Located along Reykjavik’s scenic waterfront is a quaint whitewashed building known as Hofdi House. It was here in 1986 that a major world historical event took place when the presidents of Russia and the US, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, met to end the Cold War and effectively take the first steps towards global disarmament.
Completed in 1909, the building was originally designated for the French Consulate and today is used for official city social functions. Although closed to the general public, the grounds make for an enjoyable stroll, of note is the sculpture in front of the building which portrays pillars from the chieftain’s seat of the first Norwegian settler in Reykjavik.
In the 19th century and early in the 20th century French fishermen frequented the Icelandic fishing grounds and Hofdi´s origin is traced back to that time.
Mr. Brillouin, the French consul was sent to Reykjavík to assist them, he got the house imported from Norway and it was built in 1909 at its location. A lot of houses where imported and built in Iceland in the wooden catalog style in these days but Hofdi is without a doubt one of the most beautiful. Till this day there are still many signs of its original purpose to be found in the house, such as the letters RF (French Republic) above an inside door.
Hofdi house has had many famous visitors throughout the years and the most famous visitor is probably Sir. Winston Churchill when he visited Iceland in 1941. Among other guests who have visited Hofdi is Marlene Dietrich who visited in the 2nd World War. In 1986 the meeting of President Ronald Regan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov in Hofdi house is thought to have marked the end of the Cold War.
During the meeting of the two presidents Hofdi became famous and world known and a Japanese millionaire had an exact replica of the house built in his country.
Some say that Hofdi is haunted and there have been many reports of strange sounds heard there in the night. The Icelandic Foreign Ministry has officially stated that they can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a ghost in Hofdi.
Hofdi is currently used for official receptions and meetings of the municipality. The house is owned by the city of Reykjavík and not open to casual visitors.