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National flag of Iceland

The national flag of Iceland has a blue field, with a white cross on it, and a red cross inside the white cross, as shown on the picture. The law on the flag was the first law signed by the first president of Iceland; it was signed on 17 June 1944, the day when the Republic of Iceland was founded in Þingvellir. The law on the flag refers to its colors as sky blue (“heiðblár”), fiery red (“eldrauður”), and snow white (“mjallhvítur”), thus referring to glaciers and volcanic fire, which have made such a strong impact on the landscape of Iceland.

National flag

State flag

Icelandic government institutions commonly use a state flag with a swallowtail, as shown on the right.

Further information about the Icelandic flag is available at the web site of the Icelandic Prime Minister’s office.

State flag (swallowtail)

The use of the national symbols of Iceland, including the escutcheon and the presidential symbols, is restricted by law, and use of the presidential symbols is determined by the Office of the President of Iceland.

The national anthem

The national anthem of Iceland is called Lofsöngur (Song of Praise). The song was premièred during a service in the Reykjavík Cathredal, Dómkirkjan, on 2 August 1874. King Christian IX attended the service, as he was visiting Iceland to formally deliver the new Constitution for the country. The Constitution was a major milestone in the history of Iceland, a great victory in the campaign for independence during the 19th century.

The author of the tune was Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (1847-1927), who studied music for five years in Copenhagen, Leipzig and Edinburgh. The Rev. Matthías Jochumsson (1835-1920), who was a prolific writer and translator, wrote the poem. His house in Akureyri is now a museum in his honour.

More information is available at a multilingual web site dedicated to the national anthem of Iceland; this includes audio files that can be played on a computer.

The national anthem of Iceland: Notes for a brass band