Scan Magazine, Issue 104, September 2017

Page 38

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Nordic Art & Culture Special – Norway

Explore the northern lights from within In picturesque Vesterålen in Northern Norway, you are bound to have an extraordinary stay – especially if you visit Spaceship Aurora at Andøya Space Center. By Karen Langfjæran  |  Photos: NAROM / Andøya Space Center

The beautiful archipelago of Vesterålen, located just North of Lofoten, is filled with traditional villages, extraordinary mountain views and adventures typical of northern Norway – but look closer and you will find that science blends in beautifully with the dramatic nature. At Andøya Space Center, researchers have studied the northern lights and outer space for the past 55 years and now welcome visitors of all ages to partake in the excitement through virtual space missions and rocket launches at the visitor centre Spaceship Aurora. “Norway launched its first science rocket in 1962 here in Andøya, only five years after the Soviet Union launched their first ever satellite into space,” says Alexander Biebricher, chief science officer at Space-

ship Aurora. Despite being among the first nations to explore space, Norway is not particularly known for this historic fact outside of its formal circles – although the visitor’s centre has helped in reducing the information gap since its opening in 2014. “We attract scientists and school children alike, and the science of space and the northern lights seems less complex by the minute as you actively learn more,” says Biebricher. At Andøya, you also get the chance to enjoy a spectacular view of the northern lights phenomenon, usually in the period between the autumn equinox and the spring equinox. “There is, however, never any guarantee for the northern lights to show, not anywhere,” says Biebricher. Obviously with the exception of Spaceship Aurora.

A one-of-a-kind experience on the Norwegian culture scene


By Ingrid Opstad  |  Photos: Kirkelig Kulturverksted

After the opening of Kulturkirken JAKOB in Oslo in 2000, the old Grunerløkka parish church morphed into Norway’s first ‘cultural church’, creating a new trend on the cultural scene. “Today we appear as a completely unique arena in a European context. We conduct religious services every Sunday, but the rest of the time you can find a mixture of art and culture – everything from concerts and theatre to dance events and exhibitions for all age groups. Our ambition is to be an eclectic arena offering a wide range of happenings throughout the year,” says Thor-Erik Fjellvang, head of programme and booking. With its distinctive combination of spectacular church rooms with enormous ceilings, beautiful architecture, exceptionally good acoustics and a captivating atmosphere, JAKOB truly is a wonderful place to experience culture. “I would argue that this is the most beautiful concert venue in Norway, but I am of course biased,” Fjellvang smiles. When JAKOB was set up 17 years ago, the hope and purpose was to expand the boundaries for what a church space can be. “We see in Norway, especially around Christmas time, that most of the churches are now being used as concert spaces. This was not the 38  |  Issue 104  |  September 2017

case before we started,” he says. “December is the busiest period for us, and our one-ofa-kind atmosphere attracts Norway’s finest artists to come back year after year to hold their Christmas concerts here.” Over the past year, visitors have had the opportunity to see a variety of Scandinavian and international artists, such as Marit Larsen, Astrid S, In Flames, Rosanne Cash and the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. The space can also be rented for weddings and other special events, with the possibility to accommodate groups from around 70 to 500 people.

Web: Facebook:  kulturkirken Twitter: @kulturverksted Instagram: @kulturkirkenjakob

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