Visit Greenland and Faroe Islands
VISIT GREENLAND AND THE FAROE ISLANDS Special Theme:
The future of business in Greenland is now
Grønlands Erhverv (GE), or Greenland Business Association, is at the forefront of business in the country, taking care of corporate interests and developing the corporate climate. In May next year, they will host Greenland’s largest business conference in order to set the agenda for the future of the nation.
“If we arrive on time, we are five minutes late!” These words belong to Christian Keldsen, CEO of Greenland Business Association, and they have become the mantra of how the organisation is trying to shake things up in Greenland in order to develop and improve the corporate climate. “The challenge in Greenland is that we are very good at doing what we’ve always done, but we are trying to challenge that agenda. We have to be more effective and bring in new technologies and new industries. We need to work more closely with research and science, and we need to make sure that our politicians have the best possible framework for helping our industries,” says Keldsen.
It is not enough to just be part of the development for Greenland Business Association. They want to set the actual agenda for what direction Greenland needs to move in, which is why, every
Facts about Greenland Business Association: • Greenland Business Association was founded in 1966. • Next year, they are hosting the conference Future Greenland, which will take place on 17-18 May 2022. • The association is split into four main areas: the employers’ organisation, the service organisation, the interest group and the development group. • The Future Greenland conferences attract a broad range of social stakeholders, businesses, politicians from the government and the municipalities, civil servants, students, and others. Participants from Canada, the US, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scandinavia, and other places will also attend. • They represent over 330 companies and approximately 7,000 employees.
Sikuki Harbour. Photo: Astrid Maria Spring Öberg
Buildings in Nuuk. Photo: Astrid Maria Spring Öberg
other year, they host Greenland’s largest business conference. Future Greenland is the seventh of its kind, and it will take place next year on 17-18 May. The idea is to bring in inspiration from the outside world to Greenland to discuss Greenlandic challenges and options for the future.
One of the many things that will be discussed at the conference is how Greenland can get close to the objective of becoming an autonomous economy and less dependent on the money they receive from Denmark. “We are fighting for a strong private sector and creating the right conditions and an environment for our private sector to prosper. We have to be self-sufficient and self-suppliant, but also support our export industries. Currently, 93 per cent of our export is from the fishing industry, but we need to consider tourism as an export, and over time a functioning mineral industry as well. So we are working towards an understanding of what we can do in order for Greenland to be more self-reliant,” explains Keldsen.
Living the potential It is well known that Greenland has among the best access to raw materials in the world, and all minerals can be found there. Greenland Business Association is not trying to sell Greenland as the next Klondike, but there is a strong belief that history is being written at this very moment.
“We talked about potential for 50 years here in Greenland, but we are now living the potential, and we are definitely open for business. There are so many options and so many things happening right now with the mineral industry, and all these
Photo: Polar Seafood
Ilulissat fjord. Photo: Jonas Smed Sørensen
Photo: Astrid Maria Spring Öberg
kinds of things need to be emphasised and discussed at the conference. How are we making ourself more attractive? It’s not enough to just realise the potential, but we have to create potential on top of it and create opportunities for existing and future business in Greenland,” says Keldsen.
A ripple effect Greenland Business Association represents about 330 companies and 7,000 employees and has over 55 years’ experience of taking care of corporate interests. A membership of Greenland Business Association is a key to direct influence on business development and a strong network, but it also comes with responsibility – because with opportunities come challenges, and one of the main ones for Greenland is the educational system.
“If someone is considering Greenland as a location for business, you need to know that you’ll have to take responsibility for the development of our educational system. We will always need an expat workforce, but there is a large number of our own workforce that can’t take on highly skilled jobs because of a lack of education. We need to minimise that gap by educating more young people and providing a better system,” says Keldsen, elaborating on how a better educational system will cause a ripple effect. “A better internal workforce is motivating for new companies that seek opportunities in Greenland, and if we are able to attract new industries and business to the country, we’ll provide our young people with more motivation to take an education. It’s kind of circular. We need to utilise the potential that we have and make sure that our young people are capable of taking on senior roles, if we are to reach our goals.”
Web: ge.ga.gl and www.futuregreenland.gl LinkedIn: Grønlands Erhverv Greenland Business Association Facebook: Sulisitsisut
The four Greenland Business Association (GE) focus areas:
Interest organisation As an interest organisation, GE functions by influencing the political system to create the best environment for business life. GE is, for example, currently represented on approximately 20 committees and boards under the government of Greenland.
Service organisation As a service organisation, GE provides legal and financial advice to its member companies, and compiles sectororientated statistical information and guidance materials for relevant legislation, as required.
Employers’ organisation GE works to secure orderly relationships on the labour market. This is done via a collective agreement and four subsidiary agreements with the trade union SIK. These agreements cover construction craftsmen, the commercial and office sector, the manufacturing sector, and the transport and service industries.
Active business development in new industrial areas GE has a duty to play an active role in relation to business development within both existing and new industries, including the mining and oil/gas industry and the production of Greenlandic foodstuffs. GE therefore works to collect and consolidate knowledge, and to establish networks and international contacts with experienced professionals and businesses.
Arctic architecture: a deep-dive with Greenlandic design studio TNT Nuuk
Greenland, at 2,600 kilometres from north to south, is the largest island in the world. Much of the landscape is categorised as cold desert, and it’s bisected by the Arctic Circle, which arcs 200 kilometres from the edge of the ice cap to the west coast fishing town of Sisimut.
Most of the population lives along the coast, where the archetypal small, gableroofed timber houses freckle the uneven terrain in bright clusters of red, blue and yellow. Over a quarter of those people live in the capital, Nuuk, which is dealt some of the island’s wildest weather.
Wet, gale-stricken and prone to sudden temperature changes that bring alternating frost and thaw, Nuuk’s climate poses unique challenges for the design, construction and maintenance of its buildings.
Local expertise Nobody understands this better than local architecture firm, TNT Nuuk. The studio’s approach is supported by 40 years of knowledge and experience of Arctic architecture. “We started in 1963 in Greenland,” says owner and director Flemming Berger, who is based in Nuuk. “Our projects span everything from small and large-scale renovations, resurfacing façades and building houses, to huge schools, colleges, care centres, hotels and airports.”
In fact, TNT Nuuk’s unusual expertise is frequently called upon to advise external projects across the whole island. “We think Greenlandic. We understand the special climatic, geographical and geopolitical features here. So TNT Nuuk can take care of all phases, right from the conceptual and financial planning stage to organising and supervising construction,” says Berger.
Berger’s right-hand woman, architect Helena Lennert, operates from TNT Nuuk’s Copenhagen outpost. “Our philosophy is, from the beginning, to analyse who will be using these buildings. What unique things do Greenlanders need from these designs?” she says. “That contextual understanding is the foundation, and it’s one we’ve built through years of researching, advising and designing in Greenland.”
An island without roads A prime example of the studio’s approach is their ongoing construction of ‘standardkollegier’ – or ‘standard-design colleges’
– in Ilulissat, Aasiaat, Sisimiut, Nuuk and Qaqortoq. As a starting point, take two of the island’s unique social challenges. Firstly, there are no interlinking roads between towns and settlements. Materials, resources and people largely move around Greenland by boat or plane. “So if you’re young and living in a smaller town without a college, then you have to move, and it’s expensive to get home. You don’t just go home for the weekend,” explains Lennert.
