Vigdis Finnbogadottir was born on April 15, 1930 in Reykjavik. Her father, Finnbogi Rutur fiorvaldsson (1891-1973), was a civil engineer and professor at the University of Iceland. Her mother was SigriSur Eiriksdottir (1894-1986), chair of the Icelandic Nurses Association for 36 years. A younger brother died in an accident in the prime of life. She married and divorced Ragnar Arinbjarnar (1929-1997), M.D., and has one daughter (adopted): AstriSur (born 1972).

Finnbogadottir studied French language and literature in Paris and Grenoble, and later on lived in Denmark and Sweden. She later worked for the National Theatre and organized the French language department at a Reykjavik college. She was a member of Grima, the first experimental theater group in Iceland.

For a number of years, Finnbogadottir worked for the Icelandic Tourist Bureau as a tourist guide during the summer. Her job was to receive foreign journalists, guide them around Iceland, and help gather the information and material they requested. She was also instrumental in the development of the guide training program, which she headed for several years.

Finnbogadottir served as director of the Reykjavik Theatre Company from 1972 to 1980. Under her guidance, the Company flourished and she was especially active in opening channels for Iceland playwrights. When she was a candidate for president, she received nearly unanimous support from former theater colleagues.

She taught French drama at the University of Iceland and gave French lessons on Iceland State Television. She served as chairperson of Alliance Francaise. From 1976 to 1980, she was a member of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs of the Nordic Council, and its chairperson from 1978.

Sverrir Jakobsson

Further Reading

Dahlerup, Drude, Blomster og spark, Samtaler med kvindelige politikere i Norden, Stockholm, 1985 FriSriksson, GuSjon & Gunnar Elisson, President Vigdis. Her Election and First Year in Office, Reykjavik, 1981 (revised edition)

SigurSardottir, Steinunn, Ein a forsetavakt. Dagar i lifi Vigdisar Finnbogadottur, Reykjavik, 1988

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