Celebrating a Centenary [1919 – 2019] of sharing Icelandic heritage:
The Icelandic National League of North America is fortunate to have friends in Reykjavík, New York City, and Winnipeg helping to celebrate our remarkable Icelandic heritage, in historical context. Iceland’s Parliamentary Office; the American Scandinavian Foundation its Scandinavian Review; and the Lögberg-Heimskringla have each shared the following documents with the INLNA:
The first English-translation of the 1918 Danish-Icelandic Act of Union;
Feature articles on the Birth of a Nation and the President of Iceland, the American Scandinavian Foundation’s guest of honor at its 2018 Annual Awards Gala Dinner, published in the Spring-2018 issue of Scandinavian Review;
Illustrated transcripts of the St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, WCAL-Radio 1948 three inaugural broadcasts by K. Valdimar Bjornson [1906 – 1987]: The Making of America , surveying the history of Viking discovery of North America and continuing Icelandic contributions enriching life throughout North America. They were reprinted by the Lögberg-Heimskringla during July and August, 2018.
Please enjoy the breadth of Icelandic heritage in North America portrayed above and visit the websites of our friends in Reykjavík, New York City, and Winnipeg.
Danish-Icelandic Union Act
Iceland’s Parliamentary Office
Denmark and Iceland are free and sovereign states in union under the same king and on the contract inherent in this Union Act.
The names of both states are incorporated in the king’s title.
The order of succession to the crown shall be as provided in Articles 1 and 2 of the Royal Inheritance Act of 31 July 1853. No change may be made to the succession to the crown except with the consent of both states.
The provisions currently in effect on the religion and legal competence of the king and on the exercise of royal powers when the king is sick, legally incompetent or absent from both states shall also apply in Iceland.
The king cannot be a head of state in other countries without the consent of the Danish Rigsdag and the Icelandic Althingi.
Each state shall establish provisions on payment from state funds to the king and royal family.
Danish citizens shall enjoy in all respects the same rights in Iceland as Icelandic citizens born there, and vice-versa.
The citizens of each state are exempted from military service in the other.
Both Danish and Icelandic citizens, wherever they are domiciled, are freely permitted to engage in fisheries in each other’s territorial waters. Danish vessels will enjoy in Iceland the same rights as Icelandic vessels, and vice versa.
Danish and Icelandic goods and products shall not reciprocally in any regard be subject to less favourable terms than those of any other country.
Denmark shall administer Iceland’s foreign affairs on its behalf.
In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the request of, and in consultation with, the Icelandic government, a representative shall be appointed who possesses knowledge of Icelandic affairs, to work on Icelandic matters.
If, in any location, there is no ambassador or consul, a person shall be appointed to such post at the request of, and in consultation with, the Icelandic government, provided that Iceland pays the cost. With the same conditions, advisors possessing knowledge of Icelandic affairs shall be appointed to existing diplomatic missions and consulates. If the government of Iceland chooses to send envoys from Iceland at its own cost to negotiate on special Icelandic affairs, this may be done in consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The agreements that have already been made between Denmark and other states and which have been published and concern Iceland shall also apply in Iceland. Treaties that Denmark enters into after this Union Act has been ratified do not obligate Iceland except with the consent of the proper Icelandic authorities.
Denmark will be responsible for the protection of fisheries in Icelandic territorial waters under the Danish flag until such time as Iceland may decide to undertake, in full or in part, such protection at its own cost.
The monetary arrangement that has applied in both states to date shall remain in effect while the monetary union of the Nordic countries continues.
If Iceland should wish to establish its own mint, an agreement needs to be negotiated with Sweden and Norway on whether the currency minted in Iceland should be recognised as legal tender in those countries.
The Supreme Court of Denmark will hold the supreme judicial authority in Icelandic affairs until such time as Iceland might decide to establish a supreme court in the country itself. Until such time, an Icelander shall be appointed to one seat in the Supreme Court; this provision shall come into effect the next time a seat is vacated in the court.
To the extent that no decision is made above regarding Iceland's share in the cost resulting from procedure on the matters addressed in this chapter, the share shall be determined by agreement between the government of both countries.
Other matters than those referred to above that concern both Denmark and Iceland, such as transport matters, commerce and tariff matters, maritime matters, postal and radio communications, the judiciary, measures and weights and financial matters, shall be subject to agreements made by the competent authorities of both states.
The amount of 60,000 krone, which the Treasury of Denmark has to date paid annually to Iceland and the cost to the Treasury of Denmark resulting from Iceland's government office in Copenhagen is discontinued.
Also, the preferential rights of Icelandic students to facilities at the Copenhagen University are abolished.
The State Treasury of Denmark will pay 2 million kroner and establish two funds, each in the amount of 1 million krone, for the purpose of strengthening the spiritual link between Denmark and Iceland, support Icelandic scientific research and other scientific activity and support Icelandic students. One of these funds shall be vested in the university in Reykjavik and the other in the university in Copenhagen.
Further instructions regarding the governance and functioning of the funds shall be issued by the King on the recommendations of the government of each country after obtaining the opinion of their respective universities.
Each country shall decide how its own interests and those of its citizens shall be further protected in the other country.
A Danish-Icelandic consultative committee shall be established composed at least of 6 members, one half elected by the Danish Rigsdag and the other half by the Icelandic Althingi.
Every legislative bill that relates to the further process of the matters addressed in this Union Act and legislative bills concerning the separate affairs of either state which also concern the other state and the status and rights of its citizens shall be placed by the respective governments before the committee for comment before submission to the Danish Rigsdag or the Althingi, unless this entails special difficulties. The committee shall make recommendations on amending any provisions of legislative bills which it considers to be contrary to the interests of either of the states or their respective citizens.
The committee has the further role, either on the recommendation of the governments or on its own initiative, to prepare the drafting of legislative bills to promote co-operation between the states and conformity of their legislation and to participate in co-operation on joint legislation in the Nordic Countries.
Further instructions on the arrangements and functioning of the committee will be issued by the King following recommendations by the governments of both countries.
In the event of any dispute regarding the understanding of the provisions of this Union Act, which the governments are unable to resolve between themselves, the dispute shall be referred to an arbitration tribunal of 4 arbitrators, with the highest court of each country electing their respective half. This arbitration tribunal shall resolve the dispute by majority vote. In the event of an equality of votes, the casting vote shall be entrusted to an external arbitrator that the Swedish and Norwegian governments will be asked to appoint in alternation.
After the end of 1940, the Danish Rigsdag and the Althingi respectively may at any time call for the start of negotiations on reviewing this Act.
If a new agreement is not made within 3 years from the time that the call was made, then the Danish National Parliament or the Althingi, respectively, may resolve that the contract entailed by this Act is void. In order for such a resolution to be valid, a minimum of 3/4 of the members of parliament, either in each chamber of the National Parliament or the united chambers of the Althingi, must cast a supporting vote and the resolution must thereafter be approved by a ballot of voters with voting rights in general elections to the country’s legislative assembly. If it is revealed in such a ballot that a minimum of 3/4 of enfranchised voters have participated in the ballot and a minimum of 3/4 of the cast votes have been in support of terminating the contract, then the contract is void.
Denmark will announce to foreign states that it has, pursuant to the substance of this Union Act, recognised Iceland as a sovereign state and announce at the same time that Iceland declares its eternal neutrality and that it has no battle flag.
This Union Act shall enter into force on 1 December 1918.
The Viking Voyagers