Scandinavian Eco SmackdownS

Here's a strange and possibly wonderful new idea for ecotourism in Norway: Wind turbine getaways.

A lot of agricultural tourism is backward looking, driven by pastoral nostalgia – in Italy, tourists stay in farmhouses where vegetables and wine grapes are raised; and in California they visit creameries where they watch artisanal cheese produced after being woken by the braying of animals.

But these Scandinavians are looking to the future. Denmark already has dozens of wind turbines planted in the ocean and an adjacent platform where eco-tourists can rent hotel rooms.

The Norwegian plan is even grander: A turbine city that harvests wind energy instead of farro or tomatoes. Norway's coast, as the international, Portugal-based design firm On Office reckons it, is "the longest and windiest in Europe," so the company has designed plans for a luxe hotel, spa and museum at the base of enormous wind turbines. Planned for the coast off the city of Stavanger – in the city's relatively balmy southwest — the firm envisions this as Norway "flagship wind farm" to take this country (which lags most of northern Europe in renewable energy) into the future.

Will this evolve into a competition between the two Scandinavian nations, in which they each fight to attract more eco-tourists?

You can see more pictures of the eco-tourist turbine paradise via Inhabitat.

Or learn more about the project via the architectural firm's site.