A century of childhood

By | Travel

The “Century of the Child” movement was coined by Swedish visionary Ellen Key, who in 1900 stated the 20th century should be so called in the hopes of cherishing and cherishing children’s inherent creativity and encouraging education. This winter in Reykjavik, the Nordic House institution aims to celebrate, memorialise and modernise this movement by representing the Nordic contribution to the childhood experience from the turn of the 20th century through to today.

In addition to displaying collector’s items and works by independent artists and designers, the exhibit also aims to feature internationally acclaimed brands such as LEGO, which originated in Denmark and has been enabling children to create and innovate themselves for over 75 years. In order to celebrate the exhibition and its aims, the Nordic House also aims to open a renovated children’s library, following developments earlier this year on a climbing playground in front of the Nordic House.

Credit@Kari Arnor Egilsson

Credit@Kari Arnor Egilsson

The exhibition and event in itself seem to be reflective of the Icelandic mode of thought regarding improvement, innovation and creation. For example, Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, seems to have seen a year-round 20% increase in tourism across the past few years, which the city has aimed to meet with eagerness and improvement from the local businesses and organisations. Whilst the city may be known for its proximity to the Blue Lagoon and other such natural phenomena, there may also be many other Icelandic innovations which appeal to travellers.

One such innovation may be the Geothermal Energy Exhibition at the Hellsheiði Power Plant, which aims to display how the world may benefit from the use of clean, sustainable energy as well as hailing its history and origins. In addition to this, travellers may also choose to visit the Pearl, an inventive, modern and multi-faceted leisure site, where guests may eat at the revolving restaurant or experience the award-winning acoustics of the dome, all whilst being warmed by the natural geothermal heat beneath the structure. A final piece of innovation which may prove appealing to travellers is the Imagine Peace Tower, which was designed by none other than artist and advocate Yoko Ono, and was inaugurated almost 10 years ago on Viðey Island, Reykjavik.

There may also be more traditional, historic and architectural sights to be enjoyed by travellers in Reykjavik, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church which may be seen from almost anywhere in the capital. Another option may be the Hoffsstaðir Viking Longhouse park, which aims to replicate and recreate the historic site, which may have stood there from the late first millennia through to the 12th century through multimedia presentation and physical exploration of the site.

Credit@Tania Artur via. Flickr

Credit@Tania Artur via. Flickr

After a day of travelling and sightseeing in Reykjavik, travellers may desire a modern and social cultural experience of Iceland, which they may find in the 3 hour Reykjavik Bar Crawl. Alternatively, travellers may choose to experience some quintessential Icelandic quisine at Café Loki, which is located near the Hallgrímskirkja, and serves meals utilising local produce such as trout, flat cake and rye bread.


Whilst the weather may be cold in the United Kingdom and colder still in Iceland, with the arrival of the Century of the Child exhibition to the Nordic Hall in Reykjavik, there may be further reasons for Nordic travellers to venture into Iceland’s capital. The apparent abundance of innovation and creation in the country as well as their appreciation and dedication to the treatment and care of children may contribute to the Nordic innovation later in life across many different fields.

How may society draw from their young generation in terms of education and travel?


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