Author Archives: Tor Nørretranders

About Tor Nørretranders

Writer, speaker, thinker. Based in Klampenborg near Copenhagen, Denmark. Books published about numerous issues dealing with the modern worldview and being human. Phenomenons like consciousness, generosity, social behaviour and environmental issues are present in most of my books. Themes like food for the world, daylight in everyday life and the importance of epistemology are presently on my mind. My last name is often spelled differently from the Danish Nørretranders: Norretranders, Noerretranders, Nörretranders or Nrretranders -- all of which are fine with me. My best known books also include the weird Danish letters ø or æ or å in the title: Mærk verden (The User Illusion), Det generøse menneske (The Generous Man), Menneskeføde, Fælledskab (with Søren Hermasen), Glæd dig, Børnespørgehjørne, at tro på at tro. But not all titles include the unusual Danish letters: eg. vild verden, afskaf affald, Civilisation 2.0.

New book in Danish



The book “Se frem” is published in Danish on October 30, 2017. It deals with looking ahead and the need for a new enlightenment. In doing so it discusses the legacy of philosopher Immanuel Kant and shows how his ideas from the late 18th Century and now more relevant than ever, in science, ethics and the environment. The book is a grand tour of the universe, presently only in Danish. It covers the tsarry sky, the moral laws, the functioning of the ye, daydreams, quantum mechanics, weddings, categorical imperatives, commons and communitiues, antifragility, risktaking and the role of pedestrians in astronomy. With a little environment, solar eclipse and swimming in cold waters involved. And yes, it all hangs together!


“Se frem” menas “Look ahead” or just “Ahead”.

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Light! in the window

by Tor Nørretranders and Olafur Eliassaon was published today.


The window of leading Copenhagen bookseller Arnold Busck has it on display at the popular pedestrian street Købemagergade in central Copenhagen.

Version 2


Also visible in the window is Olafur’s Little Sun.




The book is also available on the net e.g. the shop at this site  or

Version 2

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No. 1 million on the bestseller list

The new book on Light! co.-authored by artist Olafur Eliasson and myself, is already number 1 million on the bestseller list at

Skærmbillede 2015-12-11 18.30.39



Pretty good to be a on the bestseller list, considering the fact that the book is not published yet. So nobody has had a chance to buy it.

Actually, ranking as number 1,054,689 on the bestseller list means that over 1 million books perform better in terms of sales.

But all that will change when the book is opublished and in the bookstoresfrom this Sunday, December 13 . Buy or preorder!

Amazon rank

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New book on light, science and art

To be published Dec. 13:

Tor Nørretranders and Olafur Eliasson

Light! On light in life and the life in light

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Light! Frontcover JPEG

A visually moving and verbally hard-hitting criticism of modern light culture will be published in the darkness of December 13 when light starts to be celebrated at the Nordic Lucia day.

Together with artist Olafur Eliasson I have created an entertaining and thought-provoking book. Richly illustrated with the wonderful visual world of Olafur’s, the book is a rupture with low-energy light bulbs, designer lamps, overcast weather in the living room and bad lighting philosophy.


The book has three main strands: A main text (which I wrote); a series of quotes from long wlaks with microphones where Olafur and I discuseed light; and a series of about 70  images from  Olafur’s world. Everything in four colours, beatifully printed.


The book is about:

What we see


Incandescent light bulbs

Strip lights

Energy-saving bulbs

Colour rendering



Quantum dots



Overcast skies

Designer lamps


Life on Earth

Circadian rhythms

Our daily food


Coloured shadows



Colours in the snow


What to do together

Here are the unbound prints of the Danish Lys! and the English Light! – both to be published on December 13. This is a work in progress: The final book will be more beautiful than these stacks of paper without binding.

Here are the unbound prints of the Danish Lys! and the English Light! – both to be published on December 13. This is a work in progress: The final book will be more beautiful than these stacks of paper without binding.

Back cover

Back cover

How should we light our lives and homes? How can we pay regard to the climate and our quality of life at the same time? Can LED and other new technologies help us? To find the answers, we need to ask what light means to being human.

In words and pictures writer Tor Nørretranders and artist Olafur Eliasson explore darkness and light, shadows and colours, lamps and light quality.

 Light! discusses the tremendous possibilities open to us for bringing the light in our lives to life.

Olafur Eliasson (b.1967) is a DanishIcelandic artist. He creates works that explore how we see light and how it affects us. Their simplicity and clarity derive from Olafur’s philosophical commitment to understanding sensory perception and and how we act in the world.

Tor Nørretranders (b.1955) is a Danish writer. His books explore the way we perceive the world and how it perceives us. The everyday cheerfulness of the language in the books derives from Tor’s theoretical commitment to understanding the nature and scope of knowledge and expression.

Lys! Forside JPEGLight! is also published in Danish as Lys!

The two editions are exctly the same — except from the language.

Both the Danish and English version costs DKK 300 (≈ USD 44 or EUR 41).

204 pages, richly illustrated, hardbound.

Published by Forlaget

Available in bookstores – physical and on the web.



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Man of Design – mad and simple

Designer Jacob Jensen (1926-2015) was a wonderfully mad and gifted man who invented the Bang & Olufsen style of hi-fi in the 60ies: Apple design a few decades before Apple.

Jacob jensen in the 60’ies

Jacob Jensen designs were elegant and simple, yet profound. They resulted from a penetrating investigation of the ways a user could and would interact with an industrial object. The noiseless and pleasing exterior of the hi-fi or the kitchenware would thus reflect a very deep understanding of what the user needed to know from the apparatus and what the apparatus needed to know from the user.

Therefore, the simplicity was the result of understanding many degrees of freedom inside the user and the apparatus being used.

This is much like the view from the legendary house in Hejlskov, northen Jutland, where Jacob Jensen did his best work: The view is the ocean, the sky and a strip of land. Simple, horisontal, and breathtaking.

The House in Hejlskov — private life and studio — as seen from the sea

The studio is now run by Jacob’s son Timothy, still harvesting an impressive number of international awards.


The welcome-note on the Jacob Jensen Design homepage (why I, BTW, drafted) says it all very nicely … 

“Plain surfaces which, upon closer investigation, reveal a rich inner life. Clear lines and sharp borders inviting investigation. A delight to the eye, calm acceptance in the mind. An invitation to embrace. No, this is not a description of industrial products from Jacob Jensen Design, though it could be. It is a description of the view from the rather remarkable house where Jacob Jensen Design has been established for more than a quarter of a century. On a hill facing a bay in the Limfjord, industrial design is created so calm and clear in its message that one is tempted to interpret it as an illustration of the water’s reflection and the horizon which dominates the view from the studio. Don’t be fooled. Just as the water conceals myriad of biological activity with sea weed and mussels, fish and seal, a Jacob Jensen Design conceals any number of functions in a product. Whether it is a Hi-Fi system, a cable roll, a windmill or a humidity gauge, the clear and calm outer surface hides a whole lot. The secret behind this doubleness lies in the work process. Using an imaginative and laborious analysis of the product’s function, utility pattern, technical possibilities and the components of the material, Jacob Jensen Design arrives at a clear conception of what must be visible for the consumer, and what is not needed to be shown. All the unnecessary is hidden within the plain surfaces, which never the less invite the consumer to closer investigation and use. Clear lines – with something inside.”

A truly great design tradition initiated by Jacob Jensen who checked out last Friday.

Thanks to a great man.

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