Summary of article in Billed Bladet #47, 2013.
Hvor er det spændende - My, how exciting.
Written by our reporter in the North Atlantic, Annelise Weimann.
As you know QMII went to Iceland to celebrate the 350th birthday of the Icelandic scholar Arni Magnusson.
He worked at Copenhagen University and compiled a large number of Icelandic sagas, which are apparently considered among the best in world litterature. In fact the oldest manuscripts are from 1100's and they have been placed in UNESCO's list of world heritage.
please correct me when I'm wrong.
The Icelandic sagas were initially written down in 11-1300's and until recently quite a number hadn't been translated for public view - they were simply considered too violent or too dirty!
Anyway, they depict the first settelers of Iceland during the 8-900's. Today we would call these settlers a mixture of outlaws, pioneers, adventures, dissidents, refugees and not least fierce opponents of "big government".
In an age where the power was gradually shifting to kings and nobels, Iceland remained fiercely democratic for a long time.
The current Icelandic Parliament, the Alting, had it's origin from back then. And basically the albeit very sparse population on Iceland remained democratic until Norway, and later Denmark took over and as such Copenhagen was the capital of Iceland for 500 years.
But back to the sagas. Arni Magnusson, testamented his collection to Copenhagen University, I guess, simply because Copenhagen was the capital of Iceland and there was no university in Iceland, so that would have been natural for him.
Well, Iceland gained independence in 1943 and wanted the manuscripts to Iceland, because they were and are considered a national treasure. Denmark said, no way! The manuscrips have been here for centuries, they belong to Copenhagen University and they are also a part of Danish history - besides we like them. - A lot!
But after some years of negotiations the first manuscripts were delivered back to Iceland from 1971, and today the collection is divided between DK and Iceland. (I actually thought Iceland got them all).
These manuscripts are now on display in Reykjavik, the capital, and here QMII studied them with great interest and asked lots of questions, challenging the curators. In fact she almost had to be dragged away as the schedule was starting to slip.
QMII travelled lighly, herself, an adjutant, the chief of the court, a minister from the government and a LiW. The threath level on Iceland isn't that big, I believe they had their first murder as an independant nation some eight years ago. PH was in France and the Icelandic first lady, Dorrit Moussaieff, who is described in the article as lively, was in England to visit her father who is ill.
The Presidential residence was build in the 1600's and it was in fact one of the first houses in Iceland to be made from stone (bricks).
- The Danish word for house is "hus", but in medieval times (at least until the 1300's) "hus" meant a large stone building. Either a large and pretty grand residence, a castle or a convent. All other buildings were mostly made of wood. - So if you look at a map of say eastern England and see a village or a town containing the word "hus", you may now have a pretty good idea why it was named so.
Even though it wasn't a statevisit, QMII was honored as if it were. 50 guests were crammed into the Presidential dining room
QMII not only visited a museum but also the National Theatre, where the theme all the way through was about the Icelandic manuscripts. From reading aloud to cartoons to the the final act a number by the rockmand Skalmöld - complete with smoke pouring from the stage.
QMII lived at Hotel Nordica during her visit.
- And I know understand she flew directly to Greenland.