Today is the centennial anniversary of the birth of Iceland’s third president, Kristján Eldjárn. He was a beloved president who served from 1968 till 1980. He passed away in 1982, at the age of 65.
Kristján was born at the farm Tjörn in Svarfaðardalur, North Iceland, December 6, 1916. He graduated from the University of Copenhagen, becoming the first Icelander to study archaeology . A third edition of his PhD thesis, which focused on pagan burials, will be published today, but it first came out in 1956.
Kristján became a curator of the National Museum of Iceland in 1945 and its director two years later. He held that position until he was elected president in 1968.
Form 1966-1968, he was the host of an educational program on TV, in which he introduced the nation to some of the National Museum’s artifacts and explained their history. You can watch one of his programs here.
Kristján was known for his exceptional command of the Icelandic language, his writing skills and his good sense of humor.
A celebration in his memory will be held at the National Museum this afternoon. Among those attending will be President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.