The permanent exhibit at the Icelandic Emigration Center (Vesturfarasetrið) in Hofsós details Icelandic emigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There you can learn about the fate of settlements from Utah to Brazil. By 1914, 15,000 Icelanders— almost 20% of the population at the time—had left for the “New World”.

The Icelandic Emigration Center gives an impression of the lives of these thousands of Icelandic emigrants. It also explains their reasons for going and the climactic, social and economic situation in Iceland at the time, explored through a combination of photographs, texts and artifacts. Visiting the center is almost like going back in time. You can learn about about Iceland in the period 1870-1914.

Many of these emigrants’ descendants still return to Hofsós to seek information about their Icelandic ancestors. There they access information found in the center’s database and library.

The first European born in America

The center is run by the company Snorri Thorfinnsson ehf. The company bears the name of the son of Thorfinnur karlsefni and his wife, Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir. They were settlers in Vinland (America). According to the sagas, Snorri is the first European child born in the New World. One of the principal goals of the company is to strengthen the ties between the Icelanders and the descendants of the emigrants to the New World.

Check out our complete guide to travelling in North Iceland.