An unusual mirror project that reflects sunshine into a dark Norwegian valley attracted international media attention on Wednesday, when it officially cast its light 100 years to the day that the idea was launched.
Oscar Kittelsen had written in the local paper a century ago that giant mirrors could help bring sunlight into the valley town of Rjukan, which otherwise never gets sun during the winter months.
The project languished for decades but was revived by local artist and entrepreneur Martin Andersen 10 years ago. It ended up attracting enough funding and on Wednesday, local residents and a fairly large media corps packed the town square for a ceremonial unveiling. The town council hired in a press chief to handle the media inquiries after project leader Øystein Haugan was overwhelmed.
“I’m used to dealing with local medial in Telemark, but suddenly The New York Times, National Geographic and Reuters were calling,” Haugan told state broadcaster NRK.
Civic boosters were delighted over all the attention, and hope it will boost Rjukan’s tourism business. Local children, meanwhile, donned sunglasses while others played volleyball in the sunshine.