Icelanders Building Formal Pagan Temple

An Icelandic Pagan group will begin construction next month on a temple in the capital of Reykjavík, after beginning the planning process eight years ago.

Plans to begin construction of a pagan temple in Öskjuhlíð hill, Reykjavík, have been set in motion. This will be the first pagan temple to be built in the Nordic countries in nearly a thousand years, said the alsherjargoði Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, head priest of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélag, in an interview with RÚV [text and video in Icelandic].

The Ásatrúarfélag applied for a plot of land to construct a temple in 2006 and was allotted a piece of land in Öskuhlíð in 2008. The 350 square metres (3767 sq ft) temple will have a vaulted ceiling and seat around 250 people. Its construction will be completed next year.

Interestingly — or oddly — it will sit on top of several tanks built to hold geothermal water, so heating won’t be a problem.

4 Comments

  1. Dear Chas
    Always great to read your blog.
    Slight correction(s):
    We have never said that we are building the first pagan temple in Europe for nearly thousand years.
    The Icelandic term “höfuðhof”, literally head-hof ( loosely: “main temple” ) has been used through the years without it being translated and elaborated upon and a number of people who have built their places of worship in various parts of Northern Europe have been offended by what they see as a stupid / ignorant / callous omission.
    Suffice to say that we are building the largest ritual space in Northern Europe since Uppsala.
    Also there seems to be a misunderstanding about the location and the architectural design.
    A picture of the “Pearl” restaurant, which was built on top of the old hot water tanks in Öskjuhlíð has been making the rounds and gathering a number of comments. The “Pearl” is a Reykjavík landmark but has nothing to do with us.
    Also I have been ( only slightly ) amused by the posts from various experts who have informed us about the design of a true and historically correct hof. The consensus seems to be that it should look like a cross between the set design of Rohan from LOTR and a Norwegian Stave Church.
    We have fought for our hof for forty years are and finally entering the building phase. This is the hof of the Icelandic Ásatrú Association ( Ásatrúarfélagið ) which operates only in Iceland and does not seek approval and / or advice from outside our home turf.
    People can ceremonially flog their dead horses or do marvellous and inspiring rites wherever they want, without a comment from us.
    Sincerely
    Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson

  2. should be:
    “…largest ásatrúar ritual space…”
    HÖH

  3. oops!
    “We have fought for our hof for forty years are and finally entering the building phase.”

    should read:

    We have fought for our hof for forty years and are finally entering the building phase.