AN ISLAND PARADISE BUILT ON A GARBAGE DUMP
Thirty minutes by ferry from Oslo is the island of Langøyene. Originally it consisted of two independent islands, Northern and Southern Langøy. From 1908 to 1948 the strait between the two islands was used as a landfill, before it was covered with topsoil and transformed into a green, grassy area for sports and other activities. Over the years Langøyene became a popular destination, offering several great bathing spots and being one of few islands where wild camping is allowed. However, in 2013, waste could be seen once again, and it was established that harmful chemicals were being leached into the inner Oslo Fjord.
In a move to rehabilitate the former landfill, the municipality of Oslo decided to cap the area with a clay barrier and new, clean top soil, sand and gravel equivalent to 600,000 tonnes. From 2021 the top soil, sand and gravel were spread over the large grassy area and several metres out into the surrounding sea. Work was carried out by one of Scandinavia’s largest construction companies, Veidekke, which enlisted SF Marina to deliver a new concrete ferry landing pontoon and a 100-metre-long and 4-metre-wide L-shaped floating wave attenuator to protect the rejuvenated beach. The breakwater doubles as a floating swim platform, complete with dock ladders and a diving tower. The new landing stage accommodates an all-electric ferry – run by Ruter, the local public transport authority for all of Oslo – that can carry up to 350 passengers. After two years of work, Langøyene reopened to the public in May 2022.