Updated: Jan 16, 2020
The Icelandic Order of the Falcon is the highest honor that the Icelandic state can bestow on individuals. The order was founded in 1921 during the royal visit to Iceland by King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark.
A royal decree, dated at Reykjavík on 3 July 1921, established the Icelandic Order of the Falcon. The decree stated: “We consider it right, in order to give official recognition to those men and women, Icelandic and foreign, who have made outstanding contributions to the honour and prosperity of the country in some way, to establish an Icelandic order, which We wish to be named ‘The Icelandic Falcon.’” The King of Iceland was the first Grand Master of the order.
The original award was designed by Hans Christian Tegner, a professor at the Copenhagen Academy of Art, in collaboration with the royal secretary Jón Hjaltalín Sveinbjörnsson and Poul Bredo Grandjean, a heraldic expert.
With the foundation of the Republic in 1944, the President of Iceland became the Grand Master of the Order of the Falcon and several changes were made to the design, including removal of the royal crown and replacement of the name of the founder with the date “17. júní 1944.”
The President of Iceland typically presents Icelandic citizens and a few foreigners with the Order of the Falcon twice a year, based on the recommendation of the Falcon Order Council.
The Order of the Falcon is conferred in five grades. You can read more here.
Why should this be important to us? One reason is to better understand the Icelandic culture and history. Another is so we can properly congratulate our friend, Sunna Pam Olafson Furstenau, as the most recent recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon!
Sunna was presented the award by President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson at Bessastaðir, near Reykjavik on August 31, 2017. Her sisters, Brenda and Barb, joined her at the presentation and her husband, Jeff, witnessed the proceedings via FaceTime video. Close friends and family from Iceland were also able to attend the award ceremony.
Sunna, as the founder of Icelandic Roots, USA Representative of the Icelandic National League in Iceland, and current President of the Icelandic National League of North America, earned this prestigious honor in recognition for many years of dedicated service to improving relations between the people of Iceland and their cousins in North America. Congratulations Lady Sunna!