Icelandic Republic Day

Observed annually on June 17th in Iceland is a public holiday known as Icelandic Republic Day. This day commemorates the foundation of the Republic of Iceland on June 17th, 1944.

This date also marks the end of the country’s ties with Denmark—ties that existed for hundreds of years. It’s a holiday observed on a national scale, with parades at the local and national levels, speeches given by the personification of Iceland, and poetry recitals.

It’s also a time when people participate in celebrations that include musical performances and plenty of food; food that includes Kleinur, Hákarl, Pylsa, and Skyr.

The History of Icelandic Republic Day

Thanks to a clause in the 1918 Act of Union with Denmark, a revision was allowed in the republic in 1943. It couldn’t officially happen that year in the country because of the Nazi occupation of Denmark, but the referendum on abolishing the monarchy continued anyway and was approved by a vast majority. On June 17th, 1944, Denmark’s King Christian X sent a letter to Iceland congratulating them on the establishment of their republic.

Cool Facts About Iceland

We’ve assembled quite a collection of cool facts about Iceland that we think everyone will appreciate. The following facts are not only informative but also entertaining. So, let’s all take a moment to check them out.

  • Iceland has the most northerly capital city in the world. Reykjavík is located just south of the Arctic Circle.
  • Beer was banned in Iceland until 1989.
  • In Reykjavík, a complete ban on dogs was enforced in 1924.
  • In Iceland, many people still believe in Icelandic elves known as huldufólk.
  • About 375,000 people currently call Iceland home.
  • Iceland receives almost 2 million visitors a year.
  • Iceland hasn’t had a McDonald’s since 2009.

Observing Icelandic Republic Day

Parades in Iceland are sights to be seen. They usually start with a parade at the local level that includes brass bands, mounted riders, flag bearers, members of the military, and Icelandic Scouts.

There is also a parade speech from Fjallkona (the woman of the mountain who is the personification of Iceland), who recites a poem while dressed in traditional Icelandic clothing.

When these formal celebrations end, people can then partake in some of the less formal celebrations. These celebrations include music, food, and drink. On social media, the hashtag #IcelandicRepublicDay is used to spread the word about these events.

Where is it celebrated?
Iceland (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
June 17 Monday
Next year (2025)
June 17 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
June 17 Saturday