The sun has tremendous benefits but very often this wonderful creation of the universe is taken for granted. No one can better understand this than the Norwegians who are living in a “dark town” – Rjukan.
Norway’s town, Rjukan inhabited by 3, 386 people, is located in Vestfjorddalen, between Møsvatn and Lake Tinn. This city was named after the locally built Rjukan Falls by an entrepreneur Sam Eyde there.
The town has been witnessing something unusual. For half and a year they have been living in the shadow and since then their lives have been transformed. They seem to share a very complicated relationship with the sun.
Martin Andersen, the artist, asserts that “More than other places I’ve lived, they like to talk about the Sun: when it’s coming back if it’s a long time since they’ve seen the Sun”. He goes on saying that “They’re a little obsessed with it”.
In fact the town requires giant mirrors to have a glimpse of the sun for six whole months. Anderson hence claims that this place is actually starved of the Vitamin D. In 2013 the “Solspeilet” also known as the sun mirror was placed.
They were three huge heliostats which were placed to reflect the sun from a nearby mountain down into the town square. They provided very little yet an amazingly warm circle of orange light.
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Anderson jokingly adds that “I prefer the real thing but it’s a good substitute if you have no other choice”. In the early twentieth century managers of factories there feared that their employees weren’t getting enough sun. Consequently they built a cable car in order to help them have access to sunlight.
Now the top station hosts one of the town’s best cafes. There is now easy access to a good dose of Vitamin D. It was reported that given they already could access sunlight, the sun mirror proposal was exorbitant as at that time the amount required for this project was approximately $778 000.
Ingrid Fragerberg from the local tourism office says that “They thought it was actually madness to make a sun mirror out of that money.”