Notodden, Aust-Telemark, Exploring Norway

Notodden, Aust-Telemark – Exploring Norway

At the shores of Lake Heddalsvatnet and with the river Tinnelva flowing through it is the town of Notodden. In addition to being the home to around 9.000 inhabitants, Notodden has also been the home of Norsk Hydro – a Norwegian aluminum and energy company. The town lies within what was once the traditional district of Aust-Telemark, an area that today is a part of the Vestfold og Telemark County.

A Short History of Notodden

The transport infrastructure around Notodden began to develop during the second half of the 19th century. It was eventually the rapids and waterfalls of the river that turned out to be the true magnet for development with industries being established along the river Tinnelva.

The development gained a boost with the foundation of Norsk Hydro in 1905. The company focused on the production of nitrogen which is used for fertilizers. The production plant meant that the number of inhabitants in Notodden increased five-fold in 10 years during the early decades of the 20th century. This resulted in Notodden 1913 receiving the status of a town.

The Second World War and the introduction of new production methods meant a decline in nitrogen production in Notodden. The industrialization of Notodden reached an end during the second half of the 20th century and has been replaced by commercial activities and services. Even more recently it is technology companies that have established themself in the area.

Things to Do and See

Notodden’s industrial past with the production of nitrate fertilizers meant that the industrial sites connected with the Bireland-Eyde Process were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. The heritage site is known as the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site and includes several sites in the surrounding area. Once you are done with the industrial history? Then there is plenty more to explore in and around the town.

Bok & Blueshuset

Bok & Blueshuset is the cultural center of Notodden. This is where you will find the public library as well as the cinema. This is also the venue for many cultural events and other local gatherings.


Telemarksgalleriet, the Telemark Art Museum, is in a former industrial building next to the hydroelectric power station. The gallery is part of the Rjukan-Notodden World Heritage Site and exhibits local art and cultural history.


Tinnfossen is the waterfall next to Telemarksgalleriet. The waterfall had a height of 18.5 meters and is today regulated by the Tinnfoss Hydroelectric Power Station.

Notodden Kirke

Notodden Kirke, the local parish church, is a red brick church dating back to 1938. The parish had been without a church since its establishment in 1913. The church is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway.


Heddalsvatnet is the lake directly to the south of the town. The lake is connected to the ocean by the Telemark Canal with two locks in Skien. Along the lake’s shores, you will find the local beach and other areas for swimming.

How to Get to Notodden

  • Flights: The closest airport is probably Notodden Airport (NTB) 4 kilometers to the west, but it is unclear if there are any routes from that airport. Otherwise, Oslo Airport (OSL) is 160 kilometers to the east. It offers both domestic and international flights.
  • Car: Notodden is located along Road E134 between Kongsberg and Seljord.
  • Train: The railway connects Notodden with Porsgrunn and Skien.

The driving distance from 5 major Norwegian cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Oslo – 112 kilometers (1 h 35 min)
  • Bergen – 370 kilometers (6 h 23 min)
  • Trondheim – 604 kilometers (8 h 6 min)
  • Narvik – 1497 kilometers (21 h 11 min)
  • Kirkenes – 1945 kilometers (25 h)

Find out more about other destinations in Norway by visiting our page Exploring Norway

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