The Icelandic Lighthouse Society
The Icelandic Lighthouse Society is a grass root organisation representing individuals, organisations and companies. The main goal of the origanisation is centred around preservation of lighthouses, both basic studies and establishing links with modern day culture. The aim of our organisation is to make the public more aware of the importance and the role of lighthouses in the past, present and, hopefully, in the future. New opportunities are within the realm of tourism and travel services.
On our website you will find some links to Icelandic sites dealing with seaside culture, and photographs of the Icelandic
shores. There are also links to other European Lighthouse Societies.
All the pages on this website, apart from this one, are in Icelandic.
Don't hesitate to contact us for further information.
The History of Icelandic Lighthouses
In the year 1878 the first lighthouse was built on the South-West coast of Iceland, at a place called Valahnúkur, on the Reykjanes shore. The Reykjanes coastline was and still is a treacherous sea. The lighthouse offered a most welcome guiding light for seafarers.
Only five lighthouses had been built at the beginning of the 20th century, and it was not until 1954, that the circle of 104 lighthouses around Iceland was finally closed. The lighthouses were built and operated by the Icelandic state, where as harbour throughfares, marked by buoys or smaller lighthouses, were operated and paid for by the individual communes.
The only lighthouse built by a private entrepreneur is Dalatangaviti. It was financed and built by Otto Wahne in 1895. Otto Wahne was a well off businessman at Seyðisfjörður. This is the oldest preserved lighthouse, now maintained by the National Museum of Iceland.
On December 1st 2003 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first lighthouse ever operated in Iceland. The occasion was used to put the first seven lighthouses on a preservation list: Arnartangaviti in Skutulsfjörður, Bjargtangarviti (built 1913, re-built in 1923, again in 1948), Dyrhólaey (1927), the older Garðskagaviti (1897), Hríseyjarviti (1920), Malarrifsviti (1946), and Reykjanesviti (1907).
Icelandic Lighthouse Society
(Vitafélagið – íslensk strandmenning)
The name of the Society is Vitafélagið – íslensk strandmenning (The Icelandic Lighthouse Society – Icelandic coastal culture).
The domicile and legal venue is the domicile of the Chairman at each point in time.
Vitafélagið – íslensk strandmenning is an independent and non-profit society.
The goals and objectives are:
Increase interest and knowledge of lighthouses and other cultural patrimony on and near the coasts of Iceland;
Support the preservation of lighthouses and coastal remains that are an important part of the cultural heritage of the country;
Support the multiple use of lighthouses and other coastal remains which is in line with preservation and history of each location;
Establish cooperation with historical museums and other public bodies;
Establish cooperation with international coast culture societies, lighthouse societies and institutions with similar purposes.
Membership is open to individuals, associations, businesses and institutions that are interested in the broad objectives of the Society.
Registered members shall pay annual dues. Annual dues are determined at the Annual Meeting each year. Each member holds one vote at the Annual Meeting. The Board of the Society can cancel membership due to non-payment of dues, breaking of the rules of the Society or harming the Society in any way. The resignation from the Society takes effect from the following annual meeting. If a member resigns or is dismissed from the Society, he/she has no claim on the Society.
Open general meetings are held as frequently as necessary, however not less than once a year.
The main power of the Society is in the hands of the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting shall be held before the end of May each year. The Annual Meeting shall be called with at least 10 days’ notice.
The programme of the Annual meeting shall be:
*Report of the Chairman.
*Report on the financial accounts for the past year.
*Change in the Statues.
*Election of the Chairman, four board members and two alternates.
*Election of two auditors for one year at the time.
*Decision on the annual dues.
*Any other business.
A follow up Annual Meeting can be held upon the request from the Board or upon the request of 1/3 of the membership. Annual Meetings and a follow-up Annual Meetings are legal if they are legally called.
The Board of the Society is composed of five members and two alternates. The Chairman is elected separately but other board members divide the responsibilities among themselves in such a way that one is the financial officer, the second is secretary, the third is vice-chairman and one is a general board member. If one board member resigns, an alternate board member shall take his/her place until the next annual meeting. The Board rules on all issues related to the Society between Annual Meetings, acts on the goals and objectives of the Society and represents the Society to the outside.
The Chairman calls board meetings. Each board member can request a board meeting and the Chairman shall call a meeting within one week from the presentation of the request.
Proposals for change in the Statutes must be received by the Board before March 1 and must be sent to the general membership along with the invitation to the Annual Meeting. Change in the Statues must be agreed to with ¾ of the vote cast at an Annual Meeting or a follow-up Annual Meeting.
The Society can be broken up if 2/3 of the membership votes positively at an Annual Meeting or a follow up Annual meeting. The property of the Society shall be forwarded to an institution or individuals that promote the goals and objectives of the Society.
These statutes take effect at the Foundation Meeting on April 23, 2003.
The present form includes changes that have been made during the past Annual Meetings, the last one in 2015.