Churches have been an important part of The Diamonds of the Arctic Tour. Anywhere you go in the world they are impressive buildings. Some churches, say, the Liverpool Cathedral took 74 years to build. The new church of Alta was opened in February 2013.
Ever since WWII there have been voices to build a new church in Alta. The town had outgrown its church and the need to build a church was evident. Local heroes Mr. Nils Toft and Mr. Ottar Grimstad started to propose ideas for a new church in 1973. The worked gained momentum in the beginning of the new millennium.
The inspiration of the design was the Northern Lights. Architects for the priceless church are LINK-Signatur AS from Sandnes/Århus assisted by Schmidt-Hammer-Lassen architects of Denmark. The Northern Lights is a natural inspiration for a church in Alta. The town calls itself The Northern Lights Town, “Nordlysbyen”. Every day you are in Norway you are in fact reminded of the historical importance of Alta in regards to the Aurora Borealis.
In 1898, the Norwegian government allocated funds to build research observatories in the Alta area. The work was led by physicist Mr. Kristian Birkeland. Birkeland’s theories about the origins of the Northern Lights are fundamental for our understanding of the phenomenon today. Birkeland earned the honor of featuring the NOK 200 note in 1994.
A lot of NOK 200 notes were invested in the Nordlyskatedralen. It is open every week day around mid-day for the public. Please feel free to offer a NOK 200 note to the church if you ever pay them a visit.