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Franziscu Antoniu Josephine JørgensenGunnar first met Franzisca Antonia Josephine Jørgensen at a dance held by the Icelandic Society in Copenhagen in 1911. Franzisca was there with her sister, Anna, who was married to Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson. Their father was a blacksmith, while their mother was of aristocratic German descent, of the von Wenk family. Gunnar and Franzisca were married on 20 August 1912, two months after Ormarr Örlygsson, the first volume of Borgslægtens historie (Guest the One-Eyed) had been accepted for publication by Gyldendal.

An interview from the Danish magazine House and Home (Hus og Hjem).Their first child was Gunnar, born 28 May 1914, followed by another son, Úlfur, born 12 November 1919. The parents used the nicknames Gut and Trold, by which the boys were known for a long time.

As Gunnar had little faith in the Danish educational system, feeling that it instilled a universal mediocrity, the boys were taught at home by a private tutor until their teenage years.


Gut - The Artist

Gunnar Gunnarsson jr.Gunnar Gunnarsson the younger had pleurisy and tuberculosis as a child, and lay seriously ill for almost a year at the National Hospital in Copenhagen. His artistic leanings emerged at an early age, and at the age of only 16 he was admitted to the renowned private art school of artist Carl Larsen. He went on to study art and view it in many parts of the world. At a young age he began producing illustrations to his father’s books. The best-known are the illustrations to Kirken på bjerget (The Church on the Mountain), first published in 1951 in the second Icelandic edition of the book, translated by Halldór Laxness. Gunnar the younger travelled to Iceland with his parents in 1939. Due to the outbreak of World War II, he had to remain there, living at Skriðuklaustur. He later married Signý Sveinsdóttir, who came to Skriðuklaustur to work, and they had three children. Gunnar died in 1977.


Trold - The Doctor

Úlfur GunnarssonÚlfur studied medicine at the universities of Rostock and Greifswald in Germany. He remained there throughout World War II, moving to Iceland in 1945. He received his medical degree from the University of Iceland in 1947. His experience in wartime Germany stood him in good stead during later work in Iceland. For most of his career, he served as a hospital physician in Ísafjörður in the West Fjords of Iceland, and is said to have resolved various medical problems that had stymied his colleagues. Úlfur met his wife, a nurse named Benedicta Katharina Irene, in Germany. They had four children. Úlfur died in 1988.


Grimme - The Journalist

Grímur GunnarssonGunnar had a third son, who was named Grímur and was the offspring of an affair in the 1920s with Ruth Lange, the daughter of Danish writer Sven Lange and ex-wife of the writer Tom Kristensen. Born in 1929, Grímur grew up with his mother, and went on to become a well-known journalist in Denmark, writing under the pseudonym of Grimme. Grímur married Else Birkmose, a handball star who later coached the Danish national women’s handball team. They worked together for decades at the newspaper Aktuelt. They remained childless, and Grímur died in 1998.


Gunnar met his future life partner in Copenhagen in 1911. Her name was Franzisca Antonia Josephine Jörgensen and was 2 years his junior. Gunnars first book in Danish, Digte, was dedicated to her. Franzisca and Gunnar jr. with the newborn Úlfur. Franzisca, her sister Anna, Gunnar jr, Úlfur and an unknown woman. Franzisca, Anna, Gunnar jr and Úlfur having a picnic. From the righti: Úlfur, Gunnar, nn, Franzisca, nn and Gunnar jr.The happy couple with Gunnar jr. in June 1916. Gunnar jr. on a visit to Iceland. Úlfur Grímur Gunnar jr. holding his younger brother Úlfur. The brothers horseback riding at the family home, Fredsholm. Gunnar and Úlfur. The brothers. Franzisca and Úlfur. Gunnar and Gunnar jr.


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June - August: Open daily 10am - 6pm

May & September: Open daily 11am - 5pm

April: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

1.-11. October: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

November - March: Open occasionally. Ask for information.

Skriðuklaustur is in Fljótsdalur valley at the upper end of Lagarfljót lake - right by the highland road to Snæfell and Kárahnjúkar. Map

39 km from Egilsstaðir

11 km from Hallormsstaður forest

5 km from Hengifoss waterfall

A Visitor's centre for Vatnajökull National Park is also at Skriðuklaustur.

Adults (museum & guidance) 1100 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr
Students 750 kr
Senior citizens / disabled 550 kr
Groups (20+) 900 kr
Guided tour of the archsite for groups (10>)
Adults 600 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr


...we all are nothing but

seaborne bodies...

on the shore of life.

Shore of Life 1915

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    December 02, 2017 (14:00 - 15:00)

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