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Kristján Eldjárn


The third President of the Republic, Kristján Eldjárn, was born on 6 December 1916 and died on 14 September 1982. His widow Halldóra Eldjárn was born on 24 November 1923 and died on 21 December 2008.

Kristján was elected President on 30 June 1968 and returned without opposition in 1972 and 1976, stepping down in 1980.

He matriculated in 1936 and studied Archaeology at the University of Copenhagen from 1936 to 1939. He took a master’s degree in Icelandic Studies at the University of Iceland in 1944 and a doctorate at the same university in 1957; his thesis dealt with pagan burial-mounds and grave-goods in Iceland. He lectured and wrote books and numerous articles on archaeological topics. Honorary doctorates were conferred on him by the universities of Aberdeen (1970), Lund (1970), Odense (1974), Bergen (1975), Leningrad (1975) and Leeds (1978).

He was a teacher at the Akureyri Grammar School and the College of Navigation in Reykjavík, becoming a curator at the National Museum of Iceland in 1945 and its Director in 1947, a position he held until his election as President in 1968.