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Rjukan is a town (population 3,400) in the Tinn municipality of Telemark, Norway. The town was founded in 1908 by Sam Eyde, who started the plan of building a city from scratch, after buying the renowned Rjukan waterfall to make electric power for fertilizer production. Rjukan is on UNESCO's World Heritage tentative list, scheduled for approval in 2014.

Vemork hydroelectric power plant

Sam Eyde was also the one who proposed an idea of bringing winter light to Rjukan about a century ago. Due to its location in a deep valley, Rjukan does not see sun between October and March. A project of mirrors installed on top of an adjacent mountain turning toward the sun as it moves along the sky and reflecting its light to the town square was completed in 2013.

Get in[edit]

Drive by car (2 hours) or take a bus [1] (2.5-3 hours) from the Norwegian capital Oslo.

By car[edit]

Recommended route is Oslo-Drammen-Kongsberg-Bolkesjø-Rjukan. Alternative route Oslo-Drammen-Kongsberg-Notodden-Rjukan takes 15 minutes longer. From western Norway, you take off E-134 to Arabygdi and then on to Road 37.

Get around[edit]


  • Mount Gausta (Gaustatoppen), Gaustaområdet (Situated 15 km east of the town.), e-mail: . Southern Norways highest summit, from which you can see 1/6th of Norway on clear days. 30-40.000 takes the hike up, taking approximately 2 hours from Stavsro, where you can park the car. You can also take the Gaustabanen Cable Car inside the mountain. Free admission.
  • Norwegian Industrial workers Museum (Norsk Industriarbeidermuseum), Vemork (Situated 7 kilometers west of town center.),  +47 35099000, e-mail: . 1 May-14 Jun: Daily 10AM-4PM, 15 jun-14 Aug: Daily 10AM-6PM,15 Aug-30 Sep Daily 10AM-4PM, 1 Okt-30 Apr: Tue-Fri: Noon-3PM, Sat-Sun: 11AM-4PM, Mind: Closed 17 May, 24-26 Dec, 31 Dec-1 Jan. Situated on the very grounds of the Heavy Water Sabotage during World War 2, Vemork is having several exhibitions about the local history of the indistrial worker as well as war exhitbitions. Adults: kr 80, Students: kr 70, Seniors: kr 70, Children: kr 50, Grouprabates from 15 persons minus kr 5 each person.
  • Tinn Museum (Situated 5 kilometers east of Rjukan town center.),  +47 35099000, e-mail: . Has a wast collection of old houses, and old things. Showing how life was in the rural parts of Tinn and in old times, before the town Rjukan was established.
Steam ferry Ammonia in Mæl station
  •    Rjukan railway (Rjukanbanen), Mæl (14 km NE of Rjukan along rd. 37, at the shore of Tinn lake). Jun 15 - Aug 15 10:00 - 18:00. The 16 km long railway was operational between 1927 and 1991. In Mæl cargo (consisting mainly of chemicals produced in Hydro's fertilizer plant) was loaded onto ferries for transport across the lake to Tinnoset. In 1944 a steam ferry Hydro was sunk on the way from Mæl (as a part of Norwegian heavy water sabotage) with a cargo of heavy water for Nazi nuclear weapon project. Adults: 50 NOK, Children (8+): 25 NOK.


  • Gaustabanen Cable CarGaustaområdet (Situated 15 km east of the town.). A small train takes you 1 kilometer into the mountain, before you go on the cable car which takes you almost 1 kilomter up towards the top of the summit Gaustatoppen, Southern Norways highest summit, from which you can see 1/6th of Norway on clear days. Former military use, which was open to public in 2011.


  • Heavy Water You might buy an ampul of real heavy water at the Industrial Workers Museum or at VisitRjukans tourist office in town center. Heavy water is 10% heavier than normal water.
  • Tinn knife The Tinn community is traditionally famous for they blacksmiths, and a Tinn knife is attractive among collectors.
  • Goat cheese You might buy great high quality cheese made the traditional style in the mountain.
  • Rakfish Rakfish is a traditional speciality. It is trout that is fermented for several months.
  • Potato lefse Before christmas you might buy this delicate traditional potato lefse, which is a must at christmastime.


  • Gvepseborg Restaurant. Finer restaurant and café which opens May 2013.
  • Dong Fang Kinarestaurant. Chinese cuisine in town center.
  • Park Hotel Restaurant. Norwegian cuisine in town center.
  • Rjukan Hytteby Kro. Norwegian cuisine in town center.




  • Rjukan Bibliotek (Rjukan Public Library), Torget 1 +47 35082560. Wireless internet for laptops, and also computers with internet access available.

Go next[edit]

  • Kongsberg, silver mining town, half way to Oslo.
  • Heddal, Norways biggest wooden stave church, towards blues town Notodden half way to Oslo.
  • Tuddal, great historical hotel.
  • Skinnarbu, great for hikingtrips and fishing.
  • Rauland, drive towards west great moutain activities.
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