1-16 june 2024

The Story of the Eyrarrósin Award

The beginnings of the Eyrarrósin award can be traced all the way back to the year 2000 when Reykjavík was the City of Culture. It was decided to establish a special fund called the City of Culture Fund that should be administered by the Reykjavík Arts Festival.

At the beginning of 2001, it was clear that there would be funding leftover from the City of Culture year project, most notably from foreign grants, which were higher than expected. It was decided that this surplus income, in addition to the annual additional contribution from the State and the City, should be used to provide funding for three types of projects that were considered important during the City of Culture year: projects in rural areas, innovative projects and projects for children and young people. The City of Culture Fund provided grants for such projects for 4 years and the Arts Festival managed these grants. In this way, it was possible to continue with various projects that had been set up during that first year. Rural projects were found to be particularly successful during this period.

Consequently it was decided to find other forms of funding for projects in the countryside at the end of the period. The Arts Festival took the lead in a new agreement on cultural co-operation in the rural areas. A special co-operation agreement was also made with the Reykjavík City Education Office on cooperation between schools at the Arts Festival, so that these important projects would also be continued.

In the spring of 2004, an agreement was signed for the Eyrarrósin and Air Iceland Connect and The I.R.D.I joined the Arts Festival for this project. The signing of this agreement took place on board a plane from Air Iceland Connect and was signed by Jón Karl Ólafsson, director of the Airline, Aðalsteinn Þorsteinsson, director of the Development Institute and Þórunn Sigurðardóttir, artistic director of the Reykjavík Arts Festival. Valgerður Sverrisdóttir, Minister of Regional Affairs, was also present. 

From the signing of the agreement of The I.R.D.I., Air Iceland Connect and Reykjavík Arts Festival for the Eyrarrósin award in 2004. 

The agreement was called "Agreement to promote culture events in the countryside" with the goal to expand the reach of cultural projects in the rural areas, increasing promotional opportunities for individual municipalities and regions, giving people all over the country the opportunity to experience outstanding international arts events and create opportunities in the cultural tourism field. Part of the agreements was the establishment of the Eyrarrós award for outstanding cultural projects in the countryside alongside a financial grant in the amount of 1.5 million Icelandic kronas as well as an award trophy designed by Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir. First Lady Dorrit Moussaieff was the first patron of the Eyrarrós which was awarded for the first time at Bessastaðir, the President’s residency, in the beginning of 2005.

"Agreement to promote culture events in the countryside"

Former Eyrarrósin Recipients