Hannes Hafstein and the SDGs

The history of Hannes Hafstein and his work corresponds to the SDGs. Hannes Hafstein, the first Icelandic minister, stood guard when the nation jumped into modernity at an alarming speed and worked on most of the issues that fall under the global goals. The SDGs are issues that forward-looking, level-headed people building a society have aimed for. The SDGs call for greater solidarity and vision than before. In order for the SDGs to be achieved, both the government and the public need to make them their own.

Children and the SDGs

The challenges facing today’s youth are arguably greater than that of other generations. It is our role to support them as they are confronted with apocalyptic predictions of the future. To counteract this doom and dread, it is our duty to direct them towards solution-oriented thinking and give them opportunities to make an impact. The image of the ant can be our inspiration. Alone, an ant is tiny and insignificant, but when working together, they can move mountains.

SDGs and daily life

When confronted with large problems, it is best to break them down into smaller problems that have accessible solutions. The same is true about the SDGs. We believe a good way to make an impact is for the homes and individuals to take action. The Home of the SDGs aims to disseminate impactful easy actions for homes to undertake.

Hannesarholt as a home

Since opening Hannesarholt has gone to great lengths to preserve the feeling of a home. The house is furnished with household items from the last 120 years, so when visitors come to the house, they are greeted by a familiar and warm welcome, which reminds many of a visit to an elderly relative. Visitors are always welcome when the house is open, even if they do not have any official business. They can come and enjoy the attic, for example, even though many events are going on in the house at the same time in other living areas. These surroundings offer guests an opportunity to see how the SDGs can be applied in a home.

The SDGs around the dinner table

At the opening of Hannesarholt, tablecloths were made with fragments related to the story of Hannes Hafstein in collaboration with Áslaug Jónsdóttir, fragments from his letters, information and poems. These tablecloths have served as a „conversation piece“ of sorts and has generated dialogue and questions between guests and between guests and staff. A new tablecloth is currently in the works where the SDGs are in the foreground and Hannes Hafstein’s projects that align with the SDGs. The purpose is to attract attention, encourage discussion and spark interest. Pointing out that the building of Icelandic society, in this case by Hannes Hafstein, was done along the same lines as the SDGs today, connects us to our roots, and makes brings the SDGs closer.

Inspiration from abroad

Hannesarholt’s platform is to „receive inspiration from abroad.“ Hannes Hafstein understood the importance for Icelanders to receive cultural currents from Denmark. Hannesarholt has collaborated with and hosted foreign parties in the past, Amber Nystrom and Ralph Reutiman, who came here out of interest in goal 5, Gender Equality, to find out why Icelanders fared better than others in to give women a foothold in society. They have been Hannesarholt’s guests in recent seasons. Amber and Ralph offer a large network around the world, which is eagerly waiting for Iceland to step up to the challenge and become a leader in achieving the SDGs.