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Stepping up | by hkvam
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Stepping up

Museum buildings, Iceland Emigration centre, remembering the emigrants that moved to North-America in the 19th century.

Those wooden houses were traditionally tarred, hence the pitch black walls. I found those houses a nice contrast, so black against the natural colors of the sky and the grass.

Those houses are very big, they used to house the many poor families waiting for a place on a boat going "West", the floors were packed with crying children and adults with a gleam of hope in their eye.

I find that the deep dark color of the houses symbolises the misery that lived inside in stark contrast to the awesome beauty of the nature outside. A nature in a land that could prove so hard for people to live off that they would risk anything in the hope of a better life.

Hofsós harbour, Skagafjörður, N-Iceland.


The latter half of the 19th century was a period of natural and economic hardships in Iceland. An eruption in the volcano Askja covered parts of the North East with poisonous ash and pumice. A series of hard winters, cold summers, pack ice, violent winds, snow and sand storms caused poor harvests, erosion and severe loss of livestock throughout the country. Large numbers of people, unable to sustain themselves or their families, left Iceland in search of a better life. By 1914 around one fifth of all Icelanders had left the known hardships of Iceland’s farms and villages for the unknown hardships of life in the New World.

From the homepage for the museum;

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Taken on August 27, 2005