Ásbrú is a new name for the development which has taken place on the former Nato defence area. When the U.S. Military left the area after being there for 60 years, a new company, Keflavik Airport Development Company ehf. - Kadeco, was founded with the goal of putting the defence area and its facilities to civilian use. Kadeco is wholly owned by the Icelandic Ministry of Finance.
The goal and purpose of Kadeco is to lead the development and transformation of the former defence area, now known as Ásbrú, for civilian use. Part of that process is necessary preparation work, assessment of the area and facilities as well as assessment of development- and growth opportunities in cooperation with invested parties.
In addition the company manages and operates several specific government owned facilities through a service contract with the Government of Iceland. This includes overseeing the lease and sale of properties, cleaning up areas, demolishing structures, and other related projects. Kadeco is also working on projects regarding the assessment, development and transformation of the area.
After the U.S. military departed people started using several different names to describe the area, including the Old defence area, the Base, the Keilir area, and Miðnesheiði. Giving the area the name Ásbrú will give all interested parties in the area a clear and definitive landmark to identify with.
Origins of the word
Ásbrú is the bridge that the old Nordic gods, the Aesir, built between Midgard, home of men, and Asgard, home of the gods, and can be seen from the earth as the rainbow. One end of Ásbrú is in the heavens, at Himinbjörg(Sky Mountain) where the god Heimdall lives.
Ásbrú is strongly built, but it will nonetheless crumble at Ragnarok, the end of times, when the evil sons of Muspell will cross it. According to the Nordic mythology the red colour of the rainbow(Ásbrú) is a fire that burns in the sky. The fire prevented the ice trolls and mountain ogres to cross the bridge.
Daily the Aesir ride across Ásbrú to Urdarbrunnur, the well of Urdur, which is where the gods hold their court. Urdarbrunnur is located under the roots of Ash Yggdrasil, the world tree. The three witches of fate, Urdur, Verdandi, and Skuld, live at Urdarbrunnur. Thor, god of thunder, can not cross Ásbrú so he must cross mighty rivers to reach his destination at Urdarbrunnur.
The first part of the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning, describes it thus:
Körmt and Örmt
and the Kerlaugs twain,
Them shall Thor wade
when he goes to doom
At Ash Yggdrasill;
For the Aesir's Bridge
burns all with flame,
And the holy waters howl.