Heddal is a village a bit to the west of Notodden and it has become a popular stop for tourists. It is the 13th-century stave church that is the main attraction here. The village is today a part of Notodden Municipality in Vestfold og Telemark County.
A Short History of Heddal
The name of Heddal has been spelled in many different ways over the centuries. The Old Norse name was Heitrardalr, but it has later also been Hitterdal and Hiterdal. It was first in 1918 that the name and spelling Heddal came to be.
The village has a very long history as a settlement. The famous stave church is believed to have been built sometime during the 12th or 13th century. The village was for centuries the center of the local parish, a parish that in 1838 became Hitterdal Municipality. The municipality and parish were in 1913 split when Notodden became a town. A few decades later in 1964, Heddal Municipality was incorporated into Notodden Municipality.
Things to Do and See
Nearby Notodden might be a fairly modern small town, but Heddal is the opposite. Here you will find several links to the past, with the stave church and the many historical buildings that can be found at the Bygdetun.
Heddal Stave Church
Heddal Stave Church, or as it is known in Norwegian Heddal stavkirke or Heddal stavkyrkje, is the main attraction here and the most prominent building. Dating back to sometime around the 13th century, this is an old wooden church that can seat around 180 visitors. It is today a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway.
In the vicinity of the impressive stave church is a red barn. Well, it is actually not a barn. It is a church as well. The churchgoers in Heddal have considered the stave church to be a bit too cold during the winter months and it is not easy to heat the church. So an old barn was demolished and the current red barn was built in its place to act as a church during the winter. It was inaugurated in 1997.
Heddal Bygdetun is an open-air museum that exhibits the local heritage. This is a saved small village that shows how life was here during the 19th century. The collection of buildings here includes houses and other buildings that were built sometime between the 16th and 20th centuries. They have all been moved here from the nearby region to reenact the life of the past.
How to Get to Heddal
- Flights: The closest airport is probably Notodden Airport (NTB) 4 kilometers to the east, but it is unclear if there are any routes from that airport. Otherwise, Oslo Airport (OSL) is 166 kilometers to the east. It offers both domestic and international flights.
- Car: Heddal is along Road E134 just to the west of Notodden.
- Train: There is a railway station in nearby Notodden with trains to Porsgrunn and Skien.
The driving distance from 5 major Norwegian cities, according to Google Maps:
- Oslo – 118 kilometers (1 h 42 min)
- Bergen – 362 kilometers (6 h 15 min)
- Trondheim – 610 kilometers (8 h 8 min)
- Narvik – 1503 kilometers (21 h 21 min)
- Kirkenes – 1952 kilometers (25 h)
Find out more about other destinations in Norway by visiting our page Exploring Norway