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Iceland's Punk Rock Toilets

Iceland has an obsession with museums. It’s true. Really.

Last count, there are 266 museums in the country. That’s one museum for every 1,400 people.

Inside museum with video screen and posters.
Inside the Icelandic Punk Museum. Possibly the only museum in an old public toilet. **

For comparison purposes, if Iowa had the same ratio there would be nearly 2,300 museums across the state, just shy of 23 in every county.

It all makes for an abundance of wild, wonderful and sometimes wacky small museums.

You’ll find one such spot just below street level in Reykjavik in what was once a public toilet: the Icelandic Punk Museum.

Before I go about describing the museum it behooves me, I just like saying behooves, to point out John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols, was on hand for the museum’s 2016 opening which provides it with at least some modicum of respectability.

You can read about that opening here, just know it is pretty much typical Johnny Rotten.

Photo of toilet stall with urinal covered in black tape and walls covered with punk music info.
Yep, the toilets and urinals are still there. **

Side note, which really amounts to not so much, Lydon, aka Rotten, is less than two months younger than I am. Boy howdy, there are days I feel old.

Open the gate at street level, pass the big blue M&M peanut, walk down the stairs, pay a mere 1,000 Icelandic Krona - $7 US – and gain entrance to all that is Icelandic Punk.

The small space, it was a public restroom after all, is filled with posters, old musical instruments, video screens and other memorabilia.

The stalls, with toilets, non-working, still in place, serve as exhibit rooms. The walls throughout the space are plastered with information and factoids about the punk music scene.

Retro headphones hang from the ceiling in the main, did I mention it’s small, room, each playing music from a different punk performer. Visitors switch from one set to another, holding them to their ears and listening to the music.

Steps with words painted on them reading No Disco, No Politics, No Hate, No Bullshit
Steps leading down to Icelandic Punk Museum say it all. **

Though I would never lay claim to being a punk music fan I even found a couple I liked.

The museum is located at Bankastræti 0 (the number zero). The toilet was known as “The Zero” thanks to its address. It’s the only number zero address in Reykjavik.

Because it was an underground toilet it’s easy to pass by if you’re not looking for it. I walked by it the day before I visited it without even knowing it was there.

Is it a great museum? No, but it’s a fun one and, for roughly the price of drink at the nearby watering hole, why not? You know you want to.

And someone tell me why we can’t have a museum for every 1,400 people. I mean, these are fun.


**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address,, or a link back to this page.


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