Secondly, the dropout rate at Greenlandic colleges is high. Around 60 per cent of the population has no education beyond secondary school, and national statistics recorded in 2020 revealed that 32 per cent of 16 to 25-year-olds eligible to work were neither in school, nor employed.
Berger elaborates: “You’re picked up at the airport and parked in front of a door to a college room and told, ‘that’s where you’re going to live – there’s a bathroom, kitchen and bed’, then the door is closed, and the welcome party leaves.”
Some of these students come from families of eight children. “So how do you think that goes?” asks Lennert. “It can be very lonely.”
Socially conscious architecture To combat this, TNT Nuuk puts the social needs of the students at the forefront of their design. “A huge focus was to create meeting points – a shared kitchen to learn to cook, shared lounges to watch handball, and to move away from the conventional long-corridor dorm format, which is very isolating,” says Helena. “We’re trying to create something that’s not just an institution but a home, where you’re part of a community. You make friends, maybe fall in love.”
The result is a flexible network of four different dormitory types, which house combinations of individuals, small families, pairs and group collectives, and which can be adapted to any one of the five Greenlandic cities, and beyond.
Form and function But TNT Nuuk’s projects are about more than function. Reconciling the aesthetic traditions of Greenland with architectural innovation, the studio rebuilt the dilapidated Atuarfik Mathias Storch school on a mountain slope in Ilulissat. The school is designed as a cross with four lengths that converge at a central meeting point, and features a broken, angled roof. Aside from being highly resilient, the intersecting roofs help to break down the scale of the otherwise large building, so that it relates elegantly to the surrounding landscape.
Meeqqerivik, a day care centre in Tasiilaq, is another example. The site is divided into five brightly coloured, individual buildings, each with the same monolithic form as a typical Greenlandic family home. The result is playful and understated – a homogenous institution that resembles a toybox settlement. “Because Greenland is all small, red houses, we don’t just want to build big bricks to put people in that don’t suit the environment,” says Lennert.
Climate challenges “The climate is another thing we contend with,” says Berger. “In the north, the climate is milder; we don’t have those big storms and downpours. It’s extreme here in Nuuk, so the biggest problem is to ensure the building is weather-tight. It can get down to minus 20 degrees sometimes, so we have to make sure every construction can be adequately heated, with no thermal bridges.”
But TNT Nuuk’s biggest challenge may be yet to come. In the battle against climate change, The Green Transition is the maxim of every modern government – not least Greenland’s, which has recently announced intentions to join the Paris agreement.
Concurrently, the energy costs of ocean freight and air transport are garnering increasing criticism. “But all our building materials, apart from concrete, are imported by ship,” says Lennert. “In Denmark, concrete is looked down upon because it’s not environmentally friendly, but in Greenland it’s all we have locally. We have stone and sand. So it’s cement we have to use.”
It’s a challenge that’s uniquely complex for island nations, but one that TNT Nuuk faces with enthusiasm. “We have to look at the variables we can change instead of just doing what we’ve always done. It’s about asking what we ourselves can contribute to the wider cause, and that’s exciting. How can we do more to protect the environment?”
Greenland’s building boom It’s a timely question. Greenland is in the midst of a grand-scale development. Two new airports are being constructed
College housing in Aasiaat.
The day care centre in Tasiilaq.
in the largest cities, Nuuk and Ilulissat. “We’ve been involved in the whole process from day one,” says Berger, “in planning, together with local building firms, and now advising the project. It’s an exciting process. The need for housing will also increase. When I moved to Nuuk 35 years ago, there were 10,000 people; now there are almost double. That’s a big change.”
At the same time, hotels and high-rises are springing up all over the island. Lennert, who grew up in Greenland, sees it as a positive shift. “Today, people are happy about things like the modern-style hotel and conference centre that we designed in Nuuk. They found it liberating to see a different kind of façade.”
TNT Nuuk: the lexicon on Arctic architecture Greenland is moving with the times, and architecture must follow suit. TNT Nuuk’s unique understanding of the socio-cultural conditions, political forces and geographical challenges on the island have made them a lexicon of Greenlandic development. Despite this, Berger is humble about the studio’s achievements: “I’ve always had that attitude that things speak for themselves,” he says. “It’s an exciting period to be a part of. I look forward to a future of creative, sustainable and socially aware Greenlandic design.”
AMS School, Ilulissat.
A simply exceptional hotel experience in Greenland
Located in the heart of Ilulissat, Hotel Ilulissat offers its guests an exquisite hotel experience, whether travelling for business, with children, or to explore Greenland on their own. Relax in the infrared sauna, enjoy a delicious breakfast while gazing at the incredible view overlooking the Disko Bay, and explore the vibrant and colourful town of Ilulissat – all while being taken great care of by the attentive staff.
If you wish to stay in a hotel right in the centre of Ilulissat with all the museums, cafés and shops right outside, while at the same time being in calm, peaceful, natural surroundings, consider a stay at Hotel Ilulissat, which opened its doors in summer 2021.
“You have everything within a one- or two-minute walk: shops, a church, restaurants and everything else the town has to offer. However, the surroundings are also serene, with stunning views over the Disko Bay and icebergs; you can even get a glimpse of the Disko Island,” says Arnarissoq Møller, hotel manager at Hotel Ilulissat.
Owned by brothers Frank and Tommy Olsvig Bagger and Jens Salling, Hotel Ilulissat is the first privately owned hotel in Greenland. All other hotels in Greenland are owned either by the government or by travel agencies. “The fact that we are a privately owned hotel is very unusual in Greenland. We receive no funding or support from the government or anyone else,” says Møller, and continues: “The hotel has been on the drawing board for a few years – long before the talk of a bigger airport in Ilulissat even began. However, the plans for a bigger airport opening in the town
in 2024 will make it significantly easier for tourists to make their way to Ilulissat, and we do expect more tourists when the airport opens.”
Extraordinary service Hotel Ilulissat has 78 rooms, divided into five types: standard, superior, executive, suite and family. Each room has a beautiful view overlooking either the mountains, the picturesque town of Ilulissat, the Disko Bay or the lavish ice fjord. On a good day, you can even get a glimpse of the Disko Island on the faraway horizon from some of the rooms.
At the hotel, you’ll also find a fitness room with a treadmill, a few weights and some other equipment. At the family floor, there’s also an activity room for children, where they can play and enjoy themselves while the parents get a well-deserved break. Hotel Ilulissat also has a shuttle bus that picks you up at the airport, and naturally, it will also drop you back to the airport when it is time to go back home. “Our staff are very attentive, and we go above and beyond for our guests. If you need help with anything, we will arrange it and make sure it happens. We also speak Danish, Greenlandic and English, which our guests appreciate,” says Møller. “We want our guests to have the best possible stay here.”
In addition to all of the above, the hotel boasts an infrared sauna – the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring or doing business.
Supporting the local community When staying at Hotel Ilulissat, don’t miss the chance to dine in their incredible restaurant at the very top floor of the hotel. Being a Best Western Plus hotel, Hotel Ilulissat offers a fantastic Best Western breakfast with bread from the local bakery and meat and fish straight from the local huntsmen and fishermen.
