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Skien in Norway Skien municipality coat of arms


779,2 km2

Skien Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Skien

Skien has approximately 53.000 inhabitants and covers a area of 779,2 km2 km2. Skien is the capital of Telemark by virtue of being the oldest and largest town and where the county administration is located. Skien´s history goes back to the 9th century. The town is situated where the vast quantities of water from the Hardangervidda plateau flow into the Skiensfjorden. This was a natural staging post for goods en route for the hinterland, and an equally natural place for inland products to be collected and then shipped out. The timber trade was important to the commerce of the town and Skien was, for a time, Norway´s biggest lumber town.

It is also the birthplace of Henrik Ibsen. The Ibsenhuset, the town´s biggest cultural centre, busts and memorial columns, street names and signs, together with large Ibsen collections in the town´s museums - are all evidence that the local population is aware of this fact. Since the 17th century the town has been regularly reduced to ashes every hundred years. The last time this happened was in 1886 when the whole of the town centre was destroyed.

The architectural style of the turn of the century is, therefore, now predominant. The last old buildings are to be found in Snipetorp, a street which lies higher than the town centre, enabling it to escape the fires. Here, for example, is the house that Knud Ibsen moved into when he had to leave Venstøp and where his son Henrik also lived for a short time, before he decided to seek his fortune and left the town - never to return.


Henrik Ibsen´s childhood home, Nordre Venstøp in Gjerpen, lies slightly north of Skien. This is where Henrik Ibsen lived between the ages of 7 and 15. On Venstøp, you can see the dark loft featured in the play «Vildanden» (The Wild Duck), and the porch where Ibsen as a boy first demonstrated his dramatic talents and staged puppet theatre for the neighbourhood, using plays and puppets he had created him self.

The farm at Venstøp lies in beautiful surroundings and is an excellent destination. Fjøset houses an exhibition of Skien in the 1840s and of Ibsen's family and childhood experiences. Multimedia programme on the childhood of the writer in Norwegian and English.


Directly above Skien town centre is the beautiful Brekkeparken park and the Telemark Fylke museum. Brekkeparken is an old landscaped park laid out in the English style by cabinet minister Nils Aall in about 1815. It is difficult to find anywhere with a more harmonious blend of urban and rural than the Brekkeparken. In the park the paths, ponds and flower beds create a beautiful background to the other attractions such as the Fylkemuseet with its various collections.

The centrepiece of the museum is the old Søndre Brekke manor house which dates from about 1810 while the open-air museum, with buildings from differerenl parts of Telemark, occupies other parts of the park. The entrance ticket is valid for both the park and the museum. Join a guided tour of the museum, which takcs you past examples of Telemark folk art, wander through an exhibition of the history of fashion and style, from Baroque to Empire, visit Henrik Ibsen in private or see some maritime history and church art. To relive the past, pay a visit to the old shop, the old tea rooms or the old post office in the park.


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.


The Løveid canal at Skotfoss connects Norsjø with the Fare river. It has four locks and an elevation of 10,3 metres and was blasted out of rock with gunpowder in 1854-60.


With its two main towers and impressive facade, Skien church dominates the town. The church was completed in 1894 after the great town fire. The interior of the church is characterised by beautiful stained glass windows and glazed stone. The church has one of the largest and hest organs in Norway with 70 voices and about 6.000 pipes. The church seats a congregation of about 1,500. Open for guided tours in the summer season.


Theatre, Art exhibition, concerts, exhibitions on Henrik Ibsen.


Skien's permanent art gallery housed in the foyer of Ibsen's House. Open daily all year round. Summer exhibition at Kulturbanken, Norges Bank.


Concerts, seminars and master classes, held by choirs and conductors of a high international standard.


Skien Best suited to children up to ten years old. There are big sandpits and playing apparatus of all kinds tor the little ones. There is a children's pool and slide, rowing boats on the little lake, gold prospecting in the mine, mini-train, smal] shops and much more.


In the vicinity of the Skien Sports Hall, just outside the town centre, you can enjoy 5 tennis courts, hand bal, basket bal, boccia, football, softball, and playgrounds.


Børsesjø is located at the northern end of Gjerpensdalen, and is a protected nature reserve. Over 210 varieties of birds are to be found here and the following species of fish; bream, roach and eel. Børsesjø is most readily accesabel from Gjerpen Church. A marked path to the "Fugletårnet" (bird watcher tower) lies between Gjerpen nursing home and the priests rectory. Access to the reserve is not permitted from the 15th of April to the 1st og July with the exception of the marked path to the observation tower.


Among the existing government incentives, all-electric cars are exempt in Norway from the annual road tax, all public parking fees, and toll payments as well as being able to use bus lanes.

Charging points in Skien at the moment is 34.

Charging points can be found on street parking, at taxi stands, in parking lots, at places of employment, hotels, airports, shopping centers, convenience shops, fast food restaurants, coffeehouses etc., as well as in driveways and garages.


Hire of go-carts (age 10 and upwards only).


Enjoy the wilderness all year round with fishing, canoeing, dog sledging etc. Accommodation in two large Indian teepees, with or wit hout full board, max. 30 people. Tailor-made arrangements for groups and companies, facilities for the disabled as well. Children's camp.


Exellent walking terrain in the Løvenskjold forests north of town, and also towards Skrim and Luksefjell. Marked trails, maps.


23 berths. Shower/WC, boat toilet emptying, drinking water. Groceries, kiosk, bank, post of fice. Boatyard 600 metres. Tourist Office.


Grenland Skicenter only 15 km from Skien against Siljan.


Fishing is good in Skiensfjorden. Salmon fishing at Langbryggene. Fishing permit and map can be purchased at Høyers Hotel, S. Holtskog Sport or at the Tourist Information Office.


Grenland Golfclub located near Jønnevald, north of Skien. Skien can offer one of Norway´s most beautiful golf courses, with 18 holes. Varied terrain, international standard, golf tuition, golf equipment for hire, cafeteria.