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September 11, 2010

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Nordic Lighthouse a style beacon

THE Nordic Lighthouse in Yangpu District is showcasing Scandinavian culture and luring visitors with lifestyle exhibitions, fashion shows, healthy living and outdoor games. Fei Lai reports.

Visitors waiting to take Expo boats at Yangpu District Watergate can enjoy an expanded waiting area that includes the Nordic Lighthouse featuring Scandinavian lifestyles.

The three-story house is a renovated, 80-year-old factory filled with light and illuminated outside, hence, the name lighthouse. Initiated by the Royal Danish Consulate General in Shanghai, it features a diverse and changing range of styles, events, designs and projects.

There are concerts, fashion shows, art exhibitions, promotions for healthy living, conferences and numerous other activities.

Visitors waiting to go the Expo can see the permanent first-floor displays.

The Nordic Lighthouse is sponsored by more than 60 Scandinavian companies from Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The expanded waiting area that includes the lighthouse is more pleasant and comfortable.

As visitors line up in the first floor of the Nordic Lighthouse, they can appreciate the exhibitions, stay comfortable in the air conditioned space and use toilet facilities.

"They will enjoy their time waiting," said Huang Canxing, commercial assistant at the consulate general.

The first floor contains the permanent exhibition introducing Nordic lifestyles and the second floor is a multiple-function area for conferences, shows and dining for around 500 people.

"It's a mix of the new and the old," said event manager Nicholas Enemark Elley.

Elley said "In October, there will be a fashion show in this renovated old factory.''

Every night at 6pm, the Nordic Lighthouse Square comes alive as a playground with Nordic games, various Chinese dances, badminton and other activities.

One of the most popular features is the ongoing project "Take Charge -- Change Your Lifestyle," which aims at motivating people to live healthy, active and enriching lives.

Through October free activities include parkour (free running in an urban obstacle course), martial arts, dance, street soccer and creative activities.

On Mondays, tournament days, participants can challenge each other in games and win prizes. Every Tuesday, kung fu masters teach the traditional martial art.

Every Wednesday, local parkour enthusiasts train in the edgy urban sport in the square.

On Thursdays, everyone takes part in gentle, conditioning exercises from Scandinavia.

"The joy of traditional sports and games from Denmark is spreading throughout the district as our colleague ride tricycles to promote the games to various compounds and communities," said Mia Berggren, event manager of Nordic Lighthouse. "It's a good way to celebrate the healthy lifestyle shared by people from both Denmark and China."

People can get in shape and learn games, sports and culture from the Nordic countries with their family and friends.

The project is supported by Gerlev Physical Education & Sports Academy, the oldest sports academy in Denmark. Founded in 1938, the academy is renowned for educating young leaders in global sports.

From October 6 to 9, a Gerlev performance team will give dance and parkour shows at the Nordic Lighthouse.

The square attracts around 100 to 200 people each evening to play traditional games from Denmark. Professional experience is not required, said the 26-year-old event manager.

In parkour, participants move around existing facilities and exercise with guidance.

Having lived in Shanghai for more than a year, Berggren says she is drawn to Asia and enjoys exploring China.

"I hope for strong and lasting ties of friendship and inspiration between people of our two countries," she said.

When the project closes on November 1, it will donate the games and equipment to Morning Tears, a non-profit non-governmental charity organization that helps children of imprisoned parents in central China's Henan Province.

A few games on offer

Square tug

Four players grasp a strong circular rope, keeping two meters between each player. An object, such as a stick, is placed in the center one and a half meters beyond all players' reach. The aim is to grab the object and prevent the others from doing so.

Triangle tag

A very active tag game for four or more players. Three players form a triangle facing inward and holding hands. The fourth is the catcher who designates one of the three to be "caught" and they runs around the triangle and tries to touch his/her prey. The other players try to protect the target. Once one is caught, the game starts again with a new catcher.

Before the game, players decide whether the catcher can enter the triangle, tickle players and employ other tactics.

Hammer game

Each of the four players has a hammer to defend his or her goal while trying to shoot a marble into other players' goals.


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