Lækjargata 4 01.04.2001 to 01.01.2014

History of Reykjavik - from farm to city

This exhibition on the history of Reykjavik was opened in the year 2000.

Saga Reykjavíkur - Frá býli til borgar

 The aim is to show the principal features of the community's development from the settlement in the 9th century to present time. The exhibition is based largely on extensive archaeological research on the island of Videy and elsewhere, the story of the "Inrettingar", Reykjavik's first industrial enterprise, items from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the story of the city´s expansion.

A short account of the History of Reykjavik 
The history of Reykjavik starts with the settlement of Iceland, written sources telling that the first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, claimed land at a site in what is now the city centre. Reykjavik was an agricultural holding through the years, both a church estate and a manor farm. Around the middle of the 18th century, a village grew up there in connection with a wool factory founded by the sheriff Skuli Magnusson. The town received its municipal charter in 1786. During the 19th century, Reykjavik became a trading and administrative centre for the whole country, and its population of craftsmen, fishermen and labourers grew. During the 20th century, dramatic changes took place in employment and living conditions, bringing the town into the modern world.



Árbær Open Air Museum


110 Reykjavík

Tel: (+354) 411 6320


For groups (10+) bookings please send a request to:


Opening hours

Opening hours

Sept-May 13:00-17:00

June-August 10:00-17:00

daily guided tours at 13:00

Christmas & New Year

Closed 24-26 Dec and 31 Dec-1 Jan.

Guided tours on 24 and 26 Dec at 1 PM


Maundy Thursday 13:00-17:00

Good Friday - closed

Easter Sunday - closed

Easter Monday 13:00-17:00




2,150 ISK

Children (0-17 years)

Free admission



Students with student card

1,320 ISK

Reykjavík Culture Year Pass

7,450 ISK

City Card holders


Sign up to our mailing list

We will send you information about our events