Danish architect designs flagship Norwegian whale centre

Danish designer Dorte Mandrup will be the architect behind a visitors’ centre for whale spotters northern Norway.

Danish architect designs flagship Norwegian whale centre
An Orca photographed within the Norwegian Arctic Circle. File photo: Olivier MORIN / AFP

The centre, named The Whale, will be located at Andenes, 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, Norwegian business media E24 and Danish newspaper Berlingske reported.

Initially launched in May 2018 at an estimated cost of around 200 million Norwegian kroner, the project is priced at up to 350 million Norwegian kroner, according to E24 and Berlingske. It is expected to be completed in 2022.

The whale centre has already attracted attention from travel publisher Lonely Planet.

According to the website of Mandrup’s archictectural firm, the building “rises as a soft hill on the rocky shore – as if a giant had lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath”.

Up to 70,000 people annually have been projected to visit the remote wildlife centre, which will be a combination of museum and tourist attraction.

Because of its geographical position, scenery and wildlife at Andenes makes the area a unique attraction.

That includes a midnight sun for two months from May to July, as well as the winter polar nights, when the sun doesn’t rise at all.

READ ALSO: North Norway's polar night is about to begin. Here are the facts you need to know

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Denmark gets 11 new islands in three years

Eleven new islands have emerged in Danish coastal areas over the last three years. The news is wind beneath the wings for birds, an expert said.

Denmark gets 11 new islands in three years
File photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

In areas such as the island of Møn, which has seen six of the new islands appear near its coast, the new areas mean improved nesting conditions for birds, according to a press release from the Ministry of Environment and Food.

The remaining five of the total 11 new islands are located in the Nissum Fjord waterway in West Jutland.

The islands consist primarily of sand and make up a total area of 63 hectares.

Sea currents are a major factor in creating the islands, said Jes Aagaard, nature expert with the ministry’s Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen).

“New islands are created by erosion from the mainland sending material into the sea. That most commonly occurs from high slopes, where material falls down and is then transported by currents,” Aagaard said.

“Where the currents reduce in a certain area, the material is deposited, and that can create an island over a period of time. The deposits often occur around areas like promontories, which can give island chains that look like a string of pearls,” he explained.

Islands appearing and disappearing in this manner is a normal part of nature, the expert said.

“Water and currents change our landscape, that’s how it’s always been. Denmark is an Ice Age landscape, created by ice masses which moved the sand and clay.

“Later, the sea eroded coasts in some places and deposited the material in others. But if the sea currents change, there is a chance that a low-water island will disappear again,” he said.

The largest of the new islands is off the coast of Sækkesand, itself a small island near Møn. It has an area of 36 hectares. The five Nissum Fjord islands are smaller, making up a total area of just 0.6 hectares.

Despite their small size, the new islands play an important role for wildlife, Aagard said.

“These isolated islands close to the coast have a colossal importance for many of our coastal birds and waders. They are safe reservoirs on which to nest, where there are no foxes to come and plunder eggs,” he said.

Møn’s islands have for many years been considered islets, since it is only possible to sail around them at high tide. That has now changed, and they can officially be called islands.

Due to their importance to wildlife, it is forbidden to visit the islands around Sækkesand during breeding season, from March 1st to July 31st.

READ ALSO: 'Three million' birds flew from Denmark since 1970s: report