“Supporting the local community is very important to us, so whenever we can, we use local foods. We are a small community, and it’s crucial that we support and help one another. We wish for the locals to become a part of the hotel, and for us to work together to strengthen the local community,” explains Møller.
The restaurant overlooks the stunning Disko Bay, and if you wish to really take in the full experience, you can enjoy your food out on the rooftop terrace while losing yourself in the magical view. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner and is open to both hotel guests and those who are not staying there.
If you have time to explore the surrounding nature, then the whale safaris, iceberg safaris and hikes all make for unforgettable experiences. With a bit of help from the staff, you can also experience the Greenlandic tradition of Kaffemik, which Greenlanders hold to celebrate all kinds of events, and it is your chance to connect with the locals and eat your weight in delicious cake.
Web: www.hotel-ilulissat.gl Facebook: Hotel Ilulissat Instagram: @hotel_ilulissat
Bright lights, little city
Despite being one of the smallest capitals in the world, Tórshavn is rapidly becoming a must-see destination. With a population of just 20,000 people, the Faroese capital has always offered a big welcome to visitors, especially in the summer months. Now, many more are discovering its delights all year round.
In recent years, Visit Tórshavn has branded the city as an ideal Christmas destination. “Tórshavn is a small city with turf-roofed houses, small alleys and an intimate atmosphere,” says director Liljan Weihe.
During winter, it gets dark very early, so officials have boosted the scene with vibrant displays of Christmas lights. This year’s switch-on happened on 7 November. This is part of a special focus on what they call ‘the experience economy’ – the serious business of enabling visitors and locals to have fun.
Evidently, these efforts have paid off. Normally focusing on the peak months of June, July and August, this year Visit Tórshavn successfully extended the main tourist season, stretching it from May until late October, for the benefit of both tourists and residents. “If living here is attractive, visiting is attractive as well,” says Weihe.
A rapid population growth shows just how attractive it is to live on the Faroe Islands. Many young islanders who studied abroad are now returning. According to Weihe, expanding the experience economy is playing its part in this trend. “When I moved to Denmark as an 18-year-old, I wasn’t sure if I would come back as there wasn’t much to do here,” she says. “But suddenly, we have a flourishing culture and food scene.”
Their enticing eateries are the pride and joy of the Faroe Islands. Using local produce has made Faroese cuisine world famous and earned one restaurant in Tórshavn, Koks, two Michelin stars. “It’s incredible that one of the world’s best restaurants is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” Weihe remarks. “Everywhere else seems far away. They use local produce because it’s some of the best produce in the world.”
Along with the cuisine, Faroese nature captivates visitors. “Many find our powerful nature both life-affirming and overwhelming,” Weihe says. “Since the coronavirus, I think a lot of people want to get outside, into the fresh air. Here in the Faroe Islands, you can find peace and tranquillity walking in the mountains. Even in the centre of Tórshavn there’s still plenty of air, as the city is never overcrowded.”
Web: visittorshavn.fo Facebook: VisitTórshavn Instagram: @visittorshavn
Photo: Kirstin Vang
Local charm, steep mountains and challenging hikes
Experience the rawness and power of Mother Nature, enjoy local food, and experience a rich history on the six Northern Isles of the Faroe Islands. The islands have so much to offer: follow in the footsteps of James Bond on Kalsoy, enjoy the rough landscape from a helicopter, and go on some challenging hikes.
Visit Norðoy is on a mission: they want to show tourists more of the six Northern Isles of the Faroe Islands, namely Fugloy, Svínoy, Viðoy, Kalsoy, Kunoy and Borðoy. In particular, the more remote islands of Fugloy and Svínoy are more difficult to visit – but the trip will be worth it. “The Northern Isles are very much about the local village community and authenticity. There is a different atmosphere up north compared to the capital; people are very laidback, and there is a cosy atmosphere here,” says Jórun Høgnesen, director at Visit Norðoy.
While the majority of tourists and locals never make their way to the Northern Islands, there is one island in particular that has attracted several visitors: Kalsoy. Scenes from the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, were filmed in Trøllanes and the stunning nature surrounding the village. However, the islands have much more to offer, and if you long for unspoiled nature, being at one with the elements, and enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee at one of the local cafes, you may wish to stay up north for a couple of days.
“The nature here is magnificent. It is powerful and raw. While it is impressive and majestic, with rocks and steep mountains, you also need to have a deep respect for nature up here, and you should take great care,” says Høgnesen.
A great way to explore the splendid nature on the islands is by foot. You will be able to hike by yourself on easier hikes, and if you are up for a challenge, you also have every opportunity to go on more difficult hikes, where it is recommended to team up with an experienced guide. You can also take in the spectacular landscape on various boat trips.
In addition, you might choose to explore the rich history of the islands. The town of Klaksvík has a long history as a fishing community, which you will definitely sense when strolling around it. During summertime, you can also enjoy concerts, such as the Summer Festival, which takes place in the centre of Klaksvík; the Faroese Sailor’s Day; and other activities that are well worth attending.
Hotel of the Month, Greenland Luxury and ice landscapes on the edge of the Arctic Circle
Guests visit the world’s most northerly four-star hotel for a genuine nature experience amid ice fjords and northern lights.
It doesn’t take days to travel to Hotel Arctic in Greenland, but once you arrive it is easy to think you have come to a different world altogether. Its motto – A World Beyond Imagination – seems a fitting one. When most people think of Greenland, they probably picture a scene of ice, snow and sledge dogs. But it is a challenge to conjure up an accurate image of a landscape so different from any other European destination – you have to see it to believe it.
Located on the edge of Ilulissat, in Danish known as Jakobshavn, Hotel Arctic is the most northerly four-star hotel in the world. From Copenhagen to Ilulissat it will take just seven hours to enter this alternate universe of icebergs and wilderness.
A welcoming place to rest your head As general manager Morten Nielsen explains, the hotel has an interesting history. “Hotel Arctic was originally established by Grønlandsfly, now known as Air Greenland, as a transit stop for travellers,” he says.
With no roads to connect cities and towns in Greenland, all travel is via air or sea, and when bad weather or technical problems stopped travellers from reaching their destination, Hotel Arctic was there to provide a place to rest their weary heads.
Over time, construction and decorative work have been undertaken to bring the hotel up to a four-star standard, and today it also boasts a five-star conference centre. The 90 rooms in the hotel, all with views to the expansive ice fjord, are luxuriously decorated and roomy – starting at 15 square metres, with the largest rooms being 25 square metres. The hotel also has five igloos away from the main site, where guests sleep immersed in nature.
Hotel Arctic welcomes guests from all demographics, geographies and all walks of life. “We still host stranded passengers and they visit alongside people
who come here on holidays, as well as business travellers,” says Nielsen. “It is a really varied group.”
Whale safaris, luxury huts and local handicrafts The hotel is open all year round. Peak season for travellers is the summer months of June, July and August, but, says Nielsen, spring time is very popular too. “March and April is when we still have some snow but you can go sailing; it is a time that gives different options.”
Greenland offers a full nature experience, and many of the guests visit Hotel Arctic to make the most of this. “People like to go out on the water, to see the icebergs and go on whale safaris,” says Nielsen. The hotel’s sister organisation, Greenland Travel, offers luxury huts outside of town, making it a popular trip away from the town. “People stay in them for a couple of nights and go on hiking trips from the base.” Excursions into the vast Disko Bay – the size of Denmark, but with a population of just 800 – are very popular, too.
