The Arctic Circle
‘Crossing the line’ to the land of the Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights
An invisible line sweeps across Sweden, Finland, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland – a line that also splits Norway in two. The magic latitude of 66° 33’ marks the Arctic Circle. Above the line, you can see the Midnight Sun 24 hours a day throughout the summer – or the Northern Lights in the winter.
On Hurtigruten Voyages we often celebrate crossing the line with rites such as whistle signals and symbolic onboard baptisms. You will see the line marked on a globe on the small islet of Vikingen, in Rødøy between Nesna and Ørnes. To the west of this point is the island of Hestmannen, which was depicted in the Nordland legend about the trolls that were suddenly turned into stone and became the mountains along the Nordland coast. Eastward, Mefjorden continues up to the Svartisen Glacier.
The exact location of the Arctic Circle varies each time you travel past it. Over the course of a full year, the virtual line shifts by almost 50 feet – while Vikingen and the Arctic Circle Monument remain firmly in place. The exact position of the line depends on the angle of the Earth’s axis compared to the plane of the Earth’s orbit.