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Icelanders have from the time of settlement depended on fishing. Settlement at Faxaflói Bay was founded on fishing and fish processing. Since the 19th century, the growth of Reykjavik and nearby Hafnarfjörður was largely based on the fisheries, as well as improved living conditions in the 20th century. The fishing industry has been the foundation of prosperity in Iceland.
The role of Vikin-Maritime Museum in Reykjavik is to present a living record of this most dynamic aspect of Iceland's history.
Iceland´s past, present and future are intimately tied to seafaring. This activity defines the nation’s character, making it difficult indeed to know Iceland and Icelanders without knowing its maritime history.
The Maritime Museum´s exhibitions are insights into Iceland’s relationship with the sea through the centuries. The main exhibitions illustrate the development from rowboats to modern trawlers and cargo vessels, as well as the construction of Reykjavík Harbor. Temporary exhibitions are changed regularly.
Docked to a specially built pier alongside the museum is the Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn. Óðinn participated in all three Cod Wars against Britain in the latter part of the 20th century. Moreover, it was a highly effective patrol and rescue vessel accredited with saving the crews of grounded or sinking ships, and towed nearly 200 vessels to safety.