Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was born in Reykjavík on 15 April 1930 to Finnbogi Rútur Thorvaldsson (1891-1973), port engineer and later professor of engineering at the University of Iceland, and Sigrídur Eiríksdóttir (1894-1986), nurse. Active in social matters both at home in Iceland and abroad, Sigrídur was chairperson of the Icelandic Nurses Association from 1924-1960. Finnbogi and Sigrídur were two of the founding members of the Icelandic Cancer Society, established in 1949. Since 1986, Vigdís has been patron of the Society.
Vigdís’s brother Thorvaldur was born in the year after her birth. Thorvaldur had recently matriculated and was contemplating university study in engineering when he died in an accident in the summer of 1952.
Vigdís was brought up in Reykjavík but spend the summers in Eystra-Geldingaholt in Gnúpverjahreppur, Árnessýsla.
In December 1954, Vigdís married Ragnar Arinbjarnar, who would later qualify as a doctor. The couple divorced seven years later.
Vigdís has one daughter, Ástríður Magnúsdóttir, artist and art historian, who was born in 1972. She is married to Eggert Elmar Þórarinsson, technologist(b. 1973. Their children are Aþena Vigdís (b. 2000), Eva María (b. 2004), Ásta Sigríður (b. 2009) and Elmar Þór (b. 2014).