Blåfarveverket - a piece of cultural history
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
An hour's drive from Oslo you'll get an insight into what it was like to be a mining worker 200 years ago. You can refresh Theodor Kittelsen's peculiar nature interpretations and wander in beautiful nature with well-preserved wooden buildings from times gone by.
The cobalt mines seen at the top of the image below extend over several kilometers. During the time of operation, more than two million tons of ore were extracted from the mines with only manual power. Over two thousand miners worked here at a time when the population of Oslo was only 17 thousand. It was a separate community of schools, homes and everything else needed in a community.
Some of the mines are open to the public for guided tours. It is a separate trip specially designed for children. Adults and slightly larger children benefit most from the historical mining trip.
The deeper they dug to pull out the cobalt ore, the more difficult it became to pick it up to the surface. The solution was to make vertical tunnels (so-called stollers) further down the hillside into the mine. There were railroad wagons here when the mine was in operation.
In one place you have made a glass floor over a vertical mining shaft. Here you can see 40 meters straight down as you venture out on the transparent floor.
The mines were stabilized with logs. When the thinnest logs began to yield, it was time to get out.
The water that penetrates into the rocks in the mountains is led to its own channels. In this deep mine the water level is constant. The temperature in the mine is also constant year-round, about 6-7 degrees.
Visitors are provided with poncho to keep the heat and helmet to protect the head from collision with low ceiling sections. It is invested a lot in securing the mountain.
The facility has its own storage room for maturing of cheese. Here they get a constant refrigerator temperature without the use of energy.
The cobalt mineral is white or off-white. It is only after an extensive chemical process that the blue dye emerges. Cobalt blue is in the form of glass crystals. That's why it keeps it for hundreds of years. When the mining was in operation, the price of cobalt was as high as the price of gold.
In the shop you can buy glass items in cobalt blue, small cozy souvenirs or a small bottle of blue cobalt powder if you want.
You can visit three art museums in the area. In Theodor Kittelsen's museum you can see more of the painter's central work, as well as lesser-known aspects of his artistic work, such as woodcutting.
You will also see his workplace and some personal assets.
Kittelsen succeded in making you see the trolls in nature.
There are two other museums in the area. If you buy a combination ticket, you can see all three of them. In the executive house in the picture below the interior is from the 19th century.
On the Blåfarveverket's main area down by the river there are several protected buildings and a small farmhouse. Here you can imagine hove it was a few hundred years back in time, have a snack or buy cobalt blue glass products in the store.
Or admire the fierce waterfall.
More excursions: www.turideer.com
Excursion of the week: Blåfarveverket og the cobalt mines.
Duration: The place opens at 11 o'clock and closes at 17 o'clock. The guided tour in the mines takes about 1 1/2 hours. The six hours the museums are open, go fast.
Suitable for: All. Several activities for children.
Getting there: From Oslo, drive E18 to Drammen. From Drammen you drive to Hoksund and then to Åmot. From there you follow the signs for the Blåfarveverket. The drive takes about 1 hour.
Challenge: Can you find this spot?