- Cultural History
- History in pictures


Cultural History of Freyjulundur

Ađalheiđur S. Eysteinsdóttir and Jón Laxdal Halldórsson bought Freyjulundur early in 2004. By then, the house had gained a long history as an administration, a school and a community center of Arnarneshreppur.

In 1914, the youth association of Möđruvellir and the district Arnarneshreppur joined forces and built a local administration on the land of Grund.
The first part of the house was a single hall with three large windows facing south. The first meeting took place in the 1st of November 1914, and a proud secretary wrote, “Meeting held in the new facilities”. The youth association’s minutes state that a carpenter in Akureyri, Sigtryggur Jónsson, drafted a blueprint for the house. Another slightly different blueprint was handled however and although no records exist of which one was used, Sigtryggur was asked to oversee the construction.
Most records indicate that in 1927 a floor and basement were added to the east side of the house. The women’s association Freyja had been founded and paid a quarter of the expenses. The youth association paid another quarter, and the district of Arnarneshreppur funded the rest. Estimated costs were 4000 kr.
A lot of people have approached Jón and Ađalheiđur to tell them various things about the house. For example that the basement was originally a staple with a low ceiling, and later when Grund (Freyjulundur) housed a school, the floor was lowered and the space turned into two rooms. This seems to add up, as the walls in the basement did not reach the floor level.
No accurate information was found on the beginning of school in Grund, but teachers traveled between Möđruvellir, Hjalteyri and Grund since 1916. Regular school is likely to have started in 1930 in Grund, which was also called Reistará, and ended in 1948 when a school in Hjalteyri was established.
In autumn, 1956, Freyjulundur´s third part was finished. It was a kitchen, restroom, dining room and a reception, built to the west side of the hall. Together, these three buildings were a grand community center. Six tall windows decorated a 22 meters long south side. The community center hosted balls, gatherings, family reunions, theater plays and concerts, as well as meetings of all kinds, bingo- and game nights and any other activity regarding the districts culture.
Alongside the construction, ladies of the women’s association Freyja nurtured a tree grove northwest of the house, namely Freyjulundur (Grove of Freyja). Older residents of Arnarneshreppur have vivid memories of joyful times spent in Freyjulundur, where they could educate themselves, enjoy culture and many found love on romantic summer nights.
This joyful spirit floats in the air of Freyjulundur today, which got its forth extension and overall facelift in 2004.
Ađalheiđur S. Eysteinsdóttir and Jón Laxdal Halldórsson started renovations of Freyjulundur in July 1st 2004. Proper consents had been acquired to change the community center into a resident and artists studio. The building had been declared inhabitable, which meant repair and renewal of everything concerning a single house. Logi Einarsson architect drafted, with input from Ađalheiđur, the renovations and a 50-m2 addition to the north side of the house. Ólafur Svanlaugsson oversaw the construction.
The addition consisted of two bedrooms for, as Jón pointed out, there are no bedrooms in community centers, storage room, balcony and a small storage beneath. The house is now 305 m2. Changes made to older parts of the house were as follows.
Closing a roofed arch outside the existing front doors and adding double doors facing south made a new entryway. The kitchen and dining room were kept as they were, but the lobby was converted into a large bedroom. The two bathrooms, ladies and gents, were combined to make a single one. A wall was taken down between the stage and stairway to the lower floor and a door was made to access the balcony. One of the windows in the ballroom was changed into a double door, to ease transport of larger pieces in and out of the house. Rooms on the lower floor stayed as they were, two rooms, a storage, hallway and bathroom.
The summer in 2004 was exceptional for constructing houses. It hardly rained in July, August and September, but then fall took over. Construction workers were hired, but Ađalheiđur, her son Arnar, and Jón worked every day alongside them. A lot of friends and family helped out, but special thanks are due to Logi Einarsson, Ólafur Svanlaugsson, Sölvi Ingólfsson,Elli, Stefán Pálsson, Jósteinn, Kristján Jósteinsson, Snorri Eyfjörđ Arnaldsson and Joris Rademaker.
In good weather, delightful atmosphere would emerge over grilled hotdogs or coffee. Jón called Bjarni, an old worker in Akureyri, to get a recipe for concrete. (Two buckets sand - one bucket cement - one bucket water.) The philosophers and friends Jón and Sigurđur Ólafsson made concrete together and poured into the foundation, which son-in-law Snorri had prepared with assistance from Ađalheiđur.
Walls were raised, floors and roof poured, and the housewife always ready for the concrete in her pink sneakers. All jobs were done and if they didn’t know how to, they asked for help. This always got them desired results, whether it was operating heavy machinery or isolating the outside of the house. All pipes to and from the house needed replacing. After looking into drilling for cold water, which would have been very expensive, they started working on getting water for the house from a nearby river, Reistará. Hot water had already been led to the house from Hjalteyri.
The autumn was getting cold and goal was set on finishing before Christmas. Construction workers worked hard on preparing and putting in windows and doors, laying tiles and getting electricity and water up and running, while the family painted walls and polished floors.
Ađalheiđur, Jón, Arnar and Brák moved into Freyjulundur December 16th 2004.
Lára Ágústa Ólafsdóttir, file clerk at the local administration, gathered information about Freyjulundur from last century.