Closer to the doorstep of the hotel, guests can explore the town of Ilulissat, where they will find a picture-postcard image of charming, coloured wooden buildings, dog sledges parked in front, and shops selling local handicrafts. They will also find the Knud Rasmussen Museum, celebrating the life of the famous Danish explorer.
Quality culinary collaborations Food and drink are also a big priority at Hotel Arctic, and the board counts two prominent leaders who have helped to inspire new levels in catering. Mikkel Bjergsøe, the founder of the worldfamous craft brewery Mikkeller, and Johannes Jensen, owner of the twoMichelin-starred Koks restaurant on the Faroe Islands, add a different dimension to the operations, and their expertise at board level is reflected in the menu and dining room. “Our restaurant, Brasserie ULO, is a high-level brasserie, comparable to the Danish steak restaurant group Mash,” Nielsen explains.
Next up is a fish restaurant, which is currently in development. “It will exclusively serve fish and seafood from Greenland.” And in partnership with Mikkeller, Hotel Arctic has brewed its own beer using herbs native to Greenland, and organised events for guests and locals to learn and enjoy more about the world of beer.
Looking ahead, Hotel Arctic is readying itself to start welcoming more guests in the next few years. The single airport in Greenland will be joined by two more in 2024 – one in Nuuk, known as Godthåb in Danish, and another in Ilulissat. “It means that visitors from Europe will be able to fly directly to visit, with no stopovers,” says Nielsen. “That will be big.”
Zen Flow Light is one of the wallpapers available through Photowall’s website.
Design Studio of the Month, Norway Bring Norway’s coastal landscape into your home
Elisabeth Ellefsen’s first wallpaper collection allows design lovers to bring Norwegian nature into their homes. Since launching last year, her DesignSalong’s Celestial North collection has been a runaway success online. have been a runaway success online since Ellefsen launched the collection last November.
Rather than offering visual reproductions of natural landscapes, Ellefsen’s designs offer an airy, dreamy interpretation of the skies, clouds and waves she sees when she sets foot outside her door.
“The designs add life to your wall without being noisy. They are dynamic, but at the same time they also have this calming, soothing quality,” she explains. “Through colour and texture, they create mood and ambience in a room.”
Elisabeth Ellefsen, founder of the design and lifestyle company DesignSalong, takes her inspiration from the rocky, Norwegian landscape all around her. She is based in Kilsund, a small village on the southern coast, and has the Raet National Park right at her doorstep.
Ellefsen’s new collection of wallpaper designs, available worldwide through the website by the Swedish interior design company Photowall, allows design lovers to bring this breathtaking, coastal landscape into their homes.
DesignSalong’s new Celestial North collection – the name being a reference to the perpetually changing weather and light in Norway – includes four main designs and a handful of variations. They
Ellefsen also sells the Celestial North collection in her own DesignSalongShop in Tvedestrand, the village where she grew up. Many shoppers who come into the little shop have been unable to take their eyes off Zen Flow Light, the wallpaper on display in the store, seemingly mesmerised by the effect the design has on them.
Beyond their magnetic, aesthetic appeal, the wallpaper could also simply be good for you, Ellefsen explains. “It’s been proven that putting up a wallpaper or hanging a picture of nature benefits the mood and well-being of people who live in cities with very little nature. Even if it’s not real nature, it still has a positive effect,” she says, adding that she will release more wallpaper designs with new motifs and colours in the months to follow.
Sustainability is key The Celestial North collection is made from long-lasting and environmentally friendly materials, with zero harmful chemicals used. Unlike most traditional wallpaper, the digitally printed wallpapers are fully made to measure. “That means that no excess materials are wasted and that the wallpaper is incredibly easy to apply,” Ellefsen says.
This custom aspect also opens up a world of interior decoration possibilities compared to traditional wallpaper. “The designs can for instance work as a painting for your wall, instead of just a décor element,” Ellefsen explains.
Ellefsen founded DesignSalong in 2016 and opened her DesignSalongShop in Tvedestrand in 2020. She carries items she designed herself – everything from wooden trays made from reclaimed floorboards, to towels and toss pillows – as well as select items from design companies based abroad, like Swedish enamel cookware and handmade glass lamps from France.
Sustainability is a central aspect of Ellefsen’s sensibility as a designer and shop owner. According to her, designers have to think about the bigger environmental picture. “Ensuring that the objects I design are manufactured in a good, responsible way is very important to me,” she says. It’s also why she tries to collaborate with local manufacturers wherever possible, and to upcycle and redesign old, discarded items.
At the end of the day, being a responsible furniture and interior designer also means explaining the hidden aspects of the items on display in DesignSalongShop – the hours of craftsmanship and locally sourced, durable materials that went into an old chair. “These qualities are not always obvious from the outside, so I try to explain that to customers,” she says. “Good design takes time; it’s not a quick process.”
Natural objects. Elisabeth Ellefsen on rolling rock island Målen. Sky Blue, another design from the Celestial North collection.
An upcycled chair. Web: www.designsalong.com Facebook: DesignSalong Instagram: @designsalong Pinterest: DesignSalongen
Redesigned jeans pillow.
Design Studio of the Month, Finland Timeless interior designs
With each project carefully tailored to the client’s needs, BA/NG Interiors Helsinki provides interior design services that are both beautiful and practical, durable and enjoyable.
If nothing else, spending so much time indoors in the past two years has taught us that interiors matter, and they can have a huge impact on how we think and feel. Anna Bargum and Nina Möller are family friends who set up their interior design business in 2015. Since then, they have worked on a number of projects with a focus on complete solutions for their clients.
Despite their classic and timeless designs, BA/NG Interiors are far from boring. They have a keen eye for details and often spruce up interiors by injecting colour, using small design features and decorative items. “This goes well with our ethos of creating designs that are long-lasting. Instead of paying attention to every trend that might go out of style quickly, we focus on proven classics and timeless style, and then add small features into spaces that can be changed if needed,” Möller explains. Sustainable functionalism with a unique, colourful touch At the core of BA/NG Interiors’ values are sustainability and functionality, as well as an aim to provide quality and comfort. “In all our projects, we focus on the sustainability of the materials and the longevity of our designs,” says Bargum. Providing interior design services to commercial and residential spaces in Finland and abroad, the company offers tailored solutions for clients. The interior design company offers a range of services, from project management to renovation planning and turn-key solutions.
“From masters such as Mies van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Gio Ponti, Achilles & Piero Giacomo Castiglioni, to Gae Aulenti and Charlotte Perriand, we are big admirers of the industrial and functional design that started in the early 1930s. Naturally, we have a soft spot for the female pioneers in design. We like using colours and unique features, which we use in our projects – depending on the client brief, obviously,” says Bargum.
Usually steering clear of plain, white walls in favour of warmer tones, BA/NG Interiors are experts in turning any room into a warm, functional space that will be comfortable to use and visually pleasing. “A lot of the time, the guest bathroom is the place where people give us the freedom to experiment with bold colours or a funky wallpaper,” Möller laughs.
