Bæjarbíó was founded in 1945 and is the oldest operating cinema in Iceland. Today, Bæjarbíó serves a variety of purposes as Hafnarfjörður’s cultural centre, and also breathes life into the city centre.

Bæjarbíó website

Various concerts and events are held in Bæjarbíó, including the music and town festival The Heart of Hafnarfjörður.


Bæjarbíó was furnished in the years 1942–43 by Sigmundur Halldórsson, State Architect, and Skarphéðinn Jóhannsson, furniture architect. It was put into use on 10 January 1945. Great care was taken in the design of the cinema at the time. Bæjarbíó is the only cinema in Iceland from the mid-20th century that has been preserved in its original form.

In 1970, regular film screenings stopped in the building, but Leikfélag Hafnarfjarðar received facilities there. The Icelandic Film Museum took over the cinema in 1997. Professional restoration of the cinema was then undertaken, and film screenings began there again in December 2001. During the restoration, Skarphéðin’s original drawings were used as a reference, and every effort was made to preserve the murals and other special features that give the cinema historical value. Among other things, the original cinema projectors were set up so that it would be possible to screen films as was done when the cinema began its operations in 1945. This original procedure for film screenings has been abandoned elsewhere in the country.