Welcome Home – Velkomin Heim


I am home. Not the location in America where I live – but I am home in Iceland.

What is it about the descendants of the Icelandic pioneers to North America that make us feel this way? Many descendants of the Icelandic pioneers to America have told me about similar experiences. Why do we feel remarkably “at home” in Iceland?

One of the very first experiences every traveler to Iceland receives is a warm welcome from the flight attendant. When traveling to other destinations, they might say, “Welcome to Fargo” or “Welcome to Boston.” But when the plane lands in Iceland, the flight attendant says in a clear voice over the public-address system, “Velkomin heim.” Welcome home.

Most people honor the word “home.” There has been much written about the subject. I can think of these three quotes right away.

“Home is where the heart is.”

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“You can’t know who you are until you know where you came from.”

Iceland was the home of our ancestors but yet, it feels like home to me. Many people who visit Iceland and connect with the homeland of their ancestors return to America changed. It is like something has been resolved within them. Standing in spots where they stood long ago lets us experience that same view. It helps us to reconnect somehow with them. We can imagine some of the emotions that they must have felt leaving behind everything and everyone that they knew to leave for America.

Walking the ground that they walked on and learning more about their lives helps us to grow beyond our present day lives. It is part of the journey that transforms us and helps us appreciate our ancestors for the sacrifices they made and the bravery they demonstrated.

Some people don’t care about the past and they don’t have this urge to connect with their roots. However, our history helped to create us and learning about that history may give you that deeper understanding of yourself.

What discoveries have you made about your ancestors? If you have traveled to Iceland, do you feel “at home” in Iceland?


Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

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