Owners Bargum and Möller. Photo: Anton Sucksdorff
Web: www.banginteriorshelsinki.com Instagram: @banginteriors Facebook: /banginteriorshelsinki
Attraction of the Month, Denmark A community for creativity and culture
Right in the heart of Lønstrup, you’ll find Keramoda, a space where creativity blooms and culture thrives. Originally, Keramoda was a ceramics workshop only, but since inheriting the farm five years ago, Vibe Falkenberg has expanded Keramoda to also include a café, cottages and a gallery – all while keeping Keramoda’s ceramic heart beating.
Vibe Falkenberg grew up surrounded by clay, and her dad’s ceramics workshop was her personal playground. She has been spinning clay since she was just three years old, and she is now a trained ceramicist. As such, it was only natural for her to take over her childhood home when her dad passed away five years ago.
“The farm is where I grew up, so it has been important to me to keep the history of our family home alive. You’ll find old pictures hanging on the walls, from my childhood when I was spinning clay, and the workshop is also still the beating heart of Keramoda,” says Falkenberg.
While ceramics is still at the heart of Keramoda, Falkenberg has expanded the space over the last five years, and today, Keramoda is more than just a workshop; it is a community for creativity and culture. It now also has a café that serves delicious food made from local ingredients, as well as cosy cottages for overnight guests, and a playroom for children.
“My vision for Keramoda is that it becomes something of a cultural centre where everyone is welcome. Whether they spend the day working from the café, use the workshop to create, visit the gallery, or stay in one of the cottages, we wish that our guests feel inspired and welcome,” says Falkenberg.
Elegant like a ballerina The ceramics you find at Keramoda are divided into two collections: landscape and the ocean. The style is elegant and light, all kept in natural colours inspired by the beautiful sea and the lush landscape surrounding Lønstrup. “I always tell people to spin a ballerina; not a concrete worker,” laughs Falkenberg.
If you are inspired to visit the historic family farm, you can visit Keramoda all year around, and there are plenty of activities during both the summer and the winter months. During the dark and cold winter months, you can play chess on a ceramic chess board while sipping hot chocolate, or perhaps explore the rich history of the farm that used to be a clergy house. In the summer, you can enjoy live concerts in the courtyard and explore the picturesque village of Lønstrup.
Web: www.keramoda.dk Facebook: Keramoda Lønstrup Instagram: @keramoda
Berglind’s favourite beach below the towering Eyjafjallajökull glacier, neighbour to Katla.
Attraction of the Month, Iceland The land of ice and fire
– the natural dangers and the local community of Katla UNESCO Global Geopark
Iceland claims one of the most geologically dynamic regions on earth: the Katla Geopark, home to five volcanos, all covered by towering glaciers. But it isn’t just volcanos that make this place an extreme geological experience: with an area of 9,542 square kilometres, almost ten per cent of Iceland, it boasts beautiful landscapes, black sandy beaches, waterfalls flowing over high cliffs, glacial rivers, caves and canyons, moss-covered lava fields, and a wealth of wildlife.
This is a truly amazing place, and Berglind Sigmundsdóttir, manager at Katla Geopark, is keen to note that the heritage, traditions, and stories told by the residents of the Geopark are heavily influenced by the geo-hazards of the surrounding landscape.
The danger of the sneaker waves While volcanic activity might dominate the Geopark’s history, the sneaker waves on the black beaches are like something out of a fantasy novel. Visitors excited by the extreme surroundings, and perhaps in search of a thrill, can get too close to the water’s edge.
Being caught by a sneaker is described by Berglind as “being hit by a wall of water. These sneaker waves come suddenly and without warning, are disproportionally large compared to the previous waves, and lash out with an immense amount of force, sweeping you off your feet and often carrying you out to sea.” An important warning for anyone visiting these black beaches.
The unstoppable glacial floods The eruption of a volcano that’s covered by a glacier has different consequences to the eruption of those that are not. As the lava and ice come into contact, it causes a reaction that produces an abundance of ash, and as the glacier melts there is a high risk of powerful outbursts of glacial floods, which are frequently catastrophic.
Katla, which usually erupts every 40 to 80 years, last erupted in 1918. It is expected that this, the biggest of these five volcanos, will erupt again at any time. As Berglind says, “it isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when”. For this reason,
the residents of Vik, the town closest to Katla, are required to have a bag packed, ready for an emergency evacuation. The saying among the residents is that “Katla is coming” and they are as ready as they can be.
The local community Despite the dangers the residents live with, there is a love and deeply held respect for the Geopark. Berglind’s heartfelt pride for the local stakeholders and residents is clear as she talks about their contributions and collaborations. Together, they have created a code of conduct to help preserve the ecological balance in the park. Education at all age levels, including in schools, is an important aspect of the collaboration to develop a greater understanding and appreciation locally while promoting responsible behaviour.
The greater awareness there is, the more local stakeholders would like to keep their nature as pure as possible. Guided tours to areas hard to reach are widely available and keep visitors safe from the unsuspected dangers and the elements. Sites for tourism are mainly kept close to roads and infrastructures, while sustainable tourism is promoted through travel companies.
Local produce The residents are looked upon as partners in the Geopark and are key players in its sustainable development. Their role in helping to promote local heritage, through storytelling, selling local produce in shops and including it on menus, while also creating goods from regionally sourced materials, supports the local economy.
“It’s a close-knit community of people, all working together to preserve nature and their geological and cultural heritage,” says Berglind.
The Icelandic Lava Show During the last Katla eruption in 1918, a group of farmers had a narrow escape when they were herding their sheep to safety. One of these farmers was the granddad of the owner of the Icelandic Lava Show.
The idea of the show was born after visiting the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. The owners decided to create a show
Top left: The partners of Katla Geopark – from left: Magnús Haraldsson, Rebekka Katrínardóttir, and Piotr Dera – offer a variety of local products. Photo: Una Local Products. Top middle: Reynisfjara – one of the most dangerous beaches in Iceland due to sneaker waves. Bottom: Ice cave in a Katla glacier. Photo: Páll Jökull Pétursson. Right: Huldufoss waterfall in the Katla glacier. where people can experience real lava up close, but without the inherent dangers of seeking the same experience by climbing a volcano. Storytelling of what happened when Katla last erupted, as well as information about safety, monitoring and the plans in Vik for when another eruption happens, keep tourists informed and can hopefully help to avoid chaos during the next major volcanic event.
This enterprise received the Innovation Award of Icelandic Tourism in 2021, and the owners are going on to open a similar venue in Reykjavik.
Berglind’s beach When asked about her favourite place in the Geopark, Berglind says: “Standing on the beach admiring the vast landscape, from seemingly endless coastline to the towering glaciers and volcanos above, feeling like one tiny grain of sand in this huge nature, being part of this dynamic landscape, where the powers of natural forces are constantly changing the environment.”
It’s a fitting description of one of the most dynamic places on the planet.
Web: www.katlageopark.com Facebook: katlageopark
Experience of the Month, Denmark Discover the seven seas
Situated right by Copenhagen Airport, Den Blå Planet, the National Aquarium Denmark, is an ideal place to visit when arriving to or leaving Denmark. Here, you can discover sea animals from all corners of the globe, including hammerhead sharks, colourful coral-reef fish and adorable sea otters, and you can also learn about the catastrophic damage global warming is doing to our oceans.
Sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, coralreef fish and sea otters are just a few of the sea animals you can experience at Den Blå Planet, the National Aquarium Denmark. The largest aquarium in northern Europe, it has no less than 15,000 animals and 585 species in 48 aquariums containing a total of seven million litres of water. No wonder, then, that the average guest spends around three hours exploring the underwater world.
“Many adults find the aquarium almost meditative. Everything is relatively dark here, as the fish would otherwise feel threatened by the light and hide. This also means that it’s rather quiet and peaceful, and you can just walk around looking at beautiful fish happily swimming around in the water, which can be almost mesmerising,” explains Jon Diderichsen, CEO at Den Blå Planet.
Seeing as the aquarium is located right by the airport, Den Blå Planet is a hit in particular among tourists, who make up 60 per cent of the guests. “It is perfect for visiting us when you are either arriving to or leaving Denmark. Both children and adults will have a fun and educational experience. There is something here for everyone, no matter your age,” says Diderichsen.
An educational experience The aquarium has every kind of sea creature you can possibly imagine. For instance, you can say hello to a recently rescued sea turtle that had been carried away by the current and by accident ended up on the West Coast in Denmark – not an ideal habitat for a sea turtle.
“It was almost dead when we received it, because the water up here is much too cold for sea turtles. It was probably on its way to the Azores but somehow ended up here. Luckily, we were able to save it, and now it is three times bigger than when we got it, and it’s thriving,” says Diderichsen.
You can also experience endangered species like sea otters. Den Blå Planet has four sea otters that were rescued from Alaska. Had the baby otters not been saved, they would have died in the wild.
Of course, you can also experience more common species like cod, pike and other fish you can find in the Danish waters. You can see vibrant coral reefs, too, with the most beautiful and colourful fish, impressive hammerhead sharks, and other tropical species.
“We wish to educate people about life in the sea. What kind of creatures live here? Why do we need to protect our oceans? What do healthy corals look like? The ocean is a bit of a mystery to many people, as we can’t see what’s happening beneath the surface,” Diderichsen explains.
But the aquarium is not only great at educating guests on what healthy, thriving oceans look like. Den Blå Planet also explains and demonstrates what will happen in the environmental sense if we continue down the disastrous route we are currently on.
“We show our guests what happens when plastic ends up in the ocean, what dead coral reefs look like, and why it is absolutely crucial that we take care of our oceans and protect them. It is important to also show the less beautiful side and show people the consequences our actions have on the ocean, as that’s otherwise not visible to us,” says Diderichsen.
See a real monster shark The aquarium also has a big, tropical pool, where children, and indeed adults, can touch and interact with rays and bamboo sharks up close. “You just put your hand in the water and touch them. They are very curious, and it’s a really fun way to interact with the animals,” says Diderichsen.
Up until the end of 2022, you can also explore the special exhibition Once Upon a Sea, which is all about the history of the ocean and the spectacular sea creatures of the past. Here, you’ll be able to see monster sharks and other extinct sea creatures. “We have a total of ten models in real-life size, and children are allowed to touch them and even crawl up on the models,” says Diderichsen.
Den Blå Planet also has a large outdoor area worth exploring, and a restaurant with delicious food, making for the perfect way to end your tour of the seven seas.
The aquarium is located right by Copenhagen Airport, and it is open 365 days of the year. Purchase tickets online to secure your spot at the aquarium.
Web: www.denblaaplanet.dk Facebook: Den Blå Planet Instagram: @denblaaplanet YouTube: Den Blå Planet
The creamy Butter Chicken is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Curtrice and chilli prawns.
Restaurant of the Month, Denmark Unique Indian restaurant making enjoyable Indian food for everyone’s taste buds
Curry Leaves, a family-run Indian restaurant in the Danish harbour town of Sønderborg, was born from a simple aspiration – allowing Danes to experience the full richness of North and South Indian cuisine, no matter how hot or mild they like their lamb curry.
A couple of years ago, Sinthu Sivakumar, an electronic technician by training, wanted to head in a different career direction. For as long as she could remember, she and her husband, Sivakumar Sivasamy, had been whipping up Indian dishes for their friends. With every dinner party, they would prepare new dishes, taking their guests on a journey through the country’s rich cuisine and gradually expanding their taste palettes. The feedback from their friends was always the same: you two should open a restaurant.
So, when she was ready for a career change, she decided to do just that. Together with her husband, Sinthu opened her restaurant Curry Leaves in Sønderborg, a small harbour town in southern Denmark, in 2014. Opening their own Indian restaurant was also a dream of Sivakumar, an engineer by training. “He would come home from work and tell me that many of his colleagues had never tried Indian food before,” Sinthu explains. “This made him sad, as he felt they were missing out.”
Curry Leaves is a true family restaurant. Sinthu and Sivakumar split the chef duties, while their two children serve the customers.
From the sauces down to the spice mixes, everything is made from scratch at Curry Leaves, which is located close to the city’s harbour. The two chefs make daily shop
runs to buy vegetables and fruit, so that the dishes they serve at dinnertime are as fresh as possible.
More or less spice? Your call Curry Leaves combines a self-service buffet – which includes mild, child-friendly dishes such as the Dal Curry, to spicier ones like the Devil Curry – with traditional restaurant service. The à la carte menu includes staples of Indian cuisine like Tikka Masala, Lamb Curry and Butter Chicken. The last dish – a creamy chicken curry – is the restaurant’s most popular one, Sinthu explains. “The sauce is similar in texture to European-style sauces, but taste-wise it is an Indian sauce.”
Indian cuisine of course varies from region to region, so Sinthu and Sivakumar chose to focus on North and South Indian cuisine. “North Indian cuisine is diverse, with a wide variety of flavours, from sweet to sour to bitter,” Sinthu explains. “South Indian cuisine is bolder and spicier. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll have flames shooting out of you,” she quips. “We have adapted the spiciness to the Sønderborg area, so that our Indian cuisine is a viable option for anyone.”
In fact, diners at Curry Leaves can have any dish on the menu customised to precisely the level of spiciness they like. “We bring out small dishes with the nearly finished sauce of a guest’s dish for them to taste,” Sinthu says. Diners can then choose to make it more or less spicy, or not change anything at all.
Sinthu came up with this idea – unique in Sønderborg – during the early days of the restaurant, after realising that many guests found the food too spicy. “Everybody who comes here tells us: ‘This is the first time that we are getting a taste before we are served the food.’ Guests have never had an experience like that before.”
Truly inclusive, regardless of dietary neds Making Indian food accessible to all is in fact what Curry Leaves is all about. The menu, for instance, includes many vegan dishes as well as dishes free from gluten,
Tandoori Chicken. lactose and nuts. Once every two months, the restaurant also hosts a popular vegan and allergen-free night. Eaters who are allergic or intolerant to gluten, nuts or lactose can kick back and relax that evening as the entire buffet will be 100 per cent free of those ingredients. “This night is specifically for people who usually struggle to find a good meal due to their dietary restrictions,” Sinthu explains. “For one night, they can experience a full buffet with several appetisers, a dozen vegan and allergy-free main courses, a vegan salad bar and even a vegan icecream bar.”
For the years to come, the two chefs are determined to continue to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint. “We want to be as green as possible and use local and environmentally friendly ingredients,” Sinthu explains.
