HERITAGE and CULTURE
You will find that Heritage and Culture go hand in hand here in the Wild Telemark.
On this page we present to you just a taste of the different destinations and experiences you can find in the region.
We also will be introducing more to you as time goes by, including blog posts, articles and photo essays where we tell you - and show - you more about this fascinating region.
TINFOS – THE BEGINNINGS
The entrepreneur Ole H. Holta took over ownership of the near-bankrupt Tinfos Paper Factory in 1894. It became a success, and five years later Holta founded the Notodden Calcium Carbide Factory.
To meet the need for electricity, Tinfos I was put into operation in 1901. In 1912 Tinfos II began operation as more energy was needed – especially for Tinfos Ironworks, the first in Norway to use electricity to melt steel.
Journey to the very beginning of the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site. Where the beauty of the Tinfos power plants is just as radiant today as ever.
VEMORK – THE WORLD’S LARGEST
Upon its opening in 1911, Vemork was the most powerful hydroelectric plant on the planet. Located just east of the massive Rjukan Falls, construction began in 1907, and to make it possible, a 5-kilometer rail line – the Vemork Line - was built from Rjukan.
Thousands of workers known as Rallar – meaning “wheelbarrow” were involved in this complex and difficult task. Completed in 1908, this connection by rail was necessary to move the massive equipment and material necessary for construction.
Visit the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum – Vemork and see this stunning installation first-hand. And learn the story that changed industrial history.
TELEGARDAR – MYSTIC TELEMARK
Located deep in the municipalities of Hjartdal and Seljord and the valley of Svartdalen you will find Telegardar – a local association of a variety of culture and experience destinations working together to make sure that any visitor will experience the visit of a lifetime. Creative and adventurous people visiting this region can plunge into the world of nature, lean back, lean in and create a new world.
Whether it is accommodation on the high sides of mountain gorges, rural cultural activities, local cuisine, livestock farming, handicrafts or other activities, Telegardar will ensure that your visit is something to remember.
It is hard to imagine the contrast between the Wild Telemark and the outside world outside before the 20th century. Few travelled here.
Then a transport system was built in the early 1900s, connecting the factories and industrial town to the outside world and the global market. Tinnsjøen (Lake Tinn) was the connection between the north and south - an untamed, extremely dangerous body of water.
This is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, surrounded by mountains and deep valleys, the brutal wind and weather coming from the high mountains and meeting this inland sea with a force seldom seen.
Located next to Torvet Main Square in central Notodden, our hotel is an easy walk from the train and bus stations. You will find free WiFi throughout the hotel,
in addition to a variety of activities that include free billiards, darts and table tennis.
All guest rooms at Notodden Hotel have classic décor, each with a work desk, cable TV, WiFi and private bathroom with shower. Breakfast is offered to guests, and the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from a wide range of restaurants and cafés.
There are many cultural and recreational activities available for the entire family, including the Bø i Sommerland water park located just 25-minutes away by car.
Welcome to Notodden Hotel!
THE TINNOSET LINE
Built in 1909, the Tinnoset Line between Tinnoset Railway Station and Notodden Railway Station covers a distance of 31 kilometres. It was part of a transportation system that carried millions of tonnes of goods and hundreds of thousands of passengers every day and night for nearly 100 years.
The railway track, signaling system and overhead line equipment of the Tinnoset Line ensured that this southernmost link in the Hydro transportation system functioned safety and effectively.
Now, there is much interest in putting this historic line back in operation. Come with us on a visual storytelling journey and learn more. All aboard!
In 1987 the factories closed in this mountain town. Thousands of jobs gone. Just weeks after the shutdown, a group of young men and women met, sharing one idea – to create a blues festival.
They put their savings and their futures on the line to organize and stage the first Notodden Blues Festival in 1988. The 2,000 tickets sold were a major success.
Through the years, the Notodden Blues Festival continued to grow in stature, now universally respected as one of the best in the world.
The Notoddden Blues Festival is the subject of the “Bluestown Rising” documentary with “Little Steven” Van Zandt. Coming in late autumn 2021.
