online, please mail your check to:

Erik Johnson
2220 W North Ave, Apt 3
Chicago, IL, 60647

Click here to pay membership fees ($20 for family; $10 for individuals and students), and fill out the census form

Click here to purchase Þorrablót tickets for members

 Click here to purchase Þorrablót tickets for non-members

The smaller print...

No refund of tickets after February 7th, as we will have committed to all expenses. If you mail in a check it must be postmarked by 2/7/19.. Out of respect to everyone please comply to deadlines.

The Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark Street

Designated parking lot for 14 cars, first come first served at the North East corner of Foster Ave and Ashland Ave. Street parking available.

Many thanks to all our sponsors. Please visit their websites

The Greater Icelandic Open 2018

We had our golf tournament Sunday September 23th for the 13th time in fantastic weather at one of our favorite golf courses, Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estate. The 2018 Greater Chicago Icelandic Open Champions are Kathy and David Mehl who also won Closest to the Pin prize.  Second place winners were Stephen Burn and Nik Rokop and Max Henley and Jim Sveinsson took the third place with.  Indeed, a close and exciting competition.  Paul Sorensen took the Longest Drive for men. Anna Kardal won the Longest Drive for women,  Hallgrímur Arason the Longest Putt. No one made a Hole in One but Hallgrimur Arason was the closest to the pin and  won the prize of $500 from Icelandair. Everyone enjoyed a fantastic time and I look forward to seeing all of you next year.  Until then, keep it in the short - Einar Steinsson.

Christmas Tree at MSI

The 2018 Christmas tree at the MSI was decorated at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) on November 4th by our fabulous volunteers with hand crafted decorations by Gudrun and Karl Jonsson. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, you have time until January 6th. Visit the MSI website for more info. We will be taking down the tree on January 13th. Contact Lena if you are interested in helping. 

IAC Newsletter May 2018

Breaking News
Our IAC president and Vice Consul, Einar Steinsson has been promoted to The Consul of Iceland in Chicago.  His office is on 625 North Michigan Ave, Chicago. Phone 312-642-5616 or email him at We congratulate Einar on this well deserved promotion!

From the President’s desk 

Gleðilegt Sumar
19th of April was ‘Sumardagurinn Fyrsti’ in Iceland or the first day of summer.  It did not feel as summer at that time in Iceland and even in Chicago we had the coldest April in 147 years.  It has completely turned around in May so we go from winter straight to summer, enjoy it.

We had an open board meeting May 5th at IKEA in Schaumburg. The meeting did go extremely well and many topics were covered, many of which you can read about elsewhere in this newsletter.  I still want to highlight that Pam and Óli Ólafsson offered to host 17th of June celebration at their house on the morning of the 16th in conjunction with Iceland playing Argentina in the World Cup. Details elsewhere and in an email to all members.

Enjoy Chicago summer and the Icelandic summer if you’re visiting.  I’m sure all of you know that we now have two Icelandic Airlines flying directly to Iceland all year.  Over the summer months there may be two flights or more a day.  This is extremely valuable for our community and I hope most all of you have the chance to use these services.
See you at some or all of our events in 2018 and don’t forget to mark your calendar for Þorrablót 2019 February 16th.
Einar Steinsson
From the Editor

In this Newsletter we have details on past IAC events including Thorrablot 2018 and Save the dates for Thorrablot 2019, The Greater Icelandic Open and 17da Juni Celebration. We also have a save the date for Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park and updates on the IAC scholarship fund. Finally we have articles from IAC Member John Hofteig's trip to the INLNA and an article on the Iceland's Centenary of Sovereignty.

Please join me in congratulating our IAC President Einar Steinsson on his promotion to The Consul of Iceland in Chicago!

I hope you have a wonderful summer, whether you spend it in the Chicagoland area or you get to enjoy the long days of summer in Iceland. Don´t forget to watch Iceland compete in our first ever Men's Soccer World Cup appearance against Argentina on June 16th. Afram Ísland! 

As always free to contact me at with original articles for the newsletter or suggestions on topics to cover.

Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass

17da juni Celebration

Iceland vs. Argentina play at 8:00am Saturday June 16th in a World Cup qualifying match, and all are welcome to meet at the home of Oli and Pam Olafsson to watch together and cheer them on. In addition, they will host a June 17th celebration at 12:00pm, with hot-dogs on the grill. Please bring a side dish to share and RSVP to All members in good standing are welcome to both events!!

Scandinavian Day

Scandinavian Day will be held on Sunday September 9th in Vasa Park. Festival hours are 10AM to 6PM, $10 per person, children 12 and under get free admission. More details about this fun event:  We always need more helpers to sell Icelandic Water to benefit the IAC Scholarship fund. If you are able to help, please contact John Hofteig

The Greater Icelandic Open 2018
Registration for The Greater Icelandic Open starts soon. It will be at the same place, Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estate, Sunday September 9th. Spots are limited and we have sold out for the last few years! $500 gift certificate for a ‘hole in one’ or closest to the pin and lots of other goodies. If you already know you are going to play, send an email to Lena and Einar at to reserve a spot. Spread the word.

Thorrablot 2018
ÞORRABLÓT 2018 was held on February 17 2018 at the The Swedish American Museum. We welcomed back Bjössi Greifi (Count Bjössi) as our musical entertainer and also Master Chef Ari Hallgrímsson  was in charge of the excellent food.  We had a welcome cocktail, homemade gravlax, double smoked leg of lamb, Brennivin, and rotten shark. On the dinner table we had standards such as pickled rams’ testicles, sheared sheep heads, dried haddock, blood pudding, liver pudding, hangikjöt, rye and flat bread. For dessert we had a traditional ‘Kaffihlaðborð’. Many thanks to all our sponsors. Please visit their websites . Finally, check out the pictures from the Thorrablot 2018 

Save the Date: Thorrablot 2019! 
Saturday, February 16th at 6PM
The Swedish American Museum

Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] Scholarship Program 2018 Update & Availability 
IAC Scholarship applicants are encouraged to apply for the following:
  1. At least one stipend of up to USD $ 750.00 to support enrollment in any bona fide academic program or supervised independent study in the United States, Canada, or Iceland relevant to Iceland or matters Icelandic during 2018, 2019, or 2020;
  2. At least one stipend of up to USD $ 750.00 to support participation in either of the Reykjavík-based Snorri Foundation [] exchange programs during the summers of 2019 or 2020:   The six-week “Total-Icelandic-Immersion”program for North American young adults [18-30 years of age] OR the two-week “Snorri-Plus”program for North American mature adults and/or retirees;
  3. At least two stipends of up to USD $ 375.00 each to support enrollment in any bona fide American-, Canadian-, or Icelandic- based Icelandic-language program [resident-enrollment, CD’s, language-camp, or supervised independent study, etc.] with preference given to children or young adults.
Applications will be accepted until qualified applicants are approved and the allocation of available IAC Scholarship Program funds will be modified, as needed, based on the applicant-pool.  Application forms and a statement of the IAC Scholarship Program Objectives and Guidelines will be posted on our IAC website: Applications and inquiries should be sent to: or IAC members and friends interested in serving on the IAC Scholarship Committee should send indications of interest to either of these two email addresses.  Our principal source of IAC Scholarship Program funding comes from our annual sale of donated Icelandic Glacial Water at Scandinavian Day, at Vasa ParkSouth Elgin, IL, this year on Sunday,9-Sep-2018.  Volunteers that weekend are always very welcome and much appreciated!  J.H.H.

99th Annual Icelandic National League of North America [INLNA] Convention & AGM, 26th- 28thof April, 2018, Edmonton, AB, ACCOLADES

The 99th annual INLNA Convention and AGM was attended by John Hofteig, INLNA individual member, who was reelected to the INLNA Board. The theme of this year’s Convention and AGM was Accolades, featuring the life-history and achievements of Icelanders, hosted by the Icelandic-Canadian Club of Edmonton, Norðurljós.  Highlights included a presentation by Iceland’s Ambassador to Ottawa, Pétur Ásgeirsson [A Hundred Years of Icelandic Sovereignty – Kingdom and Republic]; Kolfinna Von Arnardóttir [Reykjavík Fashion Festival]; Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir-Buch, Ph.D., CEO of Platome Biotechnology, an up-and-coming Icelandic biotechnology company developing techniques for preserving functionality of platelets in vitro [The 4thPillar: The Innovative Society]; and Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, the Iceland-based cinematographer, currently collaborating with Reykjavík-based Krumma Films, who introduced an extended trailer to:  The Long Friday, the fascinating untold story of the Icelandic women’s all-day strike on a Friday, some forty years ago, a documentary which has the enthusiastic support of former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.  This documentary is actually being co-produced and co-directed by United States-based cinematographer, Pamela Hogan.  When completed, the video and related background material will be donated to the permanent collections of the University of Iceland.  
Entertainment included videos and live modern music composed and performed by New York City-based violinist Eva Ingólfsdóttir, a musician with worldwide performances to her credit and part of a famous family of Icelandic musicians.  Additional guest-speakers included: long-time INLNA friend, known to many Western-Icelanders, retired Ambassador Hjálmar Hannesson, now President of the Icelandic National League of Iceland, and Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir, the long-time Snorri Foundation exchange programs Project Manager in Iceland.
An optional Sunday tour included Markerville, AB [formerly known as Tindastoll, AB], better known as the home of beloved Icelandic-Canadian poet and writer, Stephan G. Stephansson, who along with other Icelandic immigrants relocated from North Dakota to Markerville in 1888.  His home, Stephansson House, now a provincial heritage-landmark; the original Markerville Lutheran Church; and the working Markerville Creamery [originally powered entirely by a coal-burning steam engine, working continuously 24 X 7, mechanically-driving all the mechanisms and providing the pasteurization heat] have all been fully-restored in this historic Icelandic heritage-venue, midway between Edmonton and Calgary.
Significant reports included INLNA’s on-going progress in obtaining Charitable Tax-Deductible status [first from Revenue Canada and later from the IRS] and the expansion of INLNA’s community outreach through various new pilot-projects and partial funding of the aforementioned The Long Friday Documentary.  One such promising pilot-project is Snorri-Deaf, a collaboration between the Icelandic Deaf Association, the Snorri Foundation, and North American academic centers with an expertise in empowering deaf and hearing-impaired young adults.  Later this year, the first of two Icelandic deaf and hearing-impaired young adults will participate in the inaugural North American tour for this program, affording participants many of the same opportunities to connect with the North American Icelandic Diaspora available to participants in conventional Snorri exchange programs.  During mid-May, 2019, the INLNA will celebrate its Centennial during its Winnipeg-2019 Convention and AGM and a Centennial Tour of Iceland in August, 2019.  Additional information is available on its website:  J.H.H.  

1919 Danish-Icelandic Act of Union & Iceland's Centenary of Sovereignty

The current year marks the Centennial of Iceland’s sovereignty, the remarkable culmination of the perseverance of Jón Sigurðsson, whose efforts began in the mid-Nineteenth Century to restore Iceland’s independence from having become a colony of Denmark, as evidenced by The 1918 Danish-Icelandic Act of Union.  All year-long, activities are being planned throughout Iceland and beyond, full details of which are available at the official Centennial Celebration website:
This website, in Icelandic with an English-button, has a form for free on-line, frequent email updates of activities and features an opening statement by the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and states the intent of the Icelandic Parliament, the Alþingí, to solicit ideas for celebrations throughout Iceland.
The 17th of June, 1944, is generally recognized as the beginning of the modern Republic of Iceland, when the Icelandic Parliament unilaterally-declared its severance from Denmark during the Nazi German-World War II occupation of Denmark.  However, according to the Act, as of 1-December-1918 when the Act was jointly ratified by both Denmark and Iceland, Iceland was, effectively, already recognized by Denmark as an independent, sovereign nation in voluntary union with the Kingdom of Denmark and the Act provided for renegotiation of the Act in twenty-five years [i.e., during 1943] and for the option of Iceland withdrawing from the Union.  During the duration of the Union, Iceland was obliged to declare its neutrality and Denmark was to provide for Iceland’s foreign-relations, albeit with the consent and full participation of Iceland, itself, in determining its foreign policy. Immediately, Iceland was permitted to develop its own diplomatic corps, a privilege which enabled the Government of Iceland to be very well-prepared to send its own diplomatic missions to London and New York City when Denmark was no longer able to protect or represent Iceland, early-on, during World War II.
Heretofore, the only extant versions of this Act were the official Danish- and Icelandic- language official texts of this treaty.  Remarkably, Iceland’s Parliamentary Office has recently translated the Act into English and the .pdf of this English translation will be posted on our Icelandic Association of Chicago’s website:
Just a few recent observances of Iceland’s Centenary of Sovereignty included a presentation by Pétur Ásgeirsson, Iceland’s relatively newly-appointed Ambassador to Ottawa, at the recent 99th Icelandic National League of North America Convention and AGM in Edmonton, AB and a symposium on The Future of the Icelandic Language, sponsored by the Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce [New York City], the morning of 10-May-2018, at Scandinavian House, the headquarters of the American Scandinavian Foundation.  Highlights of that presentation included a keynote address by Iceland’s President and panels, one of which included Iceland’s First Lady, Ms. Eliza Reid, the Founder and Director of the annual Icelandic Writers Retreat since 2014.  [Internet-links to archival videos of each of those presentations will be posted on our IAC website, when available.]  Later that evening, Iceland’s President was the guest of honor at the American Scandinavian Foundation’s Annual Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Club, honoring his scholarly achievements and further celebrating Iceland’s Centenary.  J.H.H.

Letter from The Icelandic Literature Center

This letter is to introduce to you The Icelandic Literature Center, send you our new booklet about Icelandic literature and tell you about the grants we offer.


The Icelandic Literature Center is a government-funded office. The role of the Icelandic Literature Center is to raise awareness of Icelandic literature, both in Iceland and abroad, and to promote its distribution. The Center selects annually a list of Icelandic books for promotion at book fairs and literature events abroad and participates in big book fairs such as in Frankfurt, London, Gothenburg, and Bologna. 

Here is the online version of Books from Iceland 2018, which we´d appreciate if you could send to publishers, festival organizers, translators etc. who might be interested in Icelandic literature:
The Icelandic Literature Center offers translation grants for foreign publishers of Icelandic books.  Authors, publishers and organizers of literary events can apply for a support for Icelandic authors travelling abroad in order to promote their work.

Please see here all the grants we offer outside Iceland in our grant brochure:
Furthermore, the Center supports the publication of Icelandic works of literature and the publication of literary works translated into Icelandic and organizes events, such as the International translation seminar in Reykjavik last September:
Please visit our website for more information at or send us a line on
With warm regards,
Hrefna Haraldsdóttir & Gréta María Bergsdóttir
Icelandic Literature Center
Hverfisgata 54 | 101 Reykjavík | Ísland
Tel: +354 552 8500 |