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Bank Holidays in Iceland - Closing Days of 2016/2017

Iceland was a part of Denmark from 1814 until 1944, which had an influence on the bank holidays in Iceland. There are, however, at few exceptions, where closing days in Iceland are different from the Danish bank holidays.

There are three bank holidays in Iceland that do not exist in Denmark (or anywhere else); First Day of Summer (Sumardagurinn fyrsti), Icelandic National Day/Independence Day (Þjóðhátíðardagurinn) and Trading Day (Verslunarmannahelgin)

In total - not counting the ones falling on a Sunday (Palm-, Easter- and Whit Sunday), there are 12 holidays in Iceland. They are all listed for 2016 and 2017 in the table underneath:

2016 - Icelandic Holidays

Bank Holidays/ Icelandic name

2017 - Iceland Holidays

1st of January (Friday)

New Year’s Day / Nýársdagur

1st of January (Sunday)

24th of March (Thursday)

Maundy Thursday/ Skírdagur

13th of April (Thursday)

25th of March (Friday)

Good Friday / Föstudaginn langi

14th of April (Friday)

28th of March (Monday)

Easter Monday / Annar í páskum

17th of April (Monday)

21st of April (Thursday)

First Day of Summer / Sumardagurinn fyrsti

20th of April (Thursday)

01st of May (Sunday)

1st of May / Verkalýðsdagurinn

01st of May (Monday)

05th of May (Thursday)

The Ascension of Christ / Uppstigningardagur

25th of May (Thursday)

16th of May (Monday)

Whit Monday / Annar í hvítasunnu

05th of June (Monday)

17th of June (Friday)

Independence Day / Lýðveldisdagurinn

17th of June (Saturday)

01st of August (Monday)

Trading Day / Frídagur verslunarmanna

07th of August  (Monday)

25th of December (Sunday)

Christmas Day / Jól

25th of December (Monday)

26th of December (Monday)

Boxing Day / Jól

26th of December (Tuesday)

25th and 26th of December are both national holidays in Iceland. The 24th and 31st of December are not closing days; however, shops and companies typically end their day early - at 12 noon.

First Day of Summer - Icelandic bank holiday
The First Day of Summer - in Icelandic Sumardagurinn fyrsti, is celebrated the first Thursday after the 18th of April. To many people, it may seem a bit early to celebrate that the summer has arrived in April, but not in Iceland. Sumardagurinn fyrsti is celebrated with sporting events, parades and with other sorts of entertainment, even though Iceland, at this time of year frequently will experience snowy and icy conditions.  

On this bank holiday shops, institutions and companies are closed for the day or open on the same conditions as on Sundays. This closing day falls on the 21st of April 2016 and the 20th of April 2017.

Video: Optimistic Icelandic surfer defies blizzard on the First Day of Summer

Icelandic national holiday - Independence Day
The year of 1944 is very important in Iceland, as it was the year Iceland achieved independence from Denmark

In 1943, the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union expired after 25 years, and Iceland declared itself an independent country by popular vote. Iceland seized the opportunity to declare themselves independent, as Denmark was occupied by the German Troops at the time. The people of Iceland voted 97% in favour of ending the Danish-Icelandic Union.

The Icelandic national holiday is celebrated on the 17th of June. This date was not chosen by coincidence, but in honour of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement, who was born in this date.  On the 17th of June 1944, the ties were formally severed to the Danish Monarchy, founding the Republic of Iceland. The first Icelandic president, Sveinn Björnsson, was also elected on this day. 

Trading Day - Iceland closing day
Yet another untraditional closing day in Iceland is Trading Day. The holiday is celebrated the first Monday of August. Many Icelanders take advantage of the extended weekend leaving their homes to see friends. Others go camping, drive to their summerhouses in the countryside, visit their families or participate in one of the many festivals that are being held this particular weekend in Iceland.

Trading Day in Iceland used to be reserved for high ranking public officers, but today it is a national holiday in Iceland, and therefore the whole nation has the day off. The holiday falls on the 1st of August 2016 and August 7th in 2017.

Bank Holidays in Iceland - Closing Days of 2016/2017
Article: Bank Holidays in Iceland - Closing Days of 2016/2017
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Published: Thursday, September 10 2015
Latest revision: Friday, September 18 2015

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