From far away, The Whale museum on the southern coast of Norway looks like, well, a whale — the tail of a whale emerging from water, to be more precise. But upon closer inspection, visitors will find that this architectural marvel is actually a scenic viewpoint and an educational center where they can learn about the local marine life.
Designed by Danish architectural studio Dorte Mandrup, The Whale is located in Andenes on the island of Andøya, around 186 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The coastal village welcomes thousands of visitors every year for prime whale-watching opportunities, thanks to the area’s deep-sea canyon, which attracts several different whale species to feed close to shore.
From June to August, it’s easy to spot pilot, minke, and sperm whales near Andenes. During the colder winter months, orcas and humpback whales pass by on their migratory journeys. And visitors will be able to enjoy all the whale-watching action from the curved rooftop of The Whale museum, which has a sloped platform with stone-paved pathways leading to various viewing areas, including a tide pool and campfire.
Founder and creative director Dorte Mandrup told Insider that the design of The Whale was inspired by its natural surroundings, where “the landscape above and under the water is one continuous skin, making the surface of the water the only division between above and below.” The result is a building that resembles a natural mound gently lifting from the ground.
Inside The Whale museum, visitors will find exhibition spaces with whale-related artifacts, a cafe, and museum store. Thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Norwegian Sea, guests will also be able to watch for migrating whales as they explore the various exhibits.
The Whale was originally slated to open in 2022, but after developers found that the location was on the site of Viking-era artifacts, construction temporarily stopped, Insider reports. Now, The Whale is set to open in 2023.
For more information, visit the museum’s official website.