"Andøy brenner for The Whale"

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Monday afternoon, several torches were lit for The Whale. 300 km North of the Arctic Circle, on the island of Andøya, people gathered to celebrate The Whale and ask the Norwegian Government for their support. The illuminated procession moved through the town of Andenes to form the shape of a whale, highlighting the importance of the project both locally, nationally, and globally. 

“This is a place for the ocean, the future, and the climate. We have already received tremendous support both locally and at county council level. In addition, all indications from the central authorities are positive,” said Benn Eidissen, chairman of The Whale. 

Dorte Mandrup won the international competition to design The Whale in 2019. The project was initiated by a local group of people to exhibit, communicate, and celebrate the whales and their relationship with humans. Situated by the edge of the ocean, The Whale will rise on the rocky shore as if a giant has lifted a thin layer of the earth and created a cavity underneath.  Combining art, science and architecture, the project seeks to create awareness and inspire to increase knowledge about whales and the conservation of their environment. 

“It is very touching to experience the immense support and devotion from the local community. They will not let it be forgotten. With this project we want to add a new gathering place for the people of Andøya and take part in expanding the understanding of whales and the preservation of marine life. The design has drawn overwhelming international attention. Many people believe it has already been built and can’t wait to visit Andøya,” says Dorte Mandrup, founder & creative director. 

Dorte Mandrup joined the procession in Andenes on Monday and participated in the local discussion. Earlier this month she visited the International Museum Construction Congress with Hanne Strager, director of exhibitions & visitor experience at The Whale, to talk about the significance of the project.

The Whale is hoping for the support of the Norwegian Government to begin construction in the spring of 2023. Unfortunately, it was not prioritised in the state budget earlier this year. The project has already received support from the municipality, county, and private funds, but needs the state to be involved to get it off ground. 

Read about The Whale here.

Photos: Benjamin Strøm / Drone Nord AS
Visualisations: MIR