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Landsbankinn gifts oldest records to National Archives

Hrafnhildur G. Stefánsdóttir, Head of Landsbankinn’s archives, and Eiríkur G. Guðmundsson, State Archivist at the Icelandic National Archives.

Landsbankinn in collaboration with the Central Bank of Iceland has given part of the records of Landsbanki Íslands into the care of Iceland’s National Archives. This is one of the larger collections the National Archives has accepted. The oldest documents are drawings of the streets of Reykjavík dated 1861 and the youngest are from 1989. The records were delivered to the National Archives on around 30 pallets containing 260 linear metres of shelf space.

Eiríkur G. Guðmundsson, State Archivist:

“These are valuable records not only of Landsbankinn’s history but of the Icelandic nation. The documents provide an insight into Iceland’s financial and political history in the latter half of the 19th century and almost the entire 20th century. They are also a source of information about the living conditions of the general public at the time. The records contain not only Landsbankinn’s own documents but also documents from savings banks that used to operate throughout Iceland and later merged into Landsbankinn. Landsbankinn's archives thus also incorporate regional histories. This is one of the largest collections we have received and it will now be available for scholars to peruse and use for research purposes.”

Landsbankinn afhendir Þjóðskjalasafni elstu skjöl bankans
Landsbankinn presents the National Archives with its documents from the 1861 Lóðaútmælingabók (Land Registry), the oldest document in the Bank’s collection. It contains drawings of parcel boundaries in Reykjavík, and lists real estate owners in the settlement. The drawing includes the name of Lækjartorg square and the stream for which it is named is clearly visible, as it was not enclosed until much later.

Hrafnhildur G. Stefánsdóttir, Head of Landsbankinn’s archives:

“The archives of Landsbanki Íslands contain primary sources on the history and operation of the Bank, as well as extensive information about life and industry in Iceland from the latter part of the 19th century onwards. These documents have been carefully preserved by the banks’ employees throughout the years. It is extremely satisfying to present them to the National Archives for safekeeping in mint condition and thus grant access to the oldest records of Landsbanki Íslands to scholars.”