A small town in Northern Norway of about 9 200 inhabitants. Became world famous around 1998, when a local artist, Bjørn Elvenes, suggested to paint the town blue to celebrate the new millennium. It didn't happen -- although an organization named "The Blue City" has been established, and some private people and shop owners have started to paint their property in various shades of blue, the town as a whole is still far from completely blue (as of late 2000).

Sortland - The Blue City

The idea of 'The Blue City' goes back to the early ninetees, when Bjørn Elvenes considered painting the entire town blue overnight as a prank. He planned to spray coloured water over all the buildings, which would then freeze overnight leaving blue surfaces.

The prank never came about, but the idea evolved. Elvenes was involved in a meeting about possible millenium celebrations in the town hall, and although his idea was not formally proposed, he mentioned it in passing during a coffee break. A few days later, local politician Jørun Drevland approached Elvenes and asked to take the idea forward.

Elvenes' idea was to create a three-dimensional painting, in which observers can walk around. It is not intended to paint every single building in plain blue, but in his own words:

"A blue city does not need to be bluer than that required to be remembered by visitors as The Blue City."

Information from http://www.blaabyen.no/

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