Austurvollur Square

This small square in downtown Reykjavik has been a public gathering place since 1930. During warm, sunny weather Austurvollur becomes particularly lively as the outdoor cafes lining the square fill up with thirsty Icelanders and visiting travellers. In December, a Christmas tree arrives, a gift from fellow Scandinavians in Oslo.

The statue of Jon Sigurdsson

In Austurvollur you will find a statue of the leader of Iceland's independence movement, Jon Sigurdsson. Iceland’s Independence Day is held on June 17th, Jon Sigurdsson’s birthday, and morning ceremonies in Reykjavik begin in Austurvollur square.

The cathedral and other landmarks

Many landmarks important to the city's cultural history line Austurvollur square including the Parliament building, Reykjavik's cathedral Domkirkjan - which is also the city's oldest church - and Hotel Borg.

Where people gather to protest

Because of the Parliament building being located here, Austurvollur has seen its share of protests throughout the decades. The square played a huge role in the protests that followed in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis in 2008. Protesters had been gathering every weekend since October 2008 with their pots, pans and other kitchenware (and were aptly named the Kitchenware implement or Pots-and-pan revolution), and protested against the government's handling of the crisis. On January 20th 2009 the protests intensified with thousands of people showing up, demanding the resignation of the government. Once the government resigned the protests for the most part stopped.