Inspired by Iceland
SEEDS 41. Viðey island & Culture night in Reykjavík
Capital Region
SEEDS Iceland
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From 18.08.2009 to 01.09.2009
Type: Festival / Environmental
Number of volunteers: 10
Language: English - high proficiency is not required
Accomodation: Local housing
Participation fee: 150 EUR
Extra: Whale watching, puffin boat excursions and free time activities in the area will be organised free of charge for the volunteers. Volunteers will also have free rides in the boat/ferry to the city of Reykjavík during their free time.

WORK/PROJECT: The city of Reykjavík will be our host again and we will work on environmental and nature related issues, as during the happenings of the Culture Night in the city. The work on Viðey includes coastline cleaning, maintenance of paths and bicycle trails; as works on common recreational areas, gardening and painting works. Volunteers will support harvesting of vegetables and crops grown in the island and the festival organised around this events on August 29.

SEEDS volunteers will also be part of the happenings of Menningarnótt (The Culture Night) on August 22. Menningarnótt is a yearly event held and SEEDS volunteers have been engaged since 2006. It was created by the Reykjavík city council, and has now become the largest festival in Iceland, rivalling the celebration of Iceland's national day on June 17th.

During Culture Night a carnival atmosphere reigns. The festival consists of a main stage in the centre and many smaller events spread over the city. The highlight is an outside concert by 3-4 of the most popular musicians in Iceland followed by a glamorous fireworks show. SEEDS volunteers are part of making the centre vibrant with miscellaneous, creative and colourful events.

ACCOMMODATION: Volunteers will be lodged in a local house at Viðey island, sleeping on mattresses on the floor; a warm sleeping bag is suggested. Food ingredients will be provided and volunteers will share common duties as cooking the meals, among others.

LOCATION: Viðey or “Wood Island” is the largest island of the Kollafjord Bay (1,7 km²) with its highest point rising 32 m above sea level. It is divided by a short isthmus and the western part is called The West Island (Vesturey). The large part, with the church and Viðeyjarstofa (Viðey House), is called The Home Island (Heimaey) and the south-eastern part is called The East Island (Austurey). The island is of volcanic origins and was formed about 2 million years ago; several spots on the island depict beautiful basaltic columns, while it is well vegetated and boggy in places. About 156 species of higher plants have been found on the island and the avifauna is highly interesting. At least 30 species of breeding birds have been counted, the most common ones are eiders and the lesser black backed gull. Archaeological excavations have disclosed the fact, that the island was inhabited already in the 10th century. In the 12th century a church was built on the island and in 1225 an Augustine monastery was established there, which was a centre for pilgrimage in the Middle Ages until it was abolished in 1539 after the reformation had started in Iceland.

The Viðeyjarstofa house was built in 1755 and is thus the first construction made of stone and cement in the country. The church was consecrated in 1774 and is the second oldest one still standing. The island became the seat of the first Icelandic treasurer and later the first Icelandic sub-governor, Mr Skuli Magnusson. In the beginning of the 20th century the country's first harbour for ocean going vessels was built on the eastern part of the island and a hamlet developed there. The last inhabitant left it in 1943, when the harbour of Reykjavik had taken over.

There are hiking and cycling paths around the island and there is no motor traffic allowed. It also inhabits intriguing sculptural art work, amongst them all nine pairs of basalt pillars that comprise Richard’s Serra’s work Áfangar and Yoko Ono’s peace column

Other places of interest on Viðey are related to archaeological research, the village. At the eastern end of the island is the site of the abandoned fishing village and Viðeyjarnaust, at the southwest of the island, it is a memorial to the twenty men who lost their lives when the cutter Ingvar sank off Viðey in 1906. Dramatic formations of columnar basalt may be seen on the shore.

LANGUAGE: English will be the official language in the camp; high proficiency is not a requirement.

TERMINAL: Closest International Airport: Keflavík (Reykjavík), KEF. Closest bus terminal in Reykjavík.

SPECIAL REMARKS / EXTRAS: Participation fee EUR 150,- (Euros). Whale watching, puffin boat excursions and free time activities in the area will be organised free of charge for the volunteers. Volunteers will also have free rides in the boat/ferry to the city of Reykjavík during their free time.

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