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Notodden in Norway Notodden municipality coat of arms


918,9 km2

Notodden Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Notodden

Notodden muncipality has approximately 12.500 inhabitants and covers a area of 918,9 km2, is primarily the hub of trade and industry in Øst-Telemark, and a centre for education and training. Telemark College of Education, located in the beautiful area of Sætre to the east of the town, has over 1.200 students. About 9.200 people actually live in the town of Notodden itself.

Notodden has a long history as an industrial town, where activities originally centered around the Tinnelva river. The initial industries of log rafting and hydro-electricity were followed by a saw mill and, as timber processing became estahlished, Notodden began its first phase of expansion. The watercourse from Skien to Heddalvannet lake was developed into a canal in 1861, providing a new form of transport. Tinfoss iron works were founded in 1894.


Notodden is the birthplace of Norsk Hydro, and Norsk Extruding, Norway´s first plastics company, was also established here. The founders of Norsk Hydro, was Sam Eyde and Kristian Birkeland. Consequently, Notodden has been Norway's leading plastics town for many years. Notodden is situated in the centre of Telemark. The surrounding area offers many opportunities for open air activities. The next phase of growth was in 1905 when Norsk Hydro began its saltpetre production and expanded the power generation facility.


The collection includes equipment used by Norsk Hydro during its first years of operation, Professor Birkeland's "electric canon" and experiment station, pictures by the fairy-tale illustrator Theodor Kittelsen depicting hydro-electric expansion at Notodden and Svelgfoss waterfall. All this and much, much more in this unique collection tracing the pioneer days of industrial history at the turn of the century.

Kristian Birkeland (1867-1917), professor in physics. He was successful in binding nitrogen in an electromagnetic arc. He researched the aurora borealis, the sun's radiation and the earth's magnetic field.

The Industrial History Collection shows pictures, equipment, items and the development of Norsk Hydro at Notodden, the birth place of Norsk Hydro in 1905. The founders of Norsk Hydro, Sam Eyde and Kristian Birkeland, have a central place in the exhibition.

The Notodden Nitrate Factory (Notodden Salpeterfabrik) was established on 9 July 1904. The factory was started up on 2 May 1905 and was the first in the world to produce artificial nitrate fertilizer using the Birkeland-Eyde method. Norsk Hydro-Elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab was founded on 2 December 1905 with its headquarters in Notodden. The factory, with its furnace and tower, was the first factory the company built. Production of Norgesalpeter (Norwegian nitrate) was started on 2 October 1907, running on hydroelectric power from a plant that was Erupe's largest at the time.

Sam Eyde (1866-1940), managing director 1905-1917. He believed that power from Norwegian waterfalls could be used to develop the country's economy. He obtained the rights to a number of watercourses at an early stage.

The Industrial History Collection in Notodden is situated in the furnace house A, which dates back to 1907. Exhibits include: Birkeland's electric canon and test station, Theodor Kittilsen's five drawings of the development of Notodden and the Svelgfoss waterfall, Sam Eyde's honours, distinctions and gifts, production equipment from the first years plus a wide range of photos, showing Norway's swift developement into an industrial nation, starting in Telemark.


Located in a dramatic landscape of mountains, waterfalls and river valleys, the site comprises hydroelectric power plants, transmission lines, factories, transport systems and towns. The complex was established by the Norsk-Hydro Company to manufacture artificial fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. It was built to meet the Western world’s growing demand for agricultural production in the early 20th century. The company towns of Rjukan and Notodden show workers’ accommodation and social institutions linked by rail and ferry to ports where the fertilizer was loaded. The Rjukan-Notodden site manifests an exceptional combination of industrial assets and themes associated to the natural landscape. It stands out as an example of a new global industry in the early 20th century.


Notodden Norways major blues festival with top artists from Norway and abroad. Bluestrain, bluescruise etc.


Notodden Blueseum is Europe´s first and only blues museum. At the same time draws Notodden Blueseum strands of blues originated in Mississippi and spread further in the U.S. and Europe, and highlights the importance of the role blues music has had that shape the last century. The exhibition offers a good mix of interactive and exciting adventures. The emphasis is on presenting the content through the personal stories.

The renowned Juke Joint Studio is located next door to Notodden Blueseum, and is part of the exhibition. Juke Joint Studio is a live recording studio about is known for its unique collection of analogue recording equipment, including an authentic mixers from legendary STAX Studio in Memphis.


The Telemark Canal stretches 105 kilometres from Skien to Dalen. There are six municipalities which are known as Canal Municipalities: Skien, Nome, Kviteseid, Tokke, Sauherad and Notodden.

The Telemark Canal is the only canal system in Norway connected to the sea. 18 lock levels divided over 8 lock systems litt boats 72 metres above sea level to the lake of Flåvatn. From here beautiful lake and river reaches take the traveller on to Dalen, 150 km inland, in the heart of the mountains of southern Norway. The contrast between the broad agricultural districts, the wilderness and the old industrial sites makes the Telemark Canal one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Europe.

In addition, the water is clean and the fish live well! The Telemark Canal was completed in 1892 and 500 men had worked for 5 years to bring this waterway into the heart of Telemark. The canal is a living heritage site, and has kept its nineteenth century air, with manual operation of most of the lock gates. The beautiful old walls and lock systems have been preserved in their original form. Along the hanks of the canal you can still see the old lock-keepers' houses, the smithies, the sawmills, the watchmens' cottages and the jetties with warehouses and other buildings.


Experience the ancient cultural history, the bustling crowds and travel through the locks as people did over 100 years ago. Enjoy the journey from the deck of one of the nostalgic canal boats: M/S Victoria, M/S Henrik Ibsen or M/S Telemarken. The boats run between may and september.


Heddal Stave Church is the largest of Norway's surviving stave churches and boasts the most impressive and distinctive exterior. The existing chancel is the oldest part probably dating from 1147, while the rest was built in 1242. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is constructed in the form of a stave basilica with 12 large and 6 smaller support posts. There is a continuous gallery around the whole of the church. An extensive restoration and refurbishment programme was completed in 1952.

The Stave Churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.


Heddal Bygdetun museum is situated near the Heddal Stave Church and consists of a fine collection of old houses from Øst-Telemark. These include the Ramberg collage with its traditional "rose" decorative painting by the well known Olav Hansson, the Haave cottage from Lisleherad, storehouses from Sem and a restored smoke-house from Busnes. A cotter's farm and milking shed also form part of the collection. There is a big open-air area.


The gallery offers changing exhibilions througout the year, and is situated in a more than 100 year old saw maill at Tinfos Øvre.


M/S TELEMARKEN traffic the eastern part of the Telemark Canal, and has a scheduled route and charter traffic between Notodden and Lunde. approximately 5 hour trips. 140 passengers, restaurant on board.


Golfclubs in Telemark.