17 June, 2011
Iceland's Independence Day, 17th of June has all sorts of speeches and civic events on and off throughout the day, along with family activities and bands in most of the parks. It's largely the same each year, but it's still a nice day in town, particularly if the weather is good.
This year, I saw that Alþingi was having an open house for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Not having grown up here, I thought this would be interesting, to maybe learn a bit more of the details of Icelandic politics, (the mechanics of it, not the politicians part of it) and also, finally get to see inside!
I quite enjoyed it, it's a lovely building, with some great artwork, various gifts from various countries from independence and other events. I also learned that it used to be the University of Iceland on one floor, with parliament upstairs! I guess that wasn't so new to most people, but I was surprised. I also did learn the useful things like how to get in to come and watch parliament sessions.
One thing I particularly liked was that the speaker's lectern had a cheat sheet stuck on it, listing every current MP's name and where they're from, along with their party affiliation. Oh, and of course, it's mechanized, so it's always at the right height for everyone :)