Norwegian forest is transformed into a magical fairyland at night

nighttime hiker
via Kristjan Mar Hauksson

Using custom-made light installations, artists illuminated a special part of the forest near Oslo for a single night, much to the delight of local hikers.

Two of Norway’s favorite things, hiking and chocolate, have come together in an odd yet beautiful way. Local chocolate manufacturer Freia, which produces a popular bar among hikers called Kvikk Lunsj, or “Snappy Lunch,” sponsored an unusual artistic project that transformed the nighttime forest into a magical fairytale setting, using cables and balls of lights. Hikers were invited to explore the illuminated woods, with a bar of Freia chocolate in their pocket, of course.

Hiking is very much a part of Norwegian culture, particularly in the summer and autumn months. One challenge, however, is the amount of darkness that descends on this rugged northern country, making it difficult to get out and explore the wilderness. This artistic project was seen as a way to extend the forest’s accessibility, if only for one night, and create something magical in the process.

The installation took place in Dølerud, a smallholding deep in the forest that has been important to Norwegian people for centuries, as it was considered the home of ancient mystical creatures. Dølerud, known as “the fairytale forest,” is now protected under Norway’s forest law. Because of the protected status, no motorized vehicles are allowed, so the artists had to carry everything along a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) muddy footpath in order to set up.

The effect, as you can see in the short video clip below, is stunning. The hikers, with small lights attached to their clothes, follow a path that features custom-made light elements in different areas along the way. It passes a lake bobbing with small glowing bulbs and arrives at the final installation, a rainbow of glowing cables. Apparently, the forest’s animal inhabitants were curious about the lights and came to explore, becoming part of the temporary stage.

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