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'World's largest elk' to be built in Sweden
Image: Svansele Vildmarkscenter

'World's largest elk' to be built in Sweden

Published: 26 Nov 2007 18:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Nov 2007 18:59 GMT+01:00

Officials in northern Sweden have just given the all-clear for the construction of the world's largest elk, or moose as the animal is known in North America.

Perched on top of a mountain, the 45-metre (148-foot) elk will double as a restaurant and concert hall that can seat up to 350 guests. From its antlers, more than 500 metres above sea level, visitors will be able to enjoy the spectacular view over the valleys below.

For over three years, officials from two northern counties have discussed the implications of having a gigantic elk straddling their border from its vantage point on top of Vithatten mountain.

After years of uncertainty, Norrbotten county's decision on Monday to follow Västerbotten's lead and green light the project came as something of a shock to founder Thorbjörn Holmlund.

"This is such unbelievably good news. My whole body is shaking with joy," he told The Local.

As the owner of the Svansele wilderness centre, Holmlund has long organized safaris for visiting tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the king of the forest in its natural habitat. But he himself hoped for nothing more than to see the silhouette of his monumental elk looming over the mountains above.

Though its future may have been in the balance, the oversize elk has long had a name: Stoorn, which translates as 'The Big One' in the local dialect.

With its front legs in Norrbotten and hind quarters in Västerbotten, Stoorn will be positioned to bite on an enormous pine tree. A lift will then transport visitors through the tree to and from the creature's mouth. The reception area is to be located between the teeth and the tonsils.

In the belly of the beast is the conference centre, which - like the concert hall - will also hold up to 350 people. Visitors will be able to move through the levels using spiral staircases located inside the elk's legs.

With the initial paperwork finally out of the way, Stoorn's creator expects construction to begin before the end of the year. And as befits an area in which forestry is the main industry, the elk will be built using local wood.

"We have so much to offer up here, with all our cheeses, the gold of Lapland, and so much more besides. I think Stoorn will help us attract lots of international tourism," said Holmlund.

The cost of building the elk is expected to come in at around 60 million kronor ($6.5 million) and is to be financed entirely through private investment.

"We have had contributions ranging from one thousand kronor to four million kronor. People have really wanted to make this happen. There have been plenty of days when I have come close to crying but today I can do nothing but laugh," said Holmlund.

Watch this video preview to find out what the elk will look like from the inside.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.se)

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