Back to the beginning: Using joy as a weapon

Thirty years after the Stonewall riots in New York in June 1969, the national queer organization Samtökin ‘78 wanted to commemorate the event by having a small festival in Reykjavík. Although news of the event were only spread by word of mouth about fifteen hundred people showed up, much more than expected.

Heimir Már Pétursson, is one the founders of Reykjavik Pride and its manager for eleven years.
Proud Heimir Már Pétursson is one the founders of Reykjavik Pride and was the festival’s manager for eleven years.

“It surprised me that there weren’t just LGBTI+ people who came. There were straight people too, friends and family members showing support,” says Heimir Már Pétursson, one the founders of Reykjavik Pride and its manager for eleven years. “On that moment I sensed the times were truly changing and felt we needed to do more.”

The change in public opinion that Heimir sensed was due to the relentless hard work of Samtökin ’78 and soon he approached them with the idea that they should throw a parade like the LGBTI+ community was doing in other countries. It wouldn’t be the first time an attempt was made to have a parade in Iceland; before one had been done but more in the form of a demonstration. Heimir suggested a different approach. The next thing he knew he was on a plane to Glasgow to attend the first InterPride meeting in Europe and came back full of ideas.

“There were many among us who though that we could never pull of a successful parade like we’ve seen in other countries. They were afraid no one would show up and it would be an embarrassment. Therefore I suggested calling it “Gleðigangan” (Gay parade, or Gay Pride) with the emphasis on the word gay, meaning happy and joyful.

“The big change was that friends and family were now openly proud of us … Before, friends and family showed their support by keeping our secret.”

I didn’t want to call it skrúðganga, the traditional Icelandic word for parade, where the definition of the prefix ´skrúð´ means decorative or an ornament. The Gay Pride was supposed to be a celebration of our accomplishments and a commemoration of the ones who put their lives at risk fighting for our rights, and a celebration of who we are. Showing up angry with a bitter look on our face was not an option. The idea was that joy would be our biggest weapon.”

The preparation for Gleðigangan (Gay Pride) began in the fall of 1999. The goal was set high and there was a lot of work to be done. To get funding a program was to be printed in a well designed magazine with articles and interviews and paid advertisement. The next thing was to get someone to buy the ads and things started rolling when Reykjavík city offered its support. “The city has been a huge beneficiary right from the start, and all the mayors have been very supportive. The city has been our rock,” says Heimir. Soon big companies like the insurance company VÍS, Icelandair Hotels and Landsbankinn jumped on board.

In other countries Pride is usually held in June but since Iceland celebrates independence in June it was decided to have Reykjavik Pride on the first weekend after labor day.
In other countries Pride is usually held in June but since Iceland celebrates independence in June it was originally decided to have Pride on the first weekend after labor day.

“Rules of a society are not set in stone … without nurturing of human rights the danger rises that they will disappear giving rise to opposing forces.”

“Pride was at the core of everything we did, because nobody should feel ashamed about their sexual orientation. We caught the attention of the media that gave us plenty of coverage. We ran ads in the big newspapers and on bus stops, which was considered a rather bold move. Furthermore we planned for the parade itself to go from Hlemmur bus stop and all the way down Laugarvegur, the main shopping street, which some of the sceptics thought was a bit too much. Also, we encouraged the public the come and celebrate with us, an unusual request compared to similar parades abroad.”

A curtain of rain beat down from the sky on the day of the parade, and Heimir felt doubtful for the first time. “For a brief moment I was sure this would be a failure,” he recalls. “Although I was still sure we’d be well received by the general public, and at least a few people would cheer us on.”

The first pride parade was in New York a year after the Stonewall riots in June 1969, that was a spontaneous uprising in the queer community in response to a police raid at a gay bar.
Commemorating Stonewall  The first pride parade was held in New York in the US a year after the Stonewall riots in June 1969, that was a spontaneous uprising in the queer community in response to a police raid at a gay bar.

But, nothing could have prepared Heimir for what happened as the parade with its manually pushed floats marched around the corner onto street Laugarvegur. “My heart lost a beat as tears rolled down my cheeks.” Twelve thousand people on each side of the street stood there smiling in the rain with hundreds of rainbow flags in hand. “Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to see so many people. Before, friends and family showed their support by keeping our secret. The big change was that friends and family were now openly proud of us. The transformation from being a victim to someone who’s proud of who they are was crucial.”

Today the Reykjavík Pride Parade is one of Reykjavik’s most anticipated events, attracting close to one hundred thousand people from all over. “Every year there is a moment at the Pride Parade when I find myself in tears of joy in celebration of the courage of our people and all the victories, and the enormous and ever-growing support of the general public that got tired of a minority being pushed into a corner.”

Although Reykjavik Pride is hugely important to the LGBTI+ society, it has also left a defining mark on the nation in whole who now prides itself in celebrating diversity.
“The parade is a platform to unite all kinds of people, for friends and family to show support and even though we feel the love here in Iceland we are reminded that in many parts of the worlds our brothers and sisters are being treated with hate, persecution and threats,” says Heimir. “In addition, Reykjavík Pride has helped Reykjavik become an important city that is now visited by fifty-five thousand LGBTI+QI tourists every year.”

He adds: “But without constant nurturing of human rights the danger rises that they will disappear giving rise to opposing forces. Rules of a society are not set in stone and every generation needs to be reminded of the past to guide them so they are able to create an even better society. That is why Reykjavík Pride will always be relevant.”

things started rolling when Reykjavík city offered its support. “The city has been a huge beneficiary right from the start, and all the mayors have been very supportive.
Things started rolling when Reykjavík city offered its support. “The city has been a huge beneficiary right from the start, and all the mayors have been very supportive,” says Heimir.

All photos (except the one of Heimir Már) by Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website:

    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

      Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

      Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

      In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at

        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

        Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

        More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

          - for all your Apple needs

          From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

          Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
          For all your Apple needs. We are here.

          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Contact Us

          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.