Kópavogur is a city and Iceland's second largest municipality, with a population of 30,779.
It lies immediately south of Reykjavík and is part of the Greater Reykjavík Area. The name literally means seal pup bay. The town seal contains the profile of the church Kópavogskirkja with a seal pup underneath.
Kópavogur is largely made up of residential areas, but has commercial areas and a lot of industrial activity as well. The tallest building in Iceland, the Smáratorg tower, is located in central Kópavogur.
Kópavogur is historically significant as the site of the 1662 Kópavogur meeting. This event marked the total incorporation of Iceland into Denmark-Norway when, on behalf of the Icelandic people, Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson and Árni Oddsson, a lawyer, signed a document confirming that the introduction of absolute monarchy by the King also applied to Iceland. An independent township, Kópavogur is adjacent to Reykjavík.
The modern dome of Kópavogur Church–the town’s emblem–dominates the skyline to the south of Reykjavík. On the same hilltop is Gerðarsafn, Kópavogur Art Museum, an elegant, spacious museum built in 1985 to show the works of modern sculpture pioneer and glass artist Gerður Helgadóttir, who made the stained glass windows for the church. Another collection in the museum features works by painter/sculptor Magnús Árnason and his English-born wife Barbara, an illustrator and graphics artist. Selected exhibitions from these collections are arranged at intervals, but the museum’s main activity is exhibitions by modern Icelandic artists, held approximately every month. Also on the hilltop site is the new complex Kópavogur Cultural Centre. It houses among other things Iceland‘s first and only custom built concert hall, Salurinn, Kópavogur Concert Hall, which opened in 1999. Regular concerts and recitals are held at the centre, featuring both celebrated Icelandic performers and visiting international musicians.
One of Iceland‘s finest collections of molluscs and crustaceans are on display at the natural Science Centre in Kópavogur‘s town centre. The Cultural Centre also houses impressive collections of rocks and birds, and has four tanks with live fish and marine life.
Athletic facilities are among the best in the country. A new open-air geothermally heated swimming pool, the largest in Iceland, is among the many excellent sports and leisure facilities in Kópavogur, which also can boast of the biggest indoor tennis court in the country.
In the heart of Kópavogur a massive shopping area has been developed around Smaralind, the largest shopping mall in Iceland.