THE COMPANY TOWN – RJUKAN
Hydro built and operated major industry operations in both Notodden and Rjukan, with communities of the ‘company town’ type. Rjukanwas always supervised and planned as a true company town – the first in Norway. With architecture that stand the test of time.
Located in Vestfjorddalen– this is a valley so deep that the sun disappears for six months at a time. So narrow that only one street – Sam Eydes Street – runs the entire 6-kilometre length of the town. The original architecture is intact.
To explore the streets of Rjukan is transport yourself back in time 100 years.
Waiting for you to explore.
‘Never before have I seen such a beautiful and magnificent hydrotechnical plant’.
Not even Niagara Falls could compare to Svælgfos I, a hydroelectric power plant which was largest in Europe and the second largest in the world. Even now, standing by the dam at Svelgfos, one feels the power of the people, the industry - and the water that powered a new hydroelectric revolution.
Plans are underway here that will honour this legacy, bringing together the culture and the industrial history here as new generations begin to understand the gravity of what occurred here.
The story is just beginning.
Solberg Bil - Notodden
With full-service locations in both Skien and Notodden, Solberg Bil is Telemark's Ford dealer.
We offer a wide variety of vehicles from the Fiesta to the exclusive Mustang and other special models. For customers requiring industrial and commercial vehicles, our Transit Center team provides tailor-made solutions.
We have a reputation of delivering first-class service from A to Z, offering repair workshop facilities to service and repair all car brands, a parts warehouse, and our own tire department. We perform EU
inspections and naturally, financing solutions are available.
Stop by for a chat or test drive. Visit us at our newly upgraded facilities at Merdevegen 6, 3676 Notodden.
Or give us a call at +47 35 02 51 00.
We are FORD
WORLD HERITAGE CENTRE - NOTODDEN
The world was coming to a crossroads. As the world population boomed during the 1800s, the scientific question began to circulate – how long would the world population survive on current food supply production?
Answering the challenge, it was just over a century ago in Norway that a major transformation took place here. During the course of just a short decade, power plants, factories, transport systems and company towns were created. The urgent goal - producing enough mineral fertiliser to increase world food production.
The World Heritage Centre in Notodden tells the stories behind the electric arc furnace, Norway’s most important invention ever, and the production of mineral fertiliser.
HYDROPARK - RJUKAN
Norsk Hydro undertook massive industrial operations in three phases that changed the world:
Rjukan I: Challenging construction projects on steep terrain on the south side of the Måna river were built on what had been the Såheim farm. With production using the electric arc method, this phase used electricity from Vemork, in operation from 1911.
Rjukan II: Also based on the electric arc technology, these operations began with the Såheim power station opening in December 1915.
Rjukan III: These New Production Facilities began 1929, using the ammonia (Haber-Bosch) method and hydrogen, requiring major infrastructure adjustments by Hydro.
A century ago, few towns on earth matched Rjukan.
THE COMPANY TOWN – NOTODDEN
Here, we introduce four industrial heritage objects related to the Notodden Company Town – the Admini, Villamoen, Grønnebyen (the Green Town) and the Casino. Though not prominent in the overall current town structure of Notodden; these hidden gems are worth a visit.
The Admini, Villamoen, Grønnebyen (the Green Town) and the Casino were built during the time that Hydro was conducting its important activities related to testing and production, with a direct connection to Svælgfos I, which provided electrical power to what would later become the Hydro Industrial Park.
Travel back a century in time as you take time to visit these industrial heritage gems.
Telemark’s role in art history, the Norwegian golden age in the 19th century, and the transition from peasant society to modern Norway are the focus of this wonderful gallery.
With an art collection containing images from the emergence of power development and industry in Telemark, the Telemark Gallery provides a well-curated perspective of Norwegian socially engaged art.
Telemark Gallery shows changing exhibitions with current contemporary art and historical exhibitions. In a beautiful industrial hall from the last century, you can experience inspiring art exhibitions, enjoy a pleasant visit to a café and a museum shop.