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Isbygninger Posted by on Nov 11, 2009 in Culture, Leisure, Nature

Ice buildings.  Norwegians seem to enjoy creating indoor venues that resemble the outdoors.  And I don’t mean a nice summer day in the woods, I mean ice.  This month Icebar, debuts in Oslo.  Icebar offers a unique experience of Nordic winter in incredible ice surroundings.  The walls, the furniture, the dishware, and even the art are made of ice from from the Torne River in Lapland, Sweden.  In fact, it was in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden that the concept was born with the world’s largest ice hotel.  Icebar in Oslo is the third and largest of it’s kind; there is an icebar in Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan.  Icebar is brought to these countries by Icehotel, the Swedish company that in 1994 brought Absolut Icebar to Sweden (a perfect harmony between creativity and design and pure raw materials).

Morten Thorvaldsen, CEO of Thon Hotels, is proud to be a joint partner with Icehotel to bring Icebar to Oslo.  Thon Hotels is the 3rd largest hotel chain in Norway, and also provides accomodations for visitors to Sweden, Belgium, and Holland.  I’ve stayed in one and it was very nice. 

So this Icebar in Oslo seems like it’s going to be really cool.  The manager, Joachim Langebrekke Larsen, says that it is not the intention that one should “fryse rumpe av seg hele tiden” (freeze one’s *** off).  It will of course be cold, but the idea is not to hang out in the ice room for a very long period of time.  Camilla Gulsett, Thon representative, recommends leaving your stillettos and and skirts at home and dressing more warmly than if you are going out to a vanlig utested (normal place to go out).  But just in case you don’t dress warm enough or if you want to add to the experience, Icebar offers guests warm jackets and thick gloves (so that it’s not painful to hold your ice glasses).  Icebar will also sell hats and other merchandise. 

On the menu, there are cold alcoholic drinks, warm alcoholic drinks, and tapas to snack on.  Instead of “on the rocks,” at Icebar, one says “in the rocks,” jokes Gulsett in a recent Aftenposten online article about the new Icebar opening on Friday in Oslo.  Here is the website if you want to test your Norwegian comprehension and see some neat bilder (pictures): http://oslopuls.aftenposten.no/restaurant_uteliv/article294169.ece

In addition to the new Icebar in Oslo, there are several ice hotels in Norway.  There is the Kirkenes Snow Hotel (located in Kirkenes, close to the Russian border), which features a special dinner cooked over open fire, a husky farm nearby, a sauna, and a reindeer park.  The Ice Lodge is another icy place to stay overnight.  Lastly, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta is the world’s northernmost ice hotel.  I haven’t been to any of these places, but I can’t wait.  It sounds like such a fun experience!

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About the Author:kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!