The Soil of the Midnight Sun
By Jeny Wolther
One-third of Norway, “The Land of the Midnight Sun” lies
north of the Arctic Circle where from mid-May into July
there is continuous daylight; conversely, for part of the
winter only twilight occurs at midday. Oslo, in the south,
is the capital of Norway. Jeny Wolther was our soils collector
in the unique region of the world known as Nakholmen Island.
She did not have to thaw out this earth before she could
collect the soil. Here’s her story:
"Nakholmen is small island in the inner part of Oslofjord – 15
minutes from the center of Oslo. There are 182 cottages a
party house and a shop on an area of 36 acres. During the
summer there are about 500 persons, long a summer tradition,
in their well equipped cottages.
The island is a public free area so casual visitors have an
opportunity to visit. Those who visit us for day trips should
be aware that there are no public restrooms available. Facilities
are available on two other small islands nearby Langoyene and
origin of occupancy of the island is that it was unlawful to
in the old days. At that time many people
rowed or sailed to the island and camped out for the long summer.
They were called Landlayers “Party People” and real
hullabaloos followed their jolly summer life.
In the 1920’s
the city authorities found that they must have better control
of the merry life on the island and as a
helping hand to the limited means Landlayers they parceled out
small building sites. All of a sudden there grew up about 200
cottages on the island and the Society of Cottage Owners was
formed in 1923. The cottages are usually inherited, there are
just a few new owners. Often we can find 4th and 5th generation
Nakholmeners in the cottages today.
state is the owner of the ground and have, through contracts,
imposed strong restrictions as to size and how the cottages shall
be built. Originally it was permitted to build up to 25 square
meters including a veranda. In the meantime the area restriction
has been modified and today the maximum area has been increased
to 32 square meters plus loft rooms or 40 square meters on one
of Cottage Owners, through all of these years, has done much
the blessings of civilization to the occupants.
In the beginning there were neither water or electricity on the
island, water was caught up in a cistern and a water boat provided
the cottages with clean water through the season. In the 1950’s
we were tied to public water works and electricity but we have
not yet been tied to the sewer system.
So with all modern conveniences installed, the soil of Norway’s “Twilight
Zone” has been added to the Common Ground 191 project.
Thank you, Norway.
"Our Soil Collector Jeny - seated at the head of the table"
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