Seyðisfjörður, a beautiful 19th-century Norwegian village on the east coast of Iceland, is regarded by many as one of Iceland's most picturesque towns, not only due to its impressive environment, but also because nowhere in Iceland has a community of old wooden buildings been preserved so well as here. Poet Matthías Johannessen called Seyðisfjörður a 'pearl enclosed in a shell'. The community owes its origins to foreign merchants, mainly Danes, who started trading in the fjord in the mid-19th century. But the crucial factor in the evolution of the village was the establishment of the Icelandic herring fishery by Norwegians in 1870-1900. The Norwegians built up a number of herring-fishing facilities, and in a matter of years the little community grew into a boom town. Today, about 800 people live in Seyðisfjörður. The local economy has long been based on the fisheries, while light industry also flourishes. Tourism is playing a growing role, as the picturesque town in its spectacular surroundings attracts more and more visitors. The car/passenger ferry Norrøna, which plies between continental Europe and Iceland every summer, docks at Seyðisfjörður every Thursday. Seyðisfjörður has been a cosmopolitan community from its foundation, and the ferry service has contributed to ensuring that it remains so.