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Notodden municipality has experienced major changes throughout its history. Today, the municipality is the birthplace of the story of the Rjukan-Notodden industrial heritage. Here there is a campus at the University of Southeast Norway, entrepreneurship and clean industries in technology and processing and the home of the Notodden Blues Festival.


Modern society in the region today is based on traditions and sometimes major changes over many centuries.

A thousand years ago, the Sami cooperated with Vikings as well as other cultures who later became the modern Norwegians. These groups found that their religious beliefs had much in common. 


Here, the real strength in the region was in Heitrardalr (Heddal) where the Heddal stave church is located. The Norwegians from this period had a tradition of using wood for almost all purposes. They built ships, in addition to building the finest wooden churches with the world-famous Heddal stave church as the largest and finest.


Many hundreds of years later, in 1624, Kongsberg in the east was founded, just one year after silver was discovered in the region. This was for several centuries a basis for great wealth for Denmark. Kongsberg was considered a safe area, but the area between Kongsberg and Notodden was a mountain region rich in silver. There, the king of Denmark had little power, which gave the area that is now Notodden municipality a sense of freedom and independence from the king of Denmark.

Explore Notodden by clicking on the images above. Move them and rotate them to revel those underneath. Double-click to see full-size.

At the end of the 19th century, a radical change transformed the region, with the focus shifting from Heddal to Notodden. This modern history began with the farmer's son Ole H. Holta, who in 1899 founded the first power station in Tinnelva, Tinfos I (1899), and later Tinfos Jernverk.
Ole Holta's business was flourishing when Sam Eyde arrived in Notodden. Sam Eyde started the Norwegian industrial adventure in the 20th century at Notodden when he founded Norsk Hydro. In just a few years, the most modern company of the time, employing thousands in Notodden and Rjukan. The region became a melting pot of people who came from all over Norway and also outside the country's borders.


The May 1st parade in 1919 in Notodden, with over 2,000 participants, laid the foundation for the 8-hour day being introduced in Norway. This gave the workers better days: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure and then 8 hours of sleep. For the first time, workers had time after the day's work to cultivate their own interests, as prosperity and creativity went hand in hand with hard work.

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