Rjukan, Norway, Depends on Mirrors for Wintertime Daylight

All through the winter months, citizens of Rjukan, Norway, can walk by means of the town’s market place square and sense daylight on their faces. This wouldn’t be noteworthy in most destinations, but in this component of the globe, it’s miraculous. Rjukan is nestled in a mountain range that blocks the lower, Arctic sunshine from late September by mid-March, and the only way for vibrant, purely natural light to attain the valley is by a process of large mirrors.

For the initially century of its record, Rjukan spent 50 % the yr in dreary dimness. Norway sits just under the Arctic Circle, and at these types of superior latitudes, the sunshine seems to hug the horizon for the length of the quick, winter days. But that was not the only issue maintaining Rjukan in the shade. Norwegian engineer Sam Eyde launched the city in the Vestfjord valley in the early 20th century to accommodate staff at his new hydroelectric electric power plant. The locale was conveniently shut to the Rjukanfossen waterfall that fed the plant, but it arrived with a main drawback: The sheer mountains to the north and south cast a gloomy shadow on inhabitants.

The negative consequences of living in the solar-starved area were evident correct away. Rjukan winters are not absolutely dim, but they do deficiency the warmth and brightness of life outside the valley. In 1913, Eyde initial proposed building a large mirror to harness and redirect sunlight to townsfolk in the winter, but the task didn’t make it earlier the conception phase in his life time. As an option solution, a gondola was constructed to transportation citizens out of the valley and into the mountains where they could soak up some considerably-needed vitamin D. The cable automobile (referred to as the Krossobanen) continue to capabilities today.

In 2005, artist and city resident Martin Andersen was struck by the very same idea Eyde had nearly 100 years earlier. The change this time was that a giant sunlight mirror was no for a longer time a futuristic thought. This sort of mirrors were being utilized for various needs all over the planet, but as a substitute of expanding vegetation or making electrical power, Andersen needed to create mirrors that recreated the uncomplicated emotion of walking by way of a sunbeam.

After securing money support from the city and teaming up with engineer Jonny Nersveen, Andersen designed his aspiration a fact in February 2013. That is when 3 183-square-foot sun mirrors—or solspiels—were positioned on a mountain 1475 feet above Rjukan. Controlled by a laptop or computer hundreds of miles away in Bavaria, the solar-driven rig bit by bit turns through the working day to capture the highest amount of the sun’s rays. The mirrors are positioned to reflect mild into the industry sq. down below at 80 to 90 percent the power of immediate daylight. Due to the fact they were mounted, the town center has acted as a sunny sanctuary for residents in the useless of winter season.


The solspiels produced Rjukan renowned, but which is not all the town has going for it. Its scenic place tends to make it a common location for mountaineering, skiing, and snowshoeing. It’s also household to the annual Rjukan Ice Festival, which welcomes ice climbers of all degrees to scale the area’s gorgeous frozen waterfalls. But even on the quietest winter season days, locals and site visitors can stroll to the city sq. to expertise some thing as ordinary as the warmth of the sunshine in a way that is exclusive.