Welcome to this website for Siglufjörður with information in english.
This website will hopefully assist you in deciding whether to visit Siglufjörður on your trip to Iceland. The page will provide you with an overview but no less importantly, give you many links to local websites in english which are relevant for a tourist heading for Siglufjörður.
This place is rather special for icelandic villages. The fjord and Siglunes, (the point or small peninsula at the entrance of the fjord), are in fact one of the first settlement of norwegian settlers in Iceland. Landnáma, the oldest of the Icelandic Sagas, describes the early settlement of Iceland, it records the Norwegian Þomóður Rammi as the first settler and inhabitant of this area.
The main settlement for a long period was on Siglunes, the small peninsula at the entrance of the fjord, sheltering the fjord itself from the strong waves of the North Atlantic See. Siglunes was the first large settlement in Northern Iceland, but gradually people started to move into the valleys of the fjord and establish small farms. Siglunes is mentioned in the local folklore as the last places where Christianty was established in Iceland.
For many centuries the history of Siglufjörður was like of other similar places, few small farms scattered around on the grounds deep inside the fjord doing subsistence farming.
In 1904 everything changed. Siglufjörður became a magnet for the population of Iceland and the country´s main engine of prosperity. This was the beginning of the Herring Period.
In the summer of 1904, a norwegian fishing vessel came into the fjord to get assitance from the locals to salt herring in barrels, because the fishing had been too much for the crew of the vessel. For many in the village, this was the first time money were seen in poor homes.
The very next summer Norwegians started to build permanent facilities to process herring and form a base for their fishing fleet. This snowballed eventually into huge industry, providing up to 40% of Iceland export revenues, from this village alone. The herring lasted until 1964, with profound effect on the economic history of Iceland and personal lives of thousands of Icelanders and Scandinavians.
Today few visible remains exist from of this period, but the spirits and these hectic times are well presented in a sophisticated and approachable museum, The Herring Museum. The museum itself would alone justify a detour to Siglufjörður.
Population in January 2011 was 1,206 but the town has been shrinking in size since the 1950 when the town reached its peak with 3,000 inhabitants. Today the population has stabilized, many small industries are flourising and Siglufjörður has been become a home for summer vacationers and a popular destination for tourists.
The municipality of Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður merged to form a municipality called Fjallabyggð, which literally means Mountain Settlement.