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The Bahá'ís of Iceland

Bahá’ís attending their National Convention held at Kistufell in April 2008
Bahá’ís attending their National Convention held at Kistufell in April 2008


It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world - Bahá'u'lláh


The first mention of the Bahá'í teachings

Bahá’u’lláh was mentioned for the first time in print in Iceland in 1908 when Þórhallur Bjarnarson, later bishop, wrote in Nýja Kirkjublaðið:

“His teachings [Bahá'u'lláh's] are in many ways similar to the teachings of Christendom as they are most nobly and humanely presented.“


The first Bahá‘í

Picture of Hólmfríði Árnadóttur

Hólmfríður Árnadóttir

In 1924 an American lady, Amelia Collins, came to Iceland. On a short visit she got to know Hólmfríður Árnadóttir who translated the first Bahá’í book into Icelandic: Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era. She later became the first Bahá’í in Iceland.

When Martha Root, who was also from the United States, arrived by boat in 1936 to proclaim the Bahá'í Cause, Hólmfríður assisted her the best she could. At that time the Faith was publicly taught for the first time in this country at public meetings and in the media, both radio and newspapers.



The National Spiritual Assembly is established

The Bahá’í Community of Canada was given the task to oversee the progress of the Faith in Iceland. In 1958 the first Canadian pioneer arrived. More were to follow. This led to the formation of the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Reykjavík in 1965.

Picture of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iceland

The first National Spiritual Assembly with Hand of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga in the centre

In 1971 three Local Spiritual Assemblies were established in addition to the Assembly in Reykjavík: In Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður and Keflavík. After that it was possible to elect the first National Spiritual Assembly in 1972.

Today there are about 350 Bahá'ís in Iceland and five local spiritual assemblies. Smaller groups and individual belivers are resident in few places around the country. Several books have been translated into Icelandic.



 A plot of land was bought at Kistufell in Kjalarnes in 2001 under a future House of Worship. The Bahá’í Community also owns the land Skógar in Þorskafjörður which was bequeathed by Jochum Eggertsson, one of the early believers. He started growing trees on the property. Since his passing Bahá'ís have kept up his work. The Bahá'í National Centre is at Klettháls 1, Reykjavík.

Further information about the Bahá'í Faith in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic and Persian can be found at