Rjukan (Norwegian: [ˈrʉ̀ːkɑn]) is a town and the administrative centre of Tinn municipality in Telemark, Norway. It is situated in Vestfjorddalen, between Møsvatn and Lake Tinn, and got its name after Rjukan Falls west of the town. The Tinn municipality council granted township status for Rjukan in 1996. The town has 3,386 inhabitants (January 2007). As of 5 July 2015, Rjukan was elected as a World Heritage site under the name Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site.

Panorama of Rjukan town, 2015
Panorama of Rjukan town, 2015
Rjukan is located in Vestfold og Telemark
Rjukan is located in Norway
Rjukan (Norway)
Coordinates: 59°52′44″N 08°35′38″E / 59.87889°N 8.59389°E / 59.87889; 8.59389
CountyVestfold og Telemark
 • Total3,386


Sam Eyde monument

Rjukan was formerly a significant industrial centre in Telemark, and the town was established between 1905 and 1916, when Norsk Hydro started saltpetre (fertilizer) production there, then called Saaheim. Rjukan was chosen because Rjukan Falls, a 104-metre waterfall, provided easy means of generating large quantities of electricity. The man with the idea to use the Rjukan falls was Sam Eyde, the founder of Hydro and Rjukan. It is estimated that he, together with A/S Rjukanfoss (later Norsk Hydro), used about two times the national budget of Norway to build the Rjukan power station as well as much of the surrounding town. In 1912 the town changed it's name from Saaheim, which originally was a farm, to Rjukan approved.

Between 1907 and 1911, Norsk Hydro built what was at the time the world's largest hydroelectric power plant at Vemork near Rjukan, and in 1934 built an adjacent hydrogen plant. A by-product of hydrogen production via water electrolysis was heavy water. It was the later Nobel prize winner Odd Hassel who told Norsk Hydro that they were in fact producing heavy water. Norsk Hydro was controlled by the Germans during World War II, was sabotaged twice by the Norwegian resistance movement and bombed by the allied forces.

After 1960, most of the saltpetre production in Rjukan was transferred to Norsk Hydro factories at Herøya in Porsgrunn. Many industries are still present in Rjukan, among them Nippon Gases, Nouryon Pulp and Performance Chemicals, Skarpenord, BIS Bilfinger Industrial Services, Hydro Energi, Green Mountain Data Centers and the new esatblishments Hima seafood and Aker Horizon.

Rjukan ChurchEdit

Rjukan Church

Rjukan Church (Rjukan kirke) was constructed of natural stone with a tower at the entrance to the southwest. The church was consecrated on December 21, 1915. The church was designed by the architects Carl and Jørgen Berner with a cruciform architectural floorplan. The altar image came into place in April 1917 and was painted by Bernhard Folkestad. Seven vaulted windows in the foundation wall have stained glass paintings by Torvald Moseid. In February 1965, while filming Heroes of Telemark, the gallery caught fire, and all the combustible material in the church burnt down, and only the walls remained. Asbjørn Stein was commissioned as the architect for the reconstruction. The tower was severely heat damaged and had to be largely rebuilt. Most of the walls were reused, and the church basically got the same exterior, but the interior was quite different. The church was ready in 1968 (consecrated on 28 April).[1][2][3][4][5]


Rjukan has a long history of tourism. Tourists have come to the narrow valley for over two centuries, and is called "the cradle of tourism in Norway". Rjukan Falls was a famous landmark in Norway, and has been portrayed by several famous artists. The area has good terrain for skiing, and the town is a good starting point for hiking on the Hardangervidda plateau. One of Norway's largest alpine skiing resorts, Gausta is situated underneath Mount Gausta. In the 1860s, Krokan by the Rjukan waterfall was Norwegian Mountain Touring Association's (DNT) first hut. After the waterfall was harnessed for hydropower production, the hut was sold. Today it is re-opened and a part of the Unesco World Heritage, situated by the main road from Rjukan (Tinn) to Vinje. In later years Rjukan has become famous for its ice climbing possibilities. The season is long, from November to April and the waterfalls are many and varied.

Today, the power plant at Vemork has been made into the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum where the history of Rjukan and a history of Industrial labour is displayed, in addition to history of the war and the sabotage connected to it.

On 5 July 2015, Rjukan was elected as World Heritage site with a description of Outstanding Universal Value, under the name Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site.

Between September and March, Rjukan lies in the shadow of the mountains and does not get sunlight due to its location far north. In 2013, at a cost of 5 million Norwegian kroner, large mirrors called the Sun Mirror were placed on the northern mountainside to reflect the Sun, illuminating the town square.[6]

Notable peopleEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Rjukan kirke". Norske Kirkebygg. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Trond Marinus Indahl (20 February 2017). "Carl Berner". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  3. ^ Anne-Berit Skaug. "Jørgen Berner". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Henning Alsvik (20 February 2017). "Bernhard Folkestad". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Sigrid Christie (20 February 2017). "Torvald Moseid". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Harriet Alexander. "Norwegian town places mirrors on hillsides to shine light into valley". The Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013. Accessed: 24 October 2013.

External linksEdit

External video
  Video about sun mirrors