Web: www.curryleaves.dk Facebook: CurryLeavesRestaurant Instagram: @curryleaves_sonderborg
Naan with Pallac Chicken.
Education Profile of the Month, Denmark More than a school:
a community for young people with a passion for classical and folk music
OrkesterEfterskolen is not your typical school. Sure, you will find all the regular subjects like Danish, maths and English, but you will also find subjects like music theory, music history, chamber music and individual instrumental tuition. OrkesterEfterskolen is a school for young people with a love for classical and folk music, who wish to dive deep into the world of music.
OrkesterEfterskolen is situated in the city of Holstebro, a beautiful part of western Denmark near the magnificent North Sea coast, and with just 59 miles to Billund Airport, the school is ideally located for when families of the international students want to visit.
The school offers six programmes: the Orchestra Programme, the Vocal and Choir Conducting Programme, the Piano Programme, the Folk Music Programme, the Organ Programme, and the Guitar and Recorder Programme. “We are a highly specialised school for classical and folk music enthusiasts. OrkesterEfterskolen is the only school in Denmark that is as dedicated to musical craftsmanship as we are. We simply love music, and the teachers here are highly educated, dedicated, and passionate about acoustic music,” says Asbjørn Damgaard Faleide, principal at OrkesterEfterskolen.
OrkesterEfterskolen is for students aged 14 to 17 (or ninth and tenth grade in Denmark). It is similar to a boarding school, in that the students live at the school. This also means that it offers the students a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded people on a deeper level. “Many of our students come from schools where they have been used to being the only one in their class playing the piano, flute or violin. Therefore, they appreciate coming here and being a part of a community of fellow music enthusiasts. The school is almost like a little oasis for everyone who plays an instrument or sings,” Damgaard Faleide explains.
High academic level OrkesterEfterskolen was founded in 2004. The founder, Charlotte Borchorst Faurschou, saw a need for a school dedicated to classical and folk music for
young people – a community for young music lovers – but also, a chance to shape and help young people develop their musical talents. “You don’t have to be a musical wonder or know much about music to attend the school. You do, however, need a passion for classical and folk music and a desire to learn about music and develop your musical skills. Many of our students continue studying music after their school year here,” says Damgaard Faleide.
Music lessons and practice take up about 15 hours of the students’ time every week. They have subjects like music theory, music history, choir, orchestra and chamber music, and in addition, they also have individual instrumental tuition on a weekly basis. Each morning, the students start the day by practising their instruments before the more regular schedule kicks off. “We also value the academics at OrkesterEfterskolen, and our level is quite high. Our teachers are very competent and well-educated. The academics are just as important to us as the musical part,” explains Damgaard Faleide. OrkesterEfterskolen also offers extra help for any students that may struggle with the academics. “It is important to us that everyone feels welcome here, no matter what level they are at. The teachers here have more time with each student than at many other schools, which also means that the students have every opportunity to grow and develop both their musical and academic prowess during their year here,” says Damgaard Faleide.
Explore other cultures OrkesterEfterskolen welcomes about 70 young music enthusiasts each school year, and the school is currently in the process of building a new music house, which will contain everything the students need for their musical studies. Moreover, each school year the students go on an exciting field trip outside Denmark.
“This year, we are going to Norway. We have also been to Amsterdam and Bremen. We try to organise trips where we stay with locals who also have a passion for classical and folk music, and then they visit us as well. This way, the students also get an opportunity to explore a different culture,” Damgaard Faleide explains.
International students are also very welcome at OrkesterEfterskolen, which has hosted students from Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Israel, and even Australia. The international students receive intensive Danish lessons, but otherwise they follow the same schedule as the Danish students.
If you and your child are feeling inspired to learn more about OrkesterEfterskolen, you can visit the school on 8 January 2022, and there’s also an Easter Camp in 2022, when interested students can spend a couple of days at the school to get a better sense of life at OrkesterEfterskolen.
Web: www.orkesterefterskolen.dk Facebook: OrkesterEfterskolen Instagram: @orkesterefterskolen_officiel
Museum of the Month, Faroe Islands Dive into the rich cultural and natural history of the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands have a rich and interesting history that’s well worth exploring. At the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, you’ll get a memorable experience of the nature, culture and history of the 18 volcanic islands, starting from the Viking Age (800-1050 AD). Explore the history of wool and its significant role in Faroese history, learn about the national costume, and discover the original Faroese rowing boat. nates with our guests, while still showing our love for the Faroese history, heritage and traditions, as they have very much shaped the Faroese society as we know and love it today,” Winkler continues.
The National Museum of the Faroe Islands takes its visitors on a journey through the fascinating cultural and natural history of these magnificent islands. Here, you’ll be able to explore the permanent exhibitions, special exhibitions, an open-air museum, a Faroese garden, and an abandoned whaling station from 1905.
“Since 2018, the museum has evolved and developed significantly. We have completely reimagined everything; we’re making our exhibitions more contemporary, and we’re uniting natural history, cultural history, geology and archaeology, so both our permanent and special exhibitions will be multidisciplinary,” explains Rannvá Winkler, museum curator at the National Museum of the Faroe Islands.
This also means that the permanent exhibitions are being updated, making them even more interesting for visitors. “We wish to grow and develop with our visitors and portray the rich Faroese history and nature in a contemporary way that resoFrom sheep droppings to catwalk in Tokyo One of the most fascinating – and perhaps also slightly unusual – permanent exhibitions at the museum is called From sheep droppings to catwalk in Tokyo. The exhibition is the story of wool and the extremely important role wool – and sheep – have played in Faroese history.
“We know there have been humans on the Faroe Islands since the Viking Age, and we also know that for as long as humans have lived on the islands, sheep and their wool have kept the Faroese people alive,” says Winkler.
The wool kept the Faroese people warm in a climate that is ever-changing, cold and sometimes downright brutal – weather that is simply not for the faint-hearted. The sheep on the Faroe Islands have double-coated wool that is rich in lanolin, which kept the people extra warm and dry.
“Sheep were not just a source of food; they provided the first settlers with milk, and crucially wool. The Vikings weaved clothes and sails for ships and boats, and later people started knitting socks and jumpers,” says Winkler.
As the world grew more global, wool was no longer just something to keep oneself warm; it became an important commodity, which the locals would trade for other goods with foreigners. In fact, several of the knitting patterns that are used by the big Faroese fashion houses today can be dated back at least a hundred years on the Faroe Islands. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, that is indeed also where the name of the exhibition came from.
“We try to weave a thread from the past to the present and show people how the past, the present and the future are connected,” says Winkler. “We are also aiming to make the exhibitions crossdisciplinary.”Today, wool is a luxury rather than a necessity, and sheep keeping is more of a hobby than a livelihood. A look at the national costume If you’re visiting the Faroe Islands in summer 2022, don’t miss the special exhibition about the national costume. In it, the National Museum interprets the national costume, while taking a look at the history of it.
“As our society has become part of the global community, the national costume has evolved as well and become more individual or self-centred. Today, people will gladly spend extra money to stand out from the crowd. Unique buttons and jewellery, especially designed embroidery patterns for vests, scarves and pinafores are all ways to try to be different,” explains Winkler. “We also see a trend of people researching the past to bring their national outfit ’back to the roots’, to break from the trend right now.” While there are many and constant changes, the national costume gives the Faroese people a great sense of unity and pride. Some things have not changed, however: the national costume is still mostly handmade, the quality is impeccable, and it is still worn during the national holiday in July, at weddings, and at graduations. This, and much more, you’ll be able to take a dive-deep into next summer.
