Nordic monuments turn UN Blue

Brúin yfir Eyrarsundið
The Bridge over the Sound. Photo: Lars Dareberg/Öresundsbron.

Several iconic Nordic buildings and monuments were illuminated in blue 24 October to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Among them were the bridge that links Denmark and Sweden, the City Hall of Copenhagen, Helsinki´s Finlandia House, Oslo University, the Hofdi House in Reykjavík and Stockholm´s Cathedral. In all nearly 300 iconic buildings across Europe took part in an initiative called Turn Europe UN Blue initiative on 24 October


Bridges along the river Po, UN Blue
Bridges along the river Po, UN Blue

The waters under bridges, such as the Mostar bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the Vittorio, Umberto, Isabella and Balbis bridges in Turin, Italy over the Po River all shimmered in blue.

And the Øresundsbro between Denmark and Sweden was lit up for the first time in honour of a worthy cause.

“Actually, we will light up the 203.5 metres high pylons in UN blue every on UN Day. We now  a new lighting system which is technically able to do that. It feels great to start out doing this on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations,” said John Alexander Sahlin, head of communications of Øresundsbron.

Copenhagen Rådhus and Höfði House

The City Hall of Copenhagen
The City Hall of Copenhagen. Photo: Petra Hongell.

City halls, such as in Brussels, Malaga, Sarajevo and Copenhagen joined. So did other buildings managed by municipalities such as the Höfði House – the venue of the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Reykjavík 1986. “Since its foundation the role of the UN has been to unite instead of dividing. That is as true today as 75 years ago. Therefore we want to highlight this milestone and support and encourage the United Nations,” said Dagur B. Eggertsson, Mayor of Reykjavík.

Helsinki Turn Europe UN BLue
Blue becomes the Finlandia house. Photo: Saara Hietamäki

The Finlandia hall and the National Opera and Ballet in Helsinki wore also blue on Saturday night.

Turn Europe UN Blue Stockholm cathedral
Storkyrkan in Stockholm. Photo: Oliver Ösmark

The European Union lit  up the EU Council, the EU Commission and the European External Action Service in Brussels.


Blue light illuminated diverse monuments and buildings. Stockholm Cathedral, Hadrian’s Wall in the United Kingdom, the Centre Mondial de la paix in Verdun, France and the Law Courts in Lyon to name a few. Institutions such as UN City in Copenhagen, the Peace Palace in The Hague, which houses the International Court of Justice, and the Palais des Nations in Geneva also marked the occasion.

Oslo University Turn Europe UN Blue
Domus Media, the University of Oslo.

Oslo and the Arctic

Many Universities also joined the campaign, including the University of Iceland, the University of Oslo and the UiT Arctic University of Norway at its campus in Alta.

“Congratulations to the UN on its 75th anniversary! The world needs strong, international humanitarian organizations. The world needs the UN,” says Anne Husebekk, rector of UiT The Arctic University

Even small villages in Portugal joined the campaign. So did capitals such as Rome, London, Lisbon, the Hague, Madrid, Athens and cities like Geneva, Malaga, Valladolidand Manchester. Even emblematic places in the rest of the world, such as the Empire State Building in New York or the ruins of Petra in Jordan, turned UN Blue.

Harpa Concert Hall

Reykjavik Turn Europe UN BLue
Harpa Concert hall and conference center, Reykjavík.

Danish-Icelandic artist´s famous glass facade of Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre reflected the blue light in the dark October night in Reykjavík.

“As a public building and venue for many internationally significant events – Harpa illuminates its facade in blue to signal Iceland‘s support for the principles of the United Nations of peace, human rights, sustainability and the importance of international co-operation,” said director Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir.

Turning Europe UN Blue is an initiative of the United Nations Regional Information Centre, UNRIC.