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Edinburgh New Town Eurowalk

Point I - Composers of Iceland’s national anthem

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To do: review text.

Location: 15 London Street

The Icelandic National Anthem “O Gud Vors Lands” by the composer Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson and the poet Matthias Jochumsson was written and composed in this house in 1874. You can listen to the anthem here.

Plaque at 15 London Street

Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (1847-1926) born near Reykjavik, Iceland was a pianist and composer. He came to Edinburgh in 1870 and married a Scots woman. He was a composer of songs, many of which were in English, and piano pieces and taught piano lessons. He composed the Icelandic National Anthem in Edinburgh to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the Norse settlement in Iceland. He is buried in Reykjavik.

Matthias Jochumsson was a well-known Icelandic poet.

Scotland and Iceland enjoy longstanding ties of friendship and history, particularly from Viking times. Both Iceland and parts of Northern and Western Scotland were part of the Norwegian “empire”. The most notable recent Icelander in Scottish life was the late writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, who originally arrived here with his father, the Icelandic Consul General in Scotland.

Walk back (West) along London Street for about 70 metres to number 15 London Street. This was the home of the painter Sir William McTaggart and his wife Fanny Aavatsmark, our next stop on this Edinburgh New Town Eurowalk.

Pictures credits: Stuart Baillie Strong/Edinburgh4Europe