Nordic Day 2023

16:00 - 18:15
Free entry

Nordic solidarity and the role of culture in a time of war

The Nordic house, The Nordic Association in Iceland and the Nordic Council of Ministers invite you to join Nordic Day in the Nordic house in Reykjavík on March 23 at 16.00–18.15. The day commemorates the Helsinki Agreement, which was signed on March 23, 1962 and forms the basis of Nordic cooperation. The program this year is centered around peace and Nordic solidarity in a time of war, and consists of a panel discussion, speeches from Nordic profiles and cultural inputs


  • Opening speeches – Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, minister for Nordic Cooperation, and Sabina Westerholm, director of the Nordic house in Reykjavík.
  • Panel discussion – Women in War: The role of culture in a time of war. Further description here below.
  • Speeches – Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, Chair of the Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council, and Pär Ahlberger, ambassador of Sweden.
  • Reading – Guðni Elísson talks about and reads from his book Ljósgildran, which has been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2023.
  • Address – Helgi Þorsteinsson, historian and board member of the Nordic Association in Iceland: War and Peace in the Nordics.
  • Concluding remarks – Hrannar Björn Arnarsson, president of the Nordic Association in Iceland.


Women in War: The role of culture in a time of war

Why listen to the music, go to theatre, write poetry, why look at art, when the war is raging and people are still dying? Poems will not stop missiles. Theatre will not end suffering.

But culture is not powerless.

Through art we establish similarities between past and future, abstract and concrete, we learn to understand and doubt. We learn to see the difference between good and bad in the times of utmost struggle and calamity. Art and culture have a power of depicting war matters for its own sake, communicating the message directly and above the usual human communication channels and propaganda.

Meet four women of culture – an Icelandic-Ukrainian actress Valerie Ósk Elenudóttir, an Icelandic poet of Russian origin awarded Tómas Guðmudsson prize Natasha S, Kateryna Mysechko – a Ukrianian violinist of Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Olena Sheptytska, an urbanist, designer and artist from Ukraine.

We will talk about the role of culture in the time of war, the power of art to deliver the narratives and educate people, as well as bring comfort and peace in the times of the worst human calamities, such as the war in Ukraine.

The panel-discussion is moderated by Olga Jóhannesson.