When visiting the National Museum, you’ll also be able to see the original Faroese rowing boat, as well as the full collection of the legendary Kirkjubøur benches from the 15th century.
Web: www.tjodsavnid.fo Facebook: Tjóðsavnið
Artist of the Month, Norway A workplace of colourful, intuitive art
A quintessential Norwegian, painter and tapestry-weaver Gro Moe finds inspiration in nature for her vivid, many-hued creations. After “painting herself well”, she now has a thriving business that has blossomed on Instagram, despite the limited exhibition opportunities during the pandemic.
Moe came into herself as an artist as an adult, but she has always considered herself a creative person, and long before whole-heartedly pursuing art, she spent much of her time with a knitting needle. The rest was spent taking care of her three children and working parttime at a kindergarten – unsurprising, given her broad smile and the swirling colours of her paintings.
When she fell ill in the late ‘90s, she found therapy in her art and, through an education programme, studied art formally for the first time. “I then understood that you could actually learn to become an artist, that this was something you’re not just born into. So there was some fortune in all the misfortune.”
It’s been a year since she officially registered her business and made a “workplace of art”, as she puts it, and two since she set up her website and Instagram account, and business has been thriving. “It’s never too late to learn something new and find out what you want to do with your life!” she remarks. “Even when you’re about to turn 60. It’s all very fun.”
The fact that her work is fun keeps coming up – and abstract painting in particular. When asked to describe her work in one word, she answers “colourful”, and she certainly does love bold colours. Different colour palettes will inspire whatever she works on that day. She calls this ‘intuitive painting’. “There are definitely periods when I tend more towards one colour, however – often blue – and then I challenge myself to try new things.” She also looks for colour palettes on her daily nature walks, which are her chief source of inspiration.
Moe elaborates more on intuitive painting in one of her saved Instagram stories. She’s become very adept at using social media over the past couple of years and sees it as an integral part of her work. She shares her day with her followers, as well as ongoing projects, tips, and invitations for title suggestions for newly completed paintings. “It’s quite a big job, but I get to be creative there, too – luckily, I think it’s fun to make content for Instagram,” she says with a smile.
Gro Moe loves working with colours.
Web: gromoe.com Instagram: @gromoe_art
Photo: David Kahr
Art Profile of the Month, Denmark A great collection returns to a greener Nivaagaard
In the past year, the historic buildings that house Nivaagaards Malerisamling (The Nivaagaard Collection) in Northern Zealand have undergone extensive, climatefriendly renovations. Now, the museum is ready to welcome back visitors to “an absolutely incredible programme for 2022”, according to the museum’s director, Andrea Rygg Karberg. ral light. Geothermal energy is now the main power source for the museum and harmful UV-rays are blocked out by speciality glass, which also allows for control over the indoor temperature.
A great number of paintings have also undergone renovation, while the remainder of the collection was sent abroad. According to Karberg, “the fact that you are able to experience some of the best art from the past 500 years within a small and intimate space is what makes Nivaagaard so special.”
The Danish Golden Age – A Paradox Visitors to the museum will be particularly delighted to experience the extensive collection of paintings from the Danish Golden Age, which has spent the past year on display in the Netherlands
Spanning 500 years of art history, from the Italian Renaissance to the Danish Golden Age, and seasonal exhibitions from modern and contemporary artists, The Nivaagaard Collection is quite possibly Denmark’s best-kept art secret. Over the years, the collection has expanded vastly, containing pieces from famous artists such as Rembrandt, Giovanni Bellini and P. C. Skovgaard. And this coming January, visitors will be delighted to experience the genius of Danish painter Wilhelm Marstrand in some of his most admired works on display at the Nivaagaard museum.
A new and greener museum experience Thanks to funding from some of Denmark’s biggest funds, Nivaagaard has been able to fulfil a long-time dream for the renovation of the museum. Focusing on the visitor experience, new skylight windows have been installed in all the exhibition halls, allowing for the optimal enjoyment of world-class art in a natu-
under the title The Danish Golden Age – A Paradox. Whereas the Netherlands enjoyed a national economic upswing during their golden age in the 17th century, the Danish golden age in the 19th century was marked by different experiences.
Due to a series of damaging fires in the late 1700s and early 1800s followed by the 1807 bombardment of Copenhagen, the country was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1813, subsequently losing Norway the following year. But the 1800s in Denmark was also a time when HC Andersen conjured up little mermaids and ugly ducklings, Søren Kierkegaard put his thoughts into writing, and Danish painters set a new direction for the nation’s art scene.
“Paintings from this time have influenced our current Danish mindset and sense of national identity,” explains Karberg. Though it might make some wonder how culture can blossom in a time of social and economic downfall, according to Karberg, “that is precisely when it’s motivated to counteract what’s happening in society and, in this case, triggers a desire to seek positivity that makes art and culture blossom.”
Wilhelm Marstrand: The Great Narrator According to Karberg, one of the greatest Danish painters of this period is Wilhelm Marstrand, whose works will be on display from 21 January, in an extensive exhibition titled Wilhelm Marstrand: The Great Narrator. In con-
Nightmare, Ditlev Blunck, 1846. trast to his peers, who mainly looked inward towards Danish mythology and nationalism, Marstrand is known for his international and socio-realist outlook.
“Marstrand’s style of painting was elegant, and he was considered a genius already in his own time,” explains Karberg. As an admirer of playwright Ludvig Holberg, Marstrand often painted scenes from everyday life in a somewhat vaudevillesque style, with great social insight and humour. An example of this is A prison scene in Rome from 1837, which with its bright and warm colour scheme provides a snapshot of daily life amongst the poor working classes in the Italian capital.
“With Marstrand, you are amused by his paintings,” Karberg continues – a positivity that has often drawn critical attention to his art. “The notion is often that the key to great art lies within tragedy, but art that celebrates humour can be equally as great, and I think we are finally realising this now,” she says, highlighting how at a time of great censorship, it was precisely due to his vibrant style of painting that Marstrand managed to depict otherwise controversial topics and social inequalities.
“His eye for composition made him able to put many characters together in a scene without ever overcrowding the painting,” says Karberg. “It’s exciting how his characters always seem to interact in a very natural way, and even as bystanders, we feel invited into the festivities.”
The Wilhelm Marstrand: The Great Narrator exhibition will house 70 of his paintings, including a famous portrait of the Danish actress, Johanne Luise Heiberg, to shine a new light on one of the greatest contributors to Danish art history.
The climate renovation of The Nivaagaard Collection could take place thanks to a donation from Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansen Fond, VILLUM FONDEN, Augustinus Fonden and A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine McKinney Møllers Fond til Almene Formaal.
Current and upcoming exhibitions at Nivaagaard: Until 9 January 2022: IbSpang Olsen 100 år 21 January to 12 June 2022: Wilhelm Marstrand: The Great Narrator
Address: Gammel Strandvej 2, 2990 Nivå, Denmark Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 8pm Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Web: www.nivaagaard.dk/en Facebook: Nivaagaards Malerisamling Instagram: @nivaagaard