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Informationen über: Safnahusid (House of Collections)

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Hverfisgata 15, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Monday: Closed; Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Entfernung vom Zentrum
5.7 km

The House of Collections is one of the most beautiful buildings in ReykjavikThe House of Collections, also known as the Culture House, is a historic building in central Reykjavik. It's locally known as "Safnahúsið," and it's part of the National Gallery of Iceland. It exhibits works from Icelandic art history that are a must-see for art lovers!

Along Hverfisgata street stands the House of Collections, a landmark of the city center that's considered by some to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Reykjavik. It has served many functions since it was built between 1906 and 1908, and today, it's an exhibition space for the National Gallery of Iceland.

The House of Collections is one of the best art museums in Reykjavik, and it showcases many important art pieces from Iceland's history! The house is worth a visit, with its grand staircase, arched windows, high ceilings, and historic reading room. On the pristine outside, the walls are decorated with crests, honoring some of Iceland's literary heroes.

Visit this beautiful building during walking tours of Reykavik or while cruising around the city with your rental car. If you want to visit more than one museum, it's also a great idea to buy a 24-hour Reykjavik city card. It gives you free entry to most museums in the city, including the National Gallery of Iceland and the House of Collections, along with many more perks. It's a great way to explore all that the city has to offer.

Whether you're using a city card, purchasing general admission, or simply strolling by, make sure to include the House of Collections in your Reykjavik itinerary. It's an iconic building that shouldn't be missed for its interesting exhibition and its historical significance!

What to See at The House of Collections

This piece is called DeCore(aurae) by Dodda MaggyThe current exhibition of the House of Collections is called Resistance: Interplay of Art and Science. As the name indicates, it's meant to bridge the gap between the visual arts and science in an approachable way.

Many of the displays are interactive, as the exhibition was designed with children in mind. This aspect also adds an element of fun for visitors of all ages, and especially for families! It's a clever way to engage with and gain a deeper understanding of art and science.

Spanning across four floors and the basement level, the House of Collections has dedicated each space to different themes. These themes revolve around science, the pressing issue of climate change, and our relationship with the environment.

Make sure to explore every floor thoroughly, as this historic building has many small rooms that don't make for the most traditional art exhibition space. They're used in creative ways to enhance the visitor's experience!

You'll see many artforms represented at the House of CollectionsThe exhibition starts on the fourth floor, where you're greeted by artworks that explore themes connected to the sky, space, and weather. It's an area where the vastness of the cosmos meets artistic expression. Moving down to the third floor, the focus shifts to the land. Here, you'll discover work that connects to the diverse array of flora and fauna alongside pieces that reflect our intricate relationship with water.

Once you head down to the second floor, the exhibit takes a deep dive into the ocean. This level showcases the ocean's beauty, its inherent dangers, and our connection to this vast blue world. To finish, the ground floor features some unique works that depict and interpret the principles of nature, blending analytical thought with creative expression in an interesting way.

Throughout the whole exhibition, you'll see many artworks by influential and emerging artists and interesting ways to experience them. Take the time to try the fun and educational interactive displays!

The House of Collections offers plenty of interactive exhibits

Once you've reached the entrance again, don't forget to check out the small exhibition on the basement level. There, you'll find beautiful works centered around folklore by artist Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1958). He was the first Icelandic painter to make art his main profession! His residence, which is also a part of the National Gallery of Iceland, showcases more of his impressive work.

Your ticket to the House of Collections grants you access not just to this building but also to Ásgrímur Jónsson’s house at Bergstadarstraeti 74 and the main building of the National Gallery at Frikirkjuvegur 7, located next to the Tjornin pond and the Frikirkjan church. These exhibitions are great for art lovers and all those who are interested in Icelandic culture and history.

History of the House of Collections

The House of Collections was built between 1906 and 1908

Photo from Safnahúsið - The House of Collections. A postcard showcasing the House of Collections in 1916.

The House of Collections was built between 1906 and 1908, and designed by Danish architect Johannes Magdahl Nielsen. He never came to Iceland to oversee the project himself, and instead, the project was managed by his colleague, Frederick Kiörboe. The house was then opened to the public in 1909 and was, at the time, one of the largest and most elegant buildings in Iceland. It arguably still maintains the latter of those descriptions!

There were plans to build all major government buildings in this area, including a hospital and a university. These plans did not fully come to fruition, but today, you will find the National Theatre of Iceland, the Central Bank, the Supreme Court, the Danish Embassy, and multiple ministries in the vicinity of the House of Collections.

The Culture House is known for it's beautiful staircase

Photo from Safnahúsið - The House of Collections. The grand entrance to the building.

The building was originally called "Þjóðmenningarhúsið," or the National Culture House, and housed the National Library, the National Archives, the National Museum of Iceland, and the National Museum of Natural History. These institutions moved to other buildings throughout the following decades, with the last one to move being the library in 1994.

The House of Collections has always served a cultural purpose, and in the early 2000s, its name was changed to "Safnahúsið" or the Culture House. From 2013, it hosted historical exhibitions for the National Museum of Iceland, but in 2021, it became a part of the National Gallery of Iceland.

At the same time, the house gained yet another name, the "House of Collections." A year later, a new exhibition was opened with some of the greatest artworks in the museum's extensive collection, which will stay on display until 2028.

The historic reading room of the Culture House serves many functions

Photo from Safnahúsið - The House of Collections. The grand reading area has been fully restored to its original appearance.

The House of Collections continues to host many events. It has been a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and conferences, as well as a backdrop for multiple television shows. Notably, in 2012, the historic reading room was transformed into a courtroom for the high-profile trial of Geir Haarde, Iceland's former Prime Minister, for his alleged negligence in handling the country's financial crisis in 2008.

The building, therefore, continues to hold great importance in Iceland, both in preserving the country's cultural heritage and as part of everyday life. It's a landmark of central Reykjavik, and it deserves a place on any visitor's itinerary.

How to Get to the House of Collections

Hverfisgata is one of the major streets in Reykjavik

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Jóhann Heiðar Árnason.

The House of Collections is very easy to reach with a small rental car, and you should have no issue finding parking in Reykjavik as it's close to two car parks. If you don't have a rental car in Reykjavik, you can take the city bus, as there are multiple bus lines that stop by the museum and all along Hverfisgata street. The closest bus stop is "Þjóðleikhúsið" (the National Theatre), and you can plan your route on the city bus website.

Keep in mind that the House of Collections is close to many Reykjavik hotels, so if you're staying in accommodation in the city center, you can reach the museum with a short walk!

Other Attractions near the House of Collections

It's easy to reach the House of Collections

You can see over all of Reykjavik from the tower of Hallgrimskrikja church.

You'll easily be able to include a visit to the House of Collections in your exploration of downtown Reykjavik. The House of Collections is located on Hverfisgata street, which lies along the Laugavegur main street, and this area is not only known for shops selling local products and trendy fashion, but they're also home to some of the best cafés, bars, and restaurants in Reykjavik. It's the perfect way to soak in the city's charming atmosphere!

Close to the House of Collections, you'll also find some of the best museums in Reykjavik, where you can learn more about Iceland for the ultimate cultural day. You can also reach the Harpa concert hall within an 8-minute walk or reach the famous Hallgrimskirkja church within 15 minutes, along with many more main attractions of downtown Reykjavik!

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