Höfði House and the poet Einar Ben

  • The statue of the poet and entrepreneur Mr. Benediktsson and Höfði House
Apr 17 2016

In recent years, Höfði House in the district of Laugardalur has become one of the major landmarks in Reykjavík the capital of Iceland.  And not without a reason.  It is famous for its history in Iceland and also internationally as a symbol referring to the end of the cold war, after Ronald Reagan president of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev president of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had their famous meeting in the house in 1986.

Connected to the poet Mr. Benediktsson

In the minds of Icelanders though, it is often linked to the poet and entrepreneur Einar Benediktsson (1864 -1940), although he only lived in the house for a few years. Mr. Benediktsson moved into the house with his family in 1914 and named the house, Höfði. He was a grand scale entrepreneur who dreamed of things larger than life, and during his lifetime filled his bag of experience with failures and bankruptcy. But he was a person that Icelanders loved and probably one of the first businesspeople in Iceland to find international funding for many of his failed enterprises. And most of the time lived like a King both in Iceland and abroad. But it was first and foremost the poet Mr. Benediktsson that Icelanders admired.  Less than three decades after Mr. Benediktsson passed away a statue of him vas placed in a new small park by Klambratún in the district of Hlíðar.  In 2015, the statue was moved to the lot by Höfði House and stands by the
house near the ocean where many Icelanders feel he belongs.

A bit of a history

The house was built in 1909 for the French Consul Brillouin, who was appointed by the French government at that time to look after the interest of French seamen fishing in Iceland. This was at the same time all the newly renovated houses, the French hospital, and other houses, were built in Fáskrúðsfjörður in the Eastern Region. At that point, the extravagant house was rather far from the main center and other houses in the small town of Reykjavík.  The house was also the home of a physician Mr. Matthías Einarsson father of one of the first female artists in Iceland with international recognition, Louisa Matthíasdóttir. During the second world war, it was the residence of the British consulate visited by Winston Churchill.  After occupying the house for a few years, the consul sold it because of a ghost "the woman in white" that continually disturbed the people living there. From 1967, it has been the official reception for the city of Reykjavík.