Northern Lights: Excursion to a land of contrast and transformation

Gepubliceerd op

Many perceive Norrbotten's landscape in the north of Sweden as Europe's periphery—a place that is pristine but also dark and dangerous. In the last decades, however, new light has shone on this region. Norrbotten is undergoing major changes, boosted by the rise of the "green" economy, in response to the pressing climate emergency.

The studio P4 U/L "Northern Lights" travelled to this land of contrasts and transformation to experience first-hand the effects of global challenges on local landscapes and communities.

We made base in Piteå, a growing industrial centre soon to be connected by train to the rest of Sweden. Helmets and vests on, we visited the production facilities of the largest paper mill in Europe—a shocking contrast with the small town that hosts it. 

We met the city architect of Piteå and his colleagues by the frozen fjord: they gave us a warm welcome with ice skates and a Swedish outdoor lunch around the fire. At the municipality and City museum we had an inspiring day, learning about the local culture and testing the visions students are developing. 

We spent a full day outdoors, hiking from Piteå in different directions, each group following its route and fascination. Back in Amsterdam, students will develop designs for specific project sites using collective strategies. 

The exchange with Sweden is not over yet: this spring, we welcome the municipality of Piteå to visit our class at the Academy!


Giacomo Gallo