Iceland presidential palace open to the public this evening

The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, often talks about his official residence, Bessastaðir, as a house for the nation. That is literally true today, when the mansion and church are open to the public.

Bessastaðir and its church will be open to the public between 16.00 and 20.00 today as part of the Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival galleries night; when most of the city’s galleries are open late and for free. Bessastaðir houses some of the nation’s greatest artworks.

The President’s secretary confirmed to mbl.is that this is the first time that Bessastaðir has been opened for galleries night, although the house does already play host to some 8,000 invited guests of the president every year, as part of meetings, receptions and other official engagements. In addition to this over 100,000 tourists also make their way to Bessastaðir to take a look.

Will the President be home this evening though? “I have high hopes that he will,” Örnólfur Thorsson, his secretary, says — adding that guests will be received by staff and given tours in addition to maybe meeting President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

The upper floor of Bessastaðir has a display of some of the gifts the presidential couple and the Icelandic nation have been